Being stuck at home for almost a year, so far, would not have been my idea of happiness in my midlife. There are two common ways of approaching midlife: complacency about what has gone on before and an acceptance that you have shaped your life and will live the outcomes out or to see it as a time of renewal and adventure.
Neither interpretation, I would have thought, involved being mainly homebound. Pre pandemic, the notion of being hidden away from the world would have seemed preposterous. But, new situations call for new ways of adapting. I think that one arrives in midlife with a plethora of experience and wisdom from having to adapt to new situations and dealing with sudden curve balls being thrown at one. While the pandemic situation is entirely new, my point is that midlifers bring some semblance of an ability to cope.
So it was with me. I adapted quickly but was not quite expecting to enjoy the peace and solitude as much as I have done. For most of my adult life, I have lived frantically, always rushing around and never actually stopping to smell the roses in my garden, literally. There were books that I had not read and dreams that kept collecting dust on my shelves of life because of a lack of time.
Having more time and energy and the solitude of being at home has given me the opportunity to do so much more, like start this blog for starters. I had a great 2020 – promotion at work in lockdown, a book contract with a well known agent, being asked to host events for South Asian Heritage Month and getting involved with an international Podcast Festival held in America (online).
This is not to say that I am oblivious to anyone, midlifers or not, struggling to cope with lockdown. In fact, my own daughter is struggling with it because she is a young person who is not able to enjoy university life in person or to see her friends. This blog post is just a personal perspective of how time and space has allowed me to start doing those things which I have long wanted to do.
I was a diary filler before and didn’t learn the art of slowing down. The phrase, ‘life is meant for living’, is often taken to mean physical activity rather than meaningful activity. Darting off here and there was a sign of successful living. In lockdown, I have learnt the art of taking things easier and that dreams can be accomplished with a literal quiet determination too. There is a certain enabling solitude present.
While it will be nice one day to see friends and family again, I am determined to plough through my list of dreams but with a different sensitivity. For example, I had always intended to work on my garden and now am able to. I never knew that it was a haven for quite so many squirrels and foxes. It is the little and big things in life that I notice these days.
It would be wholly insensitive to not remember those who have died from Covid and who are suffering from it too. If only this time in life hadn’t come at such a high price.
Wishing you all the best in your 2021 lockdown experience.