Wow! For those wondering where I’ve been for the last seven months, I thought I would give a quick update. We are now back in England following the worldwide virus that has hit us like a thunderbolt. To be honest, we would have preferred to stay where we were, and I’ll tell you why.
We have been living off-grid, as it were, for almost a year. We found a house, basically in the middle of nowhere, around 25 miles from the small city of Sparta, Greece in the Peloponnese. We had electricity, water and heat, but that was about all. Our shopping for food was done when we needed it and involved a trip to the local store 5 miles away, often we walked there and back carrying only what we needed. Perhaps we took the scooter when a bit more was required, but that was a rare trip.
It was great. We had finally found a pace of life that suited us and enjoyed the little things we had so often taken for granted over the years. The delight at finding Cadbury Creme eggs in a tiny Greek shop was the highlight of the month of February!
I will miss my daily Greek salad the most. Fresh tomatos, olives, onions, cucumber and lovely Feta cheese all drizzled with extra virgin Kalamata Olive Oil. Oh, Gosh!
We had no Internet, 3-channel TV and Greek radio. Bliss! Day lengths seemed to go on for 48 hours instead of the standard 24. The only ‘worry’ was if the water supply became limited or non-existent. This happens quite a lot, so you do kind of get used to it. But it was always fixed within a couple of days, we just had to make sure there was always a backup supply of the old H2O. Hence the trips to the shop on the scooter, always keeping a supply of at least 50 litres of bottled water in the garage/shack.
We now self-publish books, such as gratitude journals, planners and self-help guides. These have to be uploaded to Amazon and as we have no Internet, the weekly trip to Sparta for uploading the books is another highlight. The book sales enable us to live this very gentle and isolated life. It has been an ideal lifestyle for us, but then the mucky stuff hit the fan!
When the Greek government first implied a lockdown was likely to happen, we decided to move back to the UK. This was two weeks ago in early March, so off to Athens we went with only the items we needed. Two laptops, a few essential items of clothing and a bit of cash. Our little Greek house is paid up until September, so we could leave the nonessential things for our hopeful return. We would have stayed here, but mom is 82 and is self-isolating and although she has support from other family members, I felt it best to be near should another crisis occur.
We got back to Heathrow two days before the UK went into lockdown. I was amazed at how busy everything was. I really thought we would be coming back to a ghost town, but no. We didn’t even get virus checked at the airport. Finally arriving home for the first time in 3 months (we came back for a fortnight at Christmas) everything seemed alien to us. Massive queues at the shops, masks being worn, television and radio media voicing doom and social media…. well! It all seemed apocalyptic!
I’d had letters from family telling us it was bad, but I really thought they were being rather dramatic. And although I can get by in Greek, the media there didn’t really hit the problem home to us. I’m rather glad we’re not fluent in Greek because it has probably saved us a lot of angst!
I must admit that our socially distancing life in Greece hadn’t prepared us for this onslaught of doom and gloom. I found myself in a state of disbelief and on the verge of panic. Gary, who’s much more logical than me, understood more, but was also a little worried.
Now we’ve been ‘home’ for two weeks, I’m feeling a little better about the situation. It’s still a horrid situation, but I understand more about it now. We’re adapting, as I think most people are.
One thing I’ve learned about this situation is to leave social media alone! We haven’t been on social media for around a year and I’m thankful for it. The T.V. doesn’t help either. It breeds stress. They say ignorance is bliss, and that was the case back in Greece. I wonder if we had stayed there and ‘rode’ it out, whether it would have been the best action for us?
There were days when we didn’t see a soul. There is hardly any traffic and even at the little store 5 miles away, we were often the only shoppers.
So how do we approach the situation from here?
It may be a while until we can scramble back over to Sparta for the last few months of 2020. After that, we may have to live in both the UK and Greece since we are no longer in the EU. We can get around this somewhat by using 3-month visiting visas.
But until then, we all have to be very careful…this virus thing is real. Stay away from crowds of more than 2 people, keep a good distance away from individuals, even those in your own family. Don’t panic buy, only get what you need for a couple of days, and then nip out to the shop when needed.
If you must go on social media, then limit yourself to who you listen to and don’t go wandering down any rabbit holes…you’ll unnecessarily scare yourself silly!
Go for a brisk walk once a day and keep it local.
Keep your mind active and try to learn something new. I am now going deep into the Greek language to try and get that fluency.
Meditate. I cannot recommend this enough. Think of the good times and envisage your perfect life once this thing is over. This is the perfect time to reset your mindset. Plan ahead and see what you can become. You are now going through something you have never experienced before and it’s surreal, but very real. You could not have imagined this happening two months ago, nor would you have wanted it to. Now is the time to imagine, and believe, your life is going to be so much better after this crisis has abated. Now is the time to get your mind focused on the great times ahead.
Ride this out. It’s a storm that will be over soon and you can start afresh with new positivity. Perhaps you have never experienced a positive mindset? Well, now it’s much easier to do so. Now is the chance to finally concentrate on what your life can, and will, become.
Imagine stepping out into this new world where you can pretty much do what you want. The only barrier to your success and happiness is yourself. This virus has locked us down through force. Once that barrier is lifted, are you going to be of the same mindset as before? Were you happy with how life was panning out for you before this monster came along?
If not, it’s a great opportunity to change.
Once this beast has departed, you will have a second chance to put things right that, maybe before, you were not happy with. The one thing this virus has done is to remind us how precious life is. We take so much for granted that we don’t thank or feel grateful for what we already have. Wouldn’t you now just love to go out into the spring fresh air without being limited? Be near to friends and family and tell them how much they mean to you? Buy what you want, when you want?
This virus may just be the halt in life some of us needed. It has been a revelation to me just how many people do not appreciate what they already have.
When you are grateful for what you already have, then that’s all you need. Being happy with your lot is an acceptance of happiness. And, after all, all we want to be is happy and contented…we already have that if only we thought about it more.
Stay safe, stay happy.