So, I initially made a blog to rant about my problems with the industry, but since there’s extraordinarily little industry to have problems with at this very moment, I thought I’d just reflect on how I’m feeling in these strange times.
Like a lot of people, I suddenly have a lot of time on my hands. A lot of time to reflect on my life and how I want to live it. A few months ago, I was unhappy with the way I was living. I was living by myself, and I thought I was thriving in my independence and being who I wanted to be. Now that I’m out of that situation and into a new, very sobering one, I have realised that I could not have been more wrong. I was unhappy. Unbelievably so. So unhappy that I was convincing myself that I was fine, just to carry on. I now know that what I thought was my independence was loneliness and seclusion, what I thought was self-care and inner peace was laziness and what I thought was body positivity was a lack of self-worth making me not look after myself and learning to be okay with it.
Now the moral of the story here isn’t, if you think you’re happy, you’re not. Far from it. If I never got out of that situation, that would have become my happy. And I would have survived. I wasn’t hurting anyone but myself and even then, it wasn’t going to cause any long-lasting damage. At the time I was happy enough to live day to day and that was enough. If that’s where you are, even if you don’t know it, then there is nothing wrong with you. You are human. To my joy, a diagram has been going around recently called Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs which perfectly describes what I mean.
As you can see, our absolute basic needs are simply to have a roof over our head, a bed to sleep in, food on our plates and a safety and security in the fact that those things won’t be compromised. If you have absolutely nothing else, you will survive. And this is just a quick but awful reminder that there are far too many people on our beautiful planet earth that don’t even have that. I'm not bringing this up to tell you that your problems mean nothing, but to remind you that you are doing fine. You really are. If that’s all you want to focus on or that’s all you can focus on right now, then go ahead. Remind yourself of what you have and how grateful you are to be in that position.
The diagram also shows us that as humans we always strive for more. Even without realising it. We want love. We want a sense of achievement. We want to be fulfilled. We want to live. Now the problem with this is we have somehow got to a point where we’ve decided we can tell people how to live or that we have the right to interfere when we don’t think someone’s ‘living’ right. The only time I think that it’s right to do this is when the way someone else is living is compromising the way you’re living. I may not agree with the way you live your life, but if you’re happy with how you’re living it and it’s not affecting mine, then I have no right to tell you what to do. The only other example I can think of is when someone we love is living in a way that may compromise their own basic needs. But even then, there’s a specific way to go about that and sometimes no matter how much you love someone, tragically you can’t save them.
My COMPLETELY elongated point is that we may feel like because we have a lot of time on our hands, to do something meaningful we have to be incredibly productive. Let me tell you now if you are staying at home then you have done enough. You are saving lives. And I am specifically talking to the people who are not key workers and who can work from home or who are suddenly without work etc. You could tell me that all you’ve managed to achieve in the 6 weeks we’ve been in lockdown is getting through every episode of Grey’s Anatomy. You are saving lives. You’ve managed to tidy your room for the first time in weeks? Still saving lives. You were finally able to get out of bed after weeks of feeling awful? Guess what? SAVING LIVES. If you have done absolutely nothing else, that is fine.
If someone has made you feel guilty for not doing anything productive, they are wrong. Their heart might be in the right place, but sometimes there’s things we simply cannot bring ourselves to do. Now if you feel guilty for not doing anything and you’ve come to that decision alone, then maybe that’s a discussion you need to have with yourself. But take baby steps. Pick up one book and read a chapter a day. The next day, go sit in your garden or go for a walk. And slowly add things back into your life. Don’t start drafting a novel, start a fitness challenge, pick up a hobby or try every recipe under the sun all in one day. It just completely unachievable and you will give yourself even more reason to give up and get back in bed. But tiny achievements every day. That is fulfilling. And addictive. I promise you that because that is where I am today.
Because of lockdown, I have had to move back in with my parents (which isn’t so bad, in fact I’m loving it), I’ve been furloughed, and my career has been put on standstill. I could have completely fallen apart. Hibernating until it’s all over. But I decided to make slight changes every day to feel good about myself again. Slowly but surely, it is happening. And the reason its working is because I’m doing it for no one else but me. I’m not going to tell you what I’ve done, because it doesn’t matter. I’m doing it. And I am taking my time and not beating myself up if a habit doesn’t stick.
PLEASE don’t let anyone tell you are doing lockdown wrong. I don’t think there’s anyone alive who has experienced this situation before so how can you be doing it wrong? Unless you’re not abiding to the government’s social distancing guidelines. That’s a different story. If you are, you’re doing enough. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. And I can’t believe I’m about to quote a Kardashian, but “You’re doing great, sweetie.”