Monday 7.36am Monash University.
At this stop I have between 4 and 7 minutes before I need to depart. I tend to get off the bus and stretch, do some high knees and shoulder rotations. Yesterday I noticed a man walking towards the bus stop next to mine. He was quite tall, solid built, dressed in tracksuit pants and a wind-cheater, with a beanie and mask. Then I heard him say “It must get lonely by yourself all day with no one to talk to.” I looked behind me to see who he was talking to. Then I realised that he was talking to me. Foolishly I said “oh, sorry, you were talking to me.” He said “I was.” Then repeated his earlier statement. I replied, “Not really, you kind of get used to it. Thanks for talking to me though!” He laughed and said “No worries, have a good day.”
It made me realise how much I have changed over the last 9 months. Neil and I moved in together in January. That included Neil’s 2 teenage kids, his fur baby and my 2 fur babies. I had left my home, friends, neighbourhood, community and my 15 year business. As if that wasn’t enough, in March the Pandemic arrived. The only person to connect with face to face was on the phone, constantly in meetings and busy dealing with his own COVID world. As I worked through the challenges of this new world I found myself in, my sense of loneliness and isolation was off the scales, fuelled by fear and despair – at times it was unbearable.
I relied heavily on the Be Active Tribe, the Tai Chi gals, the weekly calls with my Dad and Auntie Joy, the frequent messages with my 2 sisters. Without them I don’t know how I would have coped. I have always been a person who can easily start a conversation with whoever I meet. I think it comes from being a country kid! Over the years I have had conversations with people from all walks of life, learnt some really cool things and made lots of great friends. I just love connecting and engaging with people. For six months I have had to change and adapt and learn to be ok without regular connection or engagement. I have learnt to be ok with the loneliness and not having anyone to talk to for long periods of time.
When this pandemic is over we will be different. We will realise that things can be done differently. Life will be changed forever. Some of those changes we can control and some we can’t. I know that I want to go back to being a person who has conversations with random people at bus stops, I want to go back to being a person that has conversations with people all day long. I have also discovered that if I don’t have that I will be ok. We all have a survival instinct – for now I will be ok by myself all day with no one to talk to. Once this is over its conversation time – face to face, without masks and with lots and lots of hugs
70Joanne Link, Glynn Riseley and 68 others37 commentsLikeCommentShare