This weekend marks 100 days since the lockdown began in the UK on Monday 24th March. I started isolating a few days earlier so we have been living this new life for a little longer. In fairness, we haven’t been completely isolating recently since forming a “bubble” with my parents, however, it feels like a number we should acknowledge. I did not expect us to stay in lockdown for so long, did you?
We’ve all lived this strange life for the last few months. A world that no one imagined and something we can’t have ever seen coming. It’s been long but it has also gone quickly, I can’t quite believe we are almost in July! Lockdown had given everyone a lot of time to do many things, to think and ponder over many things. I think lockdown has taught us many things. I was going to write “100 things I’ve learnt in 100 days of lockdown” but who has time to write or read that!! So I’m going with 10 things!
1. I don’t like people.
I’ve never really liked people even though I’m a very personable person! I have a very, very low tolerance level and I don’t suffer fools gladly. 2020 has shown just how many idiots there are in the world. I don’t miss being out and about with people everywhere and I will be avoiding as many of them as I can for as long as I can get away with.
But I do need people.
See my previous blog post! Life is hard at the best of times but it’s been harder over the last few months. We’ve all needed to reach out at times. Add a baby in that mix and I miss people being around us. Scarlett needs other people too, mostly so she has a less grumpy mummy!
3. But not as much as I thought!
The first 8 weeks of lockdown proved to me that actually I can do ok on my own. I don’t want to do this on my own, but I can. We think we are reliant on many people but actually I think we’ve all survived pretty well with minimum contact with others. I feel proud of how well I’ve coped, especially adding my health conditions into the mix. Scarlett and I are a team, a pair, a duo. It’s just us. And when it had to be just that. Just the two of us. We’re ok. The two of us is good.
4. Know your people!
(A lot of what I’ve learnt is about people!!)
Lockdown has taught me who I want in my world. It’s been very interesting to see how those I considered to be vital in my day to day life have dealt with this time. I’ve got closer to some friends, we’ve reached out and supported each other from afar. Some who I knew would be there have been. I would never have doubted them at all. There have been some surprises, people I wouldn’t have thought would be on my list of ‘who I want to see when the world opens up’. And then there are those I’ve realised just don’t have as big a place in my life as I thought. That sounds cold but these unprecedented times as they’ve been called have shown people for who they really are. I’d wager I’m not alone in this realisation and the dynamics of the relationships in our lives will change.
5. Family is everything.
First of all, this applies to my little family. Scarlett is everything. Our relationship is even stronger than I’d imagined after 100 days with very little contact with others. Then there is my bigger family, I’m so lucky to have my parents and sister nearby. The constant contact has kept us all sane and I can’t wait for a time very soon where I can see them all at once. My Grandma, she’s 97, she’s in a home and I’m not sure if I’ll ever see her again but she’s still a force to be reckoned with. In fact, I think if the coronavirus dared to infect her she’d kill it rather than the other way round. And there is the family who aren’t blood. Cherish your families, whoever they may be.
6. It doesn’t matter that I haven’t baked…
…or redecorated. It doesn’t matter I’ve not learnt Italian or written my novel. I did some baking. I made some disgusting looking oaty bars for Scarlett in a desperate attempt to be a fabulous insta mummy who only feeds her baby homemade and organic things. She liked them, but they were foul when frozen so most went in the bin and I bought some organix bars instead!!
7. The Arts are crucial to our world.
How much television have you watched? How many films? Have you lost yourself in music when struggling with this strange world? Have you got out a therapeutic colouring book? Have you read a book or two? I’m seriously worried about the theatre industry and how it will survive. I feel powerless to do anything about it. The impact on society and the economy has worried me more than the virus itself and the theatre is my home. It’s where my heart belongs. We need to make sure the industry doesn’t die. I don’t want Scarlett to grow up in a world with no stage.
8. New words.
We’ve added some new words and phrases to our vocabulary: social distancing, shielding, self isolating, covidiots, viral load, flatten the curve, daily briefing. Can you think of anymore?
9. Thank God for modern technology.
How would we have coped without video calls. I’d never heard of Zoom before March! It’s lovely to see people’s faces, especially as that is why I hate phone calls, I like to see a face! Although it’s very weird to just make w call now. I find myself holding my phone in front of me and frowning when I can’t see someone!
10. My mental health is fragile but I am strong.
I’ve talked before about my struggles with depression and anxiety, since having Scarlett and for many many years before. This time has tested me as it has most of us. (Especially when my counsellor had to pause our weekly sessions due to a personal situation!) But I’ve realised I have the tools within me to cope. A couple of weeks ago I was blindsided by a dream that sent me back to a dark place. I started reverting back to past coping mechanisms that aren’t dangerous to me or others but are not somewhere I want to go again. There were 2 or 3 behaviour patterns I spotted and noted, ways in which I used to lose myself to hide from the chaos in my head. With nowhere to physically go and distract myself and with no professional to talk to I have managed to find my way out alone. I’ve learnt that my past will always be there, certain pain will never leave, but I can reframe it and use it in different ways. My dark hole now has a ladder to help me climb out. And I believe there is probably a little mini me sitting at the top of that ladder to give me a helping hand!
In conclusion, we’ve had 100 days like this, I hope we never have 100 days like it again. Things have changed. Little details of our every day lives have changed. Big aspects of the entire world have changed. But us – you, me, our children, our parents – we are coming out the other side of this with a new outlook on life. I hope it stays, I hope we value things in a different way and that we keep our worlds small. We don’t need the big world, we just need our people.