After fifteen weeks of mostly my own company for much of the time during our Covid 19 lockdown, I find that after an initial resistance in coming to terms with my new reality, to my surprise I’ve become comfortably used to it.
My husband has continued to work throughout, so he’s here sometimes and at work sometimes. But me, I’ve been mostly staying at home, doing housework, gardening, going for occasional solitary walks, and have only visited the local supermarkets etc. for essentials as necessary. Thankfully my husband and I always have plenty to say to each other, reminiscing over the past, forward-planning for our future and putting the world to rights.
My eldest daughter and her partner and two youngest children came round for a logistically awkward yet really enjoyable garden picnic a few weeks ago, and I’ve spoken to various neighbours across the garden wall a few times, but other than that and the ships-that-pass-in-the-night polite small-talk with cashiers as I pass through the checkout, that’s about it for me for real life face to face communication.
I do use modern technology to keep in touch with my parents and my children and my siblings now and again, but although it’s much better than nothing it’s not quite the same as seeing them all three-dimensionally in the flesh. So I’m really looking forward to the relative freedom to visit family indoors that will hopefully come at the end of this week with the start of Phase Three of lockdown-lifting measures here in Scotland.
Honestly I don’t think I’ve ever spent so much time on my own in my whole life, and now I’ve got used to it I find I’m quite content with my own company. I do like seeing other people occasionally, but I’m absolutely OK on my own.
Of course I’ve had periods of time when I’ve been a stay-at-home housewife before, but that’s usually been mixed with motherhood or intensive job hunting or with some other important activity that acts as a useful distraction from looking too closely at viewing myself as my sole source of companionship. Lockdown has been a very different experience, because all the usual distractions have necessarily been in lockstep lockdown too.
Inevitably I have had a lot of time lately just to think, to let my mind wander without censure into those shadowy no-go areas, drag dark difficulties into the light, sit with them awhile and start to work stuff out. I find I’m learning a lot about myself, about who I am now and who I am not any more. As a result I’m feeling more at peace with my past than ever before, which makes my present feel OK, and bodes well for a more peaceful future, too.
It feels like now I’ve experienced the sweet taste of solitude, and even now lockdown is ending, even once I return to work and start to see my family regularly again, I’m going to try to keep some of that quiet, self-containedness I’ve grown so comfortably fond of…