Opinion

Isolation diaries part nine: homeward bound

By Andrew Johnston

And each town looks the same to me

The movies and the factories

And every stranger's face I see

Reminds me that I long to be

Homeward bound

TUESDAY was not an easy day for me.

I have been back in Victoria for about three months after briefly returning to Tasmania at the start of the COVID crisis.

I spent about five weeks at home in that time.

They were the last five weeks I will spend in Tassie until December 1 at the very least.

On Tuesday, Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein announced the state would remain in its current border restrictions until the start of summer.

Those restrictions mean two weeks in hotel quarantine (at your own expense) if you arrive in Tasmania from anywhere other than Victoria.

If you're from Victoria, you will be turned around and sent back the second you arrive.

That part might change in coming weeks or months as we flatten the curve in this state, but it doesn't look good.

And I won't lie, it stings quite a bit.

Having the opportunity to visit your family taken away from you is a really tough pill to swallow.

This whole series I have talked about the importance of doing the right thing, of taking the health lessons we have been given on board, of making sure we take care of one another.

And, while they have been difficult, they have been essential.

But knowing you are doing the right thing doesn't soften these blows at all.

For a lot of us across the country, we have been in this position for quite a while now.

We have been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to see our loved ones — whether they be a few towns, a state or a country away.

The reality is this is a tough time.

It's a drain on many of us mentally.

It goes to show the importance of our support networks and having them around.

We need people we can turn to, on whom we can rely.

We can be lucky to have a lot of systems like that in place.

We have co-workers, friends who live locally, sporting clubs — things of these nature where we can turn when we are down.

There is nothing wrong with being down at the moment — I think it's safe to say most of us are down in some ways.

It's natural.

What helps is knowing a time line, a date when it looks like things are going to be better.

But when that time line keeps shifting, it becomes harder to put your faith in.

We all just want a light at the end of the tunnel, not to be left in the darkness of this crisis even longer.

The key thing is that it's okay to be like this.

It's okay to be frustrated, it's okay to miss the ones you love.

It's okay to be struggling a bit at the moment.

I know I am.

But that makes it even more important to embrace (figuratively) the ones around you that you do have.

And until you find yourself, once again, homeward bound.

ISOLATION DIARIES

Isolation diaries part eight: hitting the books

Isolation diaries part seven: COVID-free, lockdown bound

Isolation diaries part six: How a runny nose led to a COVID-19 test

Isolation diaries part five: Greetings from Echuca

Isolation diaries part four: what a Tangled web I weave

Isolation diaries part three: Free as a curve-flattening bird

Isolation diaries part two: one week down

Isolation diaries part one: greetings from Tasmania