Why my life after lockdown will never be the same again…
Lockdown felt unexpected and unnatural when things first began; how would we cut ourselves off from the world? How would survive without socialising? How would our days take shape without our usual routine? But somehow things settled; new routines were made (or not!) and so many things we considered to be negatives, turned out to be positives after all.
Everyone has been happier at home – my husband has enjoyed not having to commute on the days he usually went into the office. The kids have lost the school anxiety (no daily tummy aches here!) and have thrived academically having 1:1 teaching, as well as being generally happier and less stressed from our new slower pace. Largely, we run our daily routine around the weather and tide times; they love to play at the beach so we fit our day around when there is sand and sun.
We have all grown so much, as individuals and as a family. We have always been close, but as each other’s only company for months on end we are closer than ever. It feels similar to how things were before they started school, when our days were our own, and we have loved not having to rush around.
I have definitely become a more relaxed version of myself. I’m cleaning less, engaging with my children every day, going with the flow and living in a more spontaneous way. I’ve lived in shorts or leggings and barely worn make-up; for the first time in my adult life I’ve got used to looking in the mirror bare-faced, and I no longer dislike what I see. I’ve never worn a huge amount of make-up but I would always wear some every day without fail, it was just a part of my routine. But, slowly, I’m learning to love myself as I am.
The biggest change for us is having the kids not go back to school. Deciding to home educate them was not a decision we made lightly, but it was one we had been preparing for before lockdown, as we are keen to travel and break away from our usual routine. We want to stop existing and actually live; instead of counting the days we want to make every day count.
We had spoken about it for some time, and when would be the best time to begin, as they’re both at a great age to enjoy and remember some new adventures. Knowing that the home learning has gone well, and that the children are much more easily adaptable than we thought, gave us the confidence to say, ‘Let’s do this!’
Despite travel restrictions and Brexit, both of which will make things a bit more challenging, we are really hopeful that we can really begin to embrace this new way of life next year. There is so much to prepare, as we are hoping to move to a smaller house this side of Christmas, so this winter will be busy but every step gets us closer to living our dream.
We know more than ever that we all prefer a more simple life – that memories and experiences hold more value than anything else. Time is our greatest asset. People are more valuable than anything money can buy. Lockdown has been useful for us to further streamline our belongings; we have always lived in a minimalistic way but it is now more important than ever. We are changing the way we look at our home in order for it to provide us with the means to explore the world.
Our finances have improved vastly – to continue these changes will see us over £4000 better off each year; for more information read my post on our lockdown savings. We have never indulged in a huge amount of luxuries, but even the little amounts add up, especially across a year. All of these things have become so vital – in our minds, each penny saved allows us to fund a new trip; spend less and live more.
Most importantly, lockdown showed us that quality time together is precious. As parents, we feel more in-tune with our kids than we have in years. We have reconnected and enjoyed so many moments together that I know for sure would never had happened… Late nights (on school nights) where we had too much fun at the beach to come home before dark. Bike rides in the sunshine when the kids would usually have been sat at desks. Water fights and lazy afternoons in the garden, when we usually wouldn’t even be at home.
We were forced to be creative – to make our own fun, and try new things. We’ve spent more time outside and in nature – walking, cycling, hiking, roaming the woods – than ever before. It’s where we feel most relaxed, most at home. The children have really been able to just be children!
Every cloud has a silver lining, and these memories are mine. I hope, in some small way at least, that this year will change everyone for the better; even if only a little. In a modern world, where it can be so easy to lose our way, time to stop and reflect was a gift I will treasure forever. And, for our family, this pause has become the start of our new beginning.
If you’d told me five years ago that we would be in this moment, changing our lives, I would never have believed you. I have always been a perfectionist and a planner, not a risk-taker. But the last few years I have grown so much, and every day I feel more awake and a little braver. It’s never too late to embrace change and take a new path; feel the fear and do it anyway. We only get one life; live it.