After many weeks of social distancing, keeping fit both mentally and physically (I hope), am I now ready to come out of lockdown (if I am allowed). There are many negatives to lockdown but also a whole host of positives and I have tried to focus myself on these. Having one of my daughters and two grandchildren living with my wife and I through the whole period has meant that we have had the chance to renew bonds, spend time with two growing girls, and discuss a future that has sometimes been so difficult to imagine.
But lockdown has given me time to reassess my working life and home life balance and really get to grips with much of the stuff that quite frankly stresses me out. I have slept better, eaten better, exercised better, and really tried to do everything better.
There are so many elements that I have had a chance to rethink and reshape. Firstly, I have had the time and space to think and carefully plan what I am doing, and going to do, with no distractions and no one to advise or help me, which has been so rewarding. As well as working I have put aside time away from work and found that I have been able to control my workaholic nature and stop caring about what others are doing or thinking and support altruistic causes and finding out that what I do doesn’t really matter in the greater scheme of things. This has meant that I can juggle my life and my work on my own terms.
Also, much of what I do is worthless and many of the people that I do it for don’t really care about what I do. I began to start to keep in contact with those who understand me and shed many of those who put on a face when we meet, and this has been just so liberating. This has given me time to understand true altruism and its mental health benefits. Before I might do something for nothing to keep a client, now I do something for nothing because the reward of just doing it is enough.
Once I believed my business to be amazing and fulfilling all of my needs. I now see my business as a tiny cog in a massive wheel. Yes, it has a place, but I no longer overestimate its worth. Coupled with this, I have had the time to sectionalise other things more important than work and to plan my time out accordingly and now I know that when I retire I will have less time than now when I am working which is a great lesson to learn.
I have also amassed the bravery to see what I have done wrong and try to put it right, the balls to make changes when you know that it is intrinsically right and to feel the tangible fear when your nearest and dearest are threatened. I have loved seeing manners return (in most) and this gives me hope for the future because manners really do maketh man. A small gesture can bring so much happiness.
I have also seen that everyone has an opinion and that mine may not count and I am comfortable with this. I have felt hope and belief that things have got to and will change in our world even if it is only a little and that greed is our enemy and community is our friend.
Other things that I have seen make me feel very fortunate, there are so many others worse off than me. Those living with serious illness, a violent partner, job loss, home loss or just really struggling in their own minds. I feel thankful I have the chance to create a future which is an alternative to the one I had envisaged.
When the lockdown bubble bursts we have to accept that some will not want to come out of hiding, go back to work or school and that we will need all of our resolves not to fall back into our money-oriented greedy ways. We have learned to live frugally; we have learned to live without the cult of celebrity or the temple of football or even the thrill of arts and culture but in its place, we have bonded with nature and seen the magnificent changes which have taken place. It is a miracle that hopefully, those with the keys to power and the ability to change our path will look hard at before they start to ramp up the me, me, me world, which may take us all back to the brink of extinction.
Fun it may not have been but sobering it has been and just surviving this (so far) really has made an impact that I won’t forget.