A Year in Lockdown | Then and Now
As of tomorrow, we will have been lockdown for exactly one year: 23rd March 2020 to 23rd March 2021. As such, I thought it was prudent to do a reflective post on where I am now as to where I was then.
Let me take you back to before lockdown. 2020 was going to be my year. I started it by winning the London Book Fair Trailblazer Award, going back on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss zero waste, going roller-blading with my friends, and moving flat.
Little did I, or anyone else know that less than three months into the year we would all be in lockdown.
The beginning of lockdown
For me, lockdown began on the 17th March 2020 when my company, HarperCollins closed the office and told everyone to work from home full-time. Or at least, until further notice. We had no idea that a year on we would still be working at home full-time, except for a brief time where we were able to go into the office on request.
Since leaving the office on the 17th March I have been in the office for four days in total. I went in very recently actually and it was a ghost town filled with exciting book proofs – the books before they’re printed – for July 2020. After that it sort of stops. No more books were sent to the office as we were all aware that this was not a short-term situation.
It was strange sitting back in the office, next to my desk as my desk was deemed ‘closed’ so that only one desk is ‘open’ nearby and feeling like that was a field trip.
My life, as with many people’s lives, has been on literal pause since lockdown began. I can tell you off the top of my head about all of the excursions I have had since 23rd March 2020. By excursions I include trips to visit my sister, going shopping on the high street, having coffee with a friend, dates, and going to the theatre.
However, I still managed quite a few big events in 2020.
I organised my sister’s hen do – which happened in August 2020 when lockdown restrictions were lifted and we were told to Eat Out, to Help Out. A lot of us traveled to Devon for GoKarting and a picnic in the park, which was lovely. We, of course, also did go to the pub and get wasted. Or the hens did – I was mother hen (despite being the youngest!) and was practically a nun all night.
My sister also got married in October on her original wedding date, shortly before we went into another lockdown. Her wedding was cut from 100 people to just 15 and it was lovely. But stressful AF! Her ‘big wedding’ is happening in 2022 as well… I’m not planning another hen do though. Sorry, sis!
On top of my sister’s wedding, I also wrote two books and got a book deal which was fantastic and I do wonder if it would have been possible if not for the lockdown? Who knows!
But I haven’t seen my cousins in over a year and I’ve missed a lot of their formative childhood years. I’m very close to my extended family so not to have seen them for the odd dinner and BBQ has been tough.
Spending time with others
Although I’ve only seen a few friends a few times during this year in lockdown, I’ve got to spend a lot of time with my parents, which has been lovely.
I moved into a brand new, much more spacious flat shortly before we went into lockdown the first time, but I decided to move back in with my parents when we told to isolate the first time. We didn’t know how long it would be last and I didn’t want to be entirely on my own for months on end.
Working from home full-time was interesting though. My parents’ internet is the pits, quite honestly, and the cat doesn’t understand boundaries when it comes to working hours. But we made do.
I returned to my flat in July 2020 and then came back to live with my parents in prep for my sister’s wedding in October. I spent the second lockdown in November in my flat and it was surprisingly okay.
What’s happening now?
This lockdown I’ve been back at my parents again. I’ve been ‘stranded’ (not exactly a hardship) since Christmas and I’ve popped back to London for three days to deal with some flat issues but that’s it. I plan on returning to London in April full-time. But who the hell knows what will happen?!
Shortly before lockdown 3.0 I started dating again – I have the best timing don’t I! – and trying to navigate a potential relationship during lockdown is confusing and ridiculously complicated for what it is. But it’s an ongoing thing so we’ll see what happens over time.
I’ve basically given up on making plans. Every time I make some sort of decision from moving back to London, going to work in the office, dating, or seeing friends the world turns upside down again. So I’ve decided to just stop planning down to the detail and just go with the flow when the mood takes me.
As of today, the only plans I have are these:
- Publish a book on the 3rd June 2021
- Go back to London after Easter (nothing specific)
- Get the vaccine at some point
- Turn 26 years old in June
That’s literally it. What else is there to consider. Nothing really. I’m sick of this pandemic, as I’m sure most if not all of us are. I’ve no issue with the way it’s being handled, and I completely understand why but it’s been a long year.
I’m about a stone heavier and feel like I can count on ten fingers all of the exciting achievements I’ve done in the last 12 months of my life which is frustrating for someone like me, who is very goal-orientated and driven to achieve. But it’s what we have to do, right? So why complain about it, if it’s not going to help?
Apart from learning that even when given the time I will still not do the things that I always said ‘if I had the time I would…’ do, I’ve also learnt a lot about relationships and the importance of communication. That’s a blessing at least.