No Mann Is An Island…

I am writing this as I start two weeks of quarantine… for the second time. By the time I’m allowed out I will have been self-isolating for nearly two months, and none of it within the comfort of my own home . Earlier this week I finally made it back to the Isle of Man after weeks and weeks of meltdowns and heartache. 

Since the beginning of January, I had been living and working 16,000km away in Fiji. The outbreak has meant I have had to abandon my dream conservation job, live alone in a Fijian hotel room for 2 weeks, share an Air BnB with a couple in their 60s, lose thousands of pounds over 9 different cancelled flights and make it back to England and quarantine in a tiny Air BnB near Heathrow with a (thankfully, very lovely) stranger. Finally, I was rescued by my best friend and her family and taken to their home in Lancashire before being repatriated back to the Island. 

Now before I go on, 17th-century poetry isn’t usually my jam… but after months of isolation, I have had a lot of time to explore new things. I recently stumbled across a poem written in 1624 titled ‘No Man Is An Island’ by English poet and scholar John Donne. Without this turning into an English lesson, the first line of the poem reads “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main”. The poem follows the concept that no one is truly self-sufficient, and that we as humans rely on the company, comfort and interactions of others in order to thrive. 

In short, as we have all recently discovered – isolation is not natural. We need to be a part of a community in order to function properly. 

The difficult times we have been living through have the potential to bring out the best and the worst in people, and even though it was extremely difficult reading the comments on Manx Forums that told me it was my ‘own fault for not getting back soon enough’ and that I ‘shouldn’t be allowed back on the Island at all”’ (ok, boomers), I have also experienced so much unexpected kindness and love – not only from friends but from strangers and well-wishers who I’ve never met. 

It is these little messages, the ones that take less than a minute to write out and send, that have kept me going over the last couple of months.

And so as I start my last two weeks of quarantine back on the Island, and even though I haven’t hugged my parents or friends since the beginning of January, with the help of these small, kind messages in some ways I have never felt so connected. 

As someone who has spent the past two months living through social media and relying on virtual support from friends to get the interaction we as human beings need in order to thrive, I leave you with one message – it is so easy to be kind. In some ways, it has never been easier to be kind.

We have the time to be kind now. The internet has given us a superpower – to connect with each other and spread little notes of positivity to friends, family and even strangers at the speed of light. Hiding behind a keyboard doesn’t have to be a negative. 

Be a keyboard warrior… but for all the right reasons. 

Find strength in our temporarily disconnected world to let someone who you wouldn’t usually talk to face-to-face know you’re thinking of them. If you notice someone is having a tough time, reach out and let them know they’re not alone. Turn hiding behind your screen into a positive and realise how simple it is to show someone you care by giving someone the unexpected gift of kindness. It has never been easier nor a more important time to offer a tiny bit of comfort in the world. You never know the deep impact a small message or a click of a button is going to have on someone’s day. 

In the upcoming months we are going to see people doing things and taking actions we disagree with, and whilst they may be in the wrong, you can’t control what happens- only how you decide to react to it.

The word isolation derives from the Latin word “insula”, meaning Island. No man is supposed to be isolated, and today no one has to be if we all took a little more time to spread a little more kindness.

20 thoughts on “No Mann Is An Island…”

  1. Totally agree Lydia. Kindness goes a long way, costs nothing, and is incredibly easy to express. And a basic human trait. And yet, we still judge others when we know nothing of what they are going through.

  2. What a lovely piece of writing!
    Thankyou for sharing your thoughts and …

  3. Glad you are home safe and sound. What a traumatic experience for you. Glad you came out of it all with positivity. Take care, enjoy your time at home and it won’t be long in going by. I am in Patrick if there is anything I can do to help please give me a shout. 334640 xx

  4. Lovely letter Lydia and you are so right on all counts. I hope the beauty and peace surrounding you now helps to heal the unpleasantness of the last few months.

  5. Wonderful and thoughtful piece, Lydia, and so true for this day and age. We are all happy you made it home safely, as hard as it was! With much heartfelt respect and love, Aunty Linda xx

  6. Lyd, that is a fab peice of writing. Well thought out and just, well, alot of commonsense. A quality that can feel lost at times.Glad you are home. You have done an amazing job putting up with it all. It gives you a lot of strength to understand how resilient you can be. Even though at the time things can just seem super twatty!Now read Hemmingway for whom the bell tolls.. literature is bl**dy fab isn’t it? 😍 M xxx

  7. Next time you want to venture off somewhere know that not only do you have family in British Columbia but also friends that you only met once when you were younger but our invite is always open!

  8. Oh Lydia, you have moved me to tears with your beautiful piece of writing. Welcome home sweet girl, pretty soon you will enjoy all those longed for hugs. You are so loved. Aunty Karen

  9. Dear LydiaI’ve stayed at home guests of your Mum & Dad X I’m very moved reading your writing & so interesting to hear your thoughts & the state of isolation, being an island. We’ve all felt different emotions, at times Up & Down. You’ve had to battle your way across the world with determination & tenacity. Your experience is unique & will serve you well ahead because it’s given you insight. The joy of being at home & with your precious family will heal your bruising but you will never forget.Take care, With love Rosie 💕

  10. Lydia I am friends with your lovely mama and I know how desperate she was to have you home. I am so pleased for you all that you are back on the island. Your writing is beautiful and so true. Just stay strong in the knowledge that it won’t be long now until you can hug your lovely family and all be as one again.

  11. Wow, what a strong beautiful and thought provoking reflection and certainly very true. Thank you for sharing and spreading such positivity.

  12. What beautiful, thoughtful words. You have come through a particularly awful couple of months with your own inner beauty intact, and with the courage to share the wisdom you have gained along the way. Welcome home!

  13. Lovely words from an obviously kind, thoughtful girl! Welcome home Lydia. Happiness and hugs!!!!

  14. Dear Lydia,Well done for writing this post, you definitely suffered unnecessarily and being alone, I can imagine how scary must been . But from this bad experience I had the opportunity to meet you online and all I can say is that I am very excited to get to see you in person when you are free .Hang in there gorgeous, not long now! Love, Marina x

  15. Hi Lydia, beautiful account of your journey, so glad that you have had the kindness of strangers and retained your positive approach to life.I’d also like to praise the many hundreds of vulnerable people who have been ‘shielding’ on our Island for the last 10/11 weeks. These people have been self isolating and unable to leave their house or flat unless they had a garden. The lower number of cases in this vulnerable group is testament to their actions of staying in. They have also remained positive and had to rely on the kindness of strangers. Thankfully, we have an Island of very kind people.

  16. Couldn’t agree more …glad you home with your family finally….I have been so cross with negativity on social media that I have given it a wide berthMuch prefer the positive use of it sending joy humour and comfort……lovely sentiments……if only……

  17. Very positive message and welcome home finally Lydia. I hope our Government has had time to reflect too. We followed the Channel Islands in every way but one – they didn’t shut their own people out – they trusted them…..

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