5 things COVID-19 has taught me about life – Chiké Frankie Edozien

While the world grapples with the first truly global pandemic in generations, I, like everyone else have had to adjust to a new world order. And how I create a work and life balance while under the duress of a sheltering-in-place  is a mixture of frivolity and discipline. Has this pandemic taught me new life lessons? Perhaps. But it has also served as a reminder to put in practice lessons learned long ago.

  1. REMAIN FOCUSED: I’m currently in a city under lockdown. My daily work routine is upended. I cannot leave my house except for food and medicine. So, each weekday simulates going to work by going to my study, and putting in a work day (with a lunch break included) continuing to earn my keep as a lecturer and university administrator. Then I delve into my own writing and editing work. I am also using this time to return to writing projects I’ve had slow progress with.  Dedicating time to simply honing my craft uninterrupted, in a way that is tough when one has a demanding job has pushed me forward and gotten things back on track.
  2. ROUTINES ARE GOOD: It has been helpful to keep a sense of normalcy in a terribly uncertain time. So, I keep my alarm set for the same time and rise virtually at the same time each morning. Practically, I cannot meet up with physical trainer for morning tennis and runs before getting ready for work.  But I can do other things and try new exercises on my own. And since when I’m working I wouldn’t normally watch the television, that stays off until the end of the day when I can catch up like I would normally do. Being stuck at home means the tendency to binge and raid the refrigerator is high but I’m sticking with eating lunch when I normally would and dinner after work. So far, it’s working.  And that routine includes on Friday date nights which I can’t do with my beloved right now. But I’m basking in a good substitute: dancing and drinking wine with a cluster of my Writer Family. A Zoom party of authors supporting each other from wherever we find ourselves. I so look forward to our lockdown Fridays!
  3. POLITENESS COST ZERO: In January I found a new home and was in the process of moving when COVID-19 blew up. Lockdowns galore and border closings have meant my family and I are apart for the moment so I’m in our new place alone. But I’ve always been a social sort so upon moving in I spent time going to meet my neighbors and their families and trying to get to know them and even inviting them to events I organized. Since our mandatory lockdown began, my neighbor has consistently sent dinner and lunch over.  Knowing that I’m alone in the house they’ve taken care to make sure that as they feed their families I’m not stuck cooking for one. And that I’m eating healthy. Another family moved in shortly after I did. The neighbors tell me ‘They bluff everyone’. They don’t get dinner.
  4. STAYING CONNECTED: Loss is painful. Perhaps the most painful experience one can have is losing someone close. I’m well aware that time is precious and nothing is promised. And the massive loss of lives, worldwide, to this disease is soul crushing.  So, I’m using the tools that technology affords us, I haven’t let up on letting those I love know that I love them and though they may be physically distant they are in my thoughts.  On a community level, that has also meant quickly joining my writing community to engage our readers with a virtual literary festival (Afrolit Sans Frontieres) IG takeovers, Zoom Author Talks and more. The reality is that books saves lives and connecting more people to books, particularly now that many have time to read, is awesome.
  5. SELF PAMPERING: I’m spoiling myself with the little things I rarely have time to enjoy. Ice cream, much more Rosé imbibing, delving into old books that are new to me, and catching up with my podcasts and new music and even some strange reality tv show about a Kaduna rapper engaged to an older white American.  It is guaranteed buffet of guffaws. And yes, indulging in siestas is an indulgence I’ve also regained a taste for.

Edozien is the author of the Lambda award winning ‘Lives of Great Men’ (Ouida Books).

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