In many ways, lockdown has been thoroughly, relentlessly awful. Necessary, and doable, yes, but not much fun.
Being separated from family and friends, practically divorced from the outside world, unable to travel or visit a restaurant, having to homeschool and exist within the same four walls, all while being inundated with upsetting coronavirus news and worrying about the health of loved ones – it's been hard.
But during such a remarkable time, there have been slivers of joy found amongst the many difficulties – and we might just miss some of them when a new normality emerges.
Here are just a few…
1. When else in your life have you ever actively looked forward to going for a run? Exercising has never felt less like a chore.
2. When you're home almost every second of the day, the chances of missing a delivery are next to none – oh the relief.
3. Talking regularly to random family members, long lost school friends and connecting with grandparents via technology (turns out it is possible), has been quite amazing.
4. Having the time every single day to check on and appreciate even the tiniest changes to your houseplants and veg seedlings.
5. You might have lived in your house for a decade or more, but how well did you really know your neighbourhood before exploring it in forensic detail on lockdown walks?
6. It may have taken a little while to adjust to the world shrinking to just our households, but getting to spend endless hours – despite the usual family bickering – with people you love, is time we might never have had in 'normal' life.
7. A nightmare for some, but for others, homeschooling has been a chance to bake and garden, make extravagant home chemistry experiments, be creative and learn stuff together as a family. Understandably though, you wouldn't want to do it forever.
8. People have been smiling at each other on the street while out jogging and walking – can we keep that going?
9. It's been so quiet – fewer cars and planes and construction sites operating has meant we've actually been able to hear the birds singing. And it's been lovely.
10. It might seem trivial in the grand scheme of things, but doing the washing has never been easier. It's amazing to be able to pop a load on as soon as there's enough dirty clothing in the basket, rather than spending full weekends on a constant wash and dry cycle.
11. Not feeling guilty about watching a lot of TV (when staying home, it's pretty much been mandatory). Once our social lives pick up again, bingeing boxsets, joining in live art sessions and catching Gardeners' World on a Friday night will be so much harder.
12. The opportunities for 'me' time have definitely increased for a lot of us. With no friends to meet, work drinks to attend, school runs to wrangle with, fitting in a bath, or half an hour with a book, cooking from scratch, calling a friend, and spending more than three minutes painting your nails, has actually been possible.
13. Through the Thursday night claps, getting to properly know our neighbours over the fence, supporting those in need, shopping for friends and relatives who can't go out themselves, a sense of community has genuinely sprung up.
14. For people newly working from home, it's been quite the dream to get a lie-in, then just walk downstairs to 'work' rather than having to get up, get dressed and drive or catch a bus or train to commute. Plus, you can make yourself a nice lunch, rather than rely on plastic-wrapped, shop-bought sandwiches.
15. We've been able to collectively slow down, and focus on the day-to-day. Grand plans have been cancelled, life has paused – but it has for everyone. There's no FOMO, or feeling like you're being left behind at work, or amongst fellow parents on the playground. In some ways it's been a relief, a moment to stop, think and recalibrate. One we might never get again.