Over the Easter weekend, I completed my lockdown target; I ran around Richmond Park. This is something I’ve wanted to do for ages but never found the time (or the inclination). But now that this lockdown means that the day has more hours in it than it did before, I found the time to train and run the 8 miles needed to complete this target.
However, this is an exception and, like New Year’s resolutions, the majority of my lockdown targets have not even been started. The French books my inner-“Tiger Mom” bought for my daughter have barely left the packaging (and not because of some desire to quarantine packages for three days). The chances of her knowing more French at the end of all this than she knew going into the lockdown: c’est minimal.
Despite a few baking attempts I haven’t found my talent for pastry or bread making and am unlikely to be applying for the Great British Bake Off any time soon. Given that flour seems to be a luxury good at the moment perhaps that isn’t such a bad thing!
Now that I don’t have a target to aim for and with the lockdown promising to see us into May (please don’t say June, I have to remain optimistic), I am focussing on the small positives:
- The silence. I used to be able to tell the time in the morning without opening my eyes. That was because we live under a flight path and by 5.30am planes start their descent to the promise land of Heathrow. Now, I sleep happily until I’m woken by the birds charming the morning (or more likely, a child shouting ‘the sun is up’ as her Gro Clock lights up).
- I no longer have someone breathing down my neck as I stand in a queue. To have someone desperate to shout their coffee order over your shoulder as you take up their precious seconds paying for your caffeine fix is something I can happily live without. And now, thanks to the Lockdown I can. Although I also have to make do without coffee made for me by a professional, at least now when queuing if someone stands too close to me, I can say in a loud clear voice, confident that social opinion will be on my side: ‘Excuse me but if you can touch me, you’re too close to me.’
- I have spoken to my family a lot more than I ever did before. To be clear, I am not referring to the family I am embracing Lockdown with – I spent an acceptable amount of time with them before all of this. No, I mean extended family. Before, it was tough to get hold of my mum because she was always off somewhere and a challenge to chat to a sibling because they always had plans. Now all these people are much more available and the only thing that holds us back is technology and/or the user’s ability of said technology. (You know who you are, Mum)
- It brings out my creative side: I now know lots of ways to get groceries given online supermarket delivery slots are elusive and available produce is just as rare. I have also found new depths for what I am prepared to do to entertain my child. This has seen me gluing paper to balloons and building mini theatres. Neither of which my daughter appreciated or wanted but it kept me entertained for hours!
- I can be a social butterfly and still be in bed by 10pm. I am guaranteed a seat, there is no queue at the bar and a glass of wine is decent value. Apps like Zoom and Houseparty have helped keep people socially sane and at the same time enable us to embrace the things that are not fun about going out: I don’t need to worry about what I’m wearing, flitting from one party to another is completely acceptable and within minutes of saying goodbye I can be in bed without rushing for the last train or splashing through rain late at night.
The worry and loss that this lockdown has inflicted on people and the scary realities of Coronavirus, does make this list seem a bit trivial. I am so grateful that we are currently healthy and safe and surrounded, virtually and otherwise, by family and friends. I hope anyone reading this is in the same situation. Although these positives may not balance out the negatives, perhaps they can help us stay optimistic.
While we stare at the impending month(s) of blank calendars because our main plans are ‘to stay at home’, I think there are still more positives we can all take. When this is over and we can meet again, perhaps we will resist the urge to go back to the hectic lifestyle of pre Coronavirus days and also manage to remember how nice it is to be kind to people, even strangers.