People’s experience of the lockdown has been very different. I talked about that in my walk a mile in their shoes or stay a day in their self-isolation house post, so I’m not going to cover the same ground again. But whatever your experience of lockdown has been, in a general sense, there have been some good things to come out of it, and I think it would be a real shame if the lessons we learned were lost when things start going “back to normal”, whatever that is.
Also, I’m fully aware that it’s not over for all of us. Many people are going out and meeting up with some of their friends again, and many shops are set to open again next week, whereas others of us are still shielding. I hope we won’t be forgotten about because we can’t join in just yet. I don’t mean that people should not do things just because some of us can’t, but it would be good if our contact didn’t dry up as some people’s need for online contact decreases.
One of the business Facebook groups that I’m in did an activity where you can link up with local business owners for a one-to-one chat. I really enjoyed it, because I prefer one-to-one conversations anyway, and I got to know some lovely people through it too.
At least two of the people said they had noticed a lot more litter just in the week after people were told they could go out more. Just one week. Previously there had been less of it, but as soon as people started going out again, back came the litter.
They were from different areas too, and I’ve seen similar complaints from people that work in national parks or other beauty spots.
One of the bloggers I follow mentioned how many discarded face masks she’d seen in the supermarket car park.
Can we not do better than that?
Getting happy about the small things
Many people are feeling a bit unsure about the advice that people who’ve been shielding can now go out once a day, especially as it came sooner than we were supposed to be doing that. In our house, we haven’t been out for non-essential journeys for about 3 months. Last weekend we decided to go for a walk, choosing somewhere that we knew would have less people around.
It’s true that I will always get more excited about walks than S, but it felt so good to be out walking in the countryside again. We’re fortunate enough to have a garden and I can get fresh air whenever I want to, but there’s something so good about being out in the nature and going for a walk.
One of my students was telling me about her son’s reaction to seeing all the things he hadn’t seen for a while after a period of quarantine. “Woooow!” Several weeks is a long time for a small child, but I do get where he’s coming from! Let’s not get so busy again that we don’t take the time to say “wow!” or at least still appreciate the little things.
Doing things online
Ok so I’m biased. I have been running an online business since 2012. For me, doing things online isn’t something that we do because of the virus – it’s how I choose to work all of the time. That doesn’t work for all businesses, and some things definitely are more of a challenge online. It’s been fun to see people’s creativity though!
But online anything – not just learning – doesn’t have to be the second-best. Sometimes it can run really well alongside or as an alternative to the face-to-face things.
I’ve been doing online networking in one of my business groups. I’m sure it’s not going to finish, because we have members from different countries there. International networking makes sense to be online! But there are other activities that I’ve done during the last weeks, other people I’ve caught up with, other groups I’ve been involved with online – and it would be a shame if they all just fizzled out because some people can start to meet up again.
As I mentioned before, there are people who are still shielding, and even if you take that out of the equation, online meetings are the easier option for a number of people due to circumstances around a disability, not being able to drive, other caring responsibilities etc. We’ve had a more equal playing field in some ways, and it would be a real shame to lose that.
There’s something about this time that has made people look up others from their past, or message people they haven’t been in touch with for a while. Mostly it’s a good thing – sometimes not so much. There is a reason why some people are in your past, not your present. You don’t need to feel the need to contact all your exes before the apocalypse strikes and you never get the opportunity again! Because really, who needs that?
But generally it’s been a good thing to reconnect with people, or to spend a bit more time with people that we’ve kept meaning to contact. Let’s not get so busy again that we stop making time for that.
Finding time for things
I got sooo tired of seeing that “now that we’ve all got more time on our hands” assumption – because some of us were still working, and then trying to fit in all the extra social stuff that kept popping up! But at the weekend I found myself with a bit more time and have done some baking, cooked more home-made meals (because we wanted to try out some new recipes. After the initial shortages, this became possible and I’m sure we’ll keep on doing it.
With other activities outside the home being put on hold, I made more of an effort to separate work time and non-work time, which meant I had more time for other hobbies. Those habits aren’t so bad! It’s so important to have these boundaries, especially when you work for yourself, work from home, or both!
New skills and hobbies
As I said, I haven’t had a lot of extra time, but I do have a break from my part-time university course now, so I decided to take up Turkish again. I’ve started reading and listening to more in Turkish, and have a regular online meeting with a Turkish friend.
For everyone who has taken up new skills and hobbies or brought old ones back to life, it would be nice if we could build them into our schedule and make them part of our new normal.
My lockdown has been pretty ok. I’m in a house with my partner, and it’s easy for me to catch up with other people whom I care about -even though it’s not face-to-face, I can still talk with them online or in the many other ways we have of contacting each other. I dread to think of my phone bill if this had happened 25 years ago!
I miss physical contact, but I’ve made a point of keeping in touch with people in the ways that I can for now.
I have food. I can still work, if a bit less than usual. My health scare last year is not so far in the past that I don’t remember how I felt, and how lucky I felt to still be here with no lasting damage. That makes me grateful, but it also makes me not want to be reckless.
Some may say I’ve had it easy, but it’s never really that simple is it? It’s true, some people have had more physical hardships to endure. Some have been far away from loved ones, or going through each day knowing that loved ones are in danger. Some have had to close their businesses or are worried about their jobs when all this is over.
But I also think that if you decide straight off that everything’s awful, you hate it, nothing is fair etc – you’re probably going to have a really miserable time.
However you feel about the lockdown, are there things that you have learned from it, things that you want to do differently, or new habits that you want to continue? Why not share them in the comments?
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