Finding purpose in isolation
I’m 16 years old and I am writing about what I have learnt during isolation for my mum’s monthly blog in the hope of supporting people who may be having similar experiences to mine.
At the time of writing this piece, we had just completed the first three weeks of the first round of social isolation measures and the government has just announced a further three weeks. I, like many other 16-year olds in this country would have been in the final weeks of preparation for GCSEs which would have been starting in just under a month’s time.
Initially I thought that entering into quarantine would result in myself and my family vegetating in front of the television and our phones for a large proportion of the 3 weeks. The idea of not being allowed to go out and meet my friends immediately lead me to think that the only option would be to stay indoors in the company of some sort of onscreen entertainment and invariably involve the internet in some shape or form.
For the first few days, I proceeded to follow this pre-conceived idea, but I grew bored. I thought many others across the country might have been having similar experiences. I learnt that there is only so much binging on box sets and aimlessly scrolling through social media that one can do. Well at least that was the case for me. I started to feel that the idea of going back to work or school in my case, right now would be very appealing and wondered if this was the case for many other people. I felt that I was losing my sense of purpose, going to school, preparing for exams, playing football and having a part-time job gave me that sense of purpose. I strongly feel we need a sense of purpose and order to our day; this purpose is being denied to me by the isolation and it feels like routine and normality have been taken away too. I started to feel like I rapidly needed to regain self-purpose.
So, what happened? I started to think about what I could do around the house within the confines of social isolation. I had my usual chores and tasks that I did to help out around the house, but this wasn’t enough. Over the last two weeks I found myself taking an interest in what else I could do beyond my usual jobs. I found myself doing jobs that I would never have previously taken an interest in or even considered doing. These were jobs for which I needed to learn new skills and have patience, as they were not quick and easy, but surprisingly I was up for the challenge. I have gone from tidying up, cleaning and grass cutting to completely rebuilding a fence for elderly neighbours, and restoring an old Daihatsu van. I am proactively looking for new complex jobs. Supervised by my dad and working with my brother, I have learned a whole set of new skills and have a sense of achievement seeing the progress we are making.
I doubt I would have had an interest in these things previously, disregarding them as been boring and placing my energy elsewhere. I have learnt new life-long skills, I have helped our neighbour and my dad and spent time with my brother and the days pass by quickly. I feel better about everyday now and I hope that I can continue to find purpose through the next 3 weeks. I hope I am not alone in my experiences. I would say to others like me, try it, try and learn a new skill, cooking, touch typing, anything, just try not to loose your sense of purpose and try and end the day with a sense of achievement.