On wanting tangible things, comfort and pandemic survival

When I was around 10 years old, I remember visiting loved one’s homes and sitting around stacks of old magazines taller than I was. I used to spend hours flipping through old Marie Claire, Elle and Cosmopolitan issues (although I was way too young for the latter). 

The memory reminded me just how much I miss things like magazine collections, cassettes and CDs in my life. Flipping through stuff, revisiting your favourites and spending time offline in the present. 

Cover photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash

The irony, right? We’ve made technological advances so that we don’t require “unnecessary” things, only for some of us to want that in our lives again. Partly, it’s about nostalgia for me, being able to spend time being unplugged reading or having things that remind me of particular times in my life. 

The pandemic has halted all of our lives, there’s barely any real socializing and we’re spending way too much time cooped up in our homes. I simply cannot wrap my head around the fact that I entered this whole thing at 28 and now I’m 30. 

Thankfully, South Africans have been able to be vaccinated and I’m fully vaxxed as of October. It’s a relief because I didn’t think we’d touch that vaccine until next year.

I guess the ongoing pandemic made me want to have more things I love around me, as a source of comfort. And in the midst of a global crisis (one of many) where there is no real end in sight while the developed nations seem to move on, we all deserve comfort. 

Staring down a pandemic sometimes means growing out your hair or cutting it. It could be discovering you might have more faith in a higher power than you thought, or none at all. It can mean making those decisions you’ve put off for ages or halting all of them at the time.

All I know is, we’re all looking back at how we’re no longer the same.

I’ve been lucky enough to not lose anyone due to COVID, but we have been in lockdown for over 450 days. I’ve spent more time in my home than I ever anticipated and with multiple variants that sound like this thing is here to stay.

In 2017, I wrote about minimalism and how much it helped my mental health. Since moving to Cape Town in 2014, I’ve relocated at least 10 times. In the midst of all that, I lost multiple things, from identity documents to clothes I loved. Getting rid of some things I’d outgrown (figuratively and literally) felt good and still does. I was becoming an adult with a career who didn’t want to hold onto whatever baggage I brought from university life. But now, I’m at a point where I’m significantly older, dealing with unprecedented times and trying to navigate this while holding whatever is left of my mental health.  

Comfort is more than just stuff but I think we all need something to cling to.

Whatever that is for you, I hope it serves you well.

x A

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