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Lock-down learnings - 28 days of major change

Can you think back to Monday 9th March?

It seems like a different world now. I know I was going about my business as a sort of normal. Maybe 80-90% normal. I was more aware of possible infection and hand hygiene and I was beginning to get uncomfortable travelling on the bus. We were a week into this crisis and were still in the containment phase. Restrictions had yet to occur.

On Wednesday 11th March I had a meeting in Dublin City Centre with a client. This turned out to be my last face to face meeting. We sat together and talked, we reviewed documents on my laptop. The client used my keyboard, and I let him, without immediately dousing me and it in anti-bac. We were planning to meet again the following week.

This seems reckless and irresponsible behaviour and something we wouldn’t dream of now. It seems kind of incredible that that was the way business was ever conducted. Sitting next to one another in the same room? Crazy talk!

Leo then spoke to us from Washington the following day. My kids returned from school that day laden with schoolbooks to learn from home. Happy to be off school, but fully aware that the landscape had changed. My face to face meetings for that day and the next day were cancelled. My Monday meeting was moved to online. Most of my clients were on enforced work-from-home for 2 weeks. My husband was to be Run Director at the Parkrun on Saturday 14th March. That was cancelled. He worked from home on Friday 13th as a trial but went to work the following Monday. He’s been working from home since, making one corner of the kitchen table his workstation, while the rest of us work around him (not a criticism – he’s the one with the full-time job!)

So, we’ve settled into a new routine and begun to adjust to 4 of us being in the same house all the time. Husband in the kitchen, 12-year-old between living room and bedroom, 15-year-old mostly in bedroom and me drifting, depending on what I need to do. Habits have already taken hold. Technology is to the fore for work and leisure purposes. We get together over dinner (and sometimes lunch) and we binge a few Brooklyn 99’s in the evening.

Pet hates have also crept in and started to bug me. I’m sure the rest of the household have things that bug them too (I’m afraid to ask!). Hubby was working from the kitchen island originally, but this was more awkward for the rest of the family (power lead draped across a kitchen right-of -way!) and was not ergonomically good, so he adapted his area at the table (office chair, large monitor and proper keyboard). The house is constantly “crumby” from all the daytime eating which is usually avoided when people are at school and work, and it’s just me. We keep running out of coffee as we are making 2 (sometimes 3) cafetieres a day. Dishes are left in the sink as we don’t want to disturb our full-time worker. Constant use of cups, glasses and plates means the dishwasher needs loaded (and therefore unloaded) more often. When I (or hubby) have online meetings, we need to alert the rest of the family so that we don’t have a Professor Robert Kelly incident (remember him?!) The internet can be patchy, especially if gaming or streaming is taking place at the same time. I’m constantly moving my laptop from one place to another.

But, all of this is inconsequential. It doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. It’s fine. It’s manageable. We are OK. We are safe and healthy so far and we are doing our bit by staying in and observing the regulations.

Sure, anyone of us can suffer from cabin fever at any stage, but we are not lonely. We have each other and we have contact with others, albeit remotely. We can WhatsApp video my parents up North and we’ve got the other Nanny hooked up to Google Hangouts. My WhatsApp groups are buzzing with chat, jokes and support (thanks girlfriends!) and I’ve had virtual coffee with pals. I can shout to my neighbours. My kids are in touch with their friends via various modes – Xbox, WhatsApp, Snapchat, TikTok and some of this is sparking creativity as well as maintaining friendships. There’s sports and other challenges going on.

Both of us can work, have our meetings and keep in contact with clients. I’m in touch with my coaching circles and my voluntary work too. Technology is allowing us to be innovative and to figure out solutions. Kids are continuing to learn remotely too and it’s giving them great independent learning skills.

I am grateful every day for my health and the health of my family, for the roof over my head, for food and sustenance, for light and heat, for connection and sociability, for technology, for the ability to and the availability of work, for the people who can’t work from home and who must go out to work (thank you), for a house that can take 4 of us being at home without being on top of each other, for the resilience of me, my family and others, for continuity and for this extra time we’ve been gifted just to be, to reflect and take stock and learn a new way of doing and being and living, and for the lessons that we will all take forward from this.

What’s your take?

  1. What have you found out about yourself in the last month?

  2. What worked well during lock-down?

  3. What didn’t work so well during lock-down?

  4. What behaviours/processes do you want to move forward with?

  5. What do you want to leave behind from your previous way of being?

  6. What would you tell your February self now?

  7. What surprised you about yourself?

I’d love to hear your experiences and observations.

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