What I Love about Lockdown
Don’t dwell on what you’re having to go without in the Age of Lockdown. Celebrate instead the things you’re happy to see the back of during these strangest of days, argues Amanda Dardanis
Police patrols. Citizen Movement Certificates. Walking to the corner shop for essential supplies in furtive pairs. This is the week it all went a bit Handmaid’s Tale and we’ve had to come to grips with a new radicalised reality.
Mind you, it’s not every day that Greece is the good kid in the classroom. Throughout all this, the Mitsotakis Government has moved swiftly and decisively to bring the Corona monster to heel, and for a culture that worships freedom and democracy, Greeks have complied with commendable stoicism. Compared to other countries, there’s been very little panic buying or hoarding. Supermarket lines are calm and respectful. Balconies have replaced cafes as social touchstones. Neighbours trade news across them, cooped up Athenians work out on them, and friends “share” a bottle of wine at sundown via Facetime or Houseparty. Independence Day came and went and our irony meters may have spiked but we remained indoors. As a society, Greeks have no immunity to Covid19. What we do have, however, is a built up collective tolerance to hardship. Fresh are the memories for most of us of endless strikes, shuttered shops, and snaking bank queues as we rushed to withdraw our daily €60 quota before the ATMs ran dry. We’re old hands at weathering dramatically-downsized lifestyles; of seeing our short-term futures go up in smoke; and of living under a constant cloud of fear and anxiety. Just as we discovered back then – and we’re re-discovering now – not all deprivation is bad. It can recalibrate our values and reboot our most important relationships. Especially the one we have with ourselves. Here are the things I’m most enjoying living without during lockdown:
A temporary ceasefire on FOMO
That brick-like anxiety that everyone you know is out there “living their best lives” while you’re at home mainlining Designated Survivor? It can be like a shrill harpy eating away at your well-being and self-worth. With that corrosive white noise now switched to mute, it’s heaven. Ditto social media and the near-silenced “my existence is way cooler than yours” chorus. Got no weekend plans? Join the club.
Hurry Sickness is on hold too
I worry that when my two daughters grow up, their strongest abiding childhood memory will be of me shrieking: “Hurry Up! We’re going to be so late!” as I shove them out the door. Keeping the train on the tracks in our typically over-loaded lives is not only a full-time job, it’s also a personality prophylactic. Now that I’m liberated from the daily tyranny of schedule, I’m finding more time to listen, really listen, to my girls. And not with that glazed-eyed thing we all do when we’re trying to throw together dinner, trouble shoot homework, broker playdates on whatsapp, and reply to work emails at the same time.
No jacket required
Departmental meetings on Google Hangouts have become a new staple of my work from home routine and I couldn’t be happier. No more grappling around in my wardrobe desperately each morning for something to wear to the office that doesn’t need ironing. I can just kill the camera and stay in sweats all day (though, if I keep scarfing chocolate at this rate, none of my work threads will actually fit me when all this is over.) Which leads me to …
No more passive aggressive laundry hampers
When I lift the lid of our laundry basket now, I’m no longer confronted by the overwhelming evidence of my poor domestic goddess record. No more sweaty football kits I forgot to wash before Friday fixtures or favourite Stranger Things hoodies still stained with ketchup from last weekend’s class party. With our family of four all on the bench, the weekly laundry burden has been cut by more than half, hurrah.
Not being in the red (for now)
For the first time in recent memory, I am actually on target to get to the end of this month with money still left in my account. It’s sobering to realise just how much all those Saturday Zara binges, impromptu Sunday wine bar sessions with the girls, dinners out, office snack runs, and family cinema dates added up. I’m in no way trying to diminish the very real terror so many will face down in the coming months, with loss of household income. But for the moment at least, I’m grateful for this very rare phenomenon.
A holiday from the “You’re only as good as your last haircut” mindset
So Shakespeare penned King Lear while he was in quarantine for the bubonic plague (or so the Twitterverse would have us believe) and Newton cracked calculus? So what! As a self-confessed, obsessive multi-tasker whose default setting is “What Next?”, I’ve surprised myself at how much I’m relishing this enforced interlude of inactivity. My finest achievement this week has been re-purposing a dusty old table with the help of a mop and two tins of baked beans, so my youngest and I can play ping-pong in the garden. And I’m totally fine with that.
What have you been missing during Lockdown … not one little bit?