For the first few weeks of lockdown I found my mind didn’t really stray beyond the madness of the current situation. Cancelled plans, having the kids and husband at home, Government updates and amusing memes filled every conversation – on Zoom, over Watsapp and in person (with my one adult companion!)
But this week, I found my mind wandering beyond the now – to the sad end of the academic year and to whether or not we will be able to go on our extended family holiday. To wondering how long Covid-19 will remain ‘around’ even if the health system has more capacity to deal with it – and to what that means as someone with a compromised immune system. Will I have to socially isolate when people around me are getting back to ‘normal’? Will I have to avoid being close to Tiny and Small when they go back to school? Will there come a point when I just have to start taking more risk because this virus is here for the long-haul and life must resume?
I’m sure many of you have had similar thoughts beginning to surface as we all get used to this ‘new normal’. I have tried to retrain my focus to ‘the present’ over the past few years, with mixed success. But now more than ever, it feels like trying to puzzle-out future situations is a pointless exercise. No one can give time frames or accurately assess risk. Changed plans and disappointment have become a feature of life.
But focusing on today doesn’t merely distract us from the possibilities of the future, it draws us back to things the wonders of the present. Today certainly has enough worries of it’s own, but it also holds great pleasure if we look for it.
Yesterday I got out the 1950s china set that my grandmother gave me – it had been a wedding gift for her and my grandpa. It has sat in the cupboard unused since she gave it to me. I slowly (and with the assistance of a keen four year old) made the most delicious gluten-free scones and put a tablecloth on our worn-out garden table. We had cream tea in the April sunshine of a terraced back garden and it was wonderful. Even the chips in the cups became joyful as I thought about how those cups had been held and loved by my family for decades.
Of course, not every day of lockdown has been full of this sort of delight – there have been days of fights, tears and anxiety. But in each one I have made sure to look for at least a morsel of joy. I remember on one very difficult day about three weeks in I noticed new buds had started forming on my orchid. A small victory, but those few minutes spent looking at my little plant were well worth being present for.