At times undoubtedly super hard but there were some bright spots.
I’ll preface this by saying that this is my personal perspective on what I experienced through the first lockdown last March. I know that for a lot of people they found it an all together much more challenging time.
As a society we were thrown into entirely unknown waters. I still remember running round the local neighbourhood being able to run down the middle of roads that at any other time would be permanently busy with traffic.
My wife and I had to figure out how to juggle work and looking after our 2 young daughters who, at that point, were both still in nursery. As my job had more flexibility I would start work somewhere around 6am and bank some ‘quiet time’ to concentrate before the breakfast routine would kick off. I’d usually work till 10ish then take a couple of hours or so out to get the kids out the house and into the fresh air.
It was in those few hours that I found most of the goodness in lockdown. My daughters now have such a tight bond, mostly forged through having to spend so much time together over the last year - mercifully, they’re pretty good together! We’d go for picnics in the local nature walk, we rode around all the back lanes here over a few weeks, marking them off on a map as we went. They would build dens using a giant cardboard box in the house, make a cinema screening room out of a pop up tent in the garden - yes, I realise we were very lucky to have both a garden and the weather to use it.
I also found that having to split my time between them and work made me be more focussed on each ‘mode’ I was in, while I was in it. It took some doing and it’s where a good chunk of my desire to take back my attention came from. What I’m trying to do now is to keep my phone out of reach while I’m with the girls so I give them my full attention.
Having to split my days so much between work and childcare also forced me to try and be more productive when I was in a work block. Simple things like closing my email client most of the time made a big difference. I now schedule time for getting my email handled and it’s working well so far.
I also started to work on systems to try and ‘get things done’. I’d finished reading Getting Things Done sometime in 2019 which helped a lot. I’m still trying to work out exactly what the system is by writing it up in a blog post but Lockdown 3 and home schooling is kinda scuppering that at the moment!
As much as I was taking a lot from spending more time with the kids I still needed some time to clear my head. To this end I made a concerted effort to get out on the bike more than in previous years. Suddenly being told that something was scarce, exercise in the case, made me realise how much I enjoyed and maybe even needed to be able to get out and pedal.
The travel restrictions did curtail some of my usual routes but that just forced me to be a bit more creative. I visited a few of the Glasgow parks that I’d never been to, found an amazing loch in the Kilpatricks that I never knew existed and got to ride some dusty gravel trails in both the outskirts of Glasgow and on Arran - both of which would have given California a run for its money!
This year, I hope I don’t forget how getting out exploring balances my mind. My mood is better, I’m more present with Lynn & the kids and I feel like I’m a better person for it.
It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the urgent and forget about the important.