When I found out lockdown in the UK would potentially come to an end mid-July (providing a second wave doesn’t come), I was surprised by my reaction. I felt sad, I felt grief, I didn’t know why for a time. I felt angry, upset, hurt for some reason. I hear that there is a new term for this, lockdown syndrome.
Those who don’t want to leave lockdown, they’ve drawn some comfort in it, they have found themselves feeling more contented and more satisfied. Also some who perhaps had taken on too much responsibility for other people, who had the space to be with themselves instead of always giving to other people, have had a break from this and they too may feel resistance to reconnecting with others, if we do reconnect that is. The release of obligations was perhaps a game-changer for many, realising how much they have taken on and perhaps people will change how they live in this world as a result of the lockdown.
And to see clearer skies and for some having more quality time with family, leaving lockdown poses an emotional dilemma.
Others have done the opposite, instead of enjoying the slower pace, the naturally transformative time that this isolation and distancing can bring, have chosen to fill their lives as much online as they did before. From online seminars, countless Zoom video chats, online pub crawls and parties. So, some have probably gathered very little in learning and growth from this period. Instead of embracing the change, they’ve poured the same outer life into their home-life. I find it such a waste of this amazing opportunity and invitation for change.
Being Part of the Lockdown Tribe
I’ve felt somewhat of an outsider for most of my life, an introvert, but also an outsider. I never really fitted in with many groups or social circles and so when everyone all at once had to enter lockdown, everyone had to socially distance, everyone had to primarily stay home, I actually felt liberated in some very strange way.
I felt I was part of the tribe of humanity, all in it together. My ordinary life became everyone else’s ordinary life.
Working from home, hardly seeing anyone, having no major social life to speak of, social distancing felt like I joined the human tribe and I belonged. I even reduced my time on Facebook, instead of increasing it like many.
And for it to end brings home the reminder of my outsider status; it reminds me of how different my life is, and this feels hard.
I’ve also really been enjoying the silence in the city. Fewer cars on the road, I can hear the birds more clearly. And scrolling on social media, I’m not being bombarded by people sharing their full lives, vacations and family time, showing their highlight reels of their ‘perfect’ lives. It has felt like a vacation from the overwhelming ‘look at me’.
And I know how strange this sounds and I hope in writing this I am writing for the quiet few who silently have enjoyed this joint isolation, this union of home-stayers.
The question is, how do we introverts, who like our own company, who like the quiet and stillness, who like the time to think and ponder without the noise of the world, move back into the world?
I know it is important for me to meet more people, but I also know this year may not be that year, because people will be hesitant to join new things, will be hesitant and guided to still not gather for a time, so when people join together again it will be with people they already know, family and friends, for their own safety.
For now all I can do is focus on my creativity, focus on the new peaceful, beautiful appreciation I have felt for the simplicity of my life.
Lockdown enhanced my appreciation. I found the limits increased my gratitude for what I have, but also increased my gratitude of the choice I had prior to limitations and restrictions that were put on my life. It has been a strange time for many and challenging too, but for me, very rewarding.
I’ve also grown closer to my best friend and we have so many laughs together, never feeling locked in. I have felt freer, perhaps in the shared boundaries. I felt I had time to enjoy my cocoon instead of feeling it was lacking anything.
It is a strange historical journey we are all on.
In the UK (very much like the USA I imagine) we also have to not only contend with the virus, the fear, the people wanting out of lockdown, the people wanting to stay in lockdown, but we also have to contend with the division that for the UK, Brexit brought to the country. I feel in my heart that our country can move forward in a new way, beyond the pandemic, yet many still hold on to the old ways and want to keep us gridlocked with further division and conflict.
I know we will not have a normal way of life for some time and even the old normal will change anyway, so in a way the safety of the cocoon of the lockdown is relaxing, a rest period for many I imagine, but for some it brings up panic for their future, businesses, wellbeing. So, it is such a multiple challenge on so many levels, how can we ride this current wave?
With acceptance, gratitude and appreciation.
Acknowledging change is happening and will continue.
Accepting we cannot control the uncontrollable.
To appreciate that even our leaders are human, make mistakes and are adapting to changing circumstances as they go.
We adapt also.
What will you miss when lockdown ends?