One year and counting

united-kingdomSo, I’ve got to say, as we approach the first anniversary of the first lockdown implemented to try and tackle the Covid-19 pandemic (or maybe we’ve already passed it – who knows, what is time anyway?)… I’m pretty done with all of this now. I’ll admit that in the beginning, as an introvert, I quite enjoyed it. Well, no, ‘enjoyed’ is the wrong word. I think I adapted to it quite well – that is to say, I don’t think it took as much of a toll on me as it did for some of my more outgoing friends. It was quite nice to have some time to have no plans, just sit around playing Pokémon and reading books, and having no commute to speak of, I found myself even being quite productive in the evenings. But that was eleven months ago.

Since then, I can feel how I’ve deteriorated. None of my hobbies interest me anymore, language learning has essentially ground to a screeching halt aside from the odd 20 minute burst of inspiration to get a few crowns on Duolingo. I had originally planned to write a brief introduction in my latest project language (Irish) as part of this blog post, only to discover that I can barely string a sentence together that isn’t about the men eating an apple and the women reading the newspaper (itheann na fir úll agus léann na mná an nuachtán, if you’re interested), but both of those things have very little to do with who I am as a person.

I can’t seem to focus on anything at all. Even this blog post, which I’m using a nifty app to write by hand, I’ve put down and picked up about four times since I started this afternoon. And I know, rationally speaking, that it’s completely natural. Everyone is struggling right now, but there’s still a part of me that won’t accept that. I know I’m lucky – my family lives close by, and I’m living alone now, so I’m allowed to be in a support bubble with them and can go home every now and then to be around actual people. But I still miss my friends, and going out and doing things… and travelling! There are all sorts of things I wish I could do! Go to the cinema, wander around a stationery shop, have a day out to my favourite secondhand book shop. But, obviously, I can’t.

I’m not really sure why I wanted to write this, because let’s face it – it’s far from my best work, and it’s kind of just plain depressing. I think the best reason I can come up with is that it’ll be good to look back on when all of this is over, and life goes back to some semblance of normality – to remember what this time was like and to be grateful for the things I have. I think it’s fine to spend this time in lockdown as a sort of stasis period – we’re all going through the ringer, and if I’ve learned one thing from this whole situation, you can’t compare your trauma; that would be as stupid as asking whose plane crashed the hardest. It’s a shitty situation for everybody, and we’re all just doing our best to survive with what little lingers of our collective sanity.

So I’m going to keep doing the little bits and pieces I can scrape together the mental capacity for, and just keep going. It’s all anyone can do. At least here in the UK, with the vaccination figures under scrutiny, we can sort of see a light at the end of the tunnel now. But I have to say, I can’t wait to be back with my friends, hunched over an enormous bowl of steaming noodles, just shooting the shit and making plans. Hopefully that’ll happen sooner rather than later. Stay safe everybody, we’ll get through this. As always, thank you for reading, you can contact me as always on Twitter and Instagram (I’m @sprakskatan on both) and hopefully I’ll have something a little more substantial to share with you all soon.

– J.

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