Like so many of us, I’m beyond ready for lockdown to be over. Businesses need to be able to business again. Jobs are needed, space is needed. Many people are desperately lonely and need to get the $%#! out of their homes. Like them, I’m yearning to travel across town and eat a meal I haven’t cooked and go to a party and have a drink at the pub and friends over for dinner and head down south to see my parents. I need my kids to go to school and get distracted in class by their friends. I’m desperate to hug my friends hello.
However, while I loved my ‘old life’ (how quickly this has become our new normal), I’m going to miss lockdown. There are certain aspects of these extraordinary times that I’d gladly hold onto forever.
It’s been absolutely delightful to drive to the shops and effortlessly slip into a parking space. It kind of reminds me of growing up in the country in the eighties. You just drove somewhere and parked. Sydney traffic has been dismal for years. Our local traffic has been diabolical. Some days that I’ve been so over driving around looking for a park at our local shops that I’ve just driven straight home again. Lockdown has sorted that out. Nobody has anywhere to drive to, even if they were allowed to. I like it.
I’ve reconnected with myself and for the first time in a long time, I can hear myself loud and clear.
Of course, I’m well aware that you’re not allowed to complain about the traffic when you are the traffic. Which is why I’m perfectly happy that all the kids’ extracurricular activities have been cancelled for weeks. I’ve estimated that I have had at least 10 hours a week returned to me, just because I’m not driving them to sport. It’s nice to do things with that time that nurture, rather than stress me.
Life has slowed. right. down. For the first time in a long time, I haven’t felt rushed. Once I calmed down about the initial stress of where the world is at and how difficult this time is for so many, I breathed out. I learned to let go of the things I can’t personally control and just accept life for what it is right now. The future is uncertain, plans cannot be made, whatever ‘happens next’ is out of our control. So, I feel like we have given ourselves permission to stop the striving, the rushing towards the new, and we are staying present. Part of me is a bit panicked at the thought of everything starting up again.
Things I’ve had more time for during lockdown:
- Gardening – getting out into the garden most days has felt mandatory when life has suddenly going more fully online
- Reading – by the end of the day, staring at another screen to watch TV is just a no.
- Walking – I’ve settled into a routine of walking in the evenings, and often in the mornings too.
- Exercise – my new normal includes 15-20 minutes of pilates every day to get me started and iron out the kinks
- Music – we’ve been making playlists and watching online gigs galore
- Creativity – I’ve been making art for art’s sake (something I haven’t done for years), plus getting creative with our time.
Sadly, not a day has gone by when the kids aren’t sad that they’re not racing up walls at Parkour, lobbing balls at tennis or plucking strings at guitar… they are definitely not going to miss lockdown. However, while I know they miss – and will return to – their activities, they’ve also learned that they can get by without them. I’ve been impressed with their ingenuity when coming up with things to do to keep active and interesting. Many of the activities listed on our massive list of things to do was inspired by my kids. It’s reminded me that creativity often thrives through boredom.
It’s a good one: 100+ things for teen to do at home
I haven’t commuted myself for nearly nine years, but my husband has been relishing the ‘bed to desk’ commute. Like many families who have parents that go out to work every day, we are loving the WFH life. I know it’s been hard for many people/couples, but Bart and I are happy as clams. I’m going to miss our ‘end of work day’ walks, taken together during the time he usually spends on a train. I know he’ll be looking to continue to WFH at least a couple of days a week, and businesses are going to be more open to it – fingers crossed his is one of them.
I feel like being physically isolated from each other has made communities stronger. We’ve connected in so many unique and important ways. Firstly, families are spending a lot more time together. Secondly, communities are sticking to their area so are growing closer. I think we’ve realised how important those ‘little relationships’ with people in our everyday life can be. The chat with the shopkeeper, the smile with a mum at the school gate; the conversations we have every day with people we hardly even know. Thirdly, we’ve once again shown each other that in times of crisis, we rally hard. The trick will be keeping the rallying going when the crisis is over. Being there for each other, spreading kindness, slowing down to connect… we can do that forever, if we want to.
We’ve all been given permission to let go, and in doing so have realised that we weren’t holding onto anything very solid after all.
I’m not good at ignoring society’s external pressure. I try to live by my values, but my head is constantly turned by glittery things, striving, expectations and FOMO. I want to live a quiet, humble life, but it’s like I’ve been programmed to achieve. It kind of drives me batty. Right now, during lockdown, external stimulus is at a minimum – or at least controlled by flipping shut my computer. It’s led me back to looking internally for stimulation and direction. I’ve reconnected with myself and for the first time in a long time, I can hear myself loud and clear. We’ve all been given permission to let go, and in doing so have realised that we weren’t holding onto anything very solid after all.
So, here we are. Lockdown will lift and life will go on and, of course, there’s nothing I want more. So many have been entirely disadvantaged by this pandemic mess and that makes my heart hurt. I guess I just want to keep reminding myself that there is plenty about lockdown life that we should like to keep. We can push the reset button, rather than simply rebuild what we had. Make it better. In many ways, lockdown has reminded so many of us about what truly matters. How we live is our choice. We can’t control everything, but what we can control, we can choose. We can decide to keep rushing towards the future, or we can choose to quietly build one based on what we know to be true for us. My values are now, and have always been:
During lockdown I have lived those values more than I ever have before, and it doesn’t need to end. While I’m going to miss lockdown in lots of unexpected ways, I’m making it a priority to never miss living by my values again.
Will you miss lockdown?