Use your time wisely and creatively.
The streets are deserted. The world has hit pause. Not only the tourists have stopped coming but the locals are invisible, restaurants are shut and only the local supermarket carries on its duties in complete silence. Almost everywhere in Europe lockdown and isolation have become the order of the day. A new normal that makes you feel like you have walked onto a film set.
In some way we saw the storm coming but nobody really rushed to tie down the shutters. Even when it arrived, few got their house in order until it was actually ordered from powers above. Apathy can sink so deep into our existence that the idea that we are infallible can seem almost real. But the scenes we are now all unwillingly at very least an ‘extra’ in, is touching every aspect of life. This can be overwhelmingly scary. Now it is here, how will this plot unfold?
‘How-to-behave’ within the parameters of our cell or within the 1.5mtr economy?
Most jumped into lockdown with a brave optimism and a sense of ‘we can do this’. As the bad news kept coming the novelty wore off. The full extent of devastation is slowly unfolding itself. And it is open ended. As the fear and worry sets in, many find themselves immobilised, frozen in time until there is more clarity. Confinement is confronting. Options, choices, opportunities are all very much reduced and the ‘how-to-behave’ within the parameters of our cell or within the 1.5mtr economy is very much unanswered. Who knows?
I’ve tried to carry on as normal, even though normal was nowhere to be seen. I have cried, I have moped around, I have been short with the kids and I have felt so low that I couldn’t move my arms and legs, nor be bothered to speak. I have wanted to escape, but other than go to the other end of the garden I am not allowed to go anywhere, unless I go for food or medicine and carry my passport and NI number.
Locked down living doesn’t need to be locked down thinking
I heard the people I work with talk about this news, that news, someone said, they reckon… All suggestions of things that might never actually happen. Things that lie way out of our control. Then it dawned on me that locked down living doesn’t need to mean locked down thinking. There is no chain around my brain and as long I can move within the confines of my new home abroad, and I am breathing and feeling things, then I am able to focus that energy on the things I can have a handle on. Nothing immediately changes, but I was able to breathe more freely focusing on the pawns on the chessboard I was able to move.
There is no miracle cure. Not for lockdown, not for beating the virus or for fixing the economy. I hear that the best I can do is ‘stay at home’, which I can understand intellectually, but feels like a rather pathetic personal contribution to a global pandemic. Within the confines of my home I can -however- step outside the confines of my thinking. I can day-dream, innovate, flip-think. I can roam the edges of my brain and wonder about doing things differently, how to reach more of my potential and make better use of my time on my terms. I can be creative about how I can contribute to the community I want to part of; I can learn, read and experiment to my heart’s desire without being attached to the outcome, because all of it, yes, all of it, is better than waiting for another announcement by a Prime Minister who might be either politically motivated or as in the dark as everyone else.
The world has changed. Adapt and change with it. Find a fit for your life by going inside and taking charge of your thoughts and actions, however small they might be. Better you take a small deliberate step to your future than wait for the lockdown ease and exit strategy, both of which might take some time.