I wanted to write this to get my feelings out about this entire mess of a year we’re all surviving through right now.
Before I do that I just want to say I’m not romanticising a deadly pandemic, nor am I playing down the situation that has left millions of people jobless or without treasured members of their family. I simply want to share what lockdown and adjusting to everything has been like from my point of view.
When the news dropped that the whole UK would go into lockdown and my job was put on furlough for the foreseeable, I’m not gonna lie…I was excited! Only because I’d been hoping for some time off just to enjoy the new flat we had moved into and take some time off work which had begun to get stressful after my promotion but my wishes came true! It was a weird adjustment at first and I think a lot of people had the same issues of struggling with no real routine and I’m guessing the vast majority of people struggled with not really being able to go out the house (but I really enjoy just staying inside anyway) so it was a massive adjustment within the first month for everyone. But for me personally, after that first month, I had established my own routine and begin to get into new hobbies I’d never had time to pursue before. I began to learn Italian (which I'm still doing), I started playing the ukulele (which I'm still doing…just about), but the main new change in my life was that I started to seriously consider this blog.
I always need to have something to do, I can never just sit and be (anyone who knows me well will know), which becomes very frustrating in a time when the entire country has to just “sit and be” until we’re told it’s safe enough to go out again, but I felt this was going to be good for me, the increase in hygiene meant I was able to stop biting my nails (most of the time, it’s still a work in progress) which is obviously a bad habit to have anyway but especially bad when a deathly virus could be lurking underneath your fingernails! Myself and my partner would take one day a week (once restrictions eased) to go on a hike together somewhere usually 30 mins drive away from the house for a couple of hours; with him being at work and me off all the time I had so much free time, but whenever he got a day off we didn't want to waste it, especially while everywhere was so quiet!
Having more time to myself meant I started to read ALOT of books. Having stacks of books around the house that I’d bought but thought in my heart of hearts I’d never get round to really spurred me on to read them all during lockdown and you know what? I did! I wanted to remember that moment where all I did was read all day and the reason why I was able to read all day, so I thought about starting this blog to record all the books I’ve read and maybe encourage someone else who feels “stuck” in their house to get lost in another world while safely staying at home!
Another place I got myself happily lost in was the world of cooking and baking, although this wasn’t during the peak of lockdown (because all the idiots were panic-buying so I couldn’t even bake) it’s still something I’m loving doing right now. Baking has become such an outlet for me, trying new recipes and finding new ingredients I enjoy that I’d never tried before, its been a great learning curve that I’m really excited to carry on with but, of course, this was all shared on the blog too, even the moments that didn’t go so well, I wanted to share REAL baking not just perfect cakes…some of mine are a bit flat or not as exciting as I’d planned them to be but they taste good and I was able to share a recipe or two out for something new that I hoped other people would enjoy trying too!
One big thing that's been irking me throughout lockdown is the sense of “when we get back to normal” or “this is the new normal”, what's wrong with the positive things that have changed and why can’t we agree to keep them that way?! The amount of pressure taken off the environment because of the lack of cars and public transport was huge both in this country and pretty much all over the world, I know that level was never going to stay as it was but couldn’t we look at that as a way to move forward rather than just thinking “oh yeah, that is good…oh well, back to normal”, that is such a sad way to look at life. There have been so many positive things that I think people have overlooked because they continue to sit and stare at “scary” news articles. So many people (including me) are learning from this experience, not just basic things like an increase in personal hygiene but also huge moments like re-connecting with family you haven’t spoken to in years or mending relationships with people you realise you do want around, but the ignorance from panic-buyers and the “new normal “ crew has to stop. This isn’t The Walking Dead, this isn’t Contagion, it IS a horrifying pandemic that’s killed over a million people BUT that doesn’t warrant you the opportunity to panic-buy food (that you’re not going to eat) and think it’s funny to cough near people so that they’ll get anxious, there have been so many incredible stories; like Sir Tom Moore that have come from this terrible time, but there's always going to be idiots, we can only hope that the majority of people will begin to focus on what they have rather than what they THINK they might lose.
Anyway, I’m gonna wrap this up with some positivity (because that’s what I wrote this for). During the lockdown I was fortunate enough to hear a close friend of mine brought a beautiful daughter into the world, then a couple of months later I got to meet her (hi Millie, Maisie, and Stu!), although at any time this would be a special moment, this moment was even more special when you think about the unique time this little girl is coming in to, she will only know humans with masks on their faces but, she will be brought up in a world with a much keener sense of hygiene and respect of people boundaries, I can’t say that's a bad thing, so I just want to congratulate my friend on doing such an incredible job raising her in a very unique time.
My main message from this is to just cherish those moments; even seemingly ordinary ones of just being with your loved ones at the end of a long day, as well as more traditionally important ones like birthdays and new family members, we are so fortunate to be riding this wave together and we shouldn’t forget that there are so many positives to this situation that can be found IF you look for them. The fact that we’re still here is something worth celebrating, although I don’t agree with the term “new normal” I do agree that this change in our lifestyles has brought about a lot of positivity that I don’t think many of us are fully tapping into just yet. Please recognise the things in your life to be grateful for, no matter how mundane they may seem.