Some asked, “Is there any good thing to write home about from this experience?”
Others cracked their heads long enough and eventually shared their three points on the subject.
A few thought they could not be limited only to the three points, adding that they could actually write a book about circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
I was humbled in particular by two people whose jobs were negatively impacted by the pandemic yet they enthusiastically contributed.
My intention to focus on the positives despite being bombarded with negative news and peppered with fear was to appreciate the good in the bad situation in line with the Sesotho proverb that “Pula ke mahlopha a senya” meaning there is always a silver lining in every dark cloud.
Here are 20 themes that emerged from the positive reflections and I categorised them into two big areas, Remembering Me and Beyond Me.
- Appreciating the Gift of Life
- I appreciate the gift of life
- To value every moment we have, we realised how life took a different turn from what we called ‘normal’
- Our resources and knowledge do not protect us
- “Mona ha se habo motho, morui le mofutsana ho oa tšoana” (loosely translated to mean adversity afflicts everyone, rich or poor) this was said by someone when she realised that she is living for a purpose and she has to find that purpose.
- Time to rest/ Introspection
- I had time to reflect and prioritise my plans
- I could totally relax in my house, in any form, with my pyjamas on and applying home-made beauty face mask, without expecting anyone to knock on the door
- I felt like my gate was securely locked, even though I don’t have a gate, I enjoyed quality time
- I enjoyed the sabbatical leave, I was able to introspect
- I exercised and meditated a lot
- I missed having coffee or pizza with friends. I could not wait to meet them.
- Self-care/Do it yourself
- I always go to the salon to wash and treat my hair, but this time around, I had to do it myself
- I learnt how to cook pizza at home and I enjoyed it
- I started cooking delicious meals because I was home
- I realised that my house needed some renovations, and I had time to attend to things that I would otherwise ignore.
- Learning how to use Information Technology (IT)
- Learnt how to use Zoom, Skype and other technologies required to keep work connection
- Attended church or prayer group sessions via social media platforms
- Quality time with family
- Being together and close as a family; we are always busy at work or busy with other social commitments
- I know my husband better because of the extended honeymoon.
- I know more of the characters of children, which I had missed due to my busy schedule
- Being together as family, without a helper/maid made me appreciate doing things for my family - e.g cooking and doing laundry
- Ate, chatted, read and played together
- No one was ever late for supper or lunch
- Shared home chores such as cleaning and gardening
- Financial savings
- I paid some of my debts with the money I would have used to pay for school bus for my daughter if school was still open.
- I saved on fuel I would have used to go to work
- Petrol and paraffin were at their lowest prices
- We also saved on petrol costs due to reduced movement
- Surviving on minimum basics
- Focusing only on basic needs, saved us from unnecessary expenses.
- The fact that shops were closed meant we couldn’t just go out to buy ice cream, eat take- away or buy clothes we didn’t even need
- We can still live a fulfilling live, without extra frills
- We can have fun in our own homes, with our children
- I started appreciating and growing vegetables in my back yard
- Not knowing when the lockdown would end made us be more cautious how we use our resources at home.
- Resting from ‘cool things’ or social pressure
- Reducing Social Financial burden: No weddings, baby showers or birthday parties to contribute to, less financial burdens that we often don’t plan for, but somehow feel committed to fulfil
- No hand shaking, no hugs: “I am not a touchy person and I am so happy having to live without the unnecessary touching. I am enjoying my personal space, without being told I am antisocial
- Detoxing: I drank less wine because I had no access to alcohol