Pandemic pondering: times lost, time gained and artistic pursuits during lockdown
Updated: May 17, 2020
The Covid-19 pandemic has torrented down the valley, filling it with fear and inaction whilst changing everyone’s way of life.
We have learnt a lot about ourselves during this time under corona’s restrictive gaze: what we value doing with our time, who we miss, and which demons need confronting.
But we have also seen some general trends.
Exercise seems to be either predominating isolation, or not really featuring at all.
Three of my friends have run half marathons in the past week, an impressive feat that would otherwise have bobbed up and down as a fleeting thought in the wake of boozy weekends.
Even my brother, who (not for lack of caring) in normal times wouldn’t break a walk to save a pram teetering on the precipice of a black run, is considering running a marathon next month.
With little else to do, some have turned to a rigorous running regimen.
Having spoken to a few people, there is also an excitement for endeavours that old people typically looked forward to.
A weekly shop was a highlight for many of the elderly, including our dear neighbours Arthur and Jane (who consume an alarming amount of Kelly’s honeycomb crunch ice cream).
Neighbours and friends who are less vulnerable have unwittingly snatched those joyous shopping aisle patrols away with good intent.
But the enjoyment, too, has transferred.
Delight over a weekly outing to the shops is no longer the reserve of the elderly, and has proved a welcomed break from the monotonous routine of quarantine.
Social media, to begin with at least, filled the void of social interactions.
Zoom and Houseparty gatherings have become the new norm for seeing friends. But the novelty has worn off.
Zoom pub quizzes don’t offer the same level of enjoyment that a normal gathering would have. Like a stage where intimacy is left at the wings and personal conversations a soliloquy for the auditorium.
We mourn the dust-gathering barrels of staling beer that would have fuelled the spring of 2020. The sacks of flour and excess milk without bakeries and cafés to house them.
We think about the parallel life that could have been. Beer gardens and art galleries, nightclubs and holidays.
But if we look the other way, forward, we realise things will be missed from this time.
Estranged talents have returned to the lives of their holders, hidden ones spurred by a creative climate.
Artists and writers and musicians have burrowed their way out of their city jobs, into the light of day afforded by time, salvaged from commutes.
Artists arting, doodlists doodling, and chefists cheffing. Daily newsletters of happiness bearing fruits of good news.
With galleries closed, we welcome this revitalisation of artistic talent that many of us never knew existed within our friendship circles.
This time has also, for many, been one spent with family.
Whether you’ve considered taking members of your family out before coronavirus does or not is part of the challenge. This uninterrupted spell with loved ones will unlikely be replicated in our lifetime and, where possible, it should be cherished.
Think about what you will miss from lockdown, rather than entertain what could have been.
There is nothing wrong with looking forward to reclining into a conversation, crisp pint in hand, in a sunny beer garden. But for now, settle into a Zoom call and appreciate beers at half that price.