“I have everything I thought was important and nothing that really is.” – Lily Francone
Resilience and wellbeing are things we have had to work hard for these last few years. I think it is fair to say that many of us when we look back on it, are quite surprised about what pleasure we derived from things that we took for granted before the pandemic. I am certainly finding myself thinking about what I managed to achieve during the lockdown, in terms of keeping myself together, and am really quite proud.
When you think of the things that you have cherished during the past few years, and the things that you missed when they were gone, and the things you now think differently about… I think you will probably be able to cobble together a purer sense of what genuinely matters in life, and what doesn’t… or rather, what is just an added bonus.
Here are a few of those things that I think we think matter or don’t, as revealed to us by the depths of lockdown! Perhaps you agree?
Of course, people are important. I think it’s fair to say that this is not new news. However, seeing people, whether friends, family or even just being out in the world with strangers, is something we took for granted before. It also taught me which of my relationships were the strongest, who checked in when I needed to be checked in on. Largely, these were the usual suspects, but there were also some big surprises… in terms of both people who showed support, and people who didn’t.
I hope that I never take a night at the pub with friends for granted again and that I continue to contribute to those relationships that I have now learnt that are much more solid than I thought they were.
2. Being Busy
So many of us felt the need to burn the candle at both ends. Work hard, play hard. But now I know many people that have realised, having been forced to stop, that doing nothing on occasion is absolutely brilliant. One such couple I know, who would be out working every night of the week if they could, began to appreciate how great it was just being together and doing ‘not very much’ again was. “Never again. Never going back to being that busy,” they said to me. Whether or not that will hold true is another thing, but people have been reacquainted with the simplicity and importance of simply existing together… and being content.
“It’s a funny thing about life, once you begin to take note of the things you are grateful for, you begin to lose sight of the things that you lack.” – Germany Kent
3. New Places
Like most people, for most of 2020 and a large chunk of 2021, I existed within about two square miles. I live in South London, and I never thought I’d miss Oxford Street, which is a mere 6 miles away. But I did. It really made me appreciate how lucky I am to spend my life, in normal times, visiting so many new places. Even though I have been out and about in the world again for many months now, I still soak up every place I go. All the little details that I used to take for granted, I now make a point to appreciate.
TVs. Books. Computer games. Crafting materials. All of this stuff was thought of as frivolous. Luxurious even. But, during the pandemic, it turns out that these are perhaps the most important things in life. They are what keep us sane. They are imperative to our mental health and resilience. Having good quality sound, decent internet and quality streaming content suddenly became more important… because leisure activities were all we had, and it was therefore very important to ensure that it was enjoyed in HD and surround sound!
Overall though, what we have been reminded of, is that life, when boiled down to its bare bones, can be, although tough, quite wonderful in its simplicity. Of course, I want to be back doing my favourite things. But I will certainly remember, and occasionally pine for, when our existence was a little simpler for a while. Mere survival, as it was, was actually quite beautiful at times.
By Chris Thomson
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