Life lessons in lockdown.
The coronavirus pandemic has turned our world upside down for the last few weeks and it's plenty easy to focus on the negatives that come with life in lockdown. We're entering into our second month without family, partners, friends or pets. People we know are getting sick and some are tragically passing away from complications associated with the virus. Weddings, birthday celebrations and holidays are all pretty much cancelled for the foreseeable. Thoughts of the summer seem nebulous and weekends no longer have the same appeal. Hell, even experiencing a few minutes of fresh air each day is a luxury.
I am, by nature, a 'glass-half-full' kinda gal (sun sign Saggitarius, Leo rising ), but self-isolation has really pushed the limits of my positivity at times. I've fretted about not 'making the most' of all this extra time, I've beat myself up for lacking my usual motivation when it comes to exercise and I've had moments of paralysing powerlessness thinking about the state of the world.
It is a really testing time, one full of loneliness, uncertainty and confusion – and one that may last for longer than I’m prepared to handle, but for now, I'm forcing myself to seek out the silver linings.
If this is the world's way of forcing us to learn a few new life lessons, these are the ones I really hope to remember when COVID-19 is a distant memory.
It's the little things...
At the beginning of this pandemic, panic buying swept the world and people turned into the worst possible versions of themselves. But now, as that selfishness abates and humanity realises that the only way we're actually making it through this is together, we're seeing value again, in living with what we have.
Buying a jumbo pack of toilet roll won't spark the joy that sharing some fresh fruit or vegetables with an elderly neighbour will. Nor will stocking up on disinfectant wipes cheer you up the way enjoying the sun on your face might. I'm really making a conscious effort to count my blessings in this way and be so grateful for how much I already have… and how little I actually need.
There is no job hierarchy
Before this strange age of social distancing and lockdown, I would have been guilty of associating people's worth or success with their chosen profession. However, thanks to the coronavirus, many of us have come to realise the absolute necessity and importance of supermarket employees, care workers, delivery drivers, rubbish collectors, teachers, nurses, doctors, farmers, bakers and so many others.
This pandemic has inverted all notions of a job hierarchy and I hope we come out the other side of it with the utmost respect for those who are compromising their health to keep the essential pieces of our world moving.
Nature is the ultimate gift
As other Saggitarians reading this will attest to, the great outdoors is a huge part of who we are and often, if I haven't been in nature for a while, I experience this sudden urge to be deep in a forest or craving being by the seas. Suffice to say, the last few weeks have been difficult. What is getting me through though, is the good news stories about the planet healing itself; fresh fish return to the waters of Venice, the Himalayas being visible from India for the first time in 30 years, declining bee populations starting to recover and a slash (albeit temporary) in air pollution levels around the world.
When we do return to normal day-to-day life, all of these environmental improvements should serve as a reminder of how much impact we collectively have upon the world – and that we should do everything in our power to protect mother nature going forward.
Human connections trump everything else
Right now, there's nothing I'd like to do more than drop in to see my parent's unannounced. I miss bodies, the warmth of sitting close to people, high-fives and long hugs. Real-life human connections are the essence of wellbeing, and while, technology is doing a good job at helping to fill that contact-chasm daily, this indefinite period of isolation has made me all the more certain that nothing really compares to physically being together in real-time.
Sneaky after-work drinks on Friday evenings in my local, hungover belly-laughs with friends at brunch, the back-slaps my dad's convinced count as a hug, kissing my granny on both cheeks (she's classy like that) before leaving – a short list of the many things I will never ever take for granted again.
Life Really Is Worth Living
Being locked behind closed doors for hours on end sets the perfect scene for reflection –probably more than I'm comfortable with, to be honest – but it means I've no excuse to forget what I will have learned when this new normal comes to an end. In particular, how truly precious life is.
Post-commune-living, and knowing what I do, I hope that I’ll make time to see the people I love whenever I can and appreciate the hell out of them always. That I'll practise balance when it comes to physical and mental health (i.e. both pizza + gym). That I'll take lunch-breaks and finish work on time. Travel to all of the countries on my bucket list. Allow my creative juices to flow. Go on nights out. Put my phone down more and be present. Aim for what I want, when I want it. Be bravely honest. Love hard. Prioritise being a better human, daughter, sister, partner, friend, neighbour.
Who's with me?
Main image: @quotesbychristie