I was chatting with my husband (OH) and we started to list all of the lessons that we have learned from Lockdown. I don’t mean how to speak Mandarin, or play Beethoven’s 5th or even bake perfect Banana Bread. No I mean all the other stuff – time, space and the freedom to please ourselves.
When lockdown was announced we stopped, as if time stood still. We sometimes woke up and had to ask what day of the week it was. We started to question our old way of living, the endless diary dates, the retail therapy which we now realise was not therapy at all, commitments to everyone but ourselves and we wondered whether we will manage not to return to that exhausting life.
I started to regularly enjoy four yoga sessions a week, whilst pre-lockdown I could only fit in two each week. I thought about this and realised that, whilst lockdown has been lonely, frustrating and boring for some, for me it was a welcome release. I felt no guilt about having lots of Me Time.
Since I was born I have always been part of a crowd. I have three siblings and we lived on a big farm with a constant flow of people coming and going. I went to a boarding school where privacy was not something that you ever enjoyed. I then shared flats in London with friends, often with 5 of us in a house. I followed this with living with a boyfriend or two and, finally, I met my husband and a few months after our wedding gave birth to our eldest daughter. We now have four children and our back door is a truly revolving one which we love.
However when lockdown was announced all of our children were elsewhere so for 16 weeks it was suddenly just OH and I.
And then it ended. There wasn’t a big announcement when we were told it was ‘OK to come out’. No, we just sort of drifted into what some people call ‘The New Norm’. It has been a slow transition and our children have flocked back with their partners as WFH (working from home) is the new norm for them. We aren’t hugging, we are still being very careful but we are trying to move on with one ear to the news in case we regress and have to go into lockdown again.
Meanwhile, I don’t know if this is the same with you, but I still have friends who are hunkering down, not daring to go out, not allowing people into their house whilst there are others who have jumped on planes, thrown not-very-socially-distanced-parties and just stepped back into the world as if lockdown was just a blip in their social calendar.
I am somewhere in between both of these but one of the lessons I have learned from lockdown is that, right now, we all need compassion. Compassion and understanding for those who have not yet made the leap back into the world as it was or even is right now. Compassion for all of those who have lost loved ones and their lives have changed forever. Compassion for those who have lost jobs, their livelihoods and so the future looks anything but positive. Compassion for all the children who were meant to take public exams and have now suffered with their results which were often not ‘fairly’ appraised using the government algorithm. They will always be known as the Covid generation and, for many, years of hard work have not been justly rewarded. The lessons I have learned are insignificant compared to the ones these children have had to learn.
Meanwhile lockdown has been a wonderful opportunity to create special moments, moments not filled with anything but just enjoying all that we have and appreciating it. OH and I have appreciated our garden far more, found nooks and crannies to sit in, and since the lockdown ended we have invited friends that don’t have a garden to come and enjoy ours. We all need space every now and then and so if you have been without it then lockdown has been very challenging. Perhaps our house planning officers have come to realise how important it is to give everyone some outside space even if shared and not fill every green space with more houses.
I do miss a lot of things like the theatre, going on holidays abroad, and even parties. I feel incredibly sorry for all those that work in these industries as it continues to be a very testing time for them. I was spoilt as I was able to enjoy all of those things before lockdown but now I am just so appreciative of all that I have – my health, happiness, husband, family and friends. These are the lessons I have learned.
All we need now is a vaccine and then life could get back to normal. However it needs to be a life that is self-edited so that we leave time for ourselves to appreciate all the everyday things that we have taken for granted in the past.
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