Seven Lessons Learned In Lockdown

At peace with life, and pink!
I've done a lot of growing over the past twelve-months, and not just the period where I got fat! (read here)

By growth, I mean the personal and self-development variety. The kind where you experience epiphanies, clarity and new perspectives on life. So much has happened, yet so much didn't happen! 

German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger" (or was that Kelly Clarkson?). In short, setbacks help us to grow and improve. Forgive me, I am about to go all Zen.

I present to you, my seven lessons learned in lockdown.

1. Avoid The 'Comparison' Trap

Social media has revolutionised the way we connect, I love it. The problem is, we often consciously and subconsciously compare ourselves to others. Too easily we become envious when the grass appears greener. Don't get caught in that trap, focus on your own purpose!

People rarely have perfect lives, and believe me, many battle their own demons or insecurities. Be careful of the comparison trap. It doesn't matter if Kenneth earns more money, or Alice has a bigger house, or Judith now runs around in a Porsche.

We are not defined by material things and we all leave the world with nothing. 

Think of a marathon race; do all 40,000 runners set off at once? No, they stagger the race, because everybody will have different purposes, abilities and goals. For every Mo Farah, there's a pillock dressed as a Rhino, just racing for charidee! Every journey is different; we all hit different goals, at different times, for different reasons. 

2. Live More Frugally, Live On Less

 "Amazon Prime, what's that?"
Now don't get me wrong, I am not endorsing a monk lifestyle. Just be conscious of wasting money on pointless possessions. Most people consume and spend too much.

Since lockdown, I have aspired for more minimalism in life. Life at home, made me realise how we often consume too much. Typical impulse purchases, usually provide little long-term value. Half of it, you probably didn't need, the ultimate consumerism trap. We soon fill our homes with clutter and can't move for junk.

For the environment's sake, we should try to consume less and reduce the carbon footprint. It is a digital world and we can easily download or stream our entertainment. Don't become obsessed with owning physical and tangible items.

Don't be afraid to accept hand-me-downs or borrow something from a friend. I bought some used Y-fronts recently and they were the most comfortable briefs I've worn all lockdown.

That last bit isn't true (I have some standards!), but perhaps you understand my mindset? Never be too snobby to buy second-hand.

3. Live In The Moment, Be Present

Have you ever been to a concert, and seen people filming on their phones, instead of watching the show? Such a waste! If we aren't engaged with the moment, you can never re-live it again. Not everything needs to be captured through a smartphone. 

Everything occurs in the present moment, don't let life just pass you by. Enjoy life as it happens, be present and as engaged, as you reasonably can. 

If you have a family, give them your time and full attention. These precious moments don't last forever. Personally, I am trying to get better, but there is room for improvement.

4. Life Is Repetitive, It Always Will Be

The struggle is real
Life feels extremely repetitive and mundane at present. There are no holidays, no visits to family and few leisure activities. As such, it magnifies all the boring tasks like housework, that have to be done. 

In reality, life has always been repetitive; we are just noticing it more. We have always had mundane tasks like housework, washing clothes and food shopping to do. On top of this, parents will have additional duties like school-runs and bath times.   

It just feels more repetitive, because it lacks a degree of enjoyment, excitement and fulfilment. We have nothing enjoyable to look forward to, with any confidence, which doesn't help.

It's a 'Groundhog Day' existence, but it won't last forever. One day Bill Murray finally woke-up and life was better again. Hang in there, because better days are coming.

5. Stop Expecting Completion In Life

Life is not a computer game or puzzle, there is no obvious end. People become obsessed with completion. Some tasks get completed and some do not. Some tasks are linear and some are a continuous loop. 

I realise we get caught in a belief, that we must somehow complete everything. Or even worse, we think that acquiring possessions or status will complete us.

Inwardly we often think, "If only I get the new family home, life will be complete!" or "If only I get the promotion, life will be perfect". It won't be, and soon you'll be striving for a new "something" to fill the void.

We come into the world incomplete and that's how we depart it. Not everything on the bucket-list is achieved, sometimes we will fail or change our minds. Don’t worry about completion, just enjoy the journey and experience.

6. Keep Your Goals Realistic

I believe goal setting is important; it keeps us focused and motivated. Unfortunately, 2020 was a disaster for achieving goals. Many of my personal goals were built around travel and visiting places. Coronavirus soon destroyed that!

Don't beat yourself up about it, it happened, we had no control, move on. I am sure 2021 will be a better year, but keep goals less ambitious, in the circumstances. 

I am hopeful of a holiday this year, but I am realistic. Many of us want that first holiday, concert or night-out in 2021. Make goals, but be realistic and appreciate times are uncertain. In time, I believe normality will resume.

7. Throw-Out Positive Energy

The last twelve-months have been tough. Everybody has made sacrifices and given-up freedoms. People continue to be anxious and some are struggling with their physical and mental health. 

The other day, a random woman started talking to me in the supermarket. It was a bizarre conversation about Easter eggs, and how she’d not even given her grandkids their Christmas presents yet. 

I could have easily walked-on and said “Leave me alone weirdo!”. However, I sensed she wanted to talk, and what harm was five minutes of my day? Be nice to people and send out good vibes. These are tough times and we are all coping differently. A positive attitude can brighten up someone's day.

I have always believed that the universe punishes and rewards accordingly.  Karma is real and what comes around, goes around, so don't be an asshole.

Final Thoughts

Let me conclude, with some Jerry Springer type final thoughts….pull-up a chair.

  • Stop comparing your life against others.
  • Try to be less of a consumer and more environmentally conscious.
  • Be present, especially during precious time with the family.
  • Life is indeed repetitive and mundane at times, it always will be, deal with it.
  • Stop expecting perfection and completion in everything. 
  • Keep your goals realistic, these are testing times.
  • Be positive and put out good energy.


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