Lessons Learned from the First COVID Lockdown for the Second

https://digitalcitizen.ca/category/writing/In many places in the world, people have gone through multiple lockdowns due to COVID-19. Where I live, we have been super fortunate to have sensible and law abiding citizens that we’ve had only one lockdown, when COVID first broke here in March 2020. Inevitably, with a place being attractive to those not wanting to be restricted, some will come with their gonzo ways to ruin it. Recently, we had some of that, with the ratio of close contacts to those coming into the province being like 5 to 1. There’s no way everybody coming into the province lived with an average of 5 people, who would have had to quarantine themselves as well. That’s assuming every one of these close contacts caught COVID, never mind some who might not have. Dumb traveling yahoos!

Our new daily COVID case numbers climbed enough to warrant a “precautionary” lockdown for the next four weeks starting today. I call it a “precautionary” lockdown because not everything will be closed like the first lockdown, and the average new cases per day only about 1/4 of the North American average, and only starting this week rather than having raged on for months or a year. Enough to take things seriously. That’s why we’ve had the relatively good year compared to the rest of the world that we did. But really, not that much to worry about. Still, it is a sort of lockdown, so in preparation, I thought about what I had learned the first time around to make better of the situation this time. That was when I realized there hasn’t been a lot of this online, just general advice that weren’t often experienced based so it might as well have been as theoretical as the first time. What a good thing to write about then!

 

Routines, routines, routines

In uncertain times, we need uncertain to feel some sense of control over our lives. We go back to a lot of fundamentals, including simple things that inevitably include oversimplified and conservative values. Accepting this truth and being affected by it as much as anyone else, I resolved to control that tendency by having more routines in my life. How’s that for meta? Controlling tendencies that I need to feel like I have some control over my own life?

With routines, I will have a mix of old ones, and some new ones. Routines doesn’t have to mean things you’ve done for a long time. Just things you’ll be doing regularly. Indeed, part of why so many people are stressed out over lockdown is because their long-time routines are what got disrupted. By keeping what I can, and instilling new ones for the ones disrupted, I keep some regularity and some familiarity, or soon to be familiarity, in my life.

Routines also give you something to look forward to, so if you had a few either everyday, or once every few days, you’re never far from looking forward to the next thing.

As for what new routines? I will have to give a theoretical example here because it was a brilliant one that I am very fortunate I won’t have to use. If I were going to have to stay and work from home, I was going to still take a 15 minute walk in the morning before starting my work day, just as I would if I were going to work, except I’d end up back home, obviously. It’d be a walk almost to work, then turn around for the long way home. And yes, you read that correctly. I got the chance to go to work rather than work from home. I’ll have the office for 20 people all to myself for most of the next 4 weeks! But that’s the way I like it to keep my work away from my 1 bedroom apartment, and just to get out the door a few times a day in addition to my running that I can’t do everyday from volume.

I’ve also recently started a regular exercise routine of doing various dynamic stretching and strengthening exercise can sometimes make me feel like an idiot. Well, there won’t be too many people around to see me doing that then. 🙂

I’m sure I’ll think of more routines, especially hobby related ones contributing towards pandemic projects that’s the next objective.

 

Pandemic Projects

These were projects people generally created during the pandemic lockdowns or restrictions with extra time on their hands. However, they tend to have arisen out of necessity rather than intent. What I’m talking about, is intent. With roughly 4 weeks of lockdown coming, I’m going to pick a bunch of projects I will intend to have done by the end of it all on May 21. For starters, I haven’t painted anything this year, or sewn anything major, both of which have numerous totals to be done by year’s end as part of my ambitious resolutions in 2021. However, the main reason why I have not has been my focus on the start of my two-year writing journey, and it’s going to stay that way as I step up one more level.

I’ve been using writing competitions as my main motivator to write more seriously, doing a lot of editing, rewriting, different formats and genres, etc. I will have the chance to come up with five serious pieces over the next four weeks, including three long pieces of up to 5000 words that I have not yet tried. I’ve been capped at 2000 words for competitions so far, and am in a delightful groove for a set of 500 word stories due April 30. I aim to finish that tomorrow (April 24) so I can move to those more detailed pieces. I’ve also discovered that I can get two-for-one deals by writing the short summary versions for shorter contest pieces, while saving the longer ones for the longer pieces. I won’t be doing too much of this, though, because it’s not like I’m short on ideas, or even what I feel are good ideas. That’s the only judgment acceptable to me, is mine, because otherwise, I might never do any writing to start! Regardless, I’m not an infinite fountain of great story ideas, at least not over a few months, so for the ideas I really like, I will use them in more ways than one, though I will never enter the same piece into multiple contests just to keep my motivation going strong for creativity that I love, rather than rehashing the same old stuff that I hate. I hope to be able to share those stories with readers here once the contests are done, though it might still be months before the first one.

 

Novelty in trying new things

I love learning and trying new things. As much as everything is closed, though, there is plenty to be learned online, and even try where there isn’t a big need for supplies. For me, I’ve been trying to read more, and read stuff I don’t often read like fiction. Recently, I finished Sum, by David Eagleman, and it’s now my favourite fiction book!

Aside from the great concepts, it’s great writing, and great writing in the vignette writing styles I am absorbing more of to put out more of.

 

I’m still reading memoirs for my ultimate writing goal in a few years, but memoirs of people I might not otherwise read, like a performance artist named Marina Abramovic. I’ve never seen a memoir with so many pictures of naked people (mostly her) in it! It was very enlightening, especially towards me understanding why there is so much bad modern poetry and modern art in the world. More about that in a future post.

 

Or Matthew McConnaughey’s hilarious memoir Green Lights.

 

For truly new things to me, I will try to make some garments from mostly, or solely, men’s ties. It’s sewing, but nothing like any sewing I’ve done before that it can honestly count as something new.

 

Keeping it simple

So those are my three go to things for lessons learned from the last pandemic: routines, planning, and novelty. I didn’t do as well first time round, especially with the planning, but who knew how long things were going to last. I did try new things like painting and poi spinning to a new decent level last year, and definitely had some routines to rely on, including lots of cooking when the lockdown was much more serious, but wished I had planned some pandemic projects better. Now I have so bring it, COVID-20!

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