10 Lessons From Lockdown

I am learning something new every day

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When you spend every day in your flat it suddenly seems cluttered. There is so much stuff everywhere! What the hell did we need with all of it? Odd bits falling all over the place. Making the house feel so small.

Why did these things never bother me before? Why were we happy to live in clutter before the lockdown?

Almost every day we throw something out. The consumerist lump seems so pointless now. Perhaps that is the biggest lesson from this lockdown: all the stuff we thought we need, we didn't.

Lesson 1

The people in our flat are nice and friendly. It took a nationwide lockdown and worldwide crisis for us to all come out of our shells and greet each other. Converse with each other. Check-in with each other.

I have always wanted to talk to the neighbors but we never had an opportunity. Now we talk; every day at 7 pm. Our entire block of 31 flats venture out on their balconies and we clap, play instruments and great each other. Catastrophes bring people together. Suddenly we are all sharing in this crazy experience. We have all been thrown together in this great human tragedy. Suddenly the walls that separate us are no more.

Lesson 2

Stuff is useless. We don’t need more stuff and we never did. It is just clutter and utterly useless in fighting an epidemic.

We don’t need more clothes or more games or more things. When we emerge from this we will spend less on things. Experiences are vital. We will spend money on experiences and less on stuff. Only the necessities.

Lesson 3

Always be prepared for a rainy day. We may be luckier than most. Although we could not have planned to travel at a worse time, at least we have a chunk of money saved. While everyone else is stressed about money and whether they will be getting retrenched or the economy is going to shit. We are not stressed about feeding ourselves.

The money we saved for the travel, which is now a luxury has become a saving grace.

This experience has taught us a valuable lesson; always have an emergency savings fund because you never know. Saving money is an important life skill. So many people don’t save money, they spend every last cent of their income. This is not a good way to live.

Life is uncertain and unpredictable. A savings fund will ease uncertainty and stress.

Lesson 4

Worry is useless. I used to worry about things that don’t matter at all now. I stressed about things that now are either not going to pass or seem so insignificant now.

I did not worry about a global epidemic taking hold of the world and stopping all travel and life as we knew it. That was nowhere close on my radar. It was too far removed but not anymore. Now it is a reality.

Lesson 5

Time. I have found time. It was buried beneath a multitude of time-wasting activities and a plethora of excuses. It was always there patiently waiting to be rediscovered.

Now I have ample time. Time to read, write and play the piano. Things that bring me great joy but which I stopped doing or did not give them enough time.

Except time was always there. It never went away. There are still 24 hours in a day. Now there are no distractions. When this is over I will not let time go to waste again.

Lesson 6

The first day was hard and now the days are getting easier. I woke up on the first day of lockdown in a bit of shock and uneasy apprehension. I had no idea what it was going to be like. How would it feel being trapped inside my flat all day?

It was strange. I wanted to go outside but couldn’t. I felt trapped. I did not know what to do with myself. We had a normal day and it passed. The second day was easier. And the days are getting easier. This is our new normal now. Who would have thought we could get used to this craziness.

I long for the normal days. When we just went to work and came home and made dinner and went to bed. When on weekends we went running in the park and cycling and had breakfast at the cafe. Those very normal ordinary days were actually extraordinary. We had the power to determine where we could go and what we could do. I cannot believe I ever longed for some excitement in my life. Now I long for the normal good old days. Never again will I take them for granted.

Lesson 7

Some people are better at handling a crisis than others. The crazy thing about this crisis is that people stay the same even in the midst of a worldwide epidemic. People rarely change.

The people that were positive and upbeat before the crisis remain so. The people that were negative and pessimistic remain so. The people that are mentally strong before this will remain so throughout this crisis. It may bring out people’s characters even more so.

Lesson 8

We are so damn lucky. Lucky to have a roof over our head. Lucky to be in good health. Lucky to be fed and clothed and wanting for nothing. I cannot believe I ever wanted more. I have everything I need and then some more.

Lesson 9

We have to take life by the horns and live it to its fullest. Life is short and this crisis brings it home. We have waited far too long for when things are right to do the things we want to do. Now we are bound to one place.

I will never again say no to experiencing life to the full, taking risks and stepping outside my comfort zone.

Lesson 10

I still have so much to learn about life. There are many more lessons to be had.

I am not done yet.

I am a Lawyer, Writer, Reader and Traveller. From Johannesburg, South Africa. I am writing to find my voice. Fortune favours the brave.

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