Lockdown: six weeks on

So, we’ve officially been locked down now for six weeks. In some ways it feels like longer. In others, it feels like less. It certainly feels more recently that I was dancing with my friend Alex in the window of his flat. Probably because not much has happened since then – although in another way a lot has happened.

I realise that lockdown has been a really hard time for many people, but for me it has, on the whole, been a lot less stressful than I might have imagined it to be. It’s easy to say that it has changed me, and maybe it has, although I think perhaps it’s more that it has shone a light on things that were already there. Despite my occasional evenings out with friends, before lockdown I was quite a solitary person. Lockdown has certainly highlighted the importance of contact with others and through the magic of the internet, has brought me closer to certain people. It’s also reignited my love for playing the ukulele. And in spite of it all, the last few weeks have been a really happy time for me.

Me and my ukulele

The truth is that lockdown suits me. Despite initial misgivings, I enjoy teaching online. I enjoy my online writing workshops and exercise sessions. I’m not the slightest bit bored: in fact, there still isn’t time to do everything I would like to do. And so I prioritise, and I can see my priorities changing.

Sure, it would be great to get out and get some exercise, to get back out into the countryside, to meet up with friends, but I’ve always been comfortable at home and my room has become a sort of safe space for me.

I’ve spent most of the last six weeks alone in the flat. I’ve only been outside once each week to go to the supermarket, and I’ve spent the vast majority of my time in my room. I could have made use of the living room or the balcony, but generally I don’t, except for the daily applause – when I’m not working or cooking. (Sometimes hunger strikes at just the wrong time!)

Speaking of the daily applause, we seem to have settled into a routine of Resistiré followed by clapping for a couple of minutes, followed by Viva España, accompanied by the woman next door on the castanets. I have to keep reminding myself that it’s not the English version they’re singing. It’s easy enough to remember when I’m out there on the balcony clapping along, but on the days when I’ve been in the kitchen, I have sometimes found myself singing along with ‘España por favor!’

Anyway, we know already that we’re going to be subject to lockdown until at least 9th May, by which time it will have been 8 weeks. It’s almost certainly going to be longer, although it seems that the government is planning to start easing the restrictions from mid-May, so hopefully we might at least be allowed out for exercise. Children are to be allowed out under supervision as of tomorrow (lucky them). But there’s also talk of possibly having to tighten things up again if the curve starts to go the wrong way. I’m praying it doesn’t happen – for the people directly affected, for the health workers, of course, but also for my friends and for my own wellbeing.

In the meantime, I just have to be patient, to live in the moment, accept that this is how things are for now and hope that the transition into the real world goes smoothly when we’re finally allowed out there. And keep reminding myself, whatever happens: todo saldrá bien.

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