I know, I know, it’s far from over. But I’ve struggled to achieve any content that feels relevant right now and this week, I’ve felt a slight shift in mood. I’m starting to potentially see ways in which we can live a new ‘normal’ and thought it was a good time to put down some of my feelings on lockdown with some new perspective, or at least ‘some’ perspective. Here are what I’ve learnt over the last 7 weeks. Or is it 8?
1. Patience is not one of my virtues.
I know the reason we’ve all been doing this and I will never underestimate how important it is and the jobs that key workers are doing throughout this pandemic. But I must be driving my husband crazy. Turns out, I am someone that needs answers to everything that can’t be given an answer to, I’m like an inquisitive 6 year old around the house. I was never someone at school who appreciated the answer ‘how long is a piece of string’ and ‘speculation’ now seems to be my new specialist subject.
2. I thought I was a home bird.
I love staying in, always have. Every new year we get a takeaway and watch a movie, even on holiday we cook and stay in a few times a week. But this situation has made me realise how much of the outside world I took for granted that added to my view of the world, heightened my inspiration. My walk to the tube, walking to a coffee shop with Peggy, walking past street art or posters for exhibitions. What has always inspired me for my site and my styling career has always been the outside world, not viewed through street style on Instagram, but real life people – sitting on the tube, browsing books in the local library, pouring drinks at a cafe, rushing past me at a busy London crossing. I miss those people I avoid eye contact with on the tube, being funnelled and pushed past on the busy Great Marlborough Street crossing off Oxford Street, queues to get into Franco Manca and the hoardes of people spilling out onto the street outside London pubs in the summer.
A reader just pointed out that I forgot to add point 3 and I think this probably sums up my state of mind.
4. I’m not a good stay-at-home mum.
How do those of you do it?! I am in awe, I am a walking zombie and have to have an hour lie down every night after putting our daughter to bed. And I am sharing duties with my husband! And a big fat salute to anyone having to keep up their day job whilst also caring and homeschooling kids at home. As much as I’m happy companies are seeing that working from home is possible, I am also worried that the government seems to think we’re all ‘coping’ and have found new ways to work around our kids. The lack of posts on this site recently will highlight that for me, this is definitely not the case and I am lucky enough not to have a boss and can work my own deadlines – we’re just about keeping afloat over here.
5. My default mode goes from proactive to lazy VERY quickly.
When I have the balance right (and by balance I mean – some sort of normality for me), I am a VERY proactive person. I start projects, DIY, tidy, clean, cook from scratch, plan meals, organise work events, remember birthdays and send cards, message friends and organise catch ups. Today, I have worn the same sweatpants 4 days in a row, washed my hair at some point last week and have been sleeping naked to save on washing loads. Inspiration left me when lockdown started and ‘self-pity Alex’ came into existence. I think I’m just about started to come out of it this week. But it’s important to remember this isn’t a ‘normal’ situation so there is no need to hold onto your ‘normal’ productivity levels – just getting through is enough right now.
6. I can really save when I put my mind to it.
Okay, a mortgage holiday and no childcare fees has helped but knowing our renovations are going to be back on again soon and paid work is in a state of, well, let’s say it’s not been a great year so far, we have really focused on what we spend our money on even more. A few treats to keep our morale up (mainly crafts for Peggy and angel delight for us) but our outgoings have massively decreased. I haven’t spent money on clothes (for myself, anyway) since January and you know what, I haven’t missed the thrill of buying. The thrill of having more money has eclipsed it – let’s just hope we can carry on when our direct debits are all back on!
7. I’m a bit of a dick.
We can all be, can’t we?! Tutting at people doing congas down the street, muttering “those teenagers all the same age can’t possibly all live together, can they?”. I find the media doesn’t help, publishing divisive articles and Twitter memes exploding on my feed. I find I’m better when I step away from my phone, take a deep breath and try to be empathetic. I sat down in the park the other day for 5 minutes whilst Peggy ran up and down a hill approx 365 times, I needed a rest. We are all trying our best. I loved Lauren Bravo’s article for Refinery 29 – ‘why is everyone being a bit of a d**k right now?’.
Just a few things I am going to do more of once we have the freedom to:
Hug my parents.
Support local businesses.
Never underestimate the power of a good coffee made by experts.
And of course it goes without saying the huge amount of respect for NHS workers, key workers, essential workers at this time. Thank you for posting our parcels, collecting our bins, keeping our public transport system open, keeping the shelves stocked, looking after my nan in a care home, helping my sister in hospital with COVID-19 (she is better now, thank you). Hoping you are all still staying safe (or should I say ‘alert’?) and getting through this tough time in the best way you can.