Reflections From Two Years Ago
It’s two years today since the first lockdown started, although it feels like a lifetime ago. So instead of my usual blog, I thought I’d share some writing that I did in that first week of a changed world. Re-reading it I find myself surprised at how many things became normal so quickly, but also of the parts of my life that have been completely changed since then. On the whole I feel I have more knowledge of myself now than I did then, but I know there are also things I have lost and I don’t know if they will return.
I’d love to hear your reflections on the last two years.
Another 5am wake up. I wonder how many other people are doing the same at the moment. I know some of the causes – earlier to bed (partly through boredom and partly through exhaustion), bad dreams about unknown threats as my body and brain try to find a way to act out my fight/flight response (hard to do when the known threat is not a tiger), and a head full of too many thoughts that doesn’t want to be still long enough to let me drift off again. So once again I am awake too early trying to distract my brain with work at a time when I should be fast asleep waiting for the sun to rise so I can go for the run that I know will help.
I am very aware of how lucky I am right now, Maslow’s hierarchy of need keeps springing to mind and I have my bottom layer (food, shelter, warmth) where many don’t. My second isn’t too bad either, although there is some risk from the virus I am healthy and in a low risk group. My third layer is not doing bad either, I share my home with a partner I love and am comfortable with and I am finding many different ways to connect with friends. For me four and five are always a process, where I agree more with Rogers actualising tendency compared to Maslow’s idea that we can self-actualise (an over simplification or more complex ideas, I know, but it is 5am).
So the risk that rocks my second layer, security, is about possibilities and unknowns, something I never been too happy about dealing with. What will happen? When will ‘it’ happen? Where? To whom? All questions without answers and the reasons my brain is trying to work them out in dreams. Usually when it does that, it’s a very specific problem that I dream about resolving (only occasionally successfully), but at the moment it is unknown assailants in dark shadows with unknown intentions who may or may not strike that wakes me. So here I am again, wide awake and writing this in an attempt to empty my head and quiet my mind while I wait for the sun to rise and the new normal to begin.
Again, I am lucky that I have a lot of practice of listening to myself and reflecting on my experiences so I know some of the things that will help. Structure and routine are vital in making this adjustment. Having looked at the suggested schedules for children home from school I knew I needed one too. Once more, I am lucky that the yoga studio which as provided a punctuation to my days for a number of weeks is now online so still provides the backbone to my schedule both with routine and a grounding that I crave. Meal plans and cooking is another constant that continues in these strange times, with extra time for cake. Socially, my diary is fuller that it would normally be, with clear plans for virtual drinks, crafting, nights at the theatre, book club and more. I’m even limiting my intake of news. But in all the structure and routine I may have forgotten to allow space to be, to process all that is happening and to let myself feel. This is probably the real reason I am awake and writing now, my body and brain know what I need, but I haven’t given it space to tell me. It has found the space in the quiet hours of the morning when the world doesn’t feel that different to a few months ago, even as I know it has altered forever.