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SIGNATURE PAULA MAREE



IS ANYONE ELSE ANXIOUS ABOUT COMING OUT OF ISOLATION?


Is it just me, or does anyone else have anxiety about what life will be like after isolation? With so much fear still circulating in the world, the future remains very uncertain. So in some ways, the thought of stepping outside the comfort zone I’ve created in isolation almost seems just as scary as a lifetime of lockdown!


Here in Australia we have been practicing social distancing for about six weeks now and most of us are starting to go a little stir crazy!

Being stuck inside our homes during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic has been challenging, to say the least. There have been days when I have done absolutely nothing productive at all and sat on the couch and cried. My family and friends have helped me through the hardest days and we have spent hours talking on the phone, especially when the trauma of this experience first took hold.


The good news is that I’ve finally stopped drinking! A wine a day helped me to get through the initial shock. But as the stress on my immune system began to take its toll, I realised that alcohol was actually not the answer. (Although, I haven’t yet been able to distance myself from coffee or chocolate and my cravings continue to keep me opening the cupboard!) As a water baby, I love the warm weather and it really does dictate my mood. And I’m also an emotional eater. So one thing that isolation has really highlighted for me is how much I miss my home state of Queensland and living by a surf beach.


Although to be honest, for the most part I’ve actually really enjoyed the time out in isolation!

I’m not entirely sure, but I think living alone has actually made isolation somewhat easier than being locked up with loved ones. The non-normal nature of my work has made me very independent, as I’m quite used to spending my days off alone. Working in such a social setting often drains a lot of my energy, so having a break has given me the chance to spend more time doing things that I personally enjoy. Physically, I miss the gym, but exercising in the fresh air and practicing mindfulness and mediation has helped to boost my spirits. And I feel a million times better after two months of eating at a normal hour and having a much more regular sleep routine than what I’m used to as a shift worker!


So now that we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I’m actually starting to feel a little nervous about what life is going to be like on the other side of lockdown.

The good news is that our government has provided a lot of financial support, so that has helped to alleviate some of the stress of the economic impact. Furthermore, although scientists are yet to release a vaccine, we are starting to see the spread of the virus itself slow down here in Australia. So whilst our focus is still on staying safe, in some parts of the country we are seeing restrictions on social distancing start to ease.


Over the weekend, I watched friends in Queensland start posting photos on social media, as they flocked back into the great outdoors. Yet it almost felt somewhat surreal and brought up some surprising emotions that I didn’t realise have been slowly creeping into my psyche. After months of so much alone time, I thought I would be craving social connection. However, it’s actually quite the opposite and I’m starting to feel very anxious about coming out of isolation!


During the past few months I have learnt so much about myself. All of this time spent free of the usual pressures of daily life has changed me in a way that I never could have expected.

I have a brand new set of values and now that I have adjusted to this new ‘normal’, I’m not entirely sure that I want to go back to my old life!


Leading into 2020, I had so many goals and I was absolutely clear on what I wanted to achieve in the year ahead.

But the Covid-19 crisis has changed everything. Suddenly I’ve found myself in position where my career is up in the air. Well at least figuratively speaking, but not in any literal sense at all! In fact, those of us that work within the aviation sector really couldn’t be any more grounded at this time. In reality it is going to take years for the travel industry to recover and for those of us who love flying, this has certainly been hard to accept. Working at 38,000ft has been my way of life for the past 7 years and I really wasn’t ready to give that up. Especially not so abruptly, with so many of my colleagues loosing their jobs and our airline being completely grounded within a matter weeks.


However, six weeks on, I’ve come to terms with the fact that the future of flying has changed for the foreseeable future.

And while I can only live in hope that one day I’ll be able to return to the sky, for now I’ve had to make some big changes to my current career plans. Going forward my life is going to look very different and that has left me feeling very anxious. There is something about change that is exciting, yet so unnerving at the same time. I have no idea if I will keep my current job, or if my career path will change completely. However, I am prepared to pivot and have put my faith in the universe to guide me on the best path forward from here.


Fortunately, I have a lot of passions and flying is just one of them!

Having just completed postgraduate studies, I’m hoping to have the opportunity to put my recent learning into practice in a marketing role, whether it be a full time role or a side hustle. However, after weeks of job searching, I’ve noticed that the constant state of stress has really taken a toll on my central nervous system. So thankfully, my mum suggested that I take break from job hunting. Allowing myself to spend the weekend doing absolutely nothing except reading books and watching movies (without scrolling through smartphone at the same time!) has done wonders to soothe my soul.


Being cooped up at home has made it really difficult to establish clear boundaries between work and relaxation and I’ve certainly been guilty of not giving myself a break. The last few days have delivered wintery blasts and here in Melbourne, we’ve all been stuck indoors. But today the sunshine was finally back, so I went for a walk by the water and instantly felt the warmth of the sunlight pick me up again. On my way home, I took a moment to breathe in the fresh air and looked up to see two small planes approaching.


Two weeks have now passed since the aviation group that I work for entered Voluntary Administration and the mere sight of seeing a plane in the sky made me realise how much I miss my job!

