How are you feeling today?
Amazing! I feel really good. I suppose, as an introvert, my life hasn’t really changed much, I have plenty to do in my house. And since the whole world has stopped, having anxiety, it’s just made it that much easier for me to be creative. Rather than having to worry what everyone else is doing and trying to keep up with the Jones’, I can just focus on myself – which is really strange for me because I’ve never had that, never had that relaxed feeling. Being a perfectionist as well, it allows you the time to perfect things – now I’m making my own deadlines. Well, there are no deadlines really I suppose, it’s just doing stuff for the sake of wanting to do it rather than feeling I have to do things. I feel awful saying that I feel amazing but it’s just a really good creative period for me at the moment, so I’m enjoying it.
What’s something that you really miss right now?
I definitely miss hugs, and I know everyone’s saying that, but I really do! I’m a really tactile person, I love to be present with the people I love and I really miss that. Something I didn’t realise I’d miss so much is dogs, I am just craving random dogs so much. I know I have my own two but for me, it’s a way to connect to people without there being any awkwardness. They kind of break that social barrier because you have something in common, you both like dogs. I suppose I didn’t realise how much part of my normal everyday routine meeting random dogs and talking to people was until this happened. And in a way, I’m missing work then too – I’m not a photographer who brings their camera everywhere but I’ve now been a month without taking a photograph and in that respect I don’t feel myself. All that excitement in my life of giving a pet owner a portrait of their dog, a print or a frame or a photo-book, that’s all gone and I miss that connection with people.
What’s something that you’ve gained?
This is the first period in my life where I’m not anxious about things I’ve done in the past or anxious about things that might happen. Especially with anxiety, you’re always at the extreme of a situation and I don’t have that anymore because I’m not being social, so this is the first period in my life that is really, genuinely, a period of calm. And that’s very interesting, because I’ve never been one to be creative in calm, I’m usually creative in mania – if there’s a deadline or I have to do something for someone else, but I don’t have that and yet, ideas are just flowing. I’m actually just waking up in the middle of the night with stuff to do and just writing it in a book, I’ve never had that. So that’s a really lovely thing to have gained. It’s really time with myself, more than anything, time to actually listen to myself and think, is this right for me? Am I comfortable with this? And with that, time to assess things before you actually do them, so I suppose it just dissipates anxiety. I have breathing space, not just on a treadmill.
Who are you most worried about?
I think the older generation in Ireland in general. We have a couple of elderly people in our family of course, but I think it’s just that in our population as a whole, they’re being hit the most and they’re the ones who know the stories, they’re the ones who teach us things. My grandmother taught me how to bake, my grandfather taught me how to play piano – they’re the things being taken away from us. I don’t have my grandparents anymore but I have a lot of older people who have been so inspiring to me and so encouraging. Just to see our older generation under such threat, it’s just really really sad. They are the backbone of Ireland, they did make us. It’s just something that’s really played on my mind a lot. I’m not worried about my business or anything like that, we’ll all get through it – and I suppose in a sense, that has quelled the anxiety as well, because I know I’m not alone. But I know that those older people are feeling alone and that makes me feel sad.
What are you most hopeful for?
I think I’m most hopeful that younger generation that are so focused online, the social media influencers and all that, I’m hopeful that out of this, they’ll take a second and realise it’s not the be all and end all. You know, likes, clout, whatever, it doesn’t really matter at the end of the day – it’s who you surround yourself with in real life that’s important. And I think it’s really fascinating to see how quick mother earth recovers when we’re taken out of the equation, I hope we can learn from that and I hope for people who have said that climate change isn’t real, that they can see when we actually remove cars and factories, what we can do to the earth, that we can help it and we can make a change. I hope it brings us closer together, as a nation – as people, we’ve all gotten disconnected, everything became so instantaneous and now it’s not and I think people have kind of cracked a little under that pressure of having to be still. People aren’t used to it. I hope we can take a second to breath and appreciate it. Appreciate life, because it is so fleeting, when something like this comes along, something that none of us are protected against, it’s just made me very grateful for what I have and who I have in my life.