I’ve been compiling ultimate lockdown lists to mark one year in lockdown. In case you missed it, click on the buttons below to read the rest!
Over the weekend, we celebrated a year of moving into our house in Leeds. This time, last year, we went into our first lockdown. Not much has changed, we’re still in lockdown. But EVERYTHING has changed. This is an account of the most important life lesson I’ve learned over the last year.
We’ve moved countries every year or two over the past 7 years now. But even before I met my partner, this was my life. It’s meant that life has always been transient. When we moved here to our city-centre flat, we had different visions for this space. We imagined it would only be a space we’d come to sleep in every now and then, but that our lives would be out there – exploring my new city, my new country, flying over to Europe every few weekends, getting to know my nieces as more than just faces on a screen.
The lockdown has meant that we’ve spent all our time in a space we thought would be temporary. But what it has done, is help us slow down and be more deliberate with our lives. I gave myself permission to just go for it and buy that bookshelf I wanted – to actually buy physical books again after over a decade. One of the first ones was from a little local free library that I found quite by accident, and has been a stabilising presence in my life over the past year. What a way to be a part of the community when we’ve all been told to stay at home and not engage.
I’ve built up the courage to converse with local artists to buy that one-of-a-kind lifestyle piece I’ve always wanted, that I know will last a lifetime, even if this home is temporary. I’ve put up postcards on a wall, I’ve framed my photos to show my adventures, and I’ve created a physical album so I can be present even in my reminiscing, instead of mindlessly scrolling through my phone.
I invested in plant babies and get giddy every time there’s a new shoot, and every time my watering bowl gets empty (I water them one at a time). We’ve even explored areas of the city we’d never have gotten to know if the city was the bustling place it used to be! Instead, we’ve been able to go on local holidays to brilliant corners of the UK I’d never have even thought to explore. And we’ve found out some hidden nooks in Leeds that even our friends who’ve lived here for decades didn’t know about. What a treat!
Once we figured out our finances and our new non-plans, I’ve even been able to pick UK based projects that are dear to my heart. I can’t even remember the last time I took a job because I love it instead of “it pays the bills”. I am now in a unique position and have gained the privilege to do just that. And I intend to use that privilege fully!
The most important and significant thing I’ve done this past year is finally letting myself ask my family for that brass filter coffee maker that I now have the power to pass down. To have a legacy you get to share with the next generation – wow!
I never realised that staying still, being present in a moment, of being deliberate with everything and slowing down is one of the most thrilling adventures you could have. Just to know that you get to take stock of your life and relationships, to nurture the ones that matter, to say goodbye to those that don’t. To build memories from scratch with the little niblings as they grow up and learn things for the first time – it’s like I’m learning things for the first time. What amazing power there is in staying still, and just, looking around.
What a year!