Day 49 – Sunday May 3rd
“How was your walk today?” Was the question I heard time and again from countless friends and family yesterday. Hardly surprising given the amount of time I dedicated to the topic last week. My answer was the same to all: ‘it was great, but I want more’. I came back from my first walk feeling slightly dissatisfied as if an itch had not been scratched, but only made more noticeable.
I am not the only one. All my numerous phone conversations and Zoom conferences this weekend, whether in Spain or the UK, have been dominated by the same theme: ‘we’re fed up!’ Everyone has had enough of lockdown and are hankering for their old lives and previous freedoms.
As if reading my thoughts the attached article from psychologist.com appeared on my news feed and it totally resonated with me. Yes, I miss my life! Unfortunately instead of making me feel better (that it was OK to feel this way – the message of the article), it just made me feel more resentful (not its aim, I’m sure). I started to think of all the activities I would have done over the last seven weeks had I not been in quarantine.
I would have been on three holidays: one to Rome, one to Mijas Costa and one with my Dad to Studley Castle in the UK. I would have visited numerous new sites; enjoyed different activities and entertainment; walked miles round novel cities, towns and villages; continued my hikes along the Malaga coastline; spent quality time with my family; tasted new foods; drank far too much wine; and soaked up the culture, history and ambience of each place.
Back in Madrid I would have hiked up several mountains or round its many reservoirs; been on 4-5 wine tastings at as many different bars/shops; been to the theatre for a musical, play or comedy at least once or twice and a mix of both professional and amateur; met with friends for activities or drinks each week; enjoyed leisurely lunches of a menu del dia or lingered over coffee and breakfast at Madrid’s many cafes; tried out at least one new eatery with my friends; perhaps hopped in the car to visit a new pueblo or parque somewhere in this region; swam in my urbanisation’s pool three times a week and used its gymn once or twice a week; then walked miles around Madrid’s wonderful streets and plazas, again just soaking up the atmosphere.
I appreciate that this is a hedonistic, pleasurable lifestyle and I should count myself lucky to have it, which I do. I am also aware that my experience of lockdown is nowhere near as bad as some people. I’m not stuck in a small flat with no light; I’m not trying to balance work with educating and entertaining my children; I haven’t lost my source of income; I don’t have to expose myself to this virus by working on the frontline; and both my health and that of my family is fine. I know all of this, but I still miss my life and I want it back!
Don’t get me wrong. I have no intention of doing anything silly. I agree with the need to phase the country out of lockdown gradually. I appreciate the difficulties faced by the authorities to manage this situation. I doubt any political party would have done a perfect job as it doesn’t exist. All countries are struggling with this as there are no ideal solutions. It is natural in difficult times to look for a scapegoat, someone to blame. However I doubt if any of us looked closely at our own actions during this year we would come out squeaky clean. None of us are in a position to judge. Right now all we can do is our best to stick to social distancing to minimise the risk to ourselves and everyone else, and make life easier on the health authorities. Now is the time to work together not resort to petty bickering and muck shovelling.
But I still miss my old life.
Then this morning I woke up and all the resentment had dissipated overnight. Sometimes it’s enough just to accept that it’s there then you can move on. I can’t keep this sort of negative emotion going for long. It’s too self destructive. It helps no one and just leaves you feeling drained. So I slept it off.
It helped that when I got out of bed my legs let me know that speed walking after seven weeks of inactivity was not a good idea. They were super stiff. I did the same walk this morning as yesterday but it took me twenty minutes longer. Perhaps one hour of exercise is enough for now, at least until my legs have adjusted.