A post lockdown outing Dec 2020 – photo by Debbie Walker

I’ve been out today! Yeyyyyy!!! Out, where there are other people! Real live people! And noise, and traffic. I didn’t know I’d missed traffic. But there were cars, and pretty tail lights, and rain, and dazzling reflections from the rain covered roads. It was bright and cheerful, and it was amazing.

It’s the small things that we now appreciate following weeks, and weeks and weeks of Lockdown, Isolation, and restrictions. Here in the UK, we have had some time in late summer where we had reduced restrictions that allowed us to get out a bit, but I feel that time has merged and warped beyond anything that I can relate to. Therefore, I think that the restrictions and lockdown from earlier in the year now all blend with the most recent and the result is that I feel I’ve been living in a parallel life that has taken my previous one and made it feel almost dreamlike. Unreal. Being alone the majority of the time; not socialising, not visiting, not going to work (I unfortunately lost my job in the summer) Staying home and becoming isolated by the very nature of our circumstances, as opposed to self-isolating due to Covid contact, has quickly become my new norm and although I knew my mood was suffering, I had no real idea just how much not feeling an integral part of the world was affecting me, until today. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve kept busy, I’ve developed new interests and gone for a walk each day with my dog for exercise and fresh air. I’ve done the video chats and messages. I’ve done my best to keep spirits up. But by the same token, I’ve also had a lot of emotional challenges to deal with, due to family loss, which has been very hard. What I realise now is the energy I’ve missed from other people. From being a part of something … a wider community and a shared experience too. There we all were, traffic heavier than I’ve seen in what seems like forever – well, lets face it, that doesn’t take much these days after a year of having so very few cars on the roads, but there we were together in our quest to get to our destination’ and I was feeling so excited to be a part of it all again.

An intense treat for the senses

The purpose for my trip out today was a brief Christmas shopping trip with my son for a few hours. Yes, just a few hours, but we both came home utterly shattered. I wondered why I was so wiped out … after all a few hours shopping isn’t that big a deal. Or it wasn’t. Now though, I’ve been home so long that the contrast of the peace and serenity of my home to the hub-bub and noise of people. The onslaught to my senses of colour, noise and all things Christmas was intense! And talking…. yes talking! It was so good to just pass the time of day with the shop assistants, as I was being served. Each person with an anecdote, or a nugget of information or just a happy smile and will to listen and converse. For so long I have noticed that people have stopped speaking and eye contact is now averted. What is that about? When we were given a mask to wear, we seemed to loose our ability to connect with one another. Perhaps everyone just felt uncomfortable, uncertain, unwilling and perhaps even afraid to try to smile, albeit behind a mask. But today felt different. People nodded, smiled – we can still see each other’s eyes and it’s our eyes that shine and hold the smile. We mustn’t forget that when we have our masks on. So today, I received smiles, acknowledgements, and chat. Plain, simple chat together with the sense of joy from people being able to return to their work, to see customers come to their premises once again. The excitement of Christmas was certainly in the air. The array of colours, lights, tinsel and uplifting music all around. Perhaps it was the mix of all of it which gave today such a special feeling. And such a welcome lift in my day.

We all must have heard of the term ‘Retail therapy’, well goodness, I’ve had that today in abundance! And am ever so appreciative of it and just wanted to share that with you.

However, having returned home feeling so exhausted from the experience, I realised that having recently been so much more sedentary than is good for me, I now have to get fit. Now, my hubby has been telling me for some time that I ought to be exercising more and snacking less, but I can’t let him know he’s right! However, I have just realised that I now have a solution. One which sounds a fabulous plan indeed 😀 My husband has always enjoyed his motorbike and each year has told me that he needs to retain his ‘bike fitness’. Meaning that he wants to ensure that the muscles he needs and uses for his motorbike in the summer, must be kept in good form so that he can get the best experience the following season. Therefore he has spent much of his winters on winter-bikes. (yep … you’ve got it, he just came up with a fabulous excuse to get another bike under the guise of it being for his health and fitness). Well, I now can match him. After today, I realised that I need to maintain my ‘shopping fitness’. 😁 and so, I need to shop far more often, making sure I have regularly filled shopping bags to help build and maintain muscle thus ensuring that I can get the best experience from all of my future trips. So, by my own hubby’s standard, I NEED to shop far more often, as making regular future trips is a necessity to my physical, as well as mental health! I definitely recommend it if you’ve been stuck home for a long while – that is, as soon as your area is safe to do so. Enjoy, but keep safe too.

(c) Debbie Walker

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