So life looks like it is slowly returning to ‘normal’, and I say ‘normal’ because what even is that anymore?
I am classifying normal as having the freedom to choose what I do, where I go and how many days my kids go to school… which would be ALL OF THE DAYS!
As we have gotten dribs and drabs of freedom back over the last few weeks, I have had a surprising feeling of resistance come up as I was thinking about things going back. School, after-school activities, Saturday sports, face-to-face meetings and the like, and I am asking myself, ‘What is this hesitancy?’ I kicked and screamed at the start of lockdown, should I not be over the moon by the ending of it?
I guess the question I have to ask myself is, ‘Do I want everything back the way it was?’
It is a legitimate question that I think we can all benefit from asking ourselves.
I spent quite a bit of time whingeing at the start of lockdown; the loss of seeing my friends, the loss of a social life for my children, the sadness of certain events being cancelled for them - like school camp, zone carnivals, book fair and so on. I don’t like being told what to do in general, so being told I had to be indoors and only outdoors for an hour really had me raging for a bit there. So, why this hesitancy, this nervousness, this anxiety? Funnily enough, quite a few conversations I have had over the past couple of weeks have taken a turn towards this topic, and it looks like I am not alone in this.
This certainly does not mean I am not super excited to see my friends again, go out for dinner and take a long walk at the beach.
Is it because I actually enjoyed aspects of the lockdown? Has it taken me this long to figure that out? Perhaps it has.
So in order to investigate why I am feeling this way, I decided to write down the things I liked about lockdown.
I was less busy. That.is.all.
My initial findings did not satisfy me, so I did think about a few more things I have enjoyed.
My brain appreciates having more time to focus on things in one go. Instead of 30 minutes here, and an hour there, I can spend 2 hours on something and get it done from start to finish. It has helped my focus, and I don’t want that to end.
Having the kids help with cooking dinners has been good. We have had more time for me to spend in the kitchen with them. I am usually super protective of my kitchen time, but without after-school activities, we have had time for me to teach, help cook and bake, and for the extra time the clean up has taken. And the benefits are the fact that maybe my kids WILL know how to cook when they leave me one day, and the pride they have at sharing their food creation is really valuable.
Daily family walks/rides/runs have been a highlight. Even though the same route can sometimes be ‘boring’ in the eyes of my children, I think we have overall enjoyed the connection it has brought us.
I am sure there are more things that I have appreciated about lockdown, maybe it was also the excuse to enjoy more wine than usual!
So then maybe it’s not about giving things up as we come out of lockdown, but about making sure the things we enjoyed about it get incorporated into our ‘normal lives,’ and that will definitely require a re-thinking about priorities.
How can I make sure there is time for outdoor time with the family on a more regular basis? Can I be ok with having kids in the kitchen more often?
These are all things to contemplate as we leave lockdown, and hopefully by doing that, some of the hesitancy and anxiety is eased. But let's be gentle with ourselves, lockdown has been a huge emotional drain for many, many people, so it is not at all surprising that there is going to be a time of adjustment.
If you are struggling with the return to freedom, remember, it is ok for YOU to determine the speed at which YOU and your family return to ‘normal.’