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Things I learned during in the worlds longest lockdown

Last week Melbourne claimed a title no one actually wanted us ever wanted. We have now become the city with the worlds longest lockdown. That’s right – take that Worlds Most Livable City, we got a new title that no one wanted and everyone hates.

Melbourne folk are basically superheros at this point with 230 days under our belt.

I’ve noticed two very distinct types of people during the lockdown and in fairness – I’ve been both. The first person, is 100% focused on what they can control. They understand that this is situational and this has a timeline and that it will get better. They work hard on what they can control and use this time for their benefit.

The second, is more emotionally driven and is eating more Caramilk in sweatpants and watching Netflix.

Like I said, I’ve been both which is why I can see both so clearly. In my Caramilk on the couch days, I was the person who was glued to the numbers and 11am Press Conferences and at the time – this served a strong purpose. Right now, I am more than happy to be the person who is motivated and focusing on what I can control.

These are the lessons I learned during this time.

1.       What can I control?
I sobbed hard at a memory recently of me 2 years ago in Austin, TX. If you’ve been around me for awhile then you know that I was straight up living my best life there. In contrast – I was now under a curfew and not allowed to see my family and I couldn’t leave my house more than 5km.

Let’s start with what I can control. In his amazing talk This is Water – David Foster Wallace, he talks about choosing your reaction and more importantly recognising what you can and can’t control.

Can’t change the pandemic.
Can’t change I can’t leave Australia.
Can rage about it to deaf ears.
Knowing what I can control versus what I can’t control changed the way I look at my life. It’s meant I’m writing more. I’m working more. I’m booking new clients. I’m exercising more. I chose how I felt and chose what I could control.

2.       Travel is in my BONES.
My dad turned 71 recently and I know he hasn’t been to all the places he wanted to see. It’s hard to think about his life experiences and the things he missed out on because he never took that leap. Life is meant to be an adventure not an experience in just paying fucking bills and then I die. I want to see new places, try new things and take advantage of my mobile body and good health. I feel it in my bones that it is time to travel.

3.       Our New Family/Friend Rituals are the Big Things.
I’ve got a new favourite thing I do to is call my best friend and tell her a ridiculous joke at 7.30am every morning. Does she love it? No. Is she tolerating it? Also no… but we’ve now built a fun little habit with each other.

My nephew, aged 3, calls me every other morning for at least 20 minutes. He barely can string a sentence together but I’ve had in-depth discussions with him about sandpits and trucks.
Without this time we wouldn’t have had this time. I’d usually be at work or busy and wouldn’t have had this time where we can just have these perfect little moments – which at the end of the day are the big things.

4.       Rest is Serious Business  
I’m one of those people who can lay down and have a nap when I need to. I was laying in the sun on the phone the other day and I woke up 20 minutes later.
It’s not about sleep or prescribed hours – but giving your body what it needs when it needs it.
I’m listening to my body when I’m emotionally drained and taking it seriously. Case numbers, conferences, extensions, flattening the curve…. I’m off for a nap.

5.       5 or Above Rule

 I have a new rule when it comes to doing things and it’s changing the way I work and stops me going through the motions.
Any task that I undertake has to be a 5 OR ABOVE in Productivity or Happiness.

Every time I start a task I always ask myself – is this a 5/10 on Happiness or Productivity Scale? If the answer is a yes, I continue. If it’s a no, I find something else to do.

Yesterday I was having lunch and I had a Bailey Sarian video on in the background. I needed to have a break and I needed to eat. It was a clear 10/10 on the Happiness Scale so I wanted the video guilt free with a full tummy.
When the second one came on I saw quickly that it was a 3/10 on the Happiness Scale and I was a 0/10 on Productivity. I was OUT OF THERE.

This is a great measure on not getting stuck into tasks and mindlessly scrolling through TikTok or Netflix binging. It should add joy or productivity or STOP DOING IT.
6.       You need more than just ‘income’.

The pandemic halted cash for a lot of people.
Sure – we got creative. We found hobbies we could make cash from. We delivered food, stocked shelves and we applied for government subsidies and grants but it showed an ONGOING FLAW IN THE SYSTEM.
Many, if not most of us, didn’t have a backup plan and don’t have income coming in from multiple sources. We need it.
We need F*** off Funds. We need money behind us if something goes wrong.
Nothing bad happens when we have access to money and you should never feel guilty about it.

7.       Exercise and Movement Should Be Joyful
I’ve been super fit before and I stupidly thought that it was meant to be HARDCORE SWEATING AND AWFUL AND SOMEONE YELLING AT YOU. Nope. I got that so wrong. In lockdown, I found so much gratitude for my feet hitting a pavement every morning, to be sweating and to have my body moving. It is an absolutely joy and a 10/10 on the Happiness Scale.
I danced when I was stressed. I stretched while on work calls. I bought a standing desk so I could move while working. The whole thing was amazing because I wasn’t TIED TO A DESK ANYMORE.

8.       YOLO Got it Wrong.

Yolo is the idea that You Only Live Once. Nope. You Only Die Once.
You live every single day and maybe living can be magic little moments rather than massive life events.

Make the fucking best of it and find joy in everything.
Did you LOVE that coffee?
Isn’t that flower beautiful?
How wonderful is that book I just finished?
We got it wrong. YODO.

Start living.

These are my big takeaways now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. There is a good chance based off the series of events we have gone through that this is a train – but I remain hopeful that 2022 will be totally different.

I’d love to hear the lessons you’ve taken from the pandemic and your big takeaways from the past 18 months.

I’m hoping to hug yall soon x

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