I just survived another lockdown and I am hoping it will be my last

As a new Melbournian, I have just emerged from another lockdown — this time it was two weeks long.

You would think that after three lockdowns — especially a second lockdown that lasted for 112 days — that this short lockdown would have been easy for me. But it wasn’t. All the anxious, uncertain feelings that I had in the lockdowns last year re-emerged. I felt out of sorts, lonely and unmotivated. I continued to work from home each day but it was an effort to get up every morning and be productive.

Even my daily morning walk and take away coffee did not cheer me up. I got bored of my You Tube workouts and meditation apps. I was sick of wearing active wear every day. I got back into my usual routine of watching Stan or Netflix and drinking wine every night.

Today was the first day of freedom but it did not really feel free at all. I worked from home so only left the house for a walk and had to wear a mask too. The weekend starts tomorrow but I cannot travel for more than 25 kilometres. I can still go to cafes, restaurants and shops but have to sign in to a QR Code everywhere I go.

I am wondering how long this freedom will last before there is another coronavirus outbreak and possibly another lockdown. The uncertainty is one of the hardest things about living with this virus.

I was meant to go on a trip next weekend but had to cancel it due to the recent COVID outbreak in Victoria. Like many people in Australia and around the world, I cancelled many plans last year and this year — trips interstate, weekends away, plans with friends, parties, work events — the list goes on.

I do feel that 2020 was the year of disappointment as many people had to change or cancel plans and live a different reality to what they wanted. This feeling of disappointment has carried into 2021 as the COVID situation continues and there does not seem to be an end in sight as new strains are being discovered.

Many people around the world are vaccinated now and hopefully I will get my first vaccine shot too. It may not eradicate the virus but it may help to make it easier to live with this disease.

At some point, all of us want to return to a “normal life” — one that involves making plans and keeping them, booking a trip and knowing it will most likely happen and planning a social event, where you don’t have to prepare to cancel it at any moment.

Despite the pain and disappointment of living in a world dominated by COVID, it does teach us valuable lessons — that life is short and we need to make the most of it and that it is important to be grateful for what we have in the present, even small pleasures like enjoying a cup of coffee at home or appreciating nature on your walk.

As much as I have felt lonely, sad and empty during lockdown life, I have learnt to appreciate living a quieter and more tranquil life. I have less friends now but they are quality friends. I go out less but I have more energy and money to spend on hobbies or things I enjoy. I eat out less but enjoy food at home.

COVID has taught us to be more adaptable and resilient and these qualities will help us to adjust to life after COVID. Until then, I will enjoy my quieter life for now, knowing that it will be much busier and louder in time.

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Helen van Soest

Helen van Soest

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I’m a writer and editor, currently living in Melbourne, Australia. I love reading books, articles and blogs. See my blog: https://myhsp.life/