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Memories & Experiences

Lessons From Lockdown: 8 Things I’ve Learned One Year On

I’m writing this post on the 23rd March 2021. Today marks a year since Boris announced that we were going into lockdown here in the UK. At 12pm, there was a minute’s silence to remember everyone who had lost their lives as a result of Covid-19 pandemic. I’m sure I wouldn’t be the only one who, back in March last year, thought this would be over in a couple of months. Even as a pessimist, I was hopeful we would be back to normal by the end of the year at least. How wrong we all were. It’s weird to think the things that started off as alien have become the new normal – social distancing, wearing masks in shops – they weren’t things we ever thought would become a thing, but now, they are.

As we mark a year since we first went into lockdown, it got me thinking about things I’ve learned in the last year. While it was certainly a huge part, 2020 wasn’t all about Connell’s chain and Taylor Swift releasing some incredible new music. The months we spent in lockdown undoubtedly taught us all a few lessons – some of which we kind of knew already, others we picked up along the way – and I thought now would be as good a time as any to look back over the lessons I’ve learned in the last 12 months.

Lessons From Lockdown: 8 Things I've Learned One Year On

An amazing night out doesn’t have to be at a fancy party or a busy night club – it can literally be getting pissed in your own kitchen with your friends.

During the brief period that restrictions were eased to the point where you could have people inside your home, we managed to have a couple of friends over and it was so nice. It didn’t matter that we couldn’t go to the pub or “out out” – just playing some games and having dinner was enough.

Going for walks is actually okay.

Pre-lockdown, every time Liam suggested going for a walk I’d want to hit him. Fucking why?! Fast forward to lockdown, where it was literally the only time we’d get out of the house, and it’s actually quite a nice thing to do if you get some decent enough weather. Plus, combined with the views we have here in Bath, you’d be daft to refuse one! I also live for my occasional “Bitch & Walks” with Lillie, where we get a coffee, go for a walk and bitch about everything. I’m going for my first one since the current lockdown started at the weekend and I can’t bloody wait.

Being left with your thoughts is terrifying.

I’m sure we’ve all experienced mental health struggles during lockdown. I certainly have. I’d sometimes have days of just being tearful for no reason, and other days where I’d feel content and happy (fuck knows why given the situation). Weekends would be especially difficult, because there was nothing else to quiet my mind. I’m grateful that I still had my job to work through, because it kept me busy and focused. I’m not sure what might have happened had I been furloughed. Maybe it would have meant I could crack out some decent content? Who knows.

The key to enjoying your birthday is to take away the pressure.

For so many years, I’ve found that my birthday has often been spent worrying that I should be doing something – we should be going somewhere for the day, going out for dinner or whatever. Of course for 2020 that was all taken away. I spent the run up to the day expecting the shittest birthday ever. However, I had quite the opposite. I had a couple of doorstep visits, a family Zoom call, and the most amazing cake. It genuinely was one of the best birthdays I’d had in years. Having said that, I definitely don’t want another lockdown birthday. Once is quite enough,

I really miss my grandparents.

During the brief period where lockdown restrictions were lifted (again to the point where we could go into people’s houses), I was so thrilled to be able to pop in and see my grandparents for a socially distanced cup of tea. That was soon stopped when cases started going back up, but I managed to see them at Christmas (socially distanced of course).I’m so grateful that I had the chances to see them when I did, but I cannot wait for this shit to be over so I can see them more regularly.

I have some incredible friends.

Okay, so I knew this all along but lockdown cemented it even further. Right before lockdown even hit, I was sent little gifts and notes from some of my closest friends who were fully aware that as someone with contamination based OCD, my worst fear was about to happen and I was not okay. Throughout lockdown my spirits were lifted by little lockdown gifts in the form of little note cards and messages checking in on how I was, and a surprise doorstep visit from Lillie on my birthday. Such small gestures, but they meant so much and I feel so lucky to have such incredible friends.

Cats is a terrible film.

I really wanted to see Cats when I saw they were making a movie version. I was hugely disappointed when all of the critics slated it, especially seeing as Taylor Swift was in it. I’d seen many films before that had been slagged off by critics and that I personally loved, so I was adamant I still wanted to see it. One evening, when we were ridiculously drunk, we decided to watch it for a laugh. Fuck me. It’s a terrible film. I take solace in the fact I was so drunk when I watched it that the fucked up-ness of it was mildly entertaining to begin with. Then it just got painful. Even so, it’s 2 hours of my life I’ll never get back.

I’m incredibly lucky.

Yes, a global pandemic isn’t what you want when you have contamination based OCD. However, there are so many people that have been dealt an even shittier hand and my heart goes out to anyone who has lost loved ones, jobs, and anything else as a result of this horrible virus. I feel incredibly lucky that I’ve kept my job, that we were still able to buy our house and that myself and my friends and family have stayed safe.

As I mentioned at the start of this post, I’m currently writing this on the year’s anniversary of the UK going into lockdown and today especially, I’ve been thinking a lot about everything that’s happened. My heart goes out to every single person that’s lost a loved one to this absolute piece of shit virus, and I’m sending all the love to you in the world. 

To everyone else – please, just follow the rules. We have a roadmap in place and I’m not entirely sure how realistic it is that we’ll stick to it (I haven’t been looking at the news for obvious reasons), but the more of us that actually follow the rules, the better, and the sooner we can be back to some sort of normality. Wash your hands, stay at home, don’t break the rules. Please.

Featured image by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.

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