The concept of celebrating the “little things in life” is nothing new, but it has without doubt grown in significance over recent weeks. Our previously hectic lifestyles have been brought to an abrupt halt and forced to live as we are now within new limited parameters, there is a rising wave of opinion that the joy of simplicity in lockdown is something to be cherished.
This new life is not without its challenges, but the opportunity to step back and re-evaluate our relationship with ourselves and what gives pleasure and real meaning to our life was seldom available before. As we all get on with this new reality, maybe this moment of stillness, albeit against a horrific backdrop, will in time prove invaluable.
The little things can make a big difference to our sense of happiness and for me those that are providing me with moments of calmness and gratitude have changed little since social distancing and staying at home became a necessity. Their value, however, is more magnified.
The Joy of Nature
The great outdoors is credited with offering many health benefits. I have always loved gardening, but now more than ever I am grateful for our little oasis, not only for the escapism it offers from lockdown, but also the general sense of wellbeing guaranteed from being outside, surrounded by greenery and living things. Tending to my pots and taking time out each day to appreciate the fruits of my labour is a real highlight.
Add to this the birds. Anyone else notice how more plentiful they are or is just a city thing? Living in London the background noise was always of cars or planes overhead. Now sirens and the constant chatter of neighbouring young kids homeschooling aside, the predominant noise is of birdsong, more varied than in our pre-lockdown world. Even the teens have started to sit up and take notice of the daily rituals of our resident blackbird and family and more recently some Parakeets. It’s forced a unified front of sorts and who would have thought that would have ever been possible from something so simple?
The Joy Of Just Being Yourself
The way we look has become such a big deal in this ever photo-ready world, that the chance to step back and just be your real self is a welcome relief. In the early days of lockdown the general chitchat was all about the next time we might get to the hairdresser, or in terms of the girls in the house when the eyebrows might get tweezered and tinted again and that’s before we get onto the nails – yes I am ashamed to admit, it really was a topic of debate.
Now although I do still bemoan the state of my ever growing grey roots on occasion, it does all just seem so ridiculous and trivial against the stark landscape that has been forced by Covid-19. Equally apart from Dress for Dinner Friday, all efforts at a put together wardrobe have been abandoned which is in it itself quite frankly liberating. Who can see us after all, other than the multitude of spitting joggers we dodge furiously when out for exercise, or the neighbours we tearfully wave at across the road whilst banging all manner of household implements every Thursday at 8pm for #ClapForCarers?
The Joy Of That Holiday Feeling
Holidays conjure up experiences of positivity and whilst we are far from that right now, there is a semi-sense of relaxation to be had from this working from home world, free of routine. The joy of switching off and just “being”. You know what I mean I hope – the welcome calmness and lack of pressure categorized by going on holiday, that big sigh you let out when you first step foot on foreign soil – when routine is binned – when the extra hour or so dozing in the morning is a welcome delight – when breakfast becomes lunch and lunch sometimes becomes dinner and when cocktails happen earlier than they should – that overall sense of freedom – except of course we are not – we are just home pretending for now. There is a slice of joy in there somewhere my friends.
The Joy of Not Missing Out
The joy of being alone and the absence of FOMO is a given right now. There are no excuses needed for choosing not to go out, because we just have to be where we are. God, like all of us I so miss our friends, our moments of togetherness, our laughter, our craziness and camaderie, when nothing is off limits that can’t simply be replicated virtually, but there is something to be said for the simple contentment that comes with being home alone with your nearest and dearest, being happy with yourself and really noticing what adds joy to your life. Relish those moments, hold them close, chuck out the parenting responsibility rule book. It’s a time for memories born from abandonment.
The Joy of Exercise
If you are as old as me you will have been indoctrinated since the days of Jane Fonda with the mantra that exercise is not only good, but a necessity and nothing has really changed with that 80’s fitness message. However, is it just me or does anyone else feel that exercising in the 21st century had almost become a competitive sport?
Not exercising or not wearing athleisure kit 24/7 and not talking about your latest fitness achievements suggested a slothful existence. Lockdown has removed that pressure. No-one knows now what you are or are not doing and it is up to all of us to find what works for us within the space we have available.
There is certainly no shortage of online material and I like no doubt everyone else devoured several articles in the early days on “How To Keep Fit In Lockdown” but found myself reading more about how to do it rather than actually doing it and subsequently feeling under pressure that I wasn’t.
Now a few weeks down the line I have found my groove, picked out a variety of online workouts to give me a focus and have actually rediscovered the pleasure of exercising just for me, free of judgement or the constraints of a class of individuals of mismatched abilities.
The Joy of Rediscovery
Simplicity is not surprisingly the state or quality of being simple and despite the circumstances, I am finding some satisfaction in embracing that sentiment right now and using this time to rediscover what brings me joy. As well as everything else, having the time to read, to listen to my favourite podcasts, to spend time cooking rather than just throwing something together in a hurry, to write and give attention to my blog again, these are all things I will look back on this time and be grateful for.
“Enjoy the little things for one day you may look back and realise they were the big things.” I am sure we all have read that quote from American author Kurt Vonnegut before but never has seemed it more pertinent.
Right now those little things that count for us all are making a big difference, they are defining who we are and will all become, but more importantly who our teens will become. Let’s make these simple moments count, embrace the joy of simplicity in lockdown. The journey ahead may be long but it maybe our last chance. Let’s cherish these precious moments with our family and not think too hard about the tomorrows.
Keep Safe dear readers.
Editor’s Note: As always thank you for making it to the end. Please do let me know what joys you are getting from this simple life in the comments below.