On the whole, my lockdown experience has been positive. This isn’t something I take for granted. I know how lucky I am to be able to say this.
I live in Eastbourne, a beautiful town in a stunning location on the south coast of England. From my house, I can see the rolling hills of the South Downs National Park. I am able to walk to the beach and across the downs without having to get into a car. I’ve spent many lockdown hours walking with my family, the people I love most in the world.
I live with my husband, my 18 year-old son, my 14 year-old daughter and our scruffy rescue dog. My son should have been doing his A-levels this summer. Like so many young people, lockdown has transformed his life in ways he couldn’t imagine.
It’s slightly different for my daughter, who no longer goes to school following a serious illness. For her, lockdown has been a less dramatic change than it’s been for many of her contemporaries.
Before lockdown, my life was far too busy. Alongside my writing career, I have a fulltime job and I’m caring for – and home schooling – my daughter. I’ve spent the last few years feeling completely overwhelmed.
Since March, all of that has changed. My husband didn’t work during lockdown, so he was at home every day. He took on most of the housework as well as the home schooling. In many ways, my life these last few months has been easier than it’s been in years!
Having my son at home has also been fantastic. He’s hoping to start university in October and, in the meantime, I’m making the most of every hour he’s still here.
When I haven’t been writing or working, we’ve gone for long family walks together, always finding quiet parts of the downs where we can walk for hours without seeing anyone.
We’ve also got to know our neighbours really well. We’ve set up a WhatsApp group, where we exchange messages and ask for help when any of us need it. We’ve gone outside on Thursday evenings to clap for the NHS. After clapping, we stayed outside for a bit, having socially distanced banter over several glasses of wine. The sense of community spirt has been uplifting, and I’m confident the friendships we’ve made will continue post-lockdown.
These precious months with my family have been very special. We’ve been able to step back from the demands of everyday life, re-centre ourselves and simply enjoy each other’s company.
Of course, I wish lockdown had never happened. Like everyone else, I’m still trying to comprehend the scale of the tragedy and the many ways our lives have changed. I am worried about my children’s future and what their lives might look like because of this pandemic. I have missed my family in Ireland desperately and I can’t wait to see them again.
But compared to so many others, my lockdown experience has been pretty good. I’d be a selfish idiot not to recognise, and celebrate, that.