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I have mixed feelings about the end of the lockdown. You might know this already if you read my previous article (or you can read it here, if you are curious). As difficult as this period has been, I believe it has given us the opportunity to grow as persons and as a society. And I am afraid things will go back to the way they were before. But it is up to us to embrace this chance to change we were given and build a better world.
So even though I am struggling with the new life post-lockdown that is about to start, today I am choosing to focus on whatever good has come out of this period of confinement and carrying it on:
1.- Appreciation. I will carry on a deeper sense of appreciation for everyone and everything. For life. For time. For family. For friends. For hugs. I treasure the last hug I gave to my parents before they had to travel back to their other home, and will hold on to it until (the hopefully not so far away future) when I can give them another one. I will also carry on valuing more than ever the job done by health workers, who have put their lives on the line in order to nurse the sick back to health, not always successfully. I will continue to value the scientists who are working to develop a cure or a vaccine, and the governments who have made this a priority. And I will carry on a new and bigger sense of appreciation for the workers in the grocery shops, among many others, who kept working so that we could continue to have what we need.
2.- Memories. I will treasure the memories of this time together with my children, as a gift I got from life to have them just to myself once more. I will remember their older brother playing with them and making them hilariously happy. I will remember our face painting and choreographed dances, our walks and our football trainings, when my boy pretended to miss the ball so that his little sister could score a goal. These memories are something I will cherish forever.
Family activities. I take with me the activities I did with my children or planned to do with them. I cherish the time we had together and want to make sure it doesn’t come to an end buried in routines. I plan on holding more dance parties with my kids, playing more football or building puzzles with them and painting a bit more. Like I once read in an article, “these ARE the good old days.”
Increased creativity. In addition to finding new things to do with my children and trying our skills in craft-making (we actually managed to build our own version of PJ Masks Headquarters!), I devoted some time to my writing as a way to help myself cope. So in addition to starting to blog, I wrote the two next books in the Monster Series. “The Monster Who Wanted to Stay Healthy” and “The Monster Who Got Sick” (provisional title) should see the light in a few months. I think sometimes tough situations make our creativity flourish, and I plan on holding on to this creative energy boost.
Prioritizing what matters most. This can vary from person to person, but for me, it is whatever puts a smile on my loved ones’ faces. And it is usually as simple as spending time with them (playing with my kids or holding a video call with my parents until the time comes to welcome them in our home again and give them the biggest of hugs).
Improved communication. Confinement, even with our loved ones, surely puts tolerance and communication to test. But I believe we have been able to grow from our discussions (and arguments) and develop a better understanding of each other. This is something we will carry on and benefit from in the years to come.
Not taking things for granted. I won’t take for granted the things that really matter, like family, friends, and hugs, especially hugs. I look forward to embracing my loved ones again when social distancing is no longer an issue and will remember that every day is a gift and a treasure.
Remembering to slow down. We can slow down if we choose to. While some of our waking hours will always revolve around fixed activities (like jobs or school), we can actually choose what to do with our leisure time and make it matter. We can find new hobbies or pursue the ones we found during lockdown. We can choose to do nothing because we need to recharge. We should actually cherish doing nothing in between, because slowing down is the only thing that allows us to see the possibilities around us or ahead of us. I choose to remember this.
Making time for personal growth. Taking the time to rediscover myself and my loved ones. Finding new passions and interests alone or together. This usually comes as a natural consequence from slowing down.
10. Helping others. Having a society that focuses on kindness and on helping others starts with us. Each one of us can contribute in different ways, and it is up to us to find our own way. I have written this article as a start, and also as a reminder to be the best version of myself.
11. Hope for a better world. I choose to take hope with me. I hope that the world can actually be cleaner. That the Himalayas will hopefully continue to be visible and that dolphins will keep coming back to the coasts at “unusual times” for humans. I wish for people not to just smile in wonder and keep on with their lives but to understand that THAT should be the norm. Perhaps more and more people will do home office and the streets will not be so crowded and polluted. I also take with me the hope that the world will continue to choose to prioritize health and life over economics (if only the economic powers and business owners decided to invest more in health/environment related enterprises or in services that actually helped us build a better world instead of in the consumerist society we have lived in).
I still hope that in the time we need to wait for the world to fully reopen, our eyes will open up too, and that we will understand that not everything needs to go back to the way it was. We can take the good with us. Perhaps the world can be a better place to live in after the pandemic… if we choose to make it so.
My question to you
What do you wish for the world after lockdown? Do you have any ideas on how to make the world better?
Whether you are about to end your lockdown or are still in the middle of it, I invite you to do this exercise and find the positive in your day. Choose something to hold on to. And if there is something special that you are not having enough of (like a video call or an activity with your kids that you are not finding the time for), I invite you to learn from my experience and make time for it. We always think there is more time, but suddenly time is up, life goes back to normal (or sort of) and all the plans dilute in thin air. Please don’t let it happen!
Feel free to share your ideas in the comments and stay safe!
About the author: Edymar Ablan is a journalist and a children’s picture books author. You can find out more about her published (or soon to be published) works by visiting https://edymarablan.com/books/. And if you have children who enjoy coloring pages and activities like mazes or word searches, feel free to subscribe at the bottom of the page and you will receive a free set of printables for your children (with more to come!)