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What next?

Life after lockdown

For some, the end of lockdown and some normality couldn’t come soon enough, such has been the hardship, financial struggle and loss. For others, lockdown has been a paradox between gratitude and guilt, connection and disconnection, certainty and uncertainty.

But, as is the way with life it has also, for some, been a beautiful time – an opportunity to pause and slow down, to cherish and savour; providing the chance to spend more time with some loved-ones despite having to spend less time with others.

Whatever our lived lockdown experience, I think most of us have noticed, in the process, WHAT matters most and WHO matters most to us.

So, as we emerge from lockdown, rather than continue as we were without taking the beautiful parts with us, I’ve been thinking … what’s next for us? What have we learned from this experience? What can we take forward? What new pastimes, routines and activities will we do our best to maintain as the world starts to open up again? And what will we let go of?

This enforced time at home had a purpose - to save lives and flatten the curve. According to the powers-that-be, it has worked. It has not been without loss and extreme hardship for many and the worst is not over. Our economies and businesses have borne the brunt of this and it'll take a long time to recover. Even more reason to reflect on our own experiences and recognise our gratitude for what we've missed out on. So, what have you enjoyed most about lockdown? What will you be taking with you into post-lockdown life? What have you missed most and what will you therefore appreciate all the more as a result of this experience?

For me, I’ve loved:

  • the family bike rides
  • exploring our local area
  • cracking up with laughter at tea-time round the table
  • the zoom and whatsapp chats
  • nature, bird-song, feeling hopeful that it's possible to heal Mother Earth
  • reading and podcasts
  • rainbows and hope
  • the sense of unity and community.

I’ve missed and will appreciate even more:

  • hugs
  • popping round to friends' houses
  • brunch with pals
  • girls nights in
  • art nights out
  • back massages
  • swimming
  • the freedom to travel abroad
  • driving.

I didn’t do ANY painting or creative work like I’d hoped, due to my immense workload (grateful to have, given the circumstances). Some people I missed like crazy, some people I felt all the more grateful for and I’ve also learned a lot about myself, including my imperfections and weaknesses.

I’m going to hug people so squeezily as soon as I can and go swimming in the pool and the sea.

I’m going to see the people who nourish me more often and make standing dates a thing.

I’m going to re-read Natalie Fee’s book on How To Save The World For Free, because I’ve enjoyed the lushness and lack of pollution and appreciate the natural world even more than I already did. IT WAS THERE FOR ME, for us.

I’m going to instigate regular bike rides and river and sea adventures; make sure we continue to eat together as often as possible, keep tuning in to soundbaths and podcasts and work on the stuff I need to work on (because I want to not because I think I should). I'm going to keep leaning in to my feelings more than my thoughts and keep on reading and listening.

And I’ll keep on doing whatever I feel to be right, even if it makes people uncomfortable, but I’ll also practice more patience and compassion, which always need more work.

And I’ll keep on wondering and hoping and writing and learning.

And I’ll schedule in regular time to slow down so I can PAUSE, WONDER and REFLECT.

Because, most of all, this time has reminded me that life is one great big ongoing lesson and I am forever its student.

How about you?