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As the UK slowly transitions out of lockdown, it feels like the perfect time to reflect on how life has changed over the past couple of months and what it's taught me about myself and life...
I feel as though in society we're taught that we must be happy. For every hour of every day. And, if you don't feel happy; just pretend that you're and eventually you'll feel it! Perhaps it's something about everyone being in the same boat with being stuck at home a lot and not being able to do many of the things we all enjoy in life that has normalised being able to say you're not ok. You're allowed to have a bad day. You don't have to say you're good every single time someone asks. I don't think I've ever been more open with those around me when I've just been feeling low on a given day, and honesty breeds honesty; people have opened up to me in return. It honestly has felt good to have honest conversations with people about how we feel.
I really value flexibility
As much as working from home has been tough in some respects (i.e. myself and my partner in a one-bedroom flat having to do our jobs in the same room), other parts have been great. For me, that's included being able to have a productive lunch break, taking photos for my social media and blog, writing and so on. I've also been able to take the time in my own kitchen to make delicious, healthy food at lunchtime, instead of rushing around for an hour and grabbing a Pret sandwich en route back to the office. I've also really enjoyed being able to go for a run whenever I want and it not really mattering whether or not I have time to shower and make myself look half-decent afterwards. I do hope an element of home-working, for those of us who can, becomes the norm because I feel it's really helped with work / life balance in some respects.
I'm more resilient than I thought I was
If you'd told me in 2019 that I'd be spending almost my entire day at home, not seeing friends and family and I wouldn't have been abroad or even out for food or drinks for months on end, I'd have assumed that would lead to self-implosion. But, I've survived! In some ways, maybe I've even thrived. I really didn't give myself enough credit, but I suppose you don't know what you can get through until you have to and it's made me think a lot about the fact that if I push myself out of my comfort zone a little more in life, I'll probably survive that too.
How much I value my friends and family
As much as technology can help with us stay connected with loved ones; it's just not the same as sitting down in person and having a good old catch-up. And I've honestly missed that so much. I feel incredibly fortunate to have amazing people in my life and I'll absolutely be making sure I go back home more, I spend more time with family and I say 'yes' to every social occasion I'm asked along to!
Maybe flat life isn't for us
Living in the city centre in a small flat because you're out at work, socialising and away a lot and you like to be in the thick of it seemed like such an obvious thing pre-COVID. However, since the lockdown started, any city-living benefits have been halted and it's made myself and my boyfriend realise that we value having green space around us and perhaps it is time to move somewhere a bit quieter. Having a garden once felt like something I could take or leave, however during this pandemic it's been a real strain not having access to outdoor space.
Take nothing for granted
I not only feel fortunate to (touch wood) be healthy in myself, but not to have been touched personally by the deaths we've experienced across the globe. Additionally, many people have lost their income or a large chunk of it, as a result of these totally unforeseen circumstances. And, a lot of people have spent lockdown in overcrowded houses. Luckily, I've been able to carry on as normal with my job from home, our flat is small but it's just the two of us and, although the experience has been a little monotonous and claustrophobic at times, I've been really fortunate throughout it. In terms of my lifestyle, I also never think I'll take basic things for granted again: like seeing my grandparents, hopping on a train to visit friends, hugging my mum, booking last-minute cheap flights to some European city or even just a 'let's go get a drink at that new place after work'. Hopefully, when these things gradually begin to return, I'll have a newfound appreciation for all of this and more.
What has the lockdown taught you?