A reflection on my new reality

by Tauri Kerr

There are no flowers without a little rain; the ups and downs of lockdown.

If someone had told me, in January, that this is how I would be spending my first year of university I would have thought they were crazy. From living a fast-paced life for two months to being forced to slow down and process my new reality, it almost feels surreal. This is certainly not how I thought this year would go, but it is all a part of life’s adventure, right?

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During this lockdown period, it is safe to say that my family and I have experienced a rollercoaster of emotions. We have popped champagne at the publication of my first article, we welcomed a new fur baby into our home, and I celebrated another year around the sun – my 19th birthday.

However, the cliché, “what goes up must come down” proved to be true. With a heavy heart, we had to say goodbye to our newly attained puppy, who we grew to adore unconditionally. I also attended my first virtual funeral. These experiences alone are painful but to be confined to a small house with no ability to escape these harsh realities has been the hardest.

It goes without saying that many others are experiencing their highs and lows too. It is normal and it is the journey of life. It is also safe to say that people deal with their successes and failures differently. Some people rely heavily on the presence of others as a support system – keeping their mind busy, in order to not have to deal with the happenings in their life. I would not say that I am a poster child for this type of coping mechanism, but I certainly ensure that my days are jam-packed with activities.

This means that I have had to get all types of creative over the past few weeks – knitting, gardening, dyeing my hair, googling recipes for pineapple beer and baking. You name it and I have probably given it a go!

We developed a strict schedule for weekdays that includes a time for exercise, which I have come to realise is a fantastic way to release your frustrations and it leaves you feeling as if you are on top of the world. When I say frustrations, my mind immediately leans towards family politics. No family is the same and every single one of them has a different way of functioning. Our family is no exception!

I spent my high school years in boarding school. Because of this my mother says I moved out the house at 13 years old and I have not really looked back since. To an extent, she is not wrong. Unfortunately, this means that I have not spent as much time with my siblings as I could have. This time apart has meant that I do not know them at all. My patience runs thin with them, which has become evident over these few weeks.

Having said this, every situation is dependent on your reaction to it. The twins have grown up without their older sister present, seeing as when I left for high school, they were only starting their first year of primary school. I am starting to see this lockdown period as a blessing in disguise. It has enabled me to reconnect with my siblings who, I am beginning to realise, are not little kids anymore.

My 19th birthday was certainly not what I had expected it to be. In the days leading up to my big day, I was dreading it. I already felt like 19 was an arb year to celebrate and on top of that, I had nowhere to go. Despite all of this, it ended up being one of the best birthdays I have ever had.

We baked an Oreo cheesecake… and scones… and made lemon curd. I had an influx of messages and video calls throughout the day and I felt more loved than ever. This birthday made me realise, yet again, that life is all about perspective.

Finding things to do that make my soul feel at peace has been my goal. I have learnt more about myself recently than I have in the past 19 years. I am learning how to soothe the ball of anxiety that occasionally sits in the pit of my stomach, I am learning how to be more patient and I am discovering that it is okay to feel sad but you also do not have to have a reason to be happy. All feelings are valid, especially during lockdown.

Sometimes making the most of your time can simply mean just getting through the day. Give your siblings a hug, tell your parents you love them, cuddle your pets and most importantly, give yourself a break.

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