Letters from Cardiff in lockdown: Emily, with the important question…

Today’s instalment for the Letters from Cardiff in lockdown series comes from Emily, who has a very important question to ask

Letter and lessons from lockdown – A letter to my post-lockdown self

Life is, as ever, what you make of it. Sometimes, through times of stress and strain we need a bit of perspective. Lockdown has brought challenges to our household (me, my boyfriend*, and our lodger) so I’ve written a letter to my future self, to remind me of all of the things I’ve learnt from lockdown so far

(*he has a real name too – it’s Chris)

Lockdown.

It sounds like something that happens in a Netflix prison drama. A nationwide pandemic is the stuff of Hollywood Blockbusters on the big screen. Then IT happened. You were told to stay indoors. And since mid-June you’ve been living a groundhog day-like existence. I’ve been reading the other blogs, where we’ve heard stories of lost jobs, isolation, relationship fails, green fingers, key workers and alike. But none of them have captured the absolute devastation that lockdown has brought us in our household…

Firstly there’s the fact that my boyfriend is a psychopath. He is one of those hideous, monstrous humans of the worst order: he is a feeder. Goat tartlet, crispy shredded beef, glazed gammon; there is nothing that Elaine can’t whip up in the kitchen. This, paired with the fact that I suffer from an awful condition called greediness, means that lockdown has resulted in us both gaining an extra stone of isolation insulation. I like to think it will help us if food shortages become rife, we have a good head start on most people, having already stored it in our bellies.

Secondly, there’s working from home. We’ve all been there; long video calls, eating your way through boredom, consuming more coffee than a columbian barista convention. It’s insanely boring, strangely tiring and being on calls all day makes you bizarrely obsessed with the appearance of your plain walls. Do you show them your alcohol collection at risk of looking like you might have a problem, or the pretentious bookshelves full of books that you’ve not read yet?

Throw in two stepchildren who visit once a fortnight and rob you of all of your food, sleep and sanity (Especially when they leave strategically placed toys in the shaggy rug – the outcome of which was, in my opinion more painful than simultaneously treading on lego and an upturned plug.)

But, (and you too, dear reader) amidst this tale of lockdown woe, I’ve found some important lessons that I wanted to remember, because I think they are life-changing.

I’ve learnt patience.

I’ve learnt to embrace simple, but perfect things.

A hot chocolate in front of the fire. (Yes I lit a fire in June. This girl feels the cold.) A slow dance in the kitchen, playing rock paper scissors to decide who makes the morning coffee and brings it to the other in bed. We can find surprising satisfaction in the small things that happen when we least expect it. You don’t have to go far, you don’t have to spend money, you can stop and look up to find things you love dearly.

Something else I’ve learnt is how surprising an ‘extreme’ situation can show you another side to someone.

It may not be as extreme as the time I ate a MacDonald’s apple pie without letting it cool first, but lockdown has forced us into some pretty hardcore levels of extreme exposure to loved ones. I didn’t anticipate that my boyfriend would be forced to listen to my ‘work self’ spouting formal phrases about complex legal systems that sounds like absolute gobbledygook, or that I would be forced to spend an afternoon hand-washing his pants. (Another delightful lockdown quirk: our washing has been broken for three months. For this household, social distancing isn’t difficult because no one would want to come into close proximity to anything that’s in my wardrobe.) I know there is a very serious situation that some people forced to be together is negative and detrimental experience but this, for us, has been the opposite. I’ve delighted in seeing him single-handedly home-school, work, cook three meals a day and still remain a kind, patient and phenomenally fun dad. All the while I’m just about managing to do just one thing: my job. I haven’t even managed to feed and water myself – he’s done that too. I’ve seen a wonderful man take the world on his stride and that has been incredible to witness.

Finally, and most importantly I’ve learnt not to wait.

Not to wait until things are “back to normal.” Not to wait for a fresh start. (Why wait until 2021 to start afresh?) No, it’s time to seize the day, not wait around. I’m not waiting until lockdown is over. I’m not waiting to ‘live’ once travel restrictions are lifted. I’m not writing a bucket list of stuff for the future. Why wait? Now is the time, THIS is life. Why miss out on all the fun that we can have now?

Which is why, dear reader, my biggest reflection on lockdown is how lucky I am to have my man by my side making me belly-laugh every day without fail. How lucky I am to love with someone who cares for me so much that they have fed me more calories than a Gregg’s warehouse. How lucky I am to have someone whose children melt my cold heart and ALMOST make treading on lego worthwhile with their jokes, curiosity and constant references to farting and bums.

I said I’d learnt not to wait around; so why wait to make sure that your best mate stays by your side forever? Chris, will you be the bacon to my eggs, the Morecambe to my Wise and the husband to my wife….?

……Will you marry me?*

Tune in to We Are Cardiff to see whether this is a lockdown love story or a COVID catastrophe…!

See also:

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