“We’ve taken up knitting!” beams my mother, craning the camera to show me her latest creation over Facetime. It’s a hot water bottle cover and despite its questionable shape, it’s an achievement. I can’t help but feel a pang of internal frustration.
Sat in my comfortable apartment with a secure job, doting boyfriend and no children to worry about home-schooling, I am ashamed to say that I have felt utterly dejected since Covid-19 took over our lives. Having always prided myself on being adaptable and embracing change, I can’t seem to shift the persistent gloom that descends on me when I wake up each morning.
This might be partly down to the news cycle. I’ve taken to the habit of scrolling through the news as soon as I get up, far more so than I did before the outbreak. The live updates are as bleak as ever. An increase in cases, an increase in deaths and a message from the British government that this is only the beginning.
Yet so many members of the population have stepped up to the challenge and are responding to this crisis with determination and drive. Key workers are leaving the house each day, selflessly putting themselves at risk to help keep the population safe.
As a driven individual with goals and aspirations, I’m struggling to find a purpose in this disconcerting time. Normally, my routine involves a long commute to work followed by a busy day of meetings with my colleagues. After work, I’m straight to the gym for my daily workout before rushing home to cook dinner and cram in a bit of downtime before I’m back at it the next day. The change of pace I can cope with, but staying at home and doing my bit to protect the population somehow feels like a bit of a cop-out when people are risking their lives each day to ensure hospitals have resources and supermarkets are stocked.
“The world has changed significantly in the past few weeks, and I think it’s important to remind ourselves that we’ve barely had time to register what’s going on, let alone figure out how to navigate the next few months.”
I’ve not had to do any of this. I’m young, healthy and have a job that easily adapts to a work from home set-up. If anyone should be able to seize the moment and be a shining example in this time of uncertainty, it’s me. Yet, I feel hopeless. I’m grieving for my past life, the one where I had the freedom to travel and roam, and to plan ahead without ambiguity or constraints.
As I scroll through Instagram, I’m reminded that even my creative and resourceful efforts at home are far from adequate. Each social media post showcases a newly-adopted pastime more impressive than the last. It’s like Britain’s Got Talent is airing during lockdown, and everyone I follow facies themselves a contender. Whether it be learning Latin or mastering the headstand, my friends seem to be embracing this unwelcome change and using it as an opportunity to better themselves. Somehow, I don’t think making my way through everything on Netflix and Amazon Prime has quite the same impact.
The world has changed significantly in the past few weeks, and I think it’s important to remind ourselves that we’ve barely had time to register what’s going on, let alone figure out how to navigate the next few months.
I’m wallowing, just a little bit, and I’m going to cut myself some slack.
I think that it’s ok to feel anxious, uncertain and disappointed. It’s easy to feel lost in a time where all plans are on hold and normality is lacking. Staying at home is the right thing to do for the greater good, and although it goes against the flow of our busy routines and active lifestyles, if there was ever time to take a step back and binge watch series to your heart’s content, I have to accept that it’s now.
And so, as I end the FaceTime with my parents, I try not to berate myself for not having something to show from my time in lockdown. Who knows, perhaps I’ll even invest in a pair of knitting needles.