As the weeks of Coronavirus “captivity” dragged on, I’m happy to admit that some of the things I missed during lockdown took me by surprise. Turning the pages of one of Dickens’ finest last evening, his well-loved words resonated at this difficult time!
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair
― Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
Reflections on Lockdown
I’ve missed precious time with loved ones living in Jersey. Separated from me by the English Channel, and a flight or ferry ride away, I’m acutely conscious that it’s going to be weeks and possibly months before we can be together again.
That’s been incredibly difficult to deal with and there have been low moments. But, most of the time I’m not a moaning Minnie and I know that compared to many I’m incredibly lucky. With a job I love, in a top firm, I’m easily able to work from home, so during lockdown, I’ve had time to pause (a lot), reflect (a lot), and do some things differently.
I’ve been more mindful than ever of looking after my teenage son’s mental health and my own at this time, and we’ve worked hard to keep ourselves occupied. I don’t think we’ve ever baked so many cakes, experimented so much with new recipes, walked so many miles, or read quite so many books together during “normal” working weeks.
My son has learned a raft of new DIY skills and I’ve spent more quality time connecting with the people who matter to me than ever before. More than anything, we’ve talked – really talked about deep, meaningful stuff, and we’ve both enjoyed those conversations.
But, there are things that I’ve missed during lockdown that I never would have imagined would bother me. They’re not big, important things, but oh, how I’ve longed for them! Here are some of them – in completely random order!
Surprising Things I Missed During Lockdown
Friday Night Take Out
I cook a lot, using good quality fresh ingredients and I love cooking. But on Friday evenings, after bell-ringing practice, we’ve always made a trip to our local fish and chip shop to pick up a “fish supper”. We love the ritual walk to the chippie and the wait in the queue, listening to the friendly banter. Then there’s that smell of freshly fried fish and chips that really gets your belly rumbling. I rarely eat chips, but boy do I miss that smell!
“Me Time” at My Gym
You heard it here first – I am not a gym bunny. But earlier in the year I bit the proverbial bullet and signed up with a rather swanky local gym. I’d just got into a good rhythm of fitting in morning swims, evening classes, and weekend yoga around other commitments before this lockdown landed on us.
Never in a million years did I imagine that I’d miss how exercise made me feel, or how much I would value the “me time” my gym gives me – away from the pressure and stress of running a home as a single parent while working full-time. I’m looking forward to getting back to the gym for a long, leisurely swim!
Time in the Office
I’m incredibly lucky that I don’t have to deal with the special hell that is a daily commute. I can work from home as much or as little as I like, and that suits me very well. Driving to the office in Leeds means a 17-mile drive each way for me. It can easily take well over an hour if I get caught in the rush hour. Ugh. 60 minutes of crawling along in first gear can get old really fast!
I do like to spend time in the office though. While I have fabulous colleagues, all those Zoom meetings are no substitute for actually being in the same space as the folk you work with. I suspect the office will be very busy when we can finally go in, but I know it won’t be any time soon.
Bell-ringing is a big, social part of my Sunday routine. We ring bells twice on a Sunday because our church has two services in the morning! Between services, we sprint to a local independent coffee shop for a ridiculously expensive late breakfast. It’s also when we hit pause and reflect on the week on very comfy sofas.
While I have a toastie maker at home, the results are never quite the same! During lockdown though, I’ve jealously preserved Sunday morning “together time” with the teen boy.
Laundering School Clothes
In the first week of lockdown, I was delighted to have a break from the monotonous tyranny of laundering the teen boy’s school uniform and his countless sports kits. Now, I feel strangely cheated that Coronavirus has stolen this motherly duty from me forever.
When my boy returns to school in September, he’ll be a sixth former. He’ll be wearing a suit instead of uniform, so my days of washing and ironing his school uniform have come to a premature end. I’ll admit that I had a little weep as I washed his blazer for the last time and tucked his uniform into a bag for donation to the second-hand uniform shop. It feels felt like the terrifying creep towards an empty nest is accelerating.
Eek! Here’s one thing I didn’t expect to have missed during lockdown! I don’t know anyone who actively enjoys a trip to the dentist! Unfortunately, I have a tooth that is “grumbling” and I can’t get to see a dentist for love or money. Part of me would be desperately nervous even if I could, but I’ll be at the front of the queue when they reopen!
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I would love to hear what you’ve missed during lockdown. Will you do anything differently once you regain your freedom fully? Have you found an even greater appreciation of the little things in life? What has this pandemic taught you about yourself? How have you coped? Do let me know – I’d love to hear how you’ve navigated this extraordinary time xx