We are now at the end of week 3 of life in lockdown and it still feels surreal. I don’t think that I’ll ever get used to standing 2 metres apart from people in the supermarket queue, or holding my breath every time someone walks past my trolley. I certainly won’t miss the evil stares that are thrown at anyone who dares to walk the opposite way to the arrows on the floor. I’ve taken to rushing in and out as quickly as possible, often ending up with the wrong cereal or no proper meals, purely because I can’t think straight!
It’s amazing the emotions that come and go from one day to the next, isn’t it? Perhaps it’s simply that we have more time to focus on our emotions. Usually we are rushing around so fast that we unintentionally (or sometimes intentionally) bypass them. My therapist would be proud of these newly-found mindfulness skills!
I’ve taken to writing notes during the week, with a view to documenting my thoughts on here. One day can easily merge into the next and I want to keep account of our experience and my feelings during this strange, but important time in history.
Most mornings this week, I’ve woken with the heavy realisation that nothing has changed. We remain in this strange new world where tragically, people are dying by the thousands. I’m not sure whether it’s the feeling of groundhog day, or the nightmares I keep waking from, but the OH has born the brunt of my grumpiness this week.
I’m not a morning person at the best of times but this is testing me to the limit. Thankfully for him, he goes into the office most days (our business continues to provides an essential service to the NHS and schools) so I have about 3 hours to get myself together before I need to be civil to anyone else (possibly another reason why my teenagers don’t surface until midday!).
I don’t know about you, but as the day goes on, I regularly sink back into this strange feeling of being on holiday without a care in the world. Until I catch the news or attempt to venture to the post office to send a parcel that may, or may not, reach its recipient within the week.
Living in this stark reality of life standing still, there’s an eerie silence in the waiting. Worse still, none of us know exactly what we are waiting for.
Getting Over the Hump
By the middle of the week, I
think hope I had reached the peak of boredom, over-eating, irritation and generally feeling ‘over it’.
I think I needed to say it out loud (on Instagram and to some friends via FaceTime) to kind of get it out of my system, because since then I’ve felt better. I don’t know about you but I’m often the one that’s pulling us all together, staying positive, coming up with the activities. But even I’ve had enough sometimes!
You know what I’ve realised? This whole feeling of life standing still, can be a good thing. Instead of seeing this enforced pause as a punishment, I’ve started to see it as a blessing.
There’s no way that I would normally allow myself to stop and relax in this way. Even when on holiday I begin getting agitated by day 9, ready to come home and start the rat-race again. I so rarely get over the other side of the hump and let myself truly relax. Of course this isn’t the same as being on holiday, because the horror of this nightmare remains, but my attitude whilst in it, can make a world of difference to myself and those around me.
Funny how I chose ‘Pause’ as my word for 2020 – God definitely has a sense of humour!
Appreciating the Small Things
I’ve heard this said by various people over the last few weeks and it’s true – the small (or seemingly ordinary) things in life have become so much more.
Delivering basic food parcels as a volunteer worker, it’s been wonderful to watch people’s eyes light up as they open their front doors. People who have suddenly found themselves classed as ‘vulnerable’ and at the mercy of strangers.
Then of course we’ve seen the arrival of blossom, that has surpassed even its usual incredible capabilities. Not to mention the sheer pleasure of reading a magazine for half an hour when you really need some space (just me?).
Or ending the day around a small campfire, toasting marshmallows and dissecting each character in the Gavin and Stacey reruns that have come into their own lately.
Earlier in the week, my son classed this time as ‘easier than normal life to be honest’. Obviously if you’re a 15 year old boy who isn’t particularly keen on school work or getting up before midday, then I can see the appeal. Thinking about it however, for many of us this is actually true.
I sincerely hope that when this this is over, we don’t rush straight back into our usual fast-paced lives.
I don’t want us to forget to look up and out towards others. I don’t want us to stop appreciating the small things in life. I don’t want us to forget the positive times spent getting to know our immediate families better. I don’t want us to quit exercising our creative muscles, or appreciating one another’s talents.
Most of all, I don’t want us ever to forget how tirelessly those on the front-lines have worked to heal us, support us and provide the most essential of services to our nation.
Are you finding life in lockdown to be a blessing or a curse?