Before I begin, allow me to make something clear – this is a post about my experience in lockdown over the past year and yes, I am aware I am one of the few few fortunate cases who haven’t been hard hit by Covid-19, the pandemic or lockdown but I’d still like to share about some insight into how I’ve spent the last 365 days.
In January of 2020 and for the next couple of months that followed, news regarding the Coronavirus was running wild across news platforms and social media. It was difficult to tell what was real and what wasn’t. At the time I personally didn’t think there was anything to worry about. I’ve seen virus outbreaks pop up on the news countless times before and life has went on unaffected.
Until the day Boris Johnson announced the UK was going into lockdown I was still working away in the office thinking that all my colleagues who had left to begin working from home would be back in a matter of weeks. As it turns out, that wasn’t quite the case.
On the off chance I did need to work from home, I had went to IKEA literally two days prior to the nation’s first lockdown being implemented and bought a desk and office chair. I never expected to need them at all never mind for a full year (and counting).
But, as soon as Boris made his announcement, I drove down to the office and packed away what I needed.
At the time lockdown began I was still living with my parents and the first couple of weeks was a bit of an odd experience. For a start, my dogs obviously weren’t used to me being around so much and didn’t understand the concept of having a job so they were after some attention so most of my breaks were spent on the floor playing with them or taking them out a quick walk while I was off the clock.
The strangest part of home working for me was not having the ability to just shout at someone across the office. Instead, communication tools such as Slack and Webex have become part of my every day life.
As shops began to close, jobs were furloughed and lost and for the first time in my life the future was uncertain, not just for me, but for everyone. Luckily, I have an IT job which has remained quite secure but I know I’m one of the few lucky ones in that regard.
Once it became apparent that lockdown and home working was to be the new normal, a little bit of cabin fever began to set in. Not so much because of not getting out into the world, but being stuck in the house with the same four people, two dogs and one reptile became a strain on my sanity.
Before lockdown began, 2020 was to be the year I finally bought myself a house. I had began to look and even had some viewings before Covid-19 hit hard but either the place wasn’t right for me or my offers were rejected but being with my mental health slowly dwindling I found myself to become quite an angry person.
Like, Bruce Banner “I’m always angry” levels of anger.
Luckily, my perseverance paid off and eventually I found myself a little flat within my budget and I was able to get myself a mortgage, albeit one with a 15% deposit as opposed to the 5% I had originally planned for and after about six months of living alone I’m settled.
The good thing about me though, is that I’m an introverted and anti-social creature. This not going out thing? Not a huge problem for me. Can’t go to the pub? OK, I never went anyway.
A year later on from when the first lockdown began I am in my element. I enjoy the isolation. The peace and quiet. This is the world I was made for. No need to make an excuse as to why I don’t want to go to the pub for someone’s birthday, no reason to spend more time than I need to being dragged around shops for stuff I don’t need, spending money I don’t have.
If anything, not only has lockdown saved me money but it has actually made me happier. I don’t need to pretend to be social. I can talk to who I want to talk to, when I want to talk to them via WhatsApp and the like. I ditched social media a long time ago so there’s no negativity in my life from that. I barely read the news and most of my YouTube content is all film, music and science stuff… Although, I must admit watching Neil deGrasse Tyson makes me feel about as smart as a 6 year old.
I miss the cinema little but not enough to be diving straight back into the place when they open back up. As I was writing this post I heard Disney Plus will be host to Black Widow when it releases in July so I’ll be watching that from the comfort of my own home away from other humans.
Gigs at once point where a huge part of my life to the point I was at one nearly every night and while my last gig was over a year ago now, again, I’m in no huge rush to dive back in.
I am exceedingly fortunate that Covid-19 hasn’t touched my life. I don’t know anyone who has been a confirmed case and I don’t know anyone who has died because of it. I know that makes me the minority. I know it makes me lucky.
If anything, and I know I might get a lot of hate for this, on a personal level lockdown has benefited me greatly.
It has given me focus on what’s important in life and how to make the most of being happy and content with who I am. I’m comfortable in my own skin, my own world and happy with my own company.
I’ve relaunched Digital Runaway and I have the intention of starting a podcast down the line. I’ve been brainstorming and developing story ideas I’ve had in my head for years with the hopes of writing a few film scripts and for the first time in a long time I have motivation to get back in the gym, start working out and lose some weight and not because I feel I should for others, but because I want to for myself.
For many, the last year will be the year they try to forget, but for me, the last 365 days have helped me grow into a happier and more patient person and may be one of the most important days in my entire life.
by Edward Laing