The Meaning of [Lockdown] Life
Updated: May 22, 2020
Having your "purpose" taken away from you so abruptly and leaving you to your own devices certainly has a way of messing with your mind! I say purpose in inverted commas because it takes something like this situation we're in to really bring your system to its senses. Which is why I decided to write my thoughts, feelings and experiences down to share with others. I did it for a couple of reasons really: 1. To help clear my own mind (there's a lot of time for thoughts to snowball in to uncontrollable avalanches between the hours of 6am and 11pm!) 2. Probably my biggest fear about this whole pandemic is returning back to "business as usual" and looking back and thinking - Oh my God, I could have made so much more use of all that free time I had! We may never get this chance again in our lifetimes to have so much time to ourselves. So hopefully this helps inspire others to make the most out of the remaining time we have left in lockdown. I do tend to go off on a tangent but I'll try and keep this as brief as possible! I'm writing from the UK - our "lockdown" began on the 23rd of March (I think!) Unlike Spain, we've been fortunate to be able to go outside for exercise and rules have generally been a bit more relaxed than in Spain. So what's gone well so far? The first three weeks were probably the best – Most days I went running between 5km and 12km or going on long walks with my fiance and two sons. We were all really enjoying each others' company and loving life really! I've managed to finish reading books I've been diving in and out of for a while, we've watched some films we've been meaning to watch for ages and caught up on our favourite shows (details of which I'll mention below). I've even been able to dip my toe back in to search engine optimisation work for a couple of websites. I've been so blessed to have such an amazing fiance and I couldn't think of anyone better to be stuck inside the house to be honest. My two sons Oscar (1 next week) and Leo (3) are alright, too. What's not gone too well? There was plenty of beer drunk during the holiday period! I'm sure we can all relate - It's way too easy to just pop open another can or bottle while sat idle on the computer or in front of the TV or computer in the evening. Now that things are really starting to drag on a bit, I'm definitely not feeling myself and I'm starting to get a short fuse. I'm finding it harder and harder to get up in the morning now and running and gym work has gone out the window. I'm also finding myself thinking - what if I'd have done that in my past? What am I doing right now and why aren't I a millionaire yet? Am I going to be doing what I'm doing now forever? What now? So it's probably time to get a "Routine" and "Goals" in place. God I hate those words. This is where I need everyone to chip in - Here are some things I'd like to achieve over the remainder of the lockdown period: Cook new dishes, only drink beer at weekends, read a fictional story, maybe a classic or two (suggestions welcome), do a 10km run in under 50 minutes, get Oscar walking in the next 2 weeks, spend some time writing, spend more time doing Leo's nursery work with him (I've only tried doing the homework given by his nursery twice and all I can say is - my fiance has the patience of an ANGEL!) Again, if anyone else has had any lightbulb moments and would like to share their ideas for things to try then please let me know in the comments! As for the runaway thoughts I've been having - I've read that actually writing down all situations you can think of and writing all possible outcomes in a tree diagram helps. If anyone's tried that let me know! Shows of choice: Manifest, Killing Eve, Tiger King Films of choice: Goodbye Christopher Robin, Contagion, Transformers I, II, III, Extraction. Documentaries of choice: The Fall of the Berlin Wall with John Simpson; Pain, Pus and Poison: The Search for Modern Medicines; Apollo: Missions to the Moon Books of choice: The Closers by Ben Gay, Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, The Economics Book by DK, The Planets by Prof. Brian Cox, Stop Saying you're fine by Mel Robbins, This Naked Mind by Annie Grace and finally, my mums series of books for children have been great for our two sons - Susy Bubbles and her adventures. Computer games of choice: Sims 4, Digital Combat Simulator, Battleground Europe WWII. Observations made: A situation like this certainly brings out true colours in people. Those regarded as extroverts now quietly reveling in peaceful solitude. The selfishness of those who at the start were bulk buying without giving a damn about anyone else. Our world really needs a break from humans now and again - there have been remarkable scenes of nature returning to otherwise human-occupied areas. Amazing! Hopefully we all appreciate how much is still needed to change in order to save our planet and even our species. There have been incredible acts of kindness and of support such as the incredible Captain Tom Moore who has raised £31 Million for our NHS. I think an event like this helps people discover / re-discover / appreciate more exactly what is important to you. Family; those close friends you always turn to no matter when you last saw or spoke to them; basic necessities (toilet roll - who would have thought!), how easy it is to live without wanting more all the time and being happy with what you have around you; and nature! It really is amazing when you have the chance to get out and about and take it all in! So let's get