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Inside Soul-Searching

Life in Lockdown {Dear Future Me}

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I went back to work this week and slotted into my old routine at an alarmingly fast pace. Whilst it was comforting in so many ways – my desk had gathered some dust but it still looked the same – I was reminded how easy it will be to return to ‘normal’ once this is all over.  Some might say that it will be a very long time (if ever) until things go back to the way they were B.C. (Before Coronavirus) but you know what I mean – something that at least resembles our old lives.

Human nature encourages us to forget about the difficult aspects of life and to move on as quickly as possible. Tempting as that might be, I think it’s important that we don’t forget this period in our lives – the good and the bad. But how will I remember the mini revelations I’ve had in lockdown, the thoughts on what I’d like my life to look like going forward? How will I ensure that I’m still putting it into practice in 2, 3 or 10 years time when life has moved on?

Write a blog post of course! So this is one for the future me to read and remember…

Unsplash Life in lockdown

Having watched other countries close their borders, schools and front doors, we knew it was coming. At 7pm on 23rd March 2020, Boris Johnson declared that Britain was officially in lockdown and our lives changed overnight.

As I write this we are going into our 10th week in lockdown, albeit a slightly less austere one now. For the last week or so, we have been allowed to meet with one other person outside of our immediate family and we are being encouraged to go back to work – if we can keep two metres apart at all times.

Sadly, many have been bending the lockdown rules for a while now, thus a second peak looms large. Who knows how long we will be living in this strange, altered universe where travel is off the agenda, schools are closed, GSCE and A level exams are cancelled and the majority of life remains at a stand still? We are fighting a virus that we’ve not seen before, one that appears to be wreaking havoc across the entire world. Things we once took for granted, can no longer be relied upon.

One of the biggest things I’ve realised, is that I’m actually not the extroverted ‘people-person’ that I thought I was. B.C. I wouldn’t go more than a day without meeting up with someone outside of my immediate family. I would readily wake up on a Saturday morning, berating a weekend that didn’t involve a social gathering of some description.

Not being able to meet up with others has forced me to find contentment in my home and I honestly think that I have. I’ve been surprised to discover that these four walls, my immediate family and access to the outside world via the click of a Zoom button, have been more than enough.

Closely related to this, is a realisation that being busy does absolutely nothing for me. I do not miss the full diary, the to-do list that I’m struggling to keep up with, or the feeling of FOMO that has always been my nemesis. Quite early on in lockdown, I decided to give myself one task each day, mostly to serve as a reason to get up in the morning. Some days that task has been as small as taking the dogs for a walk, other days it’s been volunteering at our local community hub.

The fact that I *can’t* do many of the things that used to fill my days, has kind of let me off the hook. The pressure has gone, my shoulders have dropped and I’ve learnt to appreciate the freedom of a few days to do whatever I like. Some days I’ve spent three hours just doing a puzzle – who’d have thought it?! I want to hang on to this feeling that I think might be commonly known as ‘relaxation’, it’s done me the world of good.

This unexpected space and time (thank you furlough) has provided me with the perfect opportunity to create new habits, ones that I’ve been longing to do (but have struggled to get a handle on) for a very long time. Most mornings during lockdown I’ve sat down with my bible and have spent time with God. I am hoping that this habit has settled for good. A few months ago, I read Psalm 145 and one small phrase jumped out – the Lord is near. Every time I’ve felt anxious during this time, unsure of the future, concerned about my daughter who is not able to be with us at the moment, I’ve whispered these words to myself: “The Lord is near“. It’s brought an instant peace that has immediately changed my perspective.

There have been a few, slightly more trivial, things that I want to remember too…

Contrary to popular belief, we do not need to replenish our fridge every other day. We can often make do with what we already have in the cupboards and planning meals in advance makes one weekly trip to the supermarket, perfectly doable.

