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MY WEEKEND: Why forced working from home is best gift

Sunday May 31 2020
NJUNGE PIC

A woman works from home. Many employees have been working from home to curb the spread of coronavirus. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By CAROLINE NJUNG'E

Being an introvert, I’ve never had a problem spending copious amounts of time in my own company, therefore this new life characterised by social distancing and isolation hasn’t been hard on me. Those who know me know that given a choice between attending a party and lounging at home, I would quickly choose the latter.
As long as I have a good book or an entertaining movie, I can stay locked up in the house for days, alone, with no need to interact with the outside world.
True, the first week at home with limited movement was a challenge – having been used to getting up in the morning and heading to work for many years, I felt restless, that I needed to be somewhere other than home.

LAST FOREVER
But that is water under the bridge now, I quickly overcame that phase, and now I am basking under the glow of my laidback life, wishing that it would last forever.
I have acclimatised, and never have I felt more at home than I do now - nothing beats getting up in the morning and reporting to work in the next room.
But that is not all, there are no energy-sapping traffic jams to contend with, and above all, I get to spend quality time with my family, time that had been in short supply before the pandemic.
I have also realised that many in situations like mine are taking it for granted, and spend their time on social media moaning the “fun” life that Covid-19 plucked away from them.
Last week, the Nation began running a series recounting the story of a Kenyan woman stranded in Nigeria, where she has been from March 21.
If you have been following the story, then you know that Diana Ndinda had travelled to Lagos for a three-day work trip, only to get stranded there when Nigeria and Kenya shut down their airports in an effort to stem the spread of Covid-19.
Diana has, for over two months now, been living alone in a hotel room in a foreign country where she barely knows anyone.

LITTLE MONEY
Far away from her children and other immediate family as well as friends, worrying that the little money she has left to survive on will trickle off before she can find a way home.
Though introverted, she says that these couple of weeks have been the most trying period of her life, a situation that has seen her battle anxiety and despondency and scaring meltdowns.
She says that as she is forced to spend endless hours every day in solitude, she has had an opportunity to not only learn things she didn’t know about herself, but also to reflect on life and what matters most.

FAMILY AND FRIENDS

What keeps coming up is family and friends, as well as simple pleasures such as sharing a meal with those closest to her.
Imagine being in such a situation, where you are unable to see or talk to your children face-to-face due to an unforeseen situation such as the one we are in.
It would take lots of will power not to suffer a mental breakdown. But Diana is determined to hand in there, to be patient because she knows that the reward will be priceless – finally being reunited with her family.
If you are at home with your family as you read this, if you don’t know it, you are very fortunate.

The writer is Editor, Society & Magazines, Daily Nation; [email protected]

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