This week is March Break in Ontario, Canada.  That means that two years ago the schools sent kids home and told them not to come back for three weeks.  At the time, it was thought that the incubation period of the COVID virus was two weeks.  They knew that many would fly away on their March Break and bring the virus back, and they were encouraging people to self-isolate to curb the spread.

I panicked at the thought of being locked in my house on my own for three weeks, which became 10 weeks before I had physical contact with another human being.  As someone who has always suffered from loneliness, it was one of the worst things that has ever happened to me.  I didn’t think that I would survive the isolation.

The weeks became months and leading into the autumn I knew that I could not handle another lock down in cold weather.  That’s how I ended up in Barbados, where I have been for two-thirds of the pandemic.  The pandemic changed my life.  Barbados saved my life, not just from the pandemic.

It is hard to muster up gratitude for something or someone that hurts you.  COVID has been an awful thing for the planet to endure.  It has been a blessing to me.  It stopped me cold in my tracks and had me take a long look at my life. Some of this thinking was already in motion.

March 11th marked the anniversary of the World Health Organization calling the pandemic, meaning that it was everywhere.  I have been giving a great deal of thought to the last two years and how my experience seems to have differed dramatically from those that I talk to in Canada.  Bajans live their lives outdoors, and so my new life here has been full despite restrictive curfews and COVID protocols.

My time in Barbados has brought me closer to the person that I truly am and the person that I have always meant to become.  That was not happening for me in Canada, and I constantly felt like an outsider.  I needed the clean break from the place that shaped the ideals that I thought I believed in, to a foreign place where I had the space to stand behind what I truly want in my life.  That would never have happened without the pandemic.

Conrad and I went on a freediving trip. I got down to 10m again and Conrad got all the way down to the wreck at 20 m! He is a merman.

I started this pandemic feeling very sorry for myself, with good reason, I think.  I have ended up in a place better off than most people on earth, I believe.  I am feeling very grateful.  Wow!  If I could do this with other misfortunes that come my way, I will be in a good place indeed.

Here are the things that I am pondering these days:

  1. What have I learned from this pandemic?
  2. Will I be able to bring these feelings with me as I leave the island?
  3. How can I cultivate gratitude for other events and people who have hurt me?

What are you pondering as we pass the 2-year mark of the pandemic?

I also cracked Kate’s board that she left me to use when she was home to the UK for work.  A kook hit me before I even got out to the surf break at Freights.  But I took it to Adrian, the magician fixer on the island, and he restored it to good as new.  Phew!  She is back tomorrow.  Adrian posted a video on IG that has been forwarded to me and Kate a number of times.  Her board is memorable.  You can’t get away with anything on this island!