I know. Weird post.
When the first lockdown was announced, it felt like life stopped - it was scary.
Mask spots. Loneliness. Kids under your feet 24/7. Work/life balance destroyed. Weight gain. No social life. Illness and death dominating the news. Not being able to leave the house. Being too scared to leave the house - but having to leave the house daily to find toilet paper, feeling like you're on a ninja supply run on The Walking Dead... On paper, it sounds like the end of the world - at the time, it felt like it.
In reality, this pandemic has taught me so many things about myself that I would never have learned without it. It taught me - like so many others - that I am stronger than I ever believed was possible.
I learned how to homeschool. I learned how to homeschool well. I learned how to homeschool while juggling a toddler, holding down a job and starting a new course.
I learned picnics in the garden and walks through the woods, collecting treasure can be more exciting than family days out that cost the best part of a five-bedroom-house in Cambridge. We spent more time on the beach last year - in the evening when everyone else had gone home - than I have my entire life. I learned that the sound of the water and the coolness of waves washing over my bare toes is more therapeutic than any £50 massage - not that I've had many of those for comparison.
I re-taught myself fractions and algebra - Cheers Carol Vorderman - so I could be a better teacher for my seven year old.
Our three year old finally learned to jump - lots of time to practice on the trampoline. The kids spent entire days in the pool and I made a biscoff cheesecake to end all cheesecakes. A cheesecake worthy of being the title photo of this post (Anyone here expecting a cheesecake recipe, I apologise. But I may post the recipe if anyone wants it? It honestly was the best thing I have ever tasted!... I did then spend the next six months working off the calories from said cheesecake - but it was worth it. It was so worth it.
We finally finished doing up the garden and decluttered the house - several times. (it's amazing how much clutter you can collect when you're stuck indoors for a third of a year with nothing but Amazon Prime to keep you occupied.)
I learned I could write a novel - 70,000 words. Unedited - I did that.
Through frustration, exhaustion and worry. Through the uncertainty, madness, and struggles we faced. We, all of us, found the strength to get through it.
And I believe, I hope, that my children look back on this time without anxiety and fear. I hope they remember the walks in the woods, the dinners on the beach... that biscoff cheesecake.
I hope they remember how our community left food shelves out for people who may have been struggling - and how we added to them every time we went on a walk. They learned compassion and empathy. They learned that when things look bad, we pull together.
I'm not trying to glorify tragedy. We will never, ever, forget those millions of people we lost - and are still losing daily. However, out of tragedy, we find strength - and strength gives us the ability to grow.
The future is more uncertain than Boris Johnson giving a speech on restrictions. However, I do hope the worst is behind us. I want coffee mornings and playdates, I want family games nights and to be able to send my children to school without worry. I want businesses to open up, I want to stop doing daily LFT's, and I want to be able to go to the freaking pub!
I DO want normality back.
But there are a few things I will miss about lockdowns and restrictions:
No alarm - School started when we wanted it to start and ended when we wanted it to end.
Spending time with family without the pressures and bustle of everyday life getting in the way.
Spending entire days in pyjamas - I mean - yes, please!
Spending entire days in pyjamas watching Disney films.
Spending entire days in pyjamas, watching Disney films and eating biscoff cheesecake.
Day drinking - gin on the garden swing with a good book while the kids play in the pool = absolute heaven.
Not spending money on expensive day trips.
Not having to make up excuses not to go to that party/work-do/gathering you've been dreading for months.
Books, books and books - I think I read more books in the summer of 2020 than I have in my entire life - costly. But what a journey!
The empty streets - the commute to work was just so peaceful.
Does anyone else have happy memories after the anxiety died down? Or is it just me?