Don’t be fooled into thinking this is going to be one of those posts you’ve seen online about how everyone should be walking away from the lockdown with a new skill or a novel completed. That may be you, it is definitely not me.
However like most of you there are things that I am learning about myself, about the world and ultimately more about what I want and more importantly need.
I am learning to be more patient. I guess now is the time for that hey? I must admit that the first month or so of the pandemic brought me more than I expected in terms of stress and my patience was tested and smashed to pieces on more than one occasion. I wish that hadn’t happened. But it’s done and forward is the only way you can move otherwise you are just stuck in the same place. I am more patient now with others, especially my children who whilst wonderful and loving can of course be testing when there is so much time just stuck within the confines of our home. I am trying really hard to teach them the importance of patience with each other so it is kind of essential that I at least try to display that behaviour myself as much as I can. I am more patient with friends and family, yeah it took you 3 days to reply but it’s ok, sometimes thats the same for me too. We may have more actual time but I don’t know about you my brain doesn’t seem to have quite latched onto that and feels more busy than ever. Yep sometimes I read and pop my phone aside then absolutely forget to reply. I feel bad but we all do it. I am more patient with myself. I have stopped beating myself up about not getting everything done that I meant to do. My baking posts traffic went a bit wild at the beginning of lockdown and my brain told me to go promote all of those posts and create as many new recipes as possible but my heart wasn’t in. So I didn’t do it. Some days we get all the kids schoolwork done, some days we don’t and maybe we have a cooking lesson or a crafts lesson – also known as making cakes and drawing rainbows. That’s ok. I am not superhuman. None of us are.
It’s important to sit back sometimes and tell yourself this, we are living through unexpected ( I couldn’t bring myself to use unprecedented) times. It is a complete unknown. We will all be missing something or someone. Some days it is unbearably hard. Give yourself a break. If you are telling yourself each day that you aren’t doing enough or it’s not good enough – stop that now. If you are managing to keep yourself and your family reasonably calm and happy and fed and watered that is enough. You don’t need to read 100 books or master sourdough and you really don’t need to do Joe Wicks each day – although occasionally it’s quite fun.
I am learning to value the simplicity of life. A great cup of tea, the hugs the girls give me first thing. Making my parents laugh on a video call. The satisfaction of an online order arriving in full. Doing something small to brighten someones day. Supporting my friends and family when they need it. Appreciating good weather and yet still enjoying the rain when it comes. The chat you have from a distance with someone passing the house, the one you know brightens their day. Stopping to chat to people in gardens as you do the same walk each day, seeing their faces light up when they see the kids. Knowing you may have been their first human contact that day.
I am learning about what I need to be happy. And its surprisingly pretty simple. My needs aren’t lengthy or crazily imaginative. I need the girls to be happy and healthy. I need them to feel secure and I need to have enough money to be able to feed, cloth and provide them with a safe home. They don’t need super expensive clothes or an X Box or luxury food and neither do I. I need my family to be healthy and happy too. My parents who I have always valued have made my life so much easier on us than it could have been in many ways. They support me in everything I need and I know that whatever I asked of them they would try to help. So of course in this time when they need my help a little more with online shopping or googling meat/veg deliveries then I want to make it easier for them. I need my siblings who I am close to and spend a considerable amount of my social time with normally. I need them to be ok and I need to be able to see them. And I need my good friends who I know I can message or call whenever, I need to be able to talk to them, even if we cant meet up for a chat and a meal right now.
I don’t need the pub or the cinema or dates. I don’t need a holiday or to be able to go to the gym. I don’t need to go to a festival or a concert. I don’t need lots of clothes or expensive make up. Or an electric scooter. Which has been in a shopping basket of mine on several occasions lately – I don’t need one. Don’t. HA.
I want life back to normal but more than that I want the people I love in it and if that means life can’t be normal for a long time then so be it. It sucks. It really does but if six months of being the only grown up in my home and no hugs from another adult ends up with being able to spend time afterwards with all of my loved ones who are healthy then I can do it. I am stronger than I know. And so are you.
You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. A A Milne