Lockdown can only be described as a roller coaster. There have been ups and downs, highs and lows, one minute you’re on top of the world and the next you’re plummeting in a downward spiral with a dodgy stomach and no clue when you’ll be coming up for air again. But there have been heartwarming moments, a real feeling of togetherness, serious support for shopping small and local businesses, and a true appreciation of nature and the seasons as the bright blossoms on the trees bloomed and made way for leafy green shoots. And now we’re starting to slowly open up again, I’ve realised that I feel a little anxious about life returning to “normal”, whatever the “new normal” may be.
Here in Wales we are currently still only able to travel within a 5 mile radius, but that should be lifting on the 6th July and while I am praying that it does — all I want to do is to get back to West Wales, to catch up with family and friends, to sit in my parents’ garden with my little dog by my side and to just embrace the beautiful countryside and beaches there — I can’t help but hope that the “new normal” doesn’t reflect life before coronavirus.
Lockdown has made me realise that life before was hectic. It was crazy busy, I was constantly rushed off my feet, had a diary brimming with things to do and people to see, and any time I did have to myself was spent trying to catch up on chores, squeezing in workouts and long runs or finally ticking off some life admin. I often felt like a hamster on a wheel but there was no hope of ever getting off. I guess I thought this was just how life was; as a career-focused adult, finding the work-life balance was tough and I kind of sucked at it, but I just accepted it for what it was and got on with it. I know I’m not alone in this as so many of us clamber through each day and hope we make it to the other side.
And then, the coronavirus hit. This awful, horrendous pandemic stopped everything overnight, and we all went into a frenzy. But after the initial panic buying (remember that time when toilet roll was rarer than the Philosopher’s Stone?), sleepless nights as I worried about family, friends and contracting the dreaded ‘rona myself, and that eeriness when going for our “daily exercise” in those early days and feeling like every person you came across needed to be avoided; after all of that, I found a sense of calm, a feeling of peace. I realised that “normal” was actually unnecessarily stressful and that life really shouldn’t have to be that way.
As the lockdown went by we settled into a routine of working from home. We’d log onto Outlook whilst munching our breakfast and halfway through our day would do some yoga and stretching to ease our joints and backs. We exercised in the bright sunshine, went for long walks in our local area and found beautiful new patches of nature right on our doorstep in the heart of the city. We found that we could save loads of money by not eating out almost every week, and that there was plenty of time for sitting down, reading in the sun, doing a spot of gardening (which admittedly I suck at) and watching a whole lot of Netflix, something I would have felt incredibly guilty about doing before. We reached out to loved ones, connected with friends and family via Zoom and FaceTime, and truly learned what’s important. And now that things are starting to go back to normal, these are things I don’t want to change.
This slow-paced, simplistic lifestyle is so much nicer than how I was living before and I want it to continue. Of course, I want to be able to travel and to visit new places and to actually see people and make fun memories with them. I can’t wait to eat out and for gyms to re-open so that I no longer have to work out in my living room (which also doubles up as an office, dining area and chill-out space). But I would love my days to continue to revolve around our daily walks in the fresh air, wondering what baby birdlife we’d spot that night. I would love more flexibility with work so that I can work from home more often and not have to wake up at stupid o’clock to catch a cramped, stinky train. I want to continue to make time to read in the golden sunlight with no worry about what I’ve got on later in the day and not to have that guilty feeling about actually taking some time to chill. I want to be able to see and hug the friends and family who have helped us as the weeks have gone by, and want to relish in that time with them without having to pencil them into a crazily busy schedule.
Life is for living and I think being cooped up these last few weeks has really made me see that. It’s also all about the little things, appreciating every moment, and those who support you along the way.
How do you feel about lockdown easing?
Lots of love. xoxo