Finding the UP in Melbourne's lockdown



It is no secret to anyone that doing something the second time around always feels totally shit.


A bit like - 'well, you failed the first try' or the first time 'wasn't quite good enough' - the second time requires the blind belief and grace of the first time and the pigheadedness of 'course I can do it perfect' this time...with the reality check that it really isn't as easy as you might have thought.


Melbourne's lockdown for me, is a bit like that.


Harder this time to accept, since now it isn't a national lockdown but just a statewide one (us Victorians get all the lucky things) it still requires the same commitment and diligence of the first one but with the even scarier prospect that it could affect any one of us. At any time.


Melburnians, I can proudly say, have united in keeping their city safe, as much as possible.


For things now, this time, feel like there is much more at stake.


It isn't so much an unknown virus now - it's the COVID-19 pandemic - sweeping the world and somehow everyone seems to know the symptoms and mortality rate. But further, everyone seems to know someone who has had a test done (or two). Everyone fears the cough or sniffle, in case it really is the virus.


Similarly, everyone seems to know someone who would be severely affected by the virus and whose health is compromised. Everyone is more aware that we can't get this one wrong again.


Lockdown now, really, requires personal sacrifices. Not just those wonderful little pleasures that we took for granted (the 'l'll just pop down to the shops/sit in the cafe/have dinner with friends') but ones that we - or I will never take for granted again.


Somehow the freedom of roaming freely through the city, eating out and drinking with friends, in numerous bars and restaurants - as most young people do regularly, or 'normally' feels like a distant memory. Replaced with my four walls and living room floor, and hobbies of choice, I flip-flop between trying to be happy about my choices and wrestling my demons.


But - yes - while I do acknowledge that, this time my adjustment back into lockdown mode has been harder for me now, the effort to make this lockdown work for me is much stronger now... and these are the things I've discovered...


List of Ups to being in a lockdown:

1. I have realised I have a direct choice of how happy (or unhappy) I make myself at any one time.

2. I have chosen NOT to make myself suffer over the lockdown (it will pass - give it time)

3. I know I can actually get quite a few things done in the morning, with a bit of discipline

3. I am heaps more likely to get things done if I make a good list of these things (early in morning) - somehow committing my brain to getting them done during the day

4. One little treat during the day - be it a cup of tea, chocolate, walk in some fresh air or whatever - can change your whole mood entirely

5. Winter plus lockdown will require more sleep (and possibly more cooking)

6. Let go of FOMO - this time is intended to be spent alone or with your household so you're not going to miss out on anything (you actually are where you are meant to be)

7. Don't sweat the small stuff but alternatively don't totally lose sight of the bigger picture - work on being relatively happy with both some small and the broader picture too

8. Now that you have time - help fix the bigger picture, be it climate change, plastic pollution or anything else that is close to your heart

9. Make sure there always is a happy highlight to your day

10. Recognise that every day you are another day closer to the lifting of restrictions

11. Finally - appreciate that the pandemic throws new light on our 'first-world' problems and gives new perspective when so many other people are managing difficult situations.


In reality, I suspect, for me, the pandemic has already made me incredibly grateful for the blessings I have. And if I come out of this crisis more productive, resilient, optimistic and (yes!) grateful then it has been another blessing of sorts.


One that I look forward to seeing the back of, in the weeks that follow.