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Life in Lockdown {When the Dust Settles}

bluebells in the woods

Before reading this post, I realise that I have written it from a place of great privilege. No close family member or friend has died from Coronavirus, our income pretty much remains the same and we have a house and a garden to enjoy. Please know that I am aware that this puts me in a very different ‘boat’ from so many others. I will never take that for granted.

At the start of lockdown, I remember longing for life to return to ‘normal’. I imagine we’ve all expressed this either in our heads or out loud at some point.

Five weeks into lockdown and I’m not only struggling to recall what ‘normal’ is but I’m beginning to wonder if it’s ‘normal’ we want or just the comfort of hanging on to things that we had become so accustomed to.

It’s dawned on me this week, that there are a number of things about ‘normal’ that I hope do not return and many more things that I hope become permanent once this whole pandemic is over…

Patience

I think it would be fair to say that we were all more than a little irritated when the much-needed hair clippers took two weeks to arrive instead of the usual 24 hours. Over the last few weeks, I’ve had to repeatedly explain to my offspring that a worldwide pandemic means fewer postmen, social distancing in warehouses and thus a bit of patience required on our part.

In short, we’ve had to reluctantly accept that ‘Prime’ no longer means next day.

The thing is, our kids have grown up in a world where ‘normal’ means getting what we want immediately. I’ve known for a long time that this instant society is not good for us; I think this forced patience might have done us all some favours.

More Compassion

One of the things that I’ve found difficult to swallow these last few weeks, is the judgement that this whole pandemic seems to have ignited. Perhaps it’s because we have little else to do but if you’re a Twitter addict like me, you will have noticed that people seem intent on tearing others down and pointing the finger at anyone who is not doing things their way.

For my own mental health, I’ve had to step away from social media on more than one occasion during lockdown. I’ve realised that we cannot judge others’ situations, as they will almost certainly be different from our own. Tempted as I am, obsessing over what others should or should not be doing during this season, is an unhealthy pastime. It’s much better to just tend to my own garden.

I am hoping that I adopt this mentality for good.

Slowing Down

I’ve never been good at resting. I’m a doer by nature and get my ‘kicks’ from ticking things off a list and mastering new skills. It might have taken me a good few weeks but I’m finally beginning to see the benefits of slowing down.

I no longer wake up and mentally run through of my to-do list before I’ve taken my head off the pillow. I still tend to give myself  one reasonable task per day, for sanity’s sake, but on the whole I’ve been quite happy just pottering.

I didn’t think that I would ever say this, but I no longer feel as though I lack purpose. I’m truly embracing the opportunity to rest and I think it’s doing me the world of good. Even my husband has noticed that I’m much calmer than normal so that has to be a good thing!

walking in the woods with dogs

Community Spirit

Whilst some people are judging, others are stepping up to the plate and doing anything they can to support those around them. The many selfless acts being carried out have negated the nastiness floating around and I’ve been encouraged to try to do the same.

Having been furloughed from work, I’m in the fortunate position of having more time on my hands than usual. It’s been a pleasure to run even the smallest of errands for my elderly neighbours who I normally have no contact with from one month to the next. I’ve also enjoyed volunteering at our local community hub a couple of times per week. Seeing the joy on people’s faces as you leave a car-load of food on their doorstep, is priceless.

Our community hub has been overrun with people signing up to volunteer, so much so that they’ve had to turn people away. This is what true community looks like and I hope that it stays.

Changing Priorities

You know what I haven’t missed? Buying new clothes. I know!

Not so long ago, the thought of going a whole month without buying something new to wear would have been a challenge. I’m now more than two months in and haven’t given clothing websites more than a second glance. Looking at the drop in clothing sales, I know that I’m not alone in this.

Maybe it’s because I’m not seeing anyone other than the people I’m doing my level best to avoid in the condiments aisle, but for the most part, it all just feels frivolous. My priorities have changed and for the better.*

Greater Appreciation

For me, this season has put a spotlight on so many of the simple things in life – nature, people, my home, friendship – things that we so often take for granted.

I’m appreciating the friends and family that I miss more than ever. Even the people I am doing life with right now, although intensely annoying at times (keeping it real as always), are blessing me in so many ways.

content in the garden

Then of course there are the key workers who we’ve probably all taken for granted until now – refuse and postal workers, cleaners, teachers, supermarket assistants, NHS workers and so many more.

