personal

Life is “Flat” under Lockdown

NOTE: This is a personal blog, nothing here about NLG, academic life, etc. So probably will be of limited interest to most of the readers of my blog!

Last week I tried to explain my feelings about Covid-related restrictions/lockdown to a colleague. She came back with a great summary; my life seems “flat” under lockdown. Its not a tragedy for me (as it is for many others), but life has lost a lot of the “fizz” that makes it fun and enjoyable in normal times.

By the way, I am not in any sense questioning the need for lockdown! I am sure some of the details could have been better implemented, but I think our political leaders in Scotland have been doing their best to deal with a very difficult situation, and I’m not going to criticise them here based on 20-20 hindsight.

I have it easy compared to others!

Lockdown is definitely much easier for me than many other people I know! I know a lot of people who have young children at home and are struggling to look after them as well as work; I also have a friend who has an adult daughter at home with severe learning difficulties and has lost of all of the support and activities for her daughter. I’m lucky in that my caring responsibilities have actually *decreased* during lockdown, because my special-needs son is spending more time in his residential school and less time at home (the school has reduced travel home since returnees could bring Covid to the school).

I also know people who have suffered severe career disruption or financial loss. Its worst for young people, but I also know a former student in his 30s with a family to support who has lost his (well-paying) job and is struggling to find a new one. Whereas my financial position has actually gotten better during lockdown; we are saving a lot of money which in a normal year we would spend on trips, restaurants, etc.

I also know many people who have long-term medical problems which are much more difficult to manage in lockdown, because a lot of activities have been cancelled, its hard to see doctors for non-Covid things unless they are emergencies, and in general routines have been disrupted (not good for mental health issues). The only way my healthcare has been disrupted is that I’m going to have to wait for a dental crown (implant) which was supposed to be done in March 2020; annoying, but other people have much worse problems!

Last but not least, quite a few people I know (including my brother and sister-in-law) have gotten Covid. None of them has died or suffered long-term effects, but it still has been a very unpleasant and disruptive experience! I either havent had Covid, or had a case which was so mild that I didnt notice it.

But life is still flat

So in practical terms I am fine. But life still seems flat, because I can no longer do many of the things which make life fun and enjoyable.

Top of the list is travel. I’ve always enjoyed travelling, and in my 20s spent a year and a half as a tourist in developing countries (I wrote some travelogues which are on the Resources and Links page). I’ve done less of this kind of touristing since I started a family and became a father, but I still enjoy trips (conferences, lab visits, Arria stuff, holidays) where I can go somewhere new and meet new people. I also try to take a cycling holiday in the UK most years (I’ve written a few blogs about these), which also gets me to new places with new people (plus helps me stay in shape). My wife and I both turned 60 in 2020, and we had hoped to take a special holiday in Scandinavia. Thanks to lockdown, none of this happened, and this definitely took some of the “fizz” from my life.

I also really miss talking to people in person! I dont consider myself to be a particularly sociable person, but in normal life I’m constantly talking to all sorts of people at work, plus involved in some community activities, plus meet up with friends occasionally. All of this is happening virtually these days, and it just isnt the same. Again, less “fizz” in my life!

I also miss little things. I love going to our local library, which is not currently possible; I know I can buy books online, but its so nice to browse. My wife and I usually try to eat at a different restaurant every month, and have gotten some nice surprises (as well as disappointments); we havent done this since early 2020. My son loves playing in water, so in normal times I take him to our local swimming pool whenever he is home; I think the last time I did this with him was in Feb 2020. Etc, etc.

Final Thoughts

Lockdown hasnt been a catastrophe for me, but it has taken the “fizz” out of life. A few months of lockdown would have been annoying but not a big deal. However we’ve been locked down since March 2020, with no end in sight (and talk that life might not revert to normal until 2022), and this is very depressing…

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