In the middle of the four week Level 4 lockdown, I, like everyone else around New Zealand, have had to confront the element of time in this new but temporary reality. I work at home as it is, so work has not been a problem, or should I say, a huge readjustment. After many conversations with Kiwis who are not working, I’ve been lifted and comforted by their energy and gritty determination to get things done in and around their homes. Staying busy, focused, making the very most out of what appears initially as a massive challenge, are the key factors to not only passing this time but being the better for it.
So what I have done in the past two weeks to keep the devil at the door? Well, the first revolution in my world was reading a book. From beginning to end, over a period of five days – which wasn’t too bad as it was over 900 pages long. The embarrassing part of this tale is that it’s the first one I’ve read in five years and I used to be a dedicated and passionate reader. Like so many, since the advent of binge TV and movies, I have surrendered my imagination to the never ending array of easy to access excellent visual viewing. After the utter joy of reading and using my own imagination to conjure worlds and characters from words on paper, I am surpfrised by how much I was missing and the impact that binge viewing had on my life. Again, I know I am nowhere alone in this. It’s something that many of us do.
And that simple act kickstarted a further revolution. Making and creating, accomplishing tasks, doing things I have never done before. From what I can tell from remotely connecting with my friends, family, colleagues and pretty much all of of social media – I am part of a global family who are doing exactly the same thing.
Don’t get me wrong, the Lockdown has its down times – where the claustrophobia and the saturation of contact with my family gets to be a little too much. Yesterday after a day of feeling a little unhinged, my daughter asked me to make pasta with her. Ravioli, in fact. If you’ve never made your own Ravioli, I don’t have the right words to encourage you to do so. The whole process – from beginning to the end (which is the very best bit), is uniquely rewarding. It is hands on, inventive, time consuming, a little messy and a reminder of the art of making food and the pleasure of consuming it. Better than that, the act shifted my blues and reminded me concretely of the priceless things in my life, that all too often are taken for granted.
And if I’m honest about my hopes during this worldwide call to arms to stay at home, then I earnestly hope that this experience changes us for the better. That we will alter our priorities and the way we live. That what really matters – each other, will be given the attention it truly deserves. I expected the Lockdown to bring out the worst in us, it hasn’t. It has shone a light on the best that we are and the best that we do. I’m surprised – but more than that – I’m proud.