Lockdown. Social Distancing. Isolation. Covid-19. Coronavirus.
Not phrases I was expecting to talk about on the blog, or at all come to mention it. I think it’s fair to say some of these terms the vast majority of us weren’t even aware existed before February 2020 never mind hearing them in every sentence uttered in the last two months.
Yet here we are – in the midst of a global pandemic the likes of which are surely reserved for blockbuster movies watched for mere escapism and entertainment purposes. A vehicle to send our appreciation skyrocketing, hugging our loves ones tighter and being thankful to return to our real lives after 96 (or so) minutes.
That is the deep seated intentional take home of these movies right?
We are all just here, bracing the impact. It feels a bit scary, anxiety inducing and stressful at the moment. I personally have spent the last month both poorly with suspected Covid-19 (details reserved for another post entirely when I truly am out the other side) and also just trying to get my head around the whole situation.
I seem to have so many thoughts (so so many) yet so little words to even express to myself or my family never mind on here. Like muddy water where you can no longer distinguish the two parts as separate.
Mind you that might be the result of the constant nature of having your entire family in the house 24/7. (Even as I type this a certain 5 year old is sat directly on my lap whilst the other asks for a snack.) Our new normal.
However, as overwhelming as everything is; I have decided that writing is always a good idea. Like old school cathartic diary entries. Not perfectly planned, eloquent and possibly just a complete rambling mind dump written for my current self processing and my future self interest. Maybe also for the little people who live through it with us just in a very different way. To marvel at the craziness that was the world.
We are of course living through a historical event that hopefully and thankfully we will come through. Desiring for no physical change but resulting unequivocally in emotional and psychological alteration for all of us.
I would kick myself not to document that time when the world pressed pause on us despite really wanting to hide under a duvet watching friends reruns and staring into the fridge like it contains all the answers to life but only serves to undo any PE with Joe Wickes I might fall victim to whilst encouraging the children to partake. (FYI they would rather make their own dance routines in full fancy dress for 3 hours than learn what burpees are. Which is totally fine by me).
So realistically, like most of us as we brace the impact, our mode of survival has been our little bubble. Instructed, and very much appreciated. The four of us and nothing else. Bar the many many people whom have offered us shopping help and whom have extended kindness of which we could not have lived without that is. Tell me it isn’t just us spending approximately £5000 a week on food right now!?
Baking for therapy anyone?
As we attempt to work from home, teach different key stages from home, recover from a back operation (Eddy), maintain a clean environment and keep sane in the process. Not to mention ensure it doesn’t forever make a detrimental emotional impact on the little people in our lives (pressure much?) We’ve all had to make sacrifices. We are all learning that.
We are also learning that time either goes achingly slow or you get out of bed, blink and all of a sudden it’s bath time as the relentlessness of family life is far from the new hobby, new you, movement! It’s almost like a long, and very boring, version of Groundhog Day.
The avoidance of media has fast become a necessary survival instinct. Both social and traditional. I am on a strict once a day quota of BBC broadcast and have been mostly dipping my toe in the Instagram world. There is only so much unintentional pressure someone can take on what to do, what not to do and the millions of resources and plans on offer at the moment as the online world turned to a suddenly deafening volume.
Each post is seemingly in total antipathy of the other as well meaning people all over the globe offer their services/expertise/entertainment/opinions for you to sift through and devise a schedule to ‘make the most of this time’ with absolutely no escapism.
Who doesn’t love some escapism?
I mean I get it. The help, the fear of being insensitive by posting anything that doesn’t reference the time we are in, but man is it a lot.
Travel (with fashion, photography and interiors) has always been my escapism at the best of times and let’s be honest I wasn’t exactly jet setting before this. Yet that never stopped me reading, dreaming, wishing and enjoying it in my daily scroll. It’s my passion and I would write unachievable lottery win style bucket lists on repeat. And frequently do! Should probably start actually playing the lottery right about now. Yet this has all but gone.
With the aforementioned in mind I quickly decided that I wouldn’t be adding to the noise. I won’t be sharing ideas, activities, opinions or home school schedules as I find a lot of pressure from that. Personally I have felt a failure on a daily basis the last few weeks because I haven’t done ‘enough’ or ‘too much’. I have spent more time than I have planning before giving myself a pep talk about life. About our life and what works for us in a time we will never get again. Or rather listening to the unintentional pep talks of the children. Whom have been contradictory suffocating and life affirming every single day.
Me – (In my head) “I’m doing such a bad job. I’m always rushing, sometimes snappy, cry at the drop of a hat and the house and life is a huge mess. We’re neither relaxed or productive. I’m failing them.”
Roma – (Aloud) “Mum I love not being at school because I get to spend so much time with you.”
There really is something about seeing yourself from a childs perspectives without the huge expectations we put on ourselves. Like coming up for air. So I am just over here sharing our lives at home, for now.
The simple life.
Because actually I am relishing in this time.
