It’s been just over a week since I made a terrible attempt at packing (forgetting all of my makeup and most of my clothes) and left our flat in Manchester. The evening of my last blogpost, where I decided I’d write weekly about what I’m grateful for, saw the U.K go into lockdown. In the days following we’ve seen case numbers and deaths due to Covid-19 continue to rise and so many have lost both financial security and key support systems. Being away from those I care about, particularly if they’re going through a rough time, has been difficult. But I also feel so lucky that there has been so much to be grateful for mixed in – it’s both strange and reassuring that those realities can sit side by side. I know everyone who is sharing on the internet is grappling with the uncertainty of what to post – the good can feel almost insensitive right now. But, as so many have pointed out, looking for and feeling that good is all the more important when everything feels so uncertain. The celebration of the small things by others has really helped me to feel less alone in the midst of everything that’s going on – glimpses of people’s afternoon walks or the cakes they’re baking or the books they’re curled up with…
Over the last week there’s been so much to savour – there’s the obvious things, like evenings filled with bird song and wood smoke and skies that drip gold. There’s the message notifications from friends, sharing a poem they think I’d like or checking in to see how I am. There’s the way people all over my timelines have opened up and showed kindness to each other and the reassuring ways in which working from home has kept an element of the familiar, even if it’s the relief of finishing up for the weekend and staying in bed for longer on a Saturday.
There’s still the pangs for friends I won’t see for a while, moments when my chest is tight with panic and I just want to be with the people I worry about the most. There’s sadness that I’m not going to see the blossom in Didsbury Park at all this year or have the birthday party I’d hoped for or explore Amsterdam with my favourite people… But there is still so much good.
The last time I wrote a blogpost, the world felt like a very different place. I haven’t been online as much as usual or being as proactive as I’d have liked because I’ve been struggling to process it all. Saying/supporting everything feels so important that I’ve ended up saying nothing at all.
Being away from people you love, particularly if they’re at risk, is hard and the world feels like such an uncertain and scary place right now. Not knowing when I’ll next be able to see some of the people I care about the most has left me feeling lost and scared and defeated and I can’t wait to be able to share the little moments in life with them again. It’s been particularly tough having this come at a time when I was slowly getting my bearings again after a really difficult patch with my mental health and had lots of lovely plans for the coming months that now won’t go ahead.
But I’m also incredibly lucky to be able to work from home and that home for the time being is my boyfriend’s parents house with plenty of space to work and the loveliest garden in the world. I’ve been constantly reciting lists in my head of everything that’s good in an attempt to keep sane and I’m hopeful that we can come out of this situation with a renewed sense of importance for community, for public health, for valuing workers and treating each other well. For slowing down and for meaningful connection. For being grateful for the smallest of things.
I’m hoping to write a weekly post of what I’m feeling grateful for in such a surreal time, including celebrating the creatives that will make all of our lives in self-isolation richer. So the first one of those will come soon – until then I hope that everyone has the support networks in place to get through what will be a difficult time – if you’re losing work or left lonely or just in need of a pick me up, I’m always around for a chat.
The Featured Image for this post is by the wonderful Morgan Harper Nichols who can be found on Instagram at @morganharpernichols or via Garden24 whose work always feels like a gentle nudge to keep going and a reassurance that we’re enough, wherever we are and whatever is happening around us.