Some of you are coming out of week one into week two, others are Freshers, newcomers. Welcome, to Club Quarantine.
Aside from the First Responders frontline – who have universal adoration and respect right now more than ever – Club Quarantine (CQ) is the most hailed Members Club not only in town, but globally.
The only thing ‘trending’ right now is #stayhome. The only place to ‘be seen’ each night is your sofa. The only drink you should be going for is a quaran-tini. The uniform is lounge-luxe. I’m going to break Mean Girls tradition and say – come (virtually) sit with us. Rebellion is not cool here, loopholes are not as clever. Because switching it straight back to Regina George, anyone who isn’t joining this Club is quite frankly, a loser – to put it lightly.
What do we offer our members? So much. As with most newly launched establishments, as a collective we’re still learning, developing, adjusting. But we’re doing it, together. CQ is an unexpected international community, but a vital one. A heart-breaking by-product of a great deal of sorrow and misfortune, it’s the silver lining to what seems to be for now, a very dark cloud.
The first thing we encourage members to do, is talk about it. Talk about why we’re all here. Newcomers are likely feeling anxious, unsettled, uncertain. Take your moment – acknowledge that this is rubbish. Address the elephant in the room. Whilst the degree of strain absolutely varies across immeasurable scope, every single person should have their moment to address their own big grey shadow.
You are allowed to mourn your own situation. Whether your children are out of education, whether your wedding is cancelled, whether you can’t see your parents, whether you are pulling 18-hour shifts or whether all your shifts have cancelled overnight. Everyone needs to vent, to share, to familiarise with their new reality. To discuss why they are here. Use it as grounding to both connect but also to reconnect. Reach out to those who might not reach in and listen objectively to those who do.
Because we are in Club Quarantine – together, and the only thing we do have control over is the attitude we enter with.
So what now? Some have just ticked off week-one, the rest are now about to go into it. Let me break it down.
Day one, you will write lists, you will be inspired, you will plan. You will download educational apps, you will short-list the three books you intend to read each week. You will prep recipes for all the nutrition you are finally about to have the time to embrace. You will follow four new home-work out channels and you will prep your new home gym gear.
Day three, your lists remain, but your stockpiled snacks are likely gone – breakfast even has three courses at the moment. The only list you have conquered, is your Netflix one. Your socks remain unpaired, your book has only been used as a coaster, you’ve signed the petition (if this doesn’t exist it should) for Apple to suspend screen-time reports because the misplaced humour of the isolation memes are what’s keeping you going (and rightly so, they are the best yet). No, none of us expected to give up this much for lent and yes, we are all dancing queens, young and sweet, stuck in quarantine.
That’s ok. As with all newbies, it takes a bit of practice to fall in line. So you have some slack, you might need to comfort eat a bit and escape to a reality that is not yours and go for it – distraction is still endorsed, just in fixed periods.
But then comes the time to form new habits. CQ has guidelines like all respectable establishments. It endorses best-practice and progressive habits. They are all created, shared and championed – by our members.
Because whilst this is a sucky time, it is also a time to start anew. Life as we know it is not over, it is on pause. So let’s utilise this gift of time. Something which I know so many people will have at some point, have been so desperate to have and for which people have quite literally, given their lives for. Do not waste it.
Working From Home? CQ’s summarised guide to how we do business: keep it structured, keep to routine. Don’t work from your bed, find a table top – pop a succulent in the corner (what else makes a desk) – create your zone. Shower, dress (lounge wear is fine, but be video-conference apt) and plan your day, or better, your week. Having oversight of your focus will keep you motivated. You’re about to find out just how many meetings could indeed have been emails. Keep culture as part of your daily routine, schedule coffee catch ups with your forlorn desk-buddy, don’t diminish the small talk. Some people likely need it now more than ever.
Job on pause? You are about to get sorted. Quite literally. CQ’s suggestion lists are endless. Tidy, bake, build, sort, experience, listen, read, study. There is a plethora of (free!) resource and entertainment at your disposal. Artists are doing live-stream gigs, museums are doing virtual tours, Duo-Lingo remains the language learning favourite, chefs are recording their favourite recipe tutorials, fitness fanatics are sharing daily work-outs. You are being given your school holidays back, albeit in confinement. Come out the other side a better version of you, courtesy of CQ.
Because at the end of every storm, with a few glimmers in-between, there is sunshine. Conversations are not cancelled, relationships are not over, laughter is not (and should not be) erased. We need to lean on the things that remain and detract from the things that do not.
Focus on the light – because everything that goes down, must come up. And when CQ closes its doors, reality as we know it will be better. Connections will be more powerful, children will relish school, we will cherish the tube. Summer when it comes, will top that of 2018 (although we might need Gareth Southgate to do a PA, for old-times sake).
This is a unique moment not just in time, but in history. Consider how you will reflect on it when it passes – because it will. Be inspired by the way in which communities are coming together regionally, professionally, personally. Many are already making moves and inspiring through the power of pro-bono worldwide. Kindness is one thing we all have to offer. It’s a unique act that is both selfless and indulgent and is something that cannot be overdosed on.
Welcome to our Club. What will your CQ legacy be?