Lockdown rules are being eased up slowly, very slowly. Although some seems to believe it is party time, like many, many others I don’t feel like going out to party my head off. I kind of want to stay confined at home and most importantly, stay safe.
As I had mentioned before, I was never amongst the ones who thought the end of the lockdown would be all sunshine & rainbows or hugs & kisses. My vision of our future was gloomy but somehow realistic, I guess.
However I also recognized my circumstances were somehow idealistic to handle such confinement. Safe financially, I had already embraced living a simple life for a couple years now, which set me free from the rat race, from always needing more, from impulsive purchase and so forth.
The lockdown did not majorly changed my lifestyle. I know, I know, how pathetic is that!!
Nevertheless, I feel that this confinement period we’ve all been through is huge. It is History in the making.
My niece, who is now a young adult, had a funny point the other day. She said that when her futur teenagers will complain about being grounded for a week, she will not hesitate to remind them that she had been lockdown, with her parents, for 8 weeks, when she was young. And that she survived!
I thought it was hilarious! I also thought that this lockdown will leave its marks on us for years, if not decades, maybe even for all our life. That is assuming regular lockdowns don’t become a norm, which isn’t a given.
So, in the best case scenario, if this lockdown is a unique experience, it might be worth remembering it.
This is precisely what museums, archivists and researchers are doing. They are gathering evidences of how people lived through these difficult times. Collecting memories.
Like when we presently visit museums which give us glimpse of the past through carefully curated objects, future generations may get to visit museums which shows them what the first Worldwide lockdown looked like.
I don’t know about you but I do love to visit those small, dedicated museums and maybe discover what tools were used to make shoes in the 18th century, or what a passport looked liked in the 40’s, maybe admire a black & white picture of a steam train, maybe it is a love letter written 80 years ago…
So I think that if you didn’t do any journalling through your quarantine, maybe it’s time to start. Recall what was most significant or insignificant. How you felt. What you wish to remember of your worst fears, what made you happy… What you did, what you thought you would do and never managed! What ever you want, really!
Here is below my quarantine diary, the things I want to remember even so mundane and uninteresting. You don’t need to read on, go collect your own memories instead!
My quarantine diary
Despite everything previously said, there were a couple things that made this lockdown different, even for me.
Sharing space and time
The most significant change I encountered, is that my partner was home pretty much 24/7 where I’m used to have the house for myself and my projects, all days of the work week!
Amongst the things I will recall are: his work set up on the dining table with his 4 screens (who needs 4!), his way too long video calls, which mostly sounded useless to me… How the clicks of his mouse became difficult to hear after 4 weeks! How his voice, which is so southing to me normally, changed so much depending on the people he spoke to… How we laughed when I served him tea & cake during a call in front of his colleagues, he is English after all so it was a proper thing to do! I also may need to remember how I sneakily shrunk his workspace, ever so slightly every week, to regain the other half of the dining table for my sewing projects 😉
Our regular aperitif!
From the very first day, I organized a little aperitif on the terrace to celebrate the fact that, this particular day of quarantine went well! Cheers to us for being good to one another and respectful! That is very much worth remembering to me.
There was just a few crackers with the first aperitif but it became more and more elaborate as days passed! We did a couple online aperitif with friends and family but it wasn’t as fun as anticipated and not as nice as the ones we did, just the 2 of us.
Another thing I should remember is how, one day on the first week of confinement, my partner had scheduled 5 different video conference calls and monopolized the internet, our time and space. I was about to throw the router in his face by the time the 5th call ended! That day, he did not desserve the time I spent organizing our little aperitif! He basically got punished!
But despite enjoying this time we spent drinking, munching and chatting, even this nice little habit fizzled. We never drank that much before the confinement, so after a while, even just a glass of wine per day felt too much.
Keeping track of chores!
My partner enjoys the fact that I’m independent a bit too much sometimes. During our quarantine, I wasn’t about to pass on the opportunity to show him that I do a lot more chores than him. It is mostly fair, as we have an arrangement on this, but the quarantine meant 2 meals a day to prep and I knew this would be a disruption and feels like a burden for me.
So I started to take note of who cooked and we kept scores! I still cooked a lot more than him, but I want to keep a souvenir of this tracking board for posterity!
Of course I sew face masks very early on. It really brought a mix of feelings. It was kind of fun but weird & scary at the same time.
The fact that we had nothing else to protect ourselves at the time, the fact that these might actually save our lives, those were scary thoughts.
The fact that I sew these on a Singer sewing machine dating from 1923, that was a kind of funny! And then there was this feeling that I was actually doing something important, that I was part of the solution, even so slightly. Wearing a mask is a little about protecting yourself, and a lot about protecting others…
Just a lot of different feelings…
Reality of what was going on soaked in abruptly when the first week, I had to go in town and streets were deserted. Barely any cars, no one walking, cycling or else… It felt apocalyptic, like in any zombie movies and I felt like a survivor when I got back home. But a survivor who doesn’t know if they got contaminated or not.
Every trip I had to take felt like I might never come back.
It got even worst on the 2nd week and I was ready to never go out again after that! But I had to.
