At the beginning of the “stay home” phase, there were a lot of articles about what we could all achieve in this time of lockdown. There was a much-quoted theory that Shakespeare wrote King Lear whilst in isolation. The implication was that being locked into our homes meant we now had the time and space to achieve all the great things we have failed to achieve so far in life because, so the articles implied, we have too much freedom and too many friends and family to hang out with. I have not written my version of Lear, or anything else for that matter. Everything I have learnt has been much more introspective.
I have learnt that we get on well as a family. It has been a while since we all lived together for any great length of time. But we enjoy being together and we laugh a lot.
I have learnt that we all have a good level of emotional intelligence, we can recognise when someone is down or frustrated and we seem to be able to help each other intuitively.
We all have a strong work ethic, I think I knew this before this started, but the lack of work for some members of the family has really affected mood and wellbeing. The fledgling plans of returning to work have been greeted with a real uplift in energy. We are definitely a family that likes to work.
I have learnt that singing helps your mood and that I cannot sing a harmony. Whatever the person next to me is singing is what I can sing, I have no independent singing ability. I am enjoying my virtual choir experience, but I am not likely to be welcomed in a real choir any time soon.
I have learnt that I am good with change, I am happy to try things out and tweak and amend to make things work, or just abandon things and move on. We have done this a lot with various home routines and work has involved a fair amount of this. I have also learnt that continually changing is tiring. I have also learnt that many people do not find this easy at all.
I know now that seeing people in the flesh is much better than seeing them on a screen. Screens are just not the same. Even seeing someone from 2m away is more soothing than seeing them on a screen.
I have learnt that listening to the news all the time does not help you adapt to a new way of life, in fact it makes you less able to adapt as confusion abounds as we get deluged with not just official guidance, but everyone’s commentary on what that could mean. But it’s ok to occasionally get swept up in the news cycle, as long as you can get out of it fairly quickly.
I have learnt that I genuinely need a good level of physical activity to make me feel well, being sedentary all day is very unhelpful. I feel that much more now that there is not even a sense of movement which I get from being in a car. The days I achieve closer to 15,000 steps are better than the ones where I graze the 10,000 total.
On a more practical side I have learnt to use many more video conference platforms. I have learnt to make facemasks and laundry bags. And the reigning lesson has been making sourdough. A very delicious thing to have achieved. It may not have the gravitas or the legacy of a great Elizabethan tragedy, but hey, it is making life much tastier at the moment.