I miss the lockdown. Technically, it’s still in place, although judging by the almost complete absence of social distancing being observed in shops and parks now, it’s as if the virus had gone away. Which it most certainly hasn’t. Some call it lockdown fatigue, others say it all began to unravel after the prime minister’s chief adviser broke the lockdown rules by driving 30 miles to a beauty spot to test his eyesight on his wife’s birthday.
It’s true, I dreaded the lockdown at first. Being stuck at home with two children and a husband for weeks if not months seemed like a fail-proof recipe for disaster, but we actually did alright. No limbs lost, thus far, and all furniture remain intact.
I miss the slower pace of life that the lockdown imposed on us. I miss going for walks in my neighbourhood and hearing birdsong instead of car engines, breathing fresh air instead of exhaust fumes.
I miss lounging in my PJs until mid-morning, relaxed in the knowledge that there was no other place I needed to be but home. Home-schooling had its stressful moments, and there were times I resented being the de facto house chef/teaching assistant/cleaner/emotional support human. But over time, my family and I settled rather comfortably into this pandemic-induced new rhythm of life.
My ten-year-old went back to school this week, ecstatic to see her friends and teachers in the flesh again. While I was just as happy to see her return to school, I could easily do without the early mornings and school runs. And with the resident baker back at school, I am afraid it will be a while until I have a chance to taste home-baked cakes again.
I miss the community feel of neighbours stepping up to help each other with food orders, essential shopping etc. during the lockdown. With the lockdown all but over, the spell of neighbourly friendship seems to have been lost somewhat. I’m not entirely innocent either, having already begun to moan about my neighbour’s dastardly palm tree that sheds its leaves all over the street.
For an introvert homebody like me, the lockdown was in many ways a welcome respite from the demands of everyday life. I don’t like being busy, I hate having a full schedule, and I can happily stay at home for days on end without feeling isolated from the world.
I can definitely do without home-schooling, the only aspect of the lockdown I won’t miss. I can also do without shopping centres, cafes, cinemas, kids’ after-school activities and, yes, local bookshops. In truth, I don’t miss any of these amenities, and I will not be queuing up to get my hair cut once the hair and beauty salons open next month. The only thing that desperately needs cutting is the grass in our garden.
If the lockdown has taught me anything about myself, it is that I don’t need all the conveniences and comforts that the big city provides, to live a good life. In some ways, I’m actually happier without them.
The meaning of life, my ten-year-old declared the other day is this:
Hugging, Laughing, Loving.
And I think she’s nailed it.