Lockdown will mean a lot of different things to different people. Some will have more time than ever, more disposable income and less stress. Others might have lost jobs or seen serious declines in their income. Many of the self-employed are fighting to keep their livelihoods and those who are still employed are probably just fighting with their children who have no respect for ‘working from home’. Those, like my sister, who are frontline workers must walk into a dangerous environment each day and then go home to their families at night without being 100% sure if that’s a safe thing to do or not.
And of course, there are many who have loved ones that are sick or greaving and they can do little to help or support. To those who have lost friends or family during this time, my condolences are with you.
In my house, our little landscape looks like this. Karen and I are both self-employed and in these strange times, the available workload is higher than ever. We also have Jack, our energetic 3-year-old, and a 10-year-old Golden Retriever called Lincoln. One of these is more demanding than the other but both need exercising and entertaining. Throw into the mix that even simple jobs like getting groceries can take hours, our current situation could be described as ‘time poor’.
So overall, I’m in the ‘this has not been an easy time’ camp but I’m also counting my blessings because;
A) life could be far worse for us and
B) Yes, life is disrupted and yes there are some negatives. But some of the disruptions have been amazing.
The best changes that have occurred in my house during lockdown have little to do with health. Our nutrition is as consistent as it always is but we’re both exercising much less. Our attempts to work with purpose and intensity, and spend time with Jack means energy levels at the times available for training are often low.
But I’m not complaining and we’re not beating ourselves up.
Lockdown has been about something equally valuable. Us.
Anyone who has had a three-year-old in their house before will know that they are the greatest thing in the world. I mean yeah they’re hard work but they more than compensate for this as you get to watch their childish understanding of the world come into view more and more each day.
Usually, Jack is with Karen, at pre-school, with my parents or with a childminder throughout the week. I don’t get to spend a lot of time with him during the weekdays. In Lockdown, every day for half a day I have him to myself. I get to play with him, I get cuddles, we learn, sit and watch movies, paint, do jigsaws and if you accumulate all of that time, I also spend an equal amount sweeping up sand and putting it back in the sandpit after his diggers have spread it all over the garden!
I consider myself to be extremely fortunate to have spent more time with him during this stage of his life. It’s tiring, but it’s amazing. More Jack, more life, and that is something I want more of when lockdown ends.
All of the above has meant Karen and I have had to pull together. We have an unwritten rule which is deeply embedded in how we do marriage, we serve each other. When I get this right I do whatever I can to make her life easier, and she does the same for me. During lockdown we have had to do this to a new level in how we share the parenting responsibilities, work, walk a dog and keep the house going. So far we’ve done a good job and I’m proud of us. Karen and I have hopefully got a lot of years together ahead of us and this shows again that we’re a strong team and can work through the curve balls that life sends our way. Lockdown has added another layer of ‘unbreakable’ to our marriage.
Lockdown has generally meant that there are far fewer ‘professional’ demands on my time. Being self-employed for the last 12 years has meant I’ve become conditioned to say yes a lot. It’s in many ways part and parcel of starting a business but it also piles on the pressure. So recently I have enjoyed being less busy, having a little more time to let thoughts and ideas play in my mind, (sweeping sand is quite therapeutic), and being home with Karen and Jack more. My own diary, which I have control over, is something I intend to manage better in the future.
I’ve heard people comment that they ‘can’t wait for things to go back to normal’. Well, to be honest I don’t think things are going to look ‘normal’ for a while but I’m also not in a rush to go back to how things were. Of course, I want us to get the virus under control and limit the loss of life as much as possible.
But on so many levels I think we were all in need of a reset. How we work, how we value our relationships, our emotional well-being, the impact of ‘normal’ life on the environment, the droves of people who are now exercising who previously weren’t, and even economically, with more people supporting local small businesses.
These may have been the worst of times, but in many ways, if we can avoid getting sucked into the slipstream in the hurry to get back what we had, these may turn out to be the best of times.
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