I had a bit of a flat day yesterday, lacking motivation to do anything much. I heard the term seven day itch and realised I was not alone – even a friend who’s generally more positive than it’s fair to the rest of us to be was feeling bleak. One week into lockdown and reality bites – there’s still another three weeks to go. So there was a lot of screen-scrolling, some mooching about, an extra Tim Tam (or two) and a couple of hours finishing a jigsaw.
It’s easy to become frustrated and I feel the lack of freedom to go out and do what I want to do when I want to do it. It’s also easy to criticise, to be told to be grateful that we have a home to be locked into, that we have the means and the ability to feed ourselves, that other generations had it harder than we have now. I acknowledge all these things and, like many, feel guilty when I have a bad day. There are many things I’m thankful for, even when I’m stuck inside for more hours than I’d like to be.
I’m reminded of a few years ago when a mass of people moved from the Middle East towards Europe to escape war, running from their homes in the middle of the night with as many possessions as they could carry. There were harsh comments suggesting they weren’t proper asylum seekers because they all had mobile phones, people either forgetting or not appreciating that those fleeing weren’t living in caves and were leaving societies similar to ours. Who wouldn’t grab their mobile phone, their only method of communicating with their loved ones, probably holding precious pictures of them?
Even with restrictions on our movements we are in a far better place than many in the world. But this is not our normal. And when we live in such privileged societies as we do, when we lose those privileges – even temporarily – it’s hard not to bemoan the loss of them and to miss them, to grieve for our lost freedom. It doesn’t make us bad people, it just makes us ordinary people. Most of us will shake it off after a few hours, dust ourselves down and get back to the business of being good citizens until the time our communities return to the old normal. Some won’t and those are the ones we need to look out for.
There’s a lot of reference to being kind, to loving each other and not saying nasty things. I’m in full agreement. But kindness, like charity, doesn’t begin at the other side of your doorstep. So don’t forget to be kind to yourself when you feel a little down. Eat that extra biscuit, slob on the sofa, watch crap TV. Just remember that this isn’t your life forever and one day you’ll have to get back into those jeans, so maybe also get out for a walk. In your local area, of course.