So, after seven weeks working from home in lockdown, this week I finally went back on site.
Now, I appreciate that lockdown has been a difficult time for many. Parents looking after children, the elderly and those already suffering from underlying health conditions trying to work out how to just get the necessities of life, others wondering if they will have a job to go back to, and of course many people just feeling very isolated and scared. COVID-19 isn’t a laughing matter.
So, it is with a real sense of guilt that I have to admit that I have mostly enjoyed it. It feels almost confessional. I don’t mind lockdown. I don’t miss the daily commute. I don’t miss crowded shops and the bustle of everyday life. I don’t even much miss people, or at least the majority of them. I have enjoyed the short journey from bed to desk. Being able to sit out in the garden eating my lunch and watching the busy spring wildlife. I have enjoyed the easy company of my family.
Working from home has of course not been without its challenges. I did get brain fog in the early days, but I have stuck to a routine which has helped. I am at my desk by 9am, lunching around 12 noon and then closing the lid on my laptop at 5pm. I get washed and dressed every day, although I have become addicted to wearing sweatpants. If it’s good enough for Anna Wintour… However, trying to concentrate on a report while someone is hoovering the stairs can prove difficult, as can having to run around after a squirrel obsessed terrier while trying to work out the intricacies of a website. I have a great family though and, somehow, we have made it work, respecting and supporting each other. Now, more than ever, I know how truly fortunate I am.
I am also lucky in other regards. I have over the past year built up a small network of social contacts, and although we have been forced online, we have kept in touch. I am still board gaming, and going to pub quizzes. I have joined in creative writing sessions and even supped cuppas at virtual coffee mornings. All using the power of the Internet. Yes, the evil, anarchic Internet, has now become our saviour. It offers boxsets, communication and collaborative spaces. The opportunity to see my boss disguised as a dancing pickle. It allows me to take control of a colleague’s machine, while chatting live to them and asking others via text for advice. I have even continued my German studies online, our enthusiastic teacher waving mini whiteboards at us from the comfort of her sitting room while we practise ordering food and making small talk. I love the Internet.
The worst of lockdown has been having to cancel planned trips. Flights to see my lovely girlfriend in Berlin, a writing retreat in Spain and a trip to the USA to attend my first High School Graduation ceremony have all gone up in smoke. The first two are postponed, the latter gone forever. (Although I have promised to embarrass my god daughter at her College Graduation instead). And not seeing my girlfriend really sucks. Technology keeps us in contact, supporting each other from afar but, every time I exchange a text message, I am reminded of how far away a simple cuddle with her is. I never took it for granted, and now I never will. I have kept a flight booked for the August Bank Holiday, and I am stoutly refusing to move it. In the dark of the night, when I am feeling low, it is there as a comfort blanket. A slim piece of hope. Lockdown has been a timely reminder, in a busy world, of what is really important in life. I might be having a good lockdown, but I still can’t wait for it to be over and to see my gorgeous again.