With lockdown restrictions beginning to ease and the world slowly resuming from where we left off, I find my self experiencing a mix of emotions. Don’t get me wrong, I can not wait to be sat inside a fancy restaurant, all dressed up with a cocktail in my hand, but I do find my self wondering whether I may have taken some aspects of lockdown for granted.
With lockdown came numerous struggles caused by COVID-19. Deaths, redundancies, the nightmare of homeschooling and the huge sacrifices we made. But in the hours I spent stuck staring at the same four walls of the house, I began to put less energy into obsessing over how others would perceive me and paid more attention to how I felt.
Although the rise in community spirit throughout the pandemic seemed to be more than ever, I’d never selfishly prioritised looking after myself quite so much either. I found myself working out more than I ever had before and scheduling pamper nights at home for yours truly, which meant that whilst lockdown enabled me to primarily take care of the vulnerable, it allowed me to take care of myself too.
Not only that, we found ourselves drifting apart from some friends and growing closer to others, as isolation meant that communication was imperative and friends for convenience were no more. You’d expect a dying friendship would leave you down heartened, but somehow I found that having the power to control who I dedicated my time towards, left me feeling as though a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders.
In a time where I could have felt lonely, I felt assured that those who had stuck around would continue to do so. Without the forced conversations with those who I’m friends with purely because we had been for the previous eight years or a mutual friend who I secretly clash with but find it easier to be civil with than not, I felt refreshed and relieved.
I found that it is actually possible to make it to the end of a to-do list and feel a sense of achievement, rather than burning out halfway through and shoving the leftover tasks on to tomorrow’s list whilst trying to ignore the guilt that came with that.
Without my dreaded commute in the morning and the journey home in the evening, followed by the need to prepare my outfit, my lunch and my to-do list for the following day, I suddenly found myself having enough free time to engage in hobbies I’d well and truly abandoned years ago. I managed to get tasks completed that needed to be done for months on end, ticked off my list.
My room had never been so clean, my wardrobe and makeup drawers were completely de-cluttered and I was able to find time to bake a cake without worrying that I was only doing so as a way of procrastinating something more important.
Lockdown definitely highlighted the things we took for granted and I know I’m not alone when I say that I really began to appreciate the little things more. My daily walk gave me the freedom either to remain in my own little bubble, daydreaming about anything and take in the surroundings around me. Even the smell of coffee as you stroll past what was once a coffee shop, now only selling takeouts, is a total bliss.
As I begin to prepare myself for the return of the hustle and bustle of the “normal” world, I wonder whether lockdown really was such a burden or whether it was a blessing in disguise?