Welcome to a weekly feature on my blog – Ben’s Zone. Written by husband… Ben. A foodie, coffee obsessed, ex-smoking, ex-drinking and Ridgeback loving Dad. Who is also seriously into his fitness. You can find him on the blog (mostly) on Sundays. Enjoy!
Lockdown – A Year in Retrospective
It’s bizarre to think that, for the most part, the United Kingdom has been in lockdown for a year now. This time last year my biggest worry was the ongoing Brexit negotiations and how they might impact our lives and future. That all seems relatively trivial now. In many respects we have been hugely blessed with our lockdown, my wife and I are both home workers and so we’re used to spending a lot of time together. We are lucky to have a relatively large house and so when we did need space there was space available. We’re also well situated near a forest and so we had good green space near us for exercise.
It has still been hard though. I don’t tend to socialise to a great degree and so, initially, at least, I felt as though this aspect being restricted did not look like something I would be very troubled by. What I had not counted upon though was the simple discomfort of not being able to exercise what had previously been simple freedoms. It was not even the illegality of it that chafed but the notion that by breaking lockdown (or ‘flaunting’ it as our wonderful press describes it) I would be letting down friends and neighbours simply because I felt confined.
In many ways, the most telling aspect of lockdown for me has been how it has twisted our interpersonal relationships. On the one hand, the sweetness of a short conversation on the doorstep has lead to many high points and communities have really pulled together to look out for each other. On the other social media seems to have become ever more polarised, full of vitriol and conspiracy. I can’t determine whether lockdown has reaffirmed my faith in individuals or destroyed any I had to start with.
But what I have learned is that despite all the shouting and twitching of curtains if people take more than one daily outing, there are many more people prepared to put themselves at risk to keep things going, be that by working in grocery shops or volunteering at tests centres. Most of all, after having spent months on end with them, locked inside, I still felt really sad when my children went back to school. Yes, homeschooling had some truly awful moments but I wouldn’t have swapped them because along with them came months with my older two kids I just would not have had.
I’m still not sure whether we’re really through the crisis. Yes, the vaccine is rolling out here in the UK but there’s a big hill left to climb and I feel like our lives will be permanently altered as a result of all of this. What I do know is that ‘the new normal’ whatever that may be is something I can adapt to as long as I have my family close by to me.