It’s been almost a month since we left Côte D’Ivoire for life back in France, and more notably, life in lockdown. Feelings ebb and flow throughout the days. Somedays I wake up feeling refreshed, relaxed, and excited for another day, but other days I wake up already dreading having to drudge through the day. Sometimes I wake up with that refreshed feeling, only to soon have it replaced by thoughts of bitterness, resentment, and jealousy. I’m jealous of all the people who got government money, or who get to go out and leave the house. I resent all those who break the rules, and only make it worse for the rest of us. But in the end these negative feelings only leave me feeling worse. I’ve started an (almost) daily yoga practice, where the focus is often “gratitude.” More than ever I have been constantly reminding myself to be thankful of the things I do have. While this pandemic has most certainly affected my life in negative ways, I constantly remind myself of how lucky I am. To have a partner here in France who loves me, and to a greater extend, how lucky I am to have a partner whose family accepts me and welcomes me into their home.
I am thankful to still have a job and some sort of work. I am thankful for having stable internet and being able to keep in touch with friends and family from afar. I am thankful for being in a house among people with similar crafting interests and who make delicious meals! I remind myself of the things and I have and how I am lucky.
Despite all the things I am lucky to have, it is still hard to be in lockdown. I still get upset with myself for maybe “not doing enough” or having a mind that is too restless. My feelings come and go. Sometimes I feel okay with having stayed in the house/garden all day, and other times I feel like I’m going to explode and I need to pace back and forth to release all my energy.
The ebb and flow is normal during these very not-normal times. Sometimes all it takes is a refresh to feel better. A good nights sleep and a new day. Sometimes it takes a little more than that. Talking to someone about how you feel. Opening up and admitting all those little thoughts and fears. All those negative thoughts, all those confusing thoughts. By opening up and admitting, you can start walking through them, untangling the mess.
This lockdown has given me a lot of time to think back and reflect. Reflect about my life, reflect about what I want, reflect about what I am and who I want to be. It’s been so long since I’ve had time to just be. We’ve been avoiding Netflix binges and instead have been focusing on self-improvement, learning, creating. Feeding our inner self and our inner strength. Tv and films are interesting on occasion, but it gets old and repetitive, and not to mention a bit depressing. For a while they can whisk you away and outside of this world, but after a while it begins to feel like a chore. Something you do just to make the time pass, among other things.
I had tried to read Harry Potter et La Coupe de Feu (Goblet of Fire; Book 4), but I was not having enough time to sit down and focus on that, since I have started many sewing projects. I opted for the audiobook. It’s not always easy to listen and fully understand everything that is happening, especially since some character’s names have been changed, but it’s pleasantly surprising how much of the french I can grasp and understand with ease. It’s also very pleasant to hear words that I have studied thanks to the first three Harry Potter books. It’s nice that my time spent studying new strange words has not been for nothing and instead has increased my understanding of the writing as the books progress. I still plan to actually go back and read the book, but for now it’s a good preview and a great listening exercise to help me keep on top with my french work.
The French President announced on Monday that the lockdown would continue into May, May 11. After that day, things would start to open up and hopefully return in full swing. Schools would start to open up, possibly. Restaurants, bars, theaters, and museums maybe not til June. Festivals for sure not before July. He talked a lot about “the after”, life after the lockdown. It would not be the same. But this next month of quarantine is the preparation. Borders remain closed, factories remain at full high-scale production. Tests and masks for everyone. Worldwide support. Health support. Make it rain money.
I have a lot planned for the after. Things I want to do, places I want to go, people I want to see. But I also have a lot planned for the now, including saving money, continuing yoga, continuing creating, and continue learning. I will continue reflecting and letting my feelings ebb and flow. As disruptive as this situation is for all, it is a nice break. A nice breath of calmness and silence. No FOMO, no ridicule for staying in on a Saturday night. As much as I want to go out and do, it is kind of cool to stay in, though luckily for me it is relatively calm here. As I wait for this month to be over, I continue to document my thoughts and feelings. I am losing track of time. This is one huge parenthesis in the timeline of life. The grass may seem greener on the other side, and I hope as life returns to the new normal, we don’t have to look back at this period and say “well actually, it was much better then.”