down to the tentative subject of these virus conspiracy theories flying around. Is it just me or do conspiracy theories seem so 1990? If not addressed and debunked through absolute transparency by all countries, these conspiracy theories/fake news stories may lead to causing more damage than the virus itself. Is that achievable though? Of course not. In my view: There was no "release of the virus in October last year". It was not "manufactured". It is not “nature telling us that there are too many humans on the planet." My opinion, for what it's worth (I'll keep this as short as possible): It was created by nature's natural processes and was inevitable and quite frankly, it's amazing how this kind of thing doesn't happen more often. There are people who say it was manufactured because it can spread in most climates. Well, all I need to say is - read up on Smallpox. Oh, and the flu. As for ever finding out the truth - China has most probably already removed ALL traces of the truth and created that many different false truths that the truth will never be known. End of story. All that exists now is speculation - accept it or be forever banging your head against the wall - choice is yours. As for the Bill Gates conspiracy theories. The Indian children dying because of Polio vaccinations – FALSE. So Karen, stop acting all mighty and enlightened - you can stop sharing your daft youtube videos now (please!) Gates is a multi billionaire. He hasn't got there by being nicey nicey all the time. He's a capitalist capitalising in a capitalist society which we're all part of. He's also a philanthropist. He's doing good and he's helping where he can. It could be worse - he could sit back and do nothing. “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” - Albert Einstein. Honestly, we are so lucky to have such advanced medicinal knowledge thanks to all those great minds working as scientists, medical professors, teachers, etc. etc. Watch Pain, Pus and Poison: The Search for Modern Medicines on BBC iPlayer, it will show you, up until very recently, just how vulnerable we actually are without medical science. Apologies in advance, it's about to get more political but I really need to get this off my chest. To help break it up a bit, here's one of my favourite videos I've seen yet...
Questions which now need to be asked: Why were no contingency plans in place for this event? There are trillions spent on the military each year with all conceivable scenarios played out in military simulations to protect national interests. So why are the most basic of scenarios not planned for in these circumstances which affect public health? What other cataclysmic events are we not prepared to handle? Why are our governments run like budget airlines? Their policies are rarely put in place to benefit us in decades to come, just within their term (living pay cheque to pay cheque). There is no protection for their policies should another party come in who can easily overturn any previous policies made. Why and how has so much money been fabricated out of thin air all of a sudden? Why hasn't this been done already to clear global debts, feed the hungry, provide water to those dying of thirst, house the homeless, etc. etc.? To be honest, this is a bit of a rhetorical question. The purpose of an economy is to control resources and the fact is, if we did eradicate all these problems overnight then we really would have a global overpopulation issue. Ever since we came away from the Gold Standard (value of currency attached to value of gold) in 1971 under the Nixon administration, "Fiat" money was introduced as its replacement - this is a government-issued currency that isn't backed by a commodity (such as gold). Fiat money gives central banks greater control over the economy because they can control how much money is printed. It's these central banks that give money to governments and charge them (us) interest, which is likely to never be paid back. Instead, debt is sold as bonds and this is where "the richest of the rich" are still getting richer. A country's economy dictates its' culture. Funny how this was introduced in the middle of the Cold War don't you think? Anyway, that's a story for another day ;) Even if all the questions above were answered - What is it going to take to change the way we live? That is of course, other than the few faceless hackers and Karen sharing her "The Moon Landing Was a Fake" YouTube videos on Facebook. Am I being naïve or does anyone else think the majority of people and Governments are going to learn from this pandemic and actively change the way we do things? Well, thank you for spending some time sat inside my head. That's one of my things crossed off the list - I've spent some time writing and I've quite enjoyed it! I hope anyone reading this has been inspired to make the most out of this situation. All your opinions and recommendations are usually welcome but not always accepted. If you're a key worker, and especially if you're working in the NHS or in a care home, THANK YOU SO MUCH for all your hard work. You are heroes and you will be going down in history. Stay safe everyone. Chris Wood
Footnote: Crazy after thought. Looking back, a lot of this angst and frustration which has built up is all down to social media. Would it be crazy to stop going on Facebook for a month...? Or even spend some time to unfriend/unlike/leave the negative people, news pages and groups so it goes back to being a place for fun, family and friends.
Here's some of my favourite photos I've taken during lockdown.