It has been 38 days since my lock-down started. I still don’t like this name, I wonder if we could call it “shelter in place” instead. My lock-down started ahead of the official UK one, in light of my early experience with Covid-19. It has nevertheless been a smooth one. As I start thinking about when things re-open, I know I want to make this experience count. Whilst I have been very focused on making it memorable for the children, I have not quite focused on making it memorable for me. As such, I have jotted down the first bits of my lock-down bucket list. And I can feel some of my focus coming back.
The Lockdown so Far
38 days at home are probably something I had been wishing I’d had for a while. And then having it feels weird and confusing all together. As much as I have been treating it as a blessing, I know many days I am just juggling by. I am trying to do great at everything and not feeling like I am doing all that much or great at all. Keeping the domino up really.
From day 1 I have created routines that help the children go through it. In all fairness, after the first week of questioning why they were not going to school or the park, the questions quickly ceased. Children adapt much better than us. It was not until this weekend that Little Girl C asked if she could come to the supermarket with me to buy something with her 1£. I resisted the temptation. As we benefit from a patio, we are staying away from any outings with the children. We are afraid we may open a can of worms and having them want to be out again all the time.
Over the weekend, they get more focused attention than they ever did, as there are no activities, no lunches, no outings. Just playing and doing stuff all the time. Today, we even took on knitting.
And How am I Doing?
Slowly, over the last 2 weeks, I have worked on finding myself a routine. Today I had none of it so admittedly I am more irritable. But most days, it has been working out well. I am back to a few of the things I used to do and I have also taken new things to help me stay fit and sane (Read here for ideas). All in all, I am finding time to work, time to home-school, time to be with the children, time to do charity and an “insy winsy” bit of time for myself. I try and stretch that part every day as I seek not to be resentful with those around me. Not having time for myself is mostly my choice. When I finally allow them TV time in the weekend, I can cook, tidy up, do admin or just read a book.
What is this Bucket List?
A few days ago, I thought I would no longer leave this lock-down happen to me. A bit the same way as I am doing with the children. I guess I deserve no less. I started jotting down on paper a few ideas of things that I would like to get done during this time. Knowing me, this list is never small and grows fast. But knowing me, we also know this list is not only about me. There is a lot about children and connection there, activities and new experiences. There is also a lot about the charity there, as if for some miracle my usual evening time was expanded to allow for more. It has not.. And only when I pass all this noise there is time for what means “me”.
Don’t get me wrong, I have a bucket list of things I would like to do “before I die” kind of thing. I did that a while time ago as part of an exercise in the book 168 hours – you have more time than you think. Most people say that there are so many things they would do if they only have time. And the author has you do a list of 100 things. Rarely do you make it to 30. And then it tells you to pick one and start doing it. That is why I got on with this blog. Because in that list was that I wanted to be a writer one day. I decided that day could be sooner than I thought. But yet again, I diverge from the main point.
What is this Bucket List for?
Don’t worry, it is not to get a bunch of dreams on paper that then I never get to do. Or get frustrated with all that I can’t achieve. It does not include writing a book, drawing a Picasso or organizing all my children baby albums. By the way, the latter is unlikely to happen before they have babies themselves. But it includes making sure I read a book, or get back to my peaceful parenting course, or the thought leadership course I had been delaying. And yes, getting started with one (yes, just ONE) family album, focused on this shelter-at-home-time.
The idea is not new, and it is proven to work.
Before the last Summer holiday, I gathered the family and asked everyone to chip in with ideas of things to do in the Summer. Everyone got a turn, including Baby S who kept talking about going to a fire engine.
In our first few days in Lisbon I got us a big size poster and wrote all the things on it. Each item had big boxes for “ticks” next to it. The children drew on it and we put it up on the wall. Steadily and slowly we started making our way through it. Some days days we just kicked our feet up and relaxed, and others we took ourselves out of the house and after another bit of our bucket list. We ticked each one with enthusiasm at the end. Did we do it all? Not really, but we did way more than any other summer, way more than if we had no list at all.
Why I want a Bucket List Now
I have often mentioned that I don’t often come first in what concerns my own choices. That is the case with many mothers (and maybe fathers) out there. This lock-down will be no different. I am getting so absorbed in building memories with my children, giving them undivided attention and being present. All whilst everything else that was happening in my life before, except almost 2 hours on the tube every day is still happening. Such as the minor detail called full time employment.
But I know this is a unique moment in history. Not one where I will have more time, but one where I will have more opportunity. Not one where I can write a book, but one where I can write a bit. Also not one where I can prepare for a marathon, but one where I can slowly get fit and strengthen my back. Or not one where I can catalog all pictures and files in my computer, but perhaps one where I can do last year’s files and pictures. I know, it sounds boring, but hey, I have the belief that it is the little things that can get you going, just as it can be the little things that trip you down.
How much time do you have (left)?
Well, that is the big uncertainty. As far as we know this shelter-in-place could end soon, though at the rate at which the UK is evolving it certainly would not suggest so. Portugal said schools are closed until September and whilst I don’t envisage that happening here, that is certainly a possibility. I am counting on a month at a time, and I expect about a month is what we may have here. So I am not stretching myself to big hairy goals, but I am also not wasting time.
As soon as I put down my Bucket List items, I started working on them. The same was as writing down goals helps set a course of action, the bucket list has the same effect. If you want to follow this journey and see how I am doing with my bucket list or share yours, join The Viewpoint Community for my weekly confessions.Samur Isma