• Lara Flanagan

Lessons of isolation from the cottage


It is hard to believe how much our life has changed in such a short amount of time. Yet in Australia there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel. While I don’t think anyone will emerge from this Covid-19 crisis unscathed, I think Australians, touch wood, will be some of the lucky ones. I am sure that everyone has a list of things they have learnt during these unprecedented times. Following are a few of my lessons and observations from isolation in the cottage.


We don’t need much with which to live

The kids and I live in a very cute little cottage. It reminds me of something from Goldilocks – it is not too small, not too big, it is just right. There is a compulsion in the Western World that we need bigger houses, better phones, newer cars and more clothes, but this isolation has been such an incredible reminder that we don’t need much with which to live. A big house is not what is important, what is important is a full heart.


So many of us are privileged

So many of us privileged. I am one of those people, and for that I will be eternally grateful. I saw an Indian doctor interviewed recently as she expressed her anxiety about what this pandemic would do to her country. As she said, if you have water to wash your hands, you are privileged. If you have the space to self-quarantine, you are privileged. If you have access to face masks and hand sanitizer you are privileged. If you have a home where you can practice self-isolation, you are privileged. If you have access to a supermarket and can buy food and groceries, you are privileged. If you have access to medical care, you are privileged. Such a very powerful reminder of how lucky we are.


You need to not only love, but like the people who are in your tribe

Your tribe, whoever they may be are the ones who feed your soul with joy. They are the ones that stand by you, appreciate your bad jokes, sit next to you in silence when you are sad and make you laugh until you pee your pants. Archie and Rissie have not left the cottage, apart from our daily walks, since I took them out of school. They are a little restless and would love to see their friends, but apart from that life continues on pretty peacefully. I love them to the moon and back but I also happen to like them immensely. You can love someone but not necessarily like them. Life is so bloody short, so make sure you fill it with people you love, as well as like.


You can never predict what is around the corner

Life is short and it is precious. It has become a bit of a mantra that drives me every day. Receiving a diagnosis of MS and then losing Tiney has it etched on my brain. This current crisis has been such a timely reminder that you never know what is around the corner. So live well, without regrets, do what makes your heart sing and never take a day for granted.


Health is everything

Money, luxuries, a wardrobe full of clothes, a mansion and shiny devices mean nothing when compared to your health. Another thing that I am eternally grateful for is that I am strong and fit and healthy. Sometimes choosing health and hope is the hardest and scariest decision you can make but it is worth it.


Heroes wear surgical scrubs, drive trucks and stack our supermarket shelves

I truly believe we need to adjust our perception of the word hero. Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. They are normal people doing extraordinary things. They are sometimes unrecognised, they work long hours, are often paid little and they sacrifice much of themselves for others. Heroes do not wear rugby shorts and chase balls around fields while bitching about how unfair life is and publicly saying that they might accept a little pay cut from their $500,000 salary because “Oostraylia needs Rugbyleeeega.” I will be quite happy if I never watch a game of football again, but I am in awe and worship of all those super-heroes that wear capes that they often can’t see themselves.


Happiness is a choice

Happiness is a choice. It is such a huge choice. It can be a difficult choice but it is the only choice. To choose happiness is the ultimate expression of hope.


I choose happiness and I am so grateful.


From isolation in the cottage.

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