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Getting locked up and unable to see friends and relatives, that’ wrong right? The answer depends on who you ask and how honest they are with their responses. Most introverts will pause for a moment and consider the statement before embarrassingly mumbling that it is not so bad. Yes, they miss their friends, of course, they do; but it is also great to have time to oneself. Some people may even state enthusiastically that having a clear social calendar with a valid excuse is pure bliss. Surely these guys must be introverts. About half of us are introverts, so in theory, half of us should be happy with the forced lockdown. …

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Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

I am an asthmatic. Ever since I was a child, I spent many evenings struggling to get a full breath. Because of my asthma, I am well aware of the torture of respiratory illness, and when coronavirus started making headlines, I was one of the first people to self-isolate. In the past month and a half, I had a lot of time to reflect on this new reality that was thrust upon us all. It is a reality without social contact, hairdressers, beauty treatments or frivolous spending.

Once I came to terms with the financial loss that stemmed from the restrictions of COVID-19 something quite magical started happening. Much of the stress that life piles on you to be a certain way and to impress your friends with your achievements and possessions evaporated leaving behind a much happier person. The burden of socialising when there is no real desire to do so was lifted, and it surprised me how liberating that felt. Surrounded by a tiny group of those I love, I felt both warm and protected. …

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This morning I read that 1 billion people are in lockdown. Many are together with their families; husbands, wives, children and in some cases, grandparents others are not so lucky. In the UK, 49% of the population over 16 are single, and 15% of the adult population live alone. For those people, their lifeline is the internet, and their social contacts have become primarily virtual.

Life will not return to normal for at least a year, probably longer, maybe never. This is a fact. There are three ways out of this: vaccination (12–18 months away), herd immunity (two years away), or permanent changes in our behaviour that allow us to keep transmission rates low. …

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Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

This was the year I was going to hike all the way up to Base Camp Everest in Nepal. My friends and family had been mostly supportive but also worried about the risks. Now this adventure together with all my other plans has been cancelled. In retrospect, and in the face of millions getting sick or dying from a pandemic, my escapade seems quite harmless. The world is a dangerous place all of a sudden and Mount Everest is a safer place than central London.

When we come out of self-isolation, the world will be different somehow; new. It is impossible to deny that what has happened in the last few weeks has turned my world around. Examples are everywhere I look; from the mundane –I don’t have to go to the office anymore, to the inconvenient -ski resorts closed in the middle of the winter, to the ridiculous -no toilet paper to buy anywhere. Just a month ago who would have believed that people with asthma (like me) would be at risk of dying with the hospitals too busy to be able to help? And how unbelievable is it that EasyJet and Ryanair have removed flight changing fees? Yesterday, for the fun of it, I changed my EasyJet flight just to see if they would charge me.- …

How a “waiting period” might be good for relationships.

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photo by Abdulrahman Abu Shaer

My eldest daughter is a sociable 19-year-old university student who’s been enjoying her newfound freedom 200 miles away from parental supervision. Yet, two weeks into the UK coronavirus epidemic, she is spending her Saturday nights, not at a club or even a pub, but in her university dorm eating home-made pizza with a girlfriend. She is not alone. As the disease spreads and the panic intensifies, many of her friends have started to avoid crowded and sweaty places as well.

What about boys I ask her? Have you met anyone interesting? Any kissing? “Gross mummy! Yack. What if they have the coronavirus?” I can’t blame her of course. There is not much kissing going on during these panicked days of masks and sanitizers. Even handshakes are becoming taboo. People that I know reasonably well have been turning away from my outstretched hand slightly embarrassed, and as an asthmatic, I should probably be doing the same. …

“Now I think it’s one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child — What do you want to be when you grow up? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point, you become something, and that’s the end.”
― Michelle Obama, Becoming

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A year ago, I was bogged down trying to finish a book about the self and the ego. I had reached a brick wall in my writing, and like most authors in my situation, I did everything in my power to avoid spending time with my “going nowhere manuscript.” …

Women have become more powerful. We know this because we hear about it every day. Women are reaching new pinnacles in politics, sciences, and the workplace. They run countries and businesses. Often, they earn more money than men, and they have well and truly escaped the confines of their kitchen and laundry room, swapping it for the freedom that the sexes equality affords them. …

Valentine’s day is upon us! Caught in the whirlwind of romantic preparations, you may be too busy to wonder how we came to celebrate love on this particular day, and who was Valentine anyway?

The origins of Valentine’s Day go back to the Romans when Emperor Claudius II executed two men — both named Valentine — on Feb. 14 of different years in the 3rd century A.D. The Catholic Church was quick to mark their martyrdom with a love fest, thus creating a day of torture for the 45% of the world who are single.

I find this particular day to be quite controversial. After all, it is the one day of the year that in celebrating “coupleness” it unwittingly penalizes “singleness.” It is an entire day where couples give each other presents, chocolates, and flowers. Restaurants are booked solid with loving couples and every supermarket greets its shoppers with an avalanche of hearts and pink accessories. The press is full of stories on how to spend the day for couples, but also how to spend the day if you are an “unlucky” singleton. …

“Every woman that finally figured out her worth has picked up her suitcases of pride and boarded a flight to freedom, which landed in the valley of change.”

― Shannon L. Alder

Sometimes, I feel that women create their own hell and then take permanent residence within its confines. The gatekeeper, guard and executioner is usually some scoundrel who doesn’t give a hoot about the prisoner. He is not even much of a gatekeeper; he doesn’t need to be because the prisoner is not willing to escape. She sits on the hard bench of the windowless room and laments the life she had previously. She says things like: “If only he did the “work” we could save our marriage,” “I will never love anyone else,” “my life is ruined,” “I can’t live without him.” …

I am a seasoned dieter. In fact, since the age of 12, there has never been a full week in my life where I did not deprive myself one way or another to lose weight. If there is a magic bullet out there, I have tried it. Over my lifetime, I have lost, regained, and then again lost the equivalent of a pickup truck or an adolescent elephant. At some level, I already know that my task is Sisyphean, but a few weeks ago, it was demonstrated to me clear as day. “My Fitness Pal,” the app which I have been using religiously for several years to track my eating and exercise, has a handy progress feature. There in black and white, I saw the futility of my efforts. Point to point my weight was miraculously stable, save the 250 grams which is the weight of my hair extensions. But the line between the two points, five years apart, told a different story. …


Alexandra Filia

Author of the Dream series for women, I love to help women find happiness.

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