Learnings from unlocking down

“Start where you are. Do what you can. Use what you have.” – Arthur Ashe

“Realise deeply that the present moment is all you ever have.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

Well, hasn’t 2021 been a blast so far? Party, party, party. Holidays aplenty. Hugs, happiness and hope.

Okay, I accept. That’s the dream. It was the dream. It is the dream. It will be reality. However, let’s be honest, Eckhart Tolle has summed it up in one sentence. The present moment really is all that we have. However, we always have had, do have, and will have hope. And that where my story begins. Hope!

Welcome to my very clear view from the ground as I try to explain what I’ve done to try to unlock the lock that has locked us down.

I know previous blogs have walked through the past 12 months, looking at the beautiful world we are blessed to inhabit, about throwing the curtains wide.

It’s been one hell of a ride and, as we see the light at the end of what has been an ever extending tunnel, I hope we can take so much of what we’ve learned to create a better future post lockdown self. Let’s not waste the last 12 months.

We all know it’s been tough. But as I write this I appreciate how lucky I am in the knowledge it could have been a whole lot tougher. I haven’t suffered COVID-19 and I’m not aware of family or friends who have contracted it. I do know that it’s been hell for those who have, and that’s just those who survived it. The death rate in the U.K. has been so sad and, of course, questions will be asked about why. I’m not going use the blog to make a political statement as COVID-19 isn’t about politics. I don’t need to. The statistics and the denial of the decision makers says enough right now.

So, the question is, to us all, what have we learned? The art of survival is definitely one this. The ability to enjoy recycled TV programmes is another. The repeats have been a joy to behold. And the repeat viewing of series of series has been quite incredible.

But, genuinely, what have we learned from lockdown that we can take as we move forward into the new world? We can’t say back into normality because life will never be the same again.

As lockdown eases, a bit at a time, it’s definitely a time of reflection and, as I say regularly, I do like to reflect.

I certainly think we have learned never to take anything for granted. And I mean anything. After 14 months of waiting, I managed to see my mum. 14 months! Before lockdown, this was an easy, accessible, go when you want, hour’s drive to see mum and Stuart (her legend of a husband).

So, to be able to see her after 14 months, of course it was emotional. But it was also a slap in the face of ‘don’t ever take this for granted’. To all sit there in the sunshine – a bit chilly – talking, smiling, laughing, remembering, and every now and again, all just looking at each other and being grateful for being in that moment. Beautiful.

I’m lucky that I have a beautiful park just over 10 minutes’ walk from the house. In the year pre-lockdown I probably went to the park no more than 10 times. That is scandalous. The park is a place of beauty, where you can revel in the development of nature through the seasons. Since lockdown started, I must have been there over 150 times. Of late, as the daylight hours have increased, it at least a once a day must.

The lesson is certainly to never take the availability of such beauty for granted. Ever.

Of course, lockdown brought those horrible times of me not been able to see Aud. My beautiful partner for the last 4 1/4 years. Very grateful that FaceTime allowed us to ‘see’ each other.

To paraphrase an old line, you never realise how much you need someone until they’re not there. Of course, we are now allowed our walks and some social contact but once full clearance is given, I’ll make sure Aud knows how much I need her in my life (I can say that here as she doesn’t read the blogs).

Resilience has been a lesson. Emotions have ebbed and flowed. The lows and, not quite highs, but the appreciation of life. The last year or so, from a personal perspective, has seen change and is bringing future change. I guess, out with the old – as in lockdown – it’s right to welcome in the new. It’s good to embrace the new. More on that later but, suffice it to say, I’m excited for the change. But, in equal measures, grateful for where I am now.

Lockdown has been a significant time for everyone. It’s been tough for many. It’s been tragic for too many. 12+ months that have shaped our future. For many reasons. Think about it – something as simple as the workplace for those who work(ed) in an office, it will never be the same. And that’s good.

Lockdown will change the way we think. Release from lockdown will, hopefully, mean we spend more time living in the present, living for today, rather than always looking to tomorrow (after the frenzy of booking tables in bars and restaurants has slowed down).

We need to celebrate today. Enjoy the gift that it is. Cram if full of memorable experiences. Reflect at the end of the day that we made the most of the opportunities that were granted to us.

Life has always been precious. The moments that matter should now been seen as every minute we have. Let’s not miss any chances.

Looking back, pre-lockdown, how many of us procrastinated over the simplest things? I’ll do it tomorrow. I’ll make that visit to a special someone next week. I’ll go there later. 12 months later …………. If we could turn back the clock.

As I said earlier, the pure joy of seeing my mum after so long. Emotional is an understatement. A joy that will live with all of us who were there for a long time.and, it’s those moments that are even more special than ever.

It’s making sure that we embrace what feels like a new chance to get things right. During lockdown there was a go drive to ensure we spoke to people. Well, now let’s make that same commitment to see people – family, friends, and those people that we know who might just appreciate a knock on the door and a cheery face to greet them.

Just a note of caution here. If you knock on our door, Ringo will kick off. He just doesn’t like it when he hears someone at the door. I know we’ve got him primed for what to do if there’s an ‘unwelcome’ visitor, but family (well, there’s always one exception 🤣), friends, neighbours, postal workers, Amazon delivery people, you are welcome. Please bear with him. And, sorry, there’s no cheery face. I’ve tried. It looks false. Sorry.

And with that,I will continue to wile away my time continuing to absorb my own learning from being lockdown to take into being unlocked down.

Take care. Keep respecting the guidelines. God bless the NHS.

Jon

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