So as the two tiny planes flew over me, I stopped in my tracks and took a moment to smile at the sight of the pilots proactively trying to protect their passion. They soared through the sky with a banner trailing behind them and as I read the words, ‘I LOVE VIRGIN AUSTRALIA’, it instilled a message of hope, not only directed at me, but at all of us who truly love what we do for work!


It’s almost strange to think that only a few weeks ago I stood in the very same spot and felt completely overwhelmed. I wanted to the ground to open up and swallow me as I saw my ex-partner out with another girl, whilst I was walking around my local neighbourhood! I had my headphones in at the time as I waiting anxiously to hear a live update from our CEO about the future of our airline. And in that moment I felt like my entire world was about to collapse.


I’ve certainly felt a wave of emotions in the past few weeks, and the struggle has hit me even more now that the reality of these major announcements has really sunk in.

As stressful as it has been, I almost felt like I was becoming addicted to the anxiety that was attached to each new piece of information. And now, that things have slowed, I’ve been forced to sit within the emotion. Keeping myself busy writing this blog, editing travel photos and listening to podcasts has kept me in a positive mindset through out this pandemic. But I’ve also come to realise how important it is to be honest with myself that I also feel very overwhelmed.


If I lose my job and am unable to find work here in Melbourne, I will be forced to move home to our family farm in country Queensland and start a brand new life. And that is very scary. So I recognise that I’ve been somewhat socially withdrawn, whilst feeling my way through all of the emotion associated with major cycles of change. Philosophers (such as Rudolph Steiner) often talk of the cycle of sevens. So I’m sure that it comes as no coincidence that May 2 marked seven years since I first got accepted into cabin crew training school to start my career as a Flight Attendant.


Yet, with my 37th birthday fast approaching, it also means that I’m now completing a second seven-year cycle of single life. Despite my reluctance about coming out of isolation, one thing I am ready to leave behind is my fear of falling in love (read that post here). I like the new values that I have formed and my newfound confidence in finding love!


This week’s Scorpio Supermoon is the last supermoon in the lunar cycle for 2020.

And as the north lunar node shifted out of my star sign yesterday, I finally felt free of the sheer exhaustion that swept over me for the past few days. Having finally completed 18 months of life lessons, I can feel an inner shift, as my soul has ascended to a higher vibration. Meanwhile, I am also working through the final three weeks of a pattern of fears and hesitation, which has had a huge impact on my ability to let love into my life (read more in my previous post). So as we reapproach eclipse season, I am ready to enter the next chapter of collective life lessons!


For many people, 2020 has brought a lot of disappointment.

Career paths have changed. Birthdays and special events have been spent in isolation. Holidays and events have been cancelled. And for many couples, this pandemic has meant postponing weddings plans that have been over a year in the making. Yet, I guess this highlights the dramatic differences in how this pandemic has played out for each of us.


My career may have been turned upside down. But on a personal level, life hasn’t really been that much different beyond not seeing my friends in person. I absolutely think it is empowering to be okay on your own and I am fortunate that I have enough self-confidence to be truly happy within my own skin. Nevertheless, as social isolation continues it has become a lonely experience at times and I’m starting to value romantic connection more than ever. I’m not much of a party girl these days, so not being able to go out hasn’t really been a big deal. I couldn’t care less about when the nightclubs or bars will reopen! But what I do want is somebody to share my life with and it really is time that I make my personal life more of a priority.


Life is built on love (whether it be self love, or a friendship or soul level) and one thing that social isolation has taught me is that it’s time that I truly started living my truth!

I don’t want to spend my life addicted to social media or on my phone. I don’t want to be too busy working to actually spend time with the people I love. And I don’t want life to pass me by without a sense that I am truly living in the present moment. For many years now, I’ve had tendency to constantly look forward to future happiness. And for that reason, I am anxious about the path forward as this pandemic subsides. Yet I’m trying to stay grounded by feeling safe and grateful for what I have in the present moment.


As we come out of isolation a lot of people will return to work. And I am very conscious that I will feel even more uncertain about my future at that point.

So I’m trying not to define myself by what I do in my career and focus on what truly makes me ‘me’. I hope to be able to look back on this post next week, next month, next year and another seven years from now and know that Covid-19 has changed me for the better. For now, we all have at least a few more weeks to prepare for path we take moving forward as we come out of lockdown. So I urge you to also take a moment to reflect on the challenges you have faced. How has this pandemic changed you and how do you want your new normal to look?


All of humanity has undergone a very dramatic shift in 2020. Yet, it is in the years ahead that we will really be forced to determine the fate of our future. I, for one, would be sad to see us slip straight back into a society that was becoming very superficial and not serving us in a sense of bring true purpose and meantime to our lives. So as we enter a new decade, now is a perfect time to start making the most of the precious time we have to spend with our loved ones. It’s also more important than ever to nourish our bodies and minds to maintain our health. It’s time we take action to protect this vast and beautiful planet that we call home. And above all, it’s time to stop and take steps to create a better way of life for the future generation of children we are raising in this brand new world post social isolation.




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