That whole period at the beginning of March when things really kicked off seems a lifetime away now because January and February were so different. It was a new year with a new start. I had a little trip away to Dublin for a few days in February and not long after I came home things quickly exploded. Lockdown happened. Shit got real.
I remember that surreal evening when Boris Johnson announced the lockdown. It didn't take long before people were proudly declaring projects and intentions in the face of this new-found adversity. They were going to get super fit with Joe Wicks each day, write that book they had never quite managed to complete, learn a new language, play a new musical instrument and be a domestic goddess. The list was endless.
Good intentions are nice and all that, but I wanted to be a bit more pragmatic when the lockdown commenced. However, if there's one thing that really makes you want to do something, it's having the right to do it removed from you. Deprivation is a bugger of an incentive.
Despite those good intentions, I spent the first three-ish months of the pandemic in my living room. I ate there, played there, worked there, talked to family there and watched the news there. It was all-consuming and most of the time, I only left the house to pick up a shopping order, go for a ride/run or have a distanced chat with my son. Some days were a struggle.
But here we are, coming out of the other end. If all the drunken people don't trigger a second-spike, the worst has hopefully passed.
And in a tweet, here's what I achieved during my three months of lockdown:
マーク・ターナー (@dalliard_dotnet) July 2, 2020
He’s not wrong. I had good intentions of finishing a long standing project, getting fitter and sorting my shit out.—
That didn’t quite work out, but on the plus side I’m still here and have trained my cockatoo to give me high-fives, so that’s a win. https://t.co/T1QwEbSyJI
So I've not written a sonnet, lost seven stone or mastered the trumpet - but who cares? I have a parrot who gives me high-fives and also comes to any spot I point to just like a dog, which can't be bad. I'm lucky. I still have my job, I've not been ill, I have a roof over my head, food in my capacious belly and my son is fine - and for this I should be grateful.
We've all been guilty of it, guilty of putting ourselves under pressure to achieve. However, we must remember that this is an odd period that none of us have experienced before. We are our own harshest critics and in all honesty, it's not going to do your mental health any good if you're going to punish yourself for failing to achieve unrealistic expectations during a time of great stress and worry. The objective for those of us who weren't in hospital and ill was to avoid getting ill and ending up in hospital ourselves. Basically, don't die.
If you managed to do that, then literally anything else you've achieved, even if it's just getting up in the morning can be considered a win. Give yourself a metaphorical pat on the back, you've made it.
And remember that book you haven't yet finished? It can wait. There will be a better time.
As the Easter bank-holiday finishes and the UK death toll for this pandemic passes 10,000 I have to remind myself that this awfulness will come to an end one day. Without wanting to use The Queen's Vera Lyn reference, I'm holding on to a future time where we'll be able to do this again, to be like we were in this photo. It's been a month since I last gave my son a hug, but self-isolation is what the UK population needs to do at the moment. It's hard, but how I'm feeling right now is minor in comparison to the people who've already lost someone. It's the sacrifice that we've all got to go through to ensure that things will be OK again in the future.
I'm no Conservative and I'm definitely no fan of Boris Johnson, but please do what the blond buffoon says and stay at home. Thank you.