Operation Lockdown

You know when you first wake up in the morning… That lovely moment when you’re wiping the drool from your lips before it hits the pillow, picking the crust out of your eyes, and then having that really satisfying big stretch? And for a few wonderful seconds, you are blissfully unaware of what’s happening right now.

And then you remember.

In honesty, I don’t think I’ve really comprehended yet just how big this is. It must be the biggest thing to happen in this generation… (although the biggest competition so far is probably the Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special).

At the risk of sounding ignorant, it’s not necessarily the virus itself that’s scary. It’s the effect that it has on everything. The economy, employment, mental health, education, Emmerdale…

There’s just a constant feeling of unease, with an endless list of things to worry about… Will I be able to pay my bills next month? Will my son still be able to read after several weeks’ home schooling? Is there enough wine being produced? When WILL Emmerdale resume filming? It’s just all a bit too much to deal with.

I think the thing that made me realise what a big deal this is, other than there being literally nothing else on the news for a month, was when someone said that our Great Grandchildren will learn about this in school, which is a crazy thought. They’ll be told of social distancing, furloughing, Cobra meetings, and all the other terms that even we hadn’t heard of a month ago.

Right, before I go on to say how utterly miserable we all are, let me be perfectly clear here…

I am well aware that during WWII, Anne Frank was in hiding for two years, soldiers were told to say goodbye to their loved ones and assume that they would never see them again, and that an incomprehensible 6 MILLION Jewish people were murdered.

That is undoubtedly a crisis. That is tragic. And we can’t even begin to imagine the suffering.

Comparatively, in the (annoyingly) wise words of Piers Morgan, we’re being asked to stay at home and watch TV. It’s really not that bad. In fact, it’s normally my ideal Saturday night to be honest.

That said, I think we may be experiencing the “Forbidden Fruit” phenomenon. Normally, I’d think nothing of staying at home all day and not speaking to anyone. But now that going out is not allowed, staying in has come to feel like a punishment.

I’m quite an advocate for how difficult life is these days compared to times gone by. The difficulty of getting on the property ladder, the impossibility to have savings (or is that just me?), and media pressures to be a beautiful, happy, skinny Mum, who can bake, craft and do a perfect winged eye liner.

But despite my joy at having the “you don’t know how lucky you are” argument with my 92-year-old Tory Grandpa every week, the fact is that this “new normal” has made me realise that actually, we had things pretty good.

I keep fantasising about February. Wonderful, heavenly February. I was living the dream. Casually calling at Tesco Express on the way home from work after crawling in the lovely predictable traffic, without having to queue outside, for a bottle of Pinot, a £1 bunch of daffodils and a Carex aloe vera.

Up until last week, I was working as normal in the COVID-19 crisis, despite the lockdown. My husband was working from home, looking after our son after the school closures. He kept moaning about being fed up with staying in all day and I thought he was just being a bit pathetic to be honest. But now I have realised just how capable of empathy I am. (Well done me.)

We are currently on Day 5 of self-isolation. It’s awful.

I have sanded, decorated, gardened, cleaned, loaded and unloaded the dishwasher roughly 319 times, crafted, drawn, taught, all in addition to washing my hair every day. And I am still so bloody bored… I’m not the only one. My kid is also bored. And it turns out that when a 7-year-old is bored, they have to tell you EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY DAY.

I think we can maintain a healthy balance between acknowledging that this situation isn’t the worst thing ever to happen in the world, whilst also being allowed to be annoyed, scared, fed up and very aware that time away from our loved ones is actually a luxury.

So in the interests of everyone’s physical health, our mental wellbeing, our emotional fuse, and Emmerdale, let’s just stay at home and watch Tipping Point, yeah?

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