Easing of Lockdown
Yesterday, I was driving to meet up with a friend in an outside space. The news was on the radio about the easing of the Lockdown. Pubs, clubs, cinemas can all open as of the 4th of July. The recommended social distance will then be 1 meter. A spectre of hope that life is resuming, was caught in my peripheral vision.
I felt unexpectedly emotional and tearful, overwhelmed by the enormity of these actions that were being introduced. I can go and stay with my sister, who since February, I have spoken to regularly, met over Zoom, played games that hither to I have never dreamt of participating in but only met twice in a car park outside Stratford upon Avon for a picnic. No hugs, no closeness but better than no contact. I realised that my barometer for gauging a good day out had been recalibrated and this is a change that I hope to keep hold of. Not meeting in car parks per se, but finding joy in the simple things in life. I want to carry on noticing nature, actually hearing the birds singing, enjoying a thermos of liquorice tea, a walk in the park. I want to maintain my celebration of life.
Very Mixed Emotions!
My emotion was not pure joy, it was laced with fear also. The virus has not yet been conquered. There is no vaccine yet ( but I hold out great hope that the amazing science minds are beavering away to find just this) and there are still very real risks that have to be managed. Each person has to weigh them up and take the steps that they feel comfortable with.
Ironically that day, I had also received my shielding letter, reinforcing that I should stay home until the 1st August. I have been very careful but have been out walking the dogs. Avoiding all people other than my family bubble, hiding in hedgerows so that people can pass me and don’t breathe on me. I have not been in a shop for 15 weeks other than going into a garden centre last week, but I have met up with one or two individuals in the open air.
So, why was I filled with a strange mix of emotions? Fear, joy, freedom…any of these and more. One issue is that the threat of spikes in the death rate will mean that restrictions are reimposed Living Through COVID. The thought of going back into isolation after experiencing freedom once again, is too much! The fact that the virus is still there and very much active is a very real threat.
Going into Lockdown
As Lockdown loomed, I did not believe that it was happening. I was appalled when Italy had to Lockdown several towns to manage the virus. The death toll still rose, and rose. Then in the UK we were advised to wash our hands to the tune of Happy Birthday but our death toll rose day by day. Social distancing became part of our vocabulary and talk of schools and colleges closing was bandied about. I stopped listening to the news as the human tragedy was too much for me to comprehend. Being an empathic person meant that I felt the trauma running through my body, the loss, the grief, the fear was lived out in my body as if I was the one directly effected.
Lockdown happened and I thought that I could not live with this loss of freedom and self determination. But, I did . I adapted, as did everyone else. My home was cleaned and redecorated, the garden reinvented and I claimed my space on this planet. I made it as safe as I could. I stopped going food shopping, ordering online through my friend ( I could not get a slot!) and had deliveries for grocers and butchers. The new normal set in. Zoom facilitated connection with friends and family in a clunky manner that was better than nothing.
Structuring My Day
I structured my day, I took an online portrait course ( and many others!) and continued to work online as a coach and a therapist. This online working model was not new to me but normally I would see people as well. I exercised until I tore my hamstring Hamstrung in Covid-19!and this meant that I had to adapt again.
The lifting of the restrictions means that real life will start up again Moving on from Lockdown... I now have to choose how much I want to jump into all of this. I should stay in until August but I will have to decide and calculate risk. Life is now, more than ever, about calculating and accepting risk. taking precautions. Initially I will be mixing only with like minded people who keep their social bubbles small.
All Emotions Are OK
The flood of emotions yesterday caught me off guard. This is normal. Change is once again afoot. The landscape is the same but changed at the same time. In some ways, I am not ready to pick up where I left off. My life at home is very different than before and I have had a personal backstory playing out in the background, one of loss, grief, starting over and moving forward.
We all have backstories going on unseen like a film that only we are aware of. We cannot know how things have really been for others. Yes, we have all been a part of the pandemic and been in lockdown but each of our stories are unique. That is why we cannot judge and compare hardships. We are all entitled to our stories, to feel the swell of emotions that are ours and ours alone. We do not have to justify or quantify our suffering against those of our neighbours. We do not have to wear it on a tee shirt for all to see but equally we can if we choose to.
The quote “ Walk a mile in my moccasins” is believed to be from the poem titled ‘ Judge Softly’ by Mary Torrans Lathrap (1838-1895). I would like to think that it reflected the Native American plight but this is not fact… it sums up how empathy is born and a reminder to be questioning, open but kind. We rarely see the full script..we see the edited edition of the lives of others.