It has now been four months since I entered my own version of plague isolation. About 10 days after my isolation began, the UK Government’s lockdown was put in place which meant that most of the country (and indeed, much of the world) was joining me in my isolation. But, as I’ve said before, I am in a very privileged position for the situation we’re living in, so it’s not been overly difficult to cope with it all.
And because I live on a massive wooded estate, I was able to skirt some of the lockdown guidance which made my time in lockdown easier. Specifically, I was breaking the “only one form of outdoor exercise a day” rule because with all this space I could easily do that without running into another human. Of course, I am also on the shielding list, which means that I was doubly breaking the outdoor rules, but I had decided that “shielding lite” is the best thing for me.
Indeed, my “shielding lite” social distancing and self-isolation practices have altered a bit over these four months, specifically in two areas: (1) I have ventured increasingly further from my cottage, although only as far as my own legs can carry me and always outdoors, and (2) I have enjoyed a few socially distanced walks with friends, slightly ahead of the official rule changes for people who are shielding.
What hasn’t changed, and what I worry about slightly, is my willingness to fully re-join society. By that I mean that I am still not willing to risk going to shops, cafes, or beer gardens – something that “normal” people can do now (or very soon) and that shielders should be OK to do in a couple of weeks.
Of course, even though I don’t feel ready to re-join society, I have noticed a slight change in my levels of frustration, and I think that is partly due to the changes in lockdown rules for people who are not shielding. As most people in Scotland are now able to start meeting with family and friends more regularly, I am very aware that I am still “stuck” at home. Part of that is because I am shielding, but part of that is because I don’t have a way to get anywhere even if I did want to meet with others.
Because of that, I am more aware of my seclusion and I am feeling a greater desire to escape my confines. And yes, I have been wandering a bit further from home recently which has been great. But I haven’t really gone anywhere. I haven’t really seen The Real World; I’ve just visited my neighbouring woodlands. And whilst I have been enjoying socially distanced walks with others, that hasn’t helped to ease my frustration. I think that is because my friends have to travel to me for walks which means that I (1) feel a bit bad that they’re doing all the driving and (2) feel a bit of pressure as I then become the tour guide or “host” during their visits to the estate. Of course, that is a me issue, as I know that friends are happy to travel to me, especially as they have cars and I don’t!
Excitingly, I am now starting to think about a bit of an escape. I don’t know when that will happen, but I am hoping that I can get away from the estate, travelling in a car, by the end of the month. That’s the goal I am working towards and if the infection rates in Scotland remain low, I think I will be comfortable with that.
So, who knows: By the time I share a 5-month update I might be talking about re-joining society instead of hiding away from it! But for now, I will remain in (near) isolation, only enjoying a bit of socially distanced socialising once or twice a week. This is a vast improvement from my first two months of total isolation, so I will try not to complain.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel, people! Let’s hope that it’s sunshine and not a blazing wildfire!