Week 5 and I’ve felt strangely more content than at any other time during lockdown. Remember last week, when I said that I was feeling under pressure to do it right? Forget learning a new language, or becoming the funnest mum on the planet, I think I might have just worked it out…I’ve taken the pressure off myself, am starting to embrace certain aspects and am adjusting to a new life, much of which I will be clinging onto when this is over. I sincerely hope that the new ‘normal’ looks a little different than it used to.

*Please don’t hold me to this. I’m well aware that a) we are in unusual circumstances and b) a leopard rarely changes its spots.

Inside, Outside & Beyond

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11 COMMENTS

  • Plutonium Sox

    I feel the same, I was thinking about it the other night when I was out for a run. There are things I miss a lot like swimming in the river with my friend, but our lives had got so busy that it’s nice to take a step back from it all and rest and chill out a bit. I hope we’ll be able to do just a little bit less when things are back to ‘normal’.
    Nat.x

    • Suzanne W
      AUTHOR

      Me too Nat. I’m actually enjoying this opportunity to sit back and reflect a bit. We live such a fast-paced life that this time has been a true gift. I don’t want to take it for granted because I’m certain we will never get the chance again. xx

  • Sarah MumofThree World

    I agree with so much of this. While I don’t have as many hobbies as you, or as much of a social life (any social life at all!), I am someone who likes to be on the go all the time and, like you, I wake up with a jobs list in my head every single day. Now I know that the best thing I can do for my family and society in general is as little as possible! It’s quite liberating to spend more time reading and I’m even waking up slightly later.
    I do hope that when life goes back to ‘normal’, people do take some of the positives from this time and stick with them.

    • Suzanne W
      AUTHOR

      Waking up a bit later must be a complete god-send for you! Are you going to bed later too? I know that I am. It will be very difficult to get back into the school routine again when things do return. I really hope that some of these positives stay around forever.

  • Gail

    Love this post, Suzanne, and agree with all your sentiments. Like you, I’ve really struggled with a lot of the judgement around, and instead have tried to focus my attention on the helpers. I think you’re absolutely right about the instant gratification we’ve all got so used to in life. This situation, hard as it is, seems to be teaching us all so much. Xx

    • Suzanne W
      AUTHOR

      It really does. I realise that this post is written from a place of great privilege and that many people are not in this ‘boat’. I am so grateful for all that we have and know that so many others are in a very different situation. I think we are learning a lot, as you say. xx

  • BLEKE

    Suzanne,

    We can’t foresee the future, but I suspect that most people’s lives are not going to revert to normal any time soon. Some recent changes are likely to remain in place, and further changes seem pretty much inevitable. Can we learn to live a life of reduced material choices (a close relative of instant gratification)? — because a lot of us are going to have to, and for who knows how long. But we may hope that amidst all the unwelcome changes to our lives, there will (as you say) be some welcome ones that become permanent.

    I usually sleep well, but in the past couple of weeks I’ve been sleeping for longer — eight-and-a-half hours on Saturday night, as compared with my normal maximum of seven hours. This is a change that I hope will continue indefinitely.
    During the lockdown, I’ve received little junk-mail, and virtually no flyers. That suits me very well, and long may it continue.
    It would be wonderful if large numbers of diesel-engined vehicles never came back onto the roads, and so we continued to breathe purer air; but that’s probably wishful thinking…

    • Suzanne W
      AUTHOR

      Oh gosh yes, the relief from junk mail has been a very welcome one! The peace and quiet on the road outside my house has also been something to appreciate. I know that we can’t stay this way forever but it’s something to remember and I hope that we take some of the positives forward with us.

  • Nyomi

    Great post. I agree with so much of this. I’m not down with all the extra judgement on social media either. I feel like people are encouraged to pick each other apart when really it’s the government who should be held to account. I also agree on the materialism and instant gratification stuff. I’m preferring this simpler life.

  • Suzanne I woke this morning feeling down for the first time since this all begun. I have totally loved the new simplicity of our lives so far but today I find myself hankering for a bit of normal – an offer of a home visit from my hairdresser who is struggling and desperate to get back to normal has exacerbated it as i realise like you how lucky I am. I said no but felt bad for her and miserable at myself be a I wanted to say yes! Reading your post has helped me to regain perspective. There is contentment in this pared back life and It needs to be cherished. Thank you. Xxx

    • Suzanne W
      AUTHOR

      I think what’s ‘normal’ is to go up and down. I have periods of days when I feel quite content then one thing can trigger me to go back to feeling agitated and restless. I think the key is going with the flow, letting ourselves feel, then responding accordingly. Glad that these words helped 🙂 xx

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