I did wonder last week whether I should write something. For many people, the lockdown has been very hard. There are families in small flats or apartments with limited space, no gardens and essentially stuck in a prison (albeit one with Netflix and Gameboy !).
For us the Lockdown started on the 18th March – so how have things changed ?
I came up with using a Net Diagram so my big picture became ….. some very interesting changes as I shall explore…..I stick this here without headline just to show there are some big changes. I cannot believe I would be alone in this so worth exploring individually perhaps.
How Did I arrive at This ?
I wondered a little how I could articulate my thoughts as we essentially retired over 2 years ago. Yes we do lots of voluntary stuff, pottering about and the like. My wife has her elderly and doddery parents she spend a lot of time with, but we live in a nice village, nice house with a sunny garden, cats and friend. Yes changes, but it is hardly being cooped up in a concrete lined apartment block. We are extremely fortunate !
Copying is a very sincere form of flattery, but I doubt anyone could add to it as is. I did think about it, but frankly not a patch and besides, no way to improve on this.
Instead, I thought I would take the principle and maybe look at the first 20 things I could think of that either matter the most, matter at all, or just come to mind as changed. It ended up being 21 items but hey ho !
Then maybe group a bit and take a look at what has really happened in my life, see if any picture at all emerged or was it just binary doing this/not doing this now (temporarily). Just an idea, but as shown below, rather surprised me a bit how profoundly different our world is right now. Makes us both think we need to keep some changes when this virus is all over.
So What Criteria Come to Mind ?
Here is the list that first came to mind:
Car, Eating Out, Cinema & Theatre, Online Movies & Box sets, Coffee, Coffee & Cake, Cooking well, Throwing away food, Exercise, Social Volunteering, Supermarket Shopping, House Heating on during the Day, Shaving Daily, Showering Daily, Car, Virtual Working & Internet.
I can look at scoring in terms of relative importance or activity ranging from very low (1) to very high (10).
In one sense, it is just a ruddy great list and as the diagram at the top shows cam be mapped out to show a picture. If I did what Accidental_Fire did I would just end up with a few graphs looking just like his: low to high; high to low. But grouping allows me to see if a picture emerges, some insight I could glean.
Quite clearly, being locked down, limiting movement and having pretty well everything shut means the ‘going out’ part of life have crashed to nil, but now we watch more online and I have slipped back into a very old habit (as I am a night owl) of watching late night films and just lazing in bed until 9 or 10 am.
Interestingly, my daily Coffee is still just as important to me, but the fact that I now have time, I take time to sit in the garden and have an afternoon slice of cake with my afternoon coffee. A little cream over it (which the cats love to help me with). It is a little reward for taking a 2-3 mile walk round the village for the ‘allowed’ daily exercise. Thing is, I hardly ever took the time before. I may have gone to the local gym for a swim and sauna once or twice a week, but really since giving up work, I really don’t do anywhere near enough exercise.
The fact others are out as well means we always run into people we know. Observing social distancing is a ‘dance’ but it is so nice to just stop and chat for a bit. Again, in busy lives no one really did that a lot.
Another thing that slightly got me is that I now sit in the garden with a magazine or book most days. Usually with coffee & cake and having the kittys about there is the invariable tease and chase with twigs and the like. I really had missed playing with the cats without even realising it. They are a lot happier for it as well.
Then this reading means I am (slowly) catching up with a bunch of articles, magazines and books. I really had forgotten how to read strange as it seems.
Home & Wellbeing
With food I like to cook but ended up getting lazing so simple or sometimes just plain lazy cooking became more normal. Her Ladyship does not really cook (well…. she is not very good at it so handy I can cook really). We also ended up throwing food away. I know, I know, there are people starving and the like. We would end up going shopping and falling for the subtle physco-marketing techniques ending up with either too much, or just stuff we could not realistically use before it went off. There is only so much you can freeze, but now, much more careful and hardly anything gets thrown out.
I already did a number of voluntary things to do with local schools and my professional institution. Although I still do some things that can be done remotely that has fallen off a bit, but instead, I am one of a handful of volunteers in the village and we daily pick up and deliver medications to the local villages around us for the people most vulnerable and who must stay isolated….. I always wanted to be a drug dealer … only kidding !
There is the Exercise thing. As I pointed out above, I did not do very much but now, almost every day we go for a 2-3 mile walk round the village. Next week we will go further as there are some woods about 2 miles away that have a carpet of Bluebells just coming out. Usually one of the prettier sights of the year. This and actually eating a bit less I have lost a little weight without even trying. (Need to loose more me-thinks !).
A couple of other things slightly surprised us. Like most people we had a weekly shop. Split between a large lot of whatever at our local supermarket and then her ladyship would pick up some fresh veg in a local market when shopping with her mum. As Covid started to hit, we did not panic buy, but did buy a bit more of stuff we do regularly use as a buffer: Buy a couple of cans of Butter Beans for example, so got 3, 4 boxes of cat food, so got 5. Not mad like some idiots. But now, not been to a supermarket in 2.5 weeks and no need to go for another 2 weeks at least. We have a small shop in our village and although that costs a little more, is more than adequate to get fresh milk, veg and nik-naks. More importantly, it has Ice Cream we sometimes get when out for a walk !
House heating like most people is on a timer and although we have been at home since retired we have been here there and everywhere most days, so it is actually noticeable that we have had the heating on on cold days all day.
Easy to think personal hygiene should not change for anything other than the better.
A daily shower is part of my routine and it is exceptionally rare I don’t have one, but the thing I notice now is I just don’t shave every day but every 3-4 days ….. her ladyship calls me a scruffy sod ha ha !! [No Net-Diagram here as only two variables]
Finally the work aspects. Clearly driving is very low now and really confined to delivering medications to ours and outlying villages and very infrequent trips to deliver food and meds to our elderly parents.
A lot more virtual working. It would not surprise me in the least that virtual, remote and video working becomes a much bigger part of society when this virus is done. This in turn makes the internet connection to be the highest of importance: not least how else would I stream all those films and box sets !
So big pretty net-diagram, nicked idea, bit of analysis …. so what ? …. does it tell me personally anything at all ?
Well if I am really honest with myself I would say 3 of the above groupings will largely return to how they were:
- Entertainment – we are not going to remain monks. So Restaurants, Cinema etc will be right back on the agenda. Not unsurprisingly the number of box-sets and online movies will drop
- Personal Hygiene – As I will most certainly be going out and about again, voluntary activities and the like are not really nice all scruffy, so back to daily shaving is a high probability
- Work – Funny thing is, that although I expect more remote working and video conferencing, I would expect much of what I did to return to face to face. Inevitably, car use will go back to pretty well what it was, but it is clear the home internet is very important and I don’t have superfast … something to investigate
But the other two areas .. well … things need to change
Big things to take away:
Take more time
Take more time to play with the cats; to walk through our lovely village and the woods nearby; to chat to people; to just enjoy a coffee & cake in the garden with a good book.
Look after Myself Better
Take more time to cook properly and plan better; to not waste so much. Exercise more – easy if I just walk the village and chat ! As for the volunteering, I will end up doing what I did before which was very rewarding, but I suspect now we have a village network, if people need something or being taken somewhere then like others I will very happily do that.
Yes, we the virus is done, our lives at home will be a bit different, not totally different, but a bit different and hopefully for the better.