Two years ago, a scenario where you had no choice but to stay at home was unimaginable (critical illness aside.) Until recently, it was also a distant memory, but it’s the 27th of May in Melbourne and a new 7 day lockdown has just been announced. We’ve had months of ‘normal’ life and relatively lax restrictions but what does this lockdown actually mean?!
The hard facts of lockdown
You’re in your house for 7 days. You can leave for essential work, healthcare, an hour of exercise or to buy essential items like groceries. That’s it.
A life with (more) boundaries
The reality is that we live within frameworks every day. We can’t kill, be a no show at work or recklessly drive 200km without facing consequences. There are laws, etiquette and social norms that govern how we live but, we’re used to them. With this extra set of rules we really feel our freedoms being taken away. In reality, how much freedom do we actually have?
There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?” – David Foster Wallace
In one sense there’s no pressure to be doing the latest thing or spending money on stuff you don’t need but in another it’s removing many of the activities that make our lives enjoyable.
Solving problems and overcoming hurdles
This is where it comes down to individual perception. Either you look at it as “How do I fill 7 days?” or “What do I get to do with 7 days?” This may seem like splitting hairs but our outlook makes a massive difference to how we experience the world.
With this in mind, constraints drive genius. As humans, we are problem solvers. Our lives are problem after problem. If it’s not money, it’s relationships. Being at home for a week is a first world problem. Especially if we can afford rent and food. For those whose income is effected or are living with abusive relationships this is a different story, I fully understand and by no means wish to trivialise that reality.
Really, there shouldn’t be any pressure. What choice do you have in this? This goes for many scenarios in life. Your partner leaves you, your car breaks down, you get soaked in the rain. You don’t have any control of the situation, only how you respond. The process then repeats. We should therefore acknowledge that this self-imposed feeling of pressure is ultimately useless. Some pressure can act as a wonderful catalyst for change but the stress is brings in higher levels surely does more harm.