My Strangely Normal Lockdown Life

It’s pretty much fair to say that most people’s lives have dramatically changed during the lockdown. (And yes, I know Australian political leaders have pretty much avoided using that term, but that’s precisely what it is.) But for me, life is strangely “business as usual”.

My life before the lockdown

Before the lockdown, I worked from home. I only left the house to either do some shopping or some exercise. Being the misanthropic introvert that I am, I avoided people as much as possible while I was out and about. (Especially joggers who never ever give way to walkers because they might miss their negative splits or something.) In fact, I rarely left the suburb I live in. (Sound familiar?)

My life during the lockdown

During the lockdown, I still work from home. I only leave the house to either do some shopping or some exercise. Being the germophobic social distancer that I am, I avoid people as much as possible while I’m out and about. (Especially joggers who never ever give way to walkers because they might miss their negative splits or something.) And I still rarely leave the suburb I live in.

But the small changes still add up

Little things, like giving up walks around Balmoral Beach or Cremorne Point because there are (still) too many people ignoring social distancing. Plus I carry a water bottle with me when I’m exercising instead of drinking from bubblers. And I take handwash with me when I go shopping. I used to eat out at cafes once or twice a week, but now I get takeaway.

The biggest change is other people

I used to be the different one, aloof and independent. I used to be the “outlier”, but I’m now the norm. My detached and distant way of life has become the standard. Now everyone knows what it’s like to feel uncomfortable around strangers. And everyone’s idea of what feels like a comfortable amount of personal space has expanded to match mine. Now everyone knows what it feels like to be an introvert.

But what does it all mean?

Nothing, really. It’s just an observation about the irony of being in lockdown. It’s not important in the scheme of things. Maybe I’m feeling less anxiety than other people because I’m coping with being in lockdown more than most. Not that I’m not worried about my wellbeing and the safety of my nearest and dearest. Of course I am. These are scary times.

At the same time, I’m not going to pretend that I’m not enjoying the peace and quiet of empty streets just a little. I am. But I also know a lot of people are hurting. People have lost their jobs, or they’re finding adjusting to life under lockdown difficult and stressful. Or worse still, they’ve lost a loved one. Enjoying being under lockdown isn’t an experience I can appreciate guilt-free.

So I hope you’re not finding your own experience of being under lockdown too difficult. This too shall pass, as they say. And then we can all get back to a new kind of normal, and I’ll go back to feeling uncomfortable in public again. At least I know that won’t change.

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