The no expectations, no routine, no make up, little outside pressure and demands, no commute, just time.
My family give me a reason to do everything. I am motivated when they are here as opposed to the quiet lonely days I have had to get used to and I am thankful for that. Not everyone finds it easy. Sometimes I don’t find it easy!
I love that there is no pressure from the outside world and I thrive on that. My creativity thrives on that. My body thrives on that as someone with a chronic muscle condition this allowance to slow down is so good for me because I am not ‘wasting’ energy with the normal day to day and I can do things I can enjoy once more. Afforded the energy and break in pain to do that.
Dancing in the living room? Check
Singing at the top of my voice? Check
Making dens, writing stories, star gazing, painting? Check, Check, Check.
Jack of all trades and masters of none. I will take that.
There are so many many positives.
Yes it is hard. Often unfathomably so. So many emotions, not a lot of things getting done on my part. I actually think my productivity beyond getting through the day, the odd paint job, keeping the house clean, the children safe and happy – not to mention fed (I now basically live in my kitchen) is lower than it was even in the newborn days. Nor am I afforded the time to properly get well as Eddy tries his best to work in an essential industry from home around the aforementioned chaos. Of which let’s be honest I am sometimes utterly envious. Lock myself in the spare room for the day? Yes please.
We’re not ‘achieving’ anything measurable and as a society that’s seen as important. As a culture it is ingrained in our brains not only to succeed but to prove we have succeeded. Not only to carry out tasks, teach children and be happy with the outcomes but to do it in a way that shows you have too. To label it. It’s ingrained in our very beings and way of life. As messed up as I find that.
Yet now we have less of that pressure. Although counter intuitive, we have choice. We can choose not to partake in any of that, we have control and with that comes a little bit of paradoxically ironic freedom. We have time on our side to toss that aside. To instead right that wrong, say that apology and make it heard. Talk about anything, and nothing. To just be.
When does that ever really happen? The wish that the world would just slow down? Surely everyone has had that? I do, a lot. Now this is it.
We’ve had the opportunity to build relationships and boy do we need that. I’ve laughed more, listened more, noticed more than ever before and if you have been around here a while you will know I always have been a lover of the ordinary. The little moments to record and remember for my future self when the little becomes the lot. When it becomes less about details and all about HOW we did the WHAT.
This almost feels like a dream we don’t want to waste. Possibly a pressure in itself but a real truth. Right now a big part of me really never wants aspects of it to end. (Without the pandemic, missing loved ones and losing lives of course)
Daily I consider home school because even contemplating the reality that is going back to ‘normal’ life, how it was before, doesn’t seem all that idyllic. Maybe this is the catalyst to real change. Not just for the wider world and economy (I mean how much advertising revenue will go into using consumerism to ‘right’ that pandemic wrong after all this is over and how quickly that will manifest into the routines of the life ‘before’ and have us forgetting we ever considered anything else at all is unfathomable). Not only in society but in our family. Owning the choices that we make for us and for our mental wellbeing because if all this has shown us anything it’s that life is short.
Life is too short to be anything but happy and does our current rat race routine make us truly happy?
Worth considering I think.
We’re currently never in a rush. Which causes alot of stress for some members of our ‘never be late’ crew. Things that matter in every day life don’t matter right now. No one is ever asked to just get it done, to hurry up. We all have more freedom to do what lights our fire as we realise that all of these stressful situations truly are the result of outside influence.
We now have the luxury to make the most of a undoubtably terrible situation and I’ll be damned if I feel like I’ve wasted it.
I am not talking about learning anything, or achieving anything to the outside world but being happy with the simple things. And maybe, just maybe, ensuring that infiltrates what will be known as the life after.
A striking phrase in itself which lends an after life comparison I am grateful to have provoking my imaginary thoughts.
Of course it’s not all rosey days and life lessons. I swing between feeling incredibly lucky and extremely overwhelmed seemingly on a daily (or maybe that’s hourly) basis. There is no doubt it is a lot whilst I manage the children with the days on my own and the responsibility is tangible.
I have this sort of weird guilt that I am enjoying it. Yes I am busier and more tired and I do give anything for the moments just to be all by myself in silence. I can sometimes be found counting the moments until bedtime or dreaming of a spa day. Yet I do genuinely love it.
There’s the guilt we have a very fortunate position. Eddy works in an essential industry but can (for now at least) work from home. We have a garden, are not in financial hardship and are in many ways in a fortunate position. As the saying goes though; just because some else’s pain is greater it doesn’t mean you are not in pain. We have issues to deal with, big ones. It’s just good to be mindful and grateful I guess.
Gosh am I grateful. For friends, for help, for the NHS, for key workers and very simply for the sunshine, all hail the sunshine!
I mean if that doesn’t bring everything to the forefront that at the moment the simplest things are becoming the most important and always have been I don’t know what does.
In time I am hopeful we can all get used to this new normal with it’s inevitable ups and downs as we stay safe at home together.