Life as we know it, completely changed earlier this year due to a Pandemic that none of us could predict. The world came to a sudden halt and outside life was no more. Like most people I guess, “lock down” really put a lot of things into perspective for me and forced me to come to terms with thoughts that usually out of the house are quite controllable. We were asked to stop what we are doing and to become conscious within our present environments, thus teaching us to be grateful for what we already have. Wearing face masks to get outside essentials, zoom meetings to our managers/colleagues and seeing hand drawn rainbow pictures for the NHS quickly became the norm.
At first the concept of staying in your home for 3 weeks seemed like an awful idea or the best thing since sliced bread depending in which category you fell into and as this got extended due to a very confused and conflicted Bozza, inside life for me started to feel like hell to pay.
I work taking calls for Citizens’ Advice and whilst the idea of waking up late and not having to commute to work filled me with joy, the whole idea of WFH began to feel really draining. Months on, I was moodier than I had ever been, my anxiety had gotten a lot worse than usual and I had used up all of my annual leave just so i didn’t have to take calls. PLUS my up-skill for my new role at work had been pushed back and I honest to god hated the guts of Rona and everything it had caused.
Things quickly started to go from bad to worse when I had a fall out with one of the closest people to me and we couldn’t see a way past the situation. Everything felt so hard to deal with and I started to believe that “Lock Down” was one of the worst things to of happened to me (I’m sure as hell I wasn’t the only person thinking this). I mean, ok yeah I still had a job unlike the majority of people either being made furloughed (a word i’d never knew existed since lock down) or redundant, but that didn’t mean that made WFH any easier.
Friendship breakups are the worst, even more so than actual breakups I think, you have all those thoughts about what if your mutual friends stop speaking to you or what if you see them out and it’s really awkward? I think we take friendships for granted, especially in this day and age, we become so comfortable and dependant in them that we think they are always going to be there and so i didn’t really know much of who i was outside of this friendship, i felt like i’d have to re-create myself and friendship circles from scratch and that thought was exhausting.
At the beginning of lock down, I reignited a flame with someone from my past,(through socials of course) we had really hit it off before but due to working abroad we hadn’t had the chance to persue anything. The rate at which things were progressing between us was fast and I wasn’t here it for it initially due to not long coming out of a nearly two year relationship which did absolutely nothing for me, but little did i know this fast moving (i don’t know what you’d call it) would turn out to be one of the best relationships i had ever been in.
Although my head space wasn’t entirely back to it’s usual positive and chirpy self, my now boyfriend did everything he could to try and speed up the recovery (along with my other friends – Amanda, Leah, Tanya – thank you). I felt like I didn’t really have much of a friendship group per say as I had friends from different social settings but I noticed that as i became more vulnerable with my friends about the situation they welcomed me with open arms.
I started to get back to my usual self through things like my friend’s coming round for Netflix and chill nights’ (visa versa) and I started being invited out for nights out such as cocktail nights or to house parties which I usually never would. Within a few weeks, the fearful thought of not having anyone to confide in or go out to eat with started to completely diminish with this new found love and respect that me and my friends now had for each other.
The past few month’s of lock down have been an absolute whirlwind and I started it in a really negative way which has now transcended into me seeing nothing but the good in things. I used break down in the afternoons because i thought i was a bad person for letting this friendship go but now I’ve learnt that it needed to happen. It needed to happen in order for me to be grateful for the friendships that i already have and was taking for granted, it needed to happen for me to learn that setting boundaries are OK and whatever the outcome will be, will be. It needed to happen for me to understand how loved and valued i am already from people and in turn start to love myself more which has only helped to strengthen my relationship with my boyfriend. It needed to happen for me to grow as a person and understand that life happens so embrace the unpredictable. I think that’s definitely something we can all learn from corona if i’m completely honest.
I guess what i’m trying to summarise as a message in this blog is that things happen sometimes that are beyond your control and as much as you try to fight against it, it’s going to happen and there is nothing you can do about it.
If lock down has taught me anything it’s:
- Boundaries are important – I recently learnt this from talking to one of my friends Jess. She highlighted how important it was for me to set boundaries for myself and for other people. If no boundaries are set then people are going to continue to get away with things that you have made them so comfortable in doing. Boundaries set basic guidelines on how you want to be treated and if people can’t appreciate those boundaries, then i’m sorry but the long and short of it is, they don’t appreciate you. Now take that as you will but sooner or later, it will hit you in the face like a big wet fish so if you don’t already have some, set them. If you are naturally a people pleaser like myself then this is something that you may struggle with but in order to keep relationships, healthy, happy and respectful mutually there may be some boundaries you need to put in place.
- Have an open heart and open mind – One door closes and another door opens, just because you can’t see what’s behind the other door right now doesn’t mean that you aren’t going to like it. No one likes heading into the unknown and sometimes life is going to push us into a path that doesn’t look as clear as we’d like but that’s OK. Have a open mind that things are going to be alright regardless and open your heart to trust that the universe is closing the door behind you for a reason and guiding you to one that’s going to fit your purpose slightly more.
- Be Grateful for what you already have – If i didn’t have my other friends around me whilst I was feeling how I was feeling then i can’t even imagine how lonely i’d have felt. You don’t realise how therapeutic a girls’ night in is, just to vent, reminisce on old times and laugh until your belly hurts over a glass of Malibu Strawberry Spritz. I’ll hold my hands up and admit that I took my other friends for granted before but as i sit and write this, i’m understanding how much they actually mean to me and i’m going to do everything i can to show them this moving forward. SHOW the people that you have around you already how appreciated they are and how grateful you are to have them in your life.
- Love yourself first, ALWAYS – I’ve always wondered, why when someone loves me the way i’m supposed to be loved, why do i get the sudden urge to run for the hills? Why do i feel like I don’t deserve the love that i’m being offered? I pondered on this thought for a while and it started to annoy me so I did some research on it and it turns out, it all starts with the relationship that we have with ourselves. I know it sounds insane, but hear me out… If you don’t love yourself enough, when someone else comes along and shows you how to love, the concept feels foreign and strange and you don’t quite believe that all that love can be for you. So when we don’t love ourselves enough, we do the opposite, we settle for things that we shouldn’t because we don’t love ourselves enough to know ANY better.
The love that the world has shown to each other because of quarantine has been beautiful, from the sharing of new online businesses whether that be sprinkle cake or weed cake related, to the weekly claps for the carers on a Thursday evening at 8pm. This pandemic has been totally surreal but there is also some beauty in what it’s created. I just hope that this love is something that we can continue on with and give to one another when times aren’t so hard too. We’ve shown that we can do it, so why does it only have to be done in times of hardship? Why isn’t this love something that we can give to one another all the time?
Now when I look back in hindsight and think how this Pandemic has been for me, in my honest opinion, if i take everything into consideration in terms of, finding love (through a relationship and friendships), setting boundaries and learning how valued I am in my already existing relationships, lock down for me truly was a blessing. An unexpected, very peculiar blessing, but a blessing nonetheless.