Lockdown Life: it’s a challenge not a competition
‘I don’t look like this anymore. This pic was taken almost ten years ago. But I like this photo so I’m going with it. A more recent photo would show me in pyjamas with a lot more “Arctic blonde”, a bottle of wine in my hand and a dash of mild hysteria in the eyes’.
After a year of lockdowns and more time spent at home than ever before, how many of us can relate to that sentiment? This month, our guest writer is blogger, Gill Sheeran, whose popular Gill Gibberish Blog recounts the daily joys of life of lockdown life as a mum of young children living in rural Ireland.
We always get a giggle out of Gill’s account of the latest goings on in her household, and yet there’s always a grain of wisdom in it. Her 30-day challenge to “Do Something New” each day saw her through February, perhaps the toughest month of lockdown. Struggling sometimes with the weather, the lockdown and the homeschooling, Gill found that trying to do something new every day certainly helped. Anything from trying out a new Jamie Oliver recipe to listening to Barry Manilow or reading German poetry – Gill kept her focus and did it all. She came through the winter and along the way, inspired others or at least made them feel “it’s not just me!”
After a long winter, spring is here and we are coming towards the end of lockdown, we hope. But the mistake we’re all guilty of in these situations is to assume that once the big “thing” is over, we will bounce back like shiny basketballs and be ready to charge at the world on Day One. The truth is that the older we are, the longer it takes to recover – and in this definition the word “old” probably applies to anyone over the age of 15.
Take for example the end of home-schooling, technically that happened two weeks ago. I thought I would drop darlings to school, turn around and run a marathon; or I don’t know, at least spring clean the house. In fact, I went straight back to bed and spent most of the last two weeks being “kind” to myself, aka doing very little and congratulating myself for it, eg “Well done me, I just made my bed!”
After this fortnight of kind and self-cherishing behaviour, I’m finally beginning to adjust and feel more normal. I have now tapered my ambitions and decided that technically Spring continues into April (or May if you want to go by the European calendar), and the cleaning can wait a bit.
I’ve also started to review what we’ve just been through. I know some amazing people who spent lockdown working on themselves, their skills, a new business, a thesis and generally transmogrifying their lives. They have conquered figurative mountains and devoured superhero – standard achievements.
Me? I survived. I pushed myself to do some things but my standards were nice and satisfyingly low. It was all survival techniques – motivations to keep my mind distracted and not spiralling. It worked in the sense that I’ve lost a teeny bit of weight and I haven’t shot anyone. Plus, my kids are healthy and happy, so as far as I’m concerned, I am a major winner.
The big foible to avoid now is being engaged or sucked into any lockdown comparison chat. We’ve all come across it. You can just hear the competitive snobbery. “Well I repainted the kitchen, crafted a table from a tree I felled in the garden and built a Ferrari during the first lockdown. What did you do?”
My response to that will be “I drank and eat heavily and delightedly with my husband. I think I married the right man.”
And to get this far through lockdown and be able to say that? Well, there’s no competition. That’s a result.
Gill Sheeran March 2021