Dear all,

What are the positive aspects of this quarantine and this worldwide mess? I’ve been wondering about this, not because I think that every situation needs to be productive or useful, but just because it’s a lot easier to go through a lockdown when you feel you’ve come to some interesting and important realisations.

For example, I’ve always liked going for walks, but I’ve never realised how much I enjoy it and how beneficial these walks are to my (mental) health. Sometimes I have the feeling that the moment I can go outside for a walk again, I won’t be able to stop moving, but I’ll just continue, in case it will no longer be allowed. For some reasons I also have very vivid memories of the last time I went for a walk, as if I’m reliving that moment in my mind.

My next realisation is that I’m extremely pleased that we are good cooks. We are still having a lot of amazing dinners and we’re becoming more and more creative. We’ve already been trying to reduce food waste, but now we’ve even become more efficient with how we use our food than before. It actually also saves a lot of money, so it’s doing wonders for our saving’s account (in these days it’s nothing more than a simple account, since the interest is pretty much non existent).

I’ve also noticed how much I actually want to stand up for people who don’t have the same prospects and the same beneficial start as we do in this richer part of the world. I’ve been looking into non profit organisations and fund raising to find out how I can actually contribute to making this world a slightly better place, besides just giving some money and be done with it (although, giving money to charity is obviously still very important and commendable).

I’ve even begun (it’s only a beginning) to learn how to care less about people who fail to show me respect for my opinions. I, on the other hand, should (and I’m also working on that) not always try to convince others of my opinion. It should sometimes be enough that I believe in what I stand for and that it’s ok if somebody else doesn’t. But hiding what I’d like to fight for in this world, because I’m scared of other people’s reactions is no longer going to be part of my daily routine. I’m even discovering a new-found respect for people in my life who have been fighting for causes for years and have been scorned while doing so.

However, what stands out to me the most is that “earning more money” (I specifically mention “earning more”, because having enough money to live from is a totally different story), is something I’ve not been missing at all. I work freelance, which means that the money I’m making during this lockdown is basically just as non existent as the interest on my saving’s account. I know we have enough to live from, but I won’t be able to spend any money in a somewhat extravagant way in the forseeable future. I couldn’t care less. I’m healthy and, despite the entire situation, I’m happy. Although, probably when I see my family, my boyfriend’s family and my friends (and our friends) again, I’ll go crazy with indescribable bliss. But this is not and has never been something that money can buy.

From Italy with love,

Merel