Whilst I *might* have rescinded my intention to not buy any new clothes at all, I am certainly buying less. The guilt of only wearing an item of clothing a handful of times before giving it to charity, has gone and the mental energy I used to spend deliberating over what clothing item is missing from my summer wardrobe, has been spent on more meaningful things.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard people say ‘I’m saving so much money in lockdown’. Interestingly, I’ve not really missed many of the things I used to spend money on. One of those things is eating out, which had become such a regular occurrence B.C. that it was no longer a treat reserved for ‘high days and holidays’. It all feels rather unnecessary and decadent now. I want eating out to be a treat again; treats are good.

Another thing that I haven’t missed, is my gym membership. I’ve developed a regular fitness routine at home via the Fiit app, which provides a variety of classes and is so much more accessible. The fact that my usual gym was bulldozed down a few weeks ago, probably helps that decision!

I realised today, that I have saved around £200 by not having my hair cut or coloured during lockdown. I can confirm that this is one money-spending activity that I will be returning to as soon as Boris gives us the all clear. Apologies to my brave comrades who have embraced the grombé but I just don’t think I’m ready for it. Not yet anyway.

brunette sweatshirt

Thankfully, I am writing this from the privileged position of having no real change to our income and all family members and close friends are virus-free (so far). There have been some tricky aspects to lockdown (no-one has been exempt from those) but on the whole, this enforced pause has been good for me. How ironic that my chosen word for 2020 was pause!

Inside, Outside & Beyond

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7 COMMENTS

  • Gail

    Love this Suzanne! It sounds like you have discovered some really interesting things about yourself in lockdown, especially on the social side. I’ve also found lots to take forward into the future, and realised there are certain things I really didn’t miss. As you say, keeping this momentum going once things go back to ‘normal’ is going to be a test for us. I really hope we can hang on to the spirit of this period. Writing those learning points down is a really good first step. X

    • Suzanne

      I often use a blog post for accountability, it’s a useful tool! Looking forward to hearing more about all you’ve learnt during this time 🙂

  • Sarah MumofThree World

    I love this. It’s remarkable how so many of us have adapted to this new way of life and have coped without so many things we see as ‘essential’. Although there are some aspects of ‘normal life’ I’m looking forward to in September, I’m definitely not looking forward to rushing around like a headless chicken and feeling stressed all the time. Let’s hope that at least some of the changes can become more permanent.

    • Suzanne

      Fascinating isn’t it? I’ve really surprised myself. There’s very little I have missed really. I think mostly I’ve realised that they’re all very shallow pleasures. I’m with you on the running around thing. Not looking forward to that at all.

  • BLEKE

    Suzanne,

    Getting back to normal(-ish) after the lockdown should be straightforward in some ways, but will be difficult in others. In our war against COVID-19, many lives have been lost — as would have happened during a conventional war fought on our home ground — but the UK’s infrastructure hasn’t been destroyed or damaged. The 99%+ who have survived still have the skills and knowledge and experience that they had a couple of months ago. On the other hand, the economic consequences of the pandemic and lockdown are now becoming apparent. They will be painful, and are likely to last a long time. Some businesses won’t survive; others will shrink; many could be operating under constraints for months (years?) to come; jobs will disappear. Money will be tight for most people in the UK, and yet the Chancellor of the Exchequer may be cutting spending and increasing taxes. Some of us, at least, will discover that our “new normal” is a long way from our comfort zone.

    “The Lord is near… to all who call upon him in truth.” Bear in mind that the psalmist had the confidence to call upon God even though Israel had been given only limited knowledge of His plan. We should be all the more confident in calling upon Him because we have been granted access to the wonderful salvation that the OT revelation foreshadowed.

    Embracing the grombé… This is definitely not advice, I’m simply reporting on a case in point:
    A friend of mine decided several years ago to stop dyeing her hair. When I first met her, she was 19, and already she had some silver hairs amongst the great majority that were dark. She is now a youthful 62, her hair is very largely white, and it looks really good.

    • Suzanne

      Thank you for your wisdom and insight into that Psalm – a very good point made! As you say, we should feel all the more assured 🙂 I’m still deliberating on the grombre and yes, I have seen some amazing women with silver hair!

    • Suzanne W
      AUTHOR

      I know a few people with white hair and they look beautiful, you are right. I’m going to slowly start going lighter and take it from there. I think we will see the affects of Covid-19 for a long time to come, don’t you?

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