Going to the office was supposed to be a relief, a welcome little trip out of the house. Instead, on my way there, the first time, I again felt like I was in a post apocalypse movie. Empty roads, deserted streets… it should have been enjoyable to not have trafic… reaching the office actually felt like I had crossed a minefield. And being in the office alone was another experience on its own! Every noice made me shiver. I was afraid to get the mail and I was so afraid to lock myself out, without my phone!
At last, the emptiness became my new norm and I got used to it, while remaining very caution I had the right keys in hand!
Going to the supermarket was another mostly unpleasant and unnerving experience. Especially at the supermarket next door. I came back from such a trip, in such a state, that I never went back.
I never liked grocery shopping in regular supermarkets before this virus anyway and will not change my mind about it!
After this, I only went to my organic store, because one has to eat!
The trips to the supermarket made me realize that there seems to be 2 sorts of people in this situation.
The paranoiac / crazy / mean / selfish / stupid ones who don’t care about any of it or on the opposite would kill you if they could.
And on the other end of the spectrum the kind / helpful / respectful / eager for any kind of human contact, kind of people, who would do anything to make your day just a little better, see a smile in your eyes or hear a laugh. Thankfully it felt that there was more of those.
The clerk at my little organic store was one of those. And I do want to recall the simple encounter we had when I told her her mask was beautiful, how her eyes smiled, how she had the most gorgeous eyes & how this made both our days, just a little better.
Things I didn’t realize I did often
We all cough every now and then. Whatever the reason is, 99% of the time, it means nothing, it is just a natural reaction.
With this virus, it became an act of war, a sign that you may be the infectious one, something that makes people run away from you faster than cheetahs.
I never realized how many times a day I coughed before. It made me so anxious at first. Why was my throat so itchy and always at the wrong time!?! Well, thankfully this too passed.
I also never really paid attention to how many times I touched my face! Training yourself to not touch your own face or your mask, at least when outside, takes a bit of practice! It’s crazy to think it is something we all need to learn!
Day dreaming & meditation
I managed to read 0 book during my quarantine. But I did a lot of meditation and even more day dreaming / thinking / planning.
I gave a lot of consideration to what I want to include in my future. What I want to do, what’s important to me. I gave some serious thoughts about my aspirations and expectations.
My depth year had been transformative but this quarantine brought new levels of focus & some new aspirations, although I do not yet have complete clarity on the later.
Fears and hopes
As mentionner before, schedule wise, this quarantine was for me, not so different than my actual simple life. It did however bring a plethora of negative feelings that I could have done without. But I do want to remember them.
Managing to let go of such feelings is almost a new talent.
Fear, anxiety, annoyance, despair… Joy, hope, compulsive laughs mixed with tears… Oscillating between these. It’s been weird and maybe a new norm.
Surely the one thing that worried me most, was my dad. How he might be coping, how he might get sick, how I may get him sick…
Going to see my dad
Going to see my dad was the one thing I kept thinking about again and again and again. Every week I would think: next week, I shall go. And I let another week pass, without going.
I wasn’t quite sure if I was allowed to leave the country at first. Then I found the appropriate required attestation and thought that, surely, if it existed, it meant I could go. But I let another week pass. The fact that you are allowed to go doesn’t mean it is safe to go. So I waited. What if I get him sick? I would be responsible for his death. But then again, it would be better if I did his shopping than him going. But I waited…
The anxiety about going or not going and when would be best drove me crazy. I ended up waiting 2 months and finally went back. It was great, we kept a certain distance, it all went well and I should have gone earlier!!
The little things
There was no major change to my routine, except for the extra cooking and schedule coordination with my partner, to ensure we both got some peace and quiet.
Yes, there were fears and doubts and more… But there were plenty of little happy moments as well.
Maybe I did admire the trees changing colors a bit more. All we could suddenly hear were the birds chirping and it felt so right. Maybe I was a little too happy to see our neighborly squirrel had found a mate, finally!
I watch plants grow, literally! I watch Netflix, but no more than usual. I baked bread, but it didn’t become a habit. At one point, I considered trying to do my own yeast, I didn’t. Yes, I exercised regularly and that was good! I still haven’t finished sewing the skirt I started after the masks. OK I’ll admit, I started shopping for a long bow! I didn’t buy one… yet!!… Instead, I bought a face plate for my sewing machine. Yeah totally related!
I repaired my outdoor fairy light and I’m proud of it. Finally, I seasoned my cast iron skillet like a pro. I haven’t worn jewelry for over 2 months and I think my feet will hate me when I’ll try to put back some heals. Indeed, I worried too much reading the news. I zoomed, facetimed, whatsapped etc. way too much, to my liking.
Unfortunately, I didn’t take enough pictures. Fortunately, I’m still kind of in quarantine so it’s not too late 😉 Naps were good! My latest hazelnuts cake was great! Yes, I lost weight. No, I’m in no rush to go back to ‘normal’, I need to sew some clothes first!
And I think that’s it. There’s nothing mind blowing here in my quarantine diary. I didn’t feel stuck at home, partly because I wasn’t. Partly because I just felt safe at home.
So as mentioned above, you really didn’t need to read all this! The most important is for you to create your own quarantine diary. It is not too late to collect your memories of this historical moment.