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My house is so quiet.

Hubby is back at work, and I’ve dropped the kids off at school for the first time since before lockdown. (We locked ourselves up a bit earlier, due to being a high risk household.) I’m alone.

The first sunrise I’ve seen in 8 weeks!

It feels so strange. I got up before 9am for the first time in almost 8 weeks, saw the sunrise, had a shower, made lunches, did the drive to school, said goodbye to my babies, and that was it. Now I’m at home working, putting on dinner (Roast Lamb, thanks Mother in Law!!) and getting housework done and doing some work. All alone.

I’m not going to lie – all 4 of us loved our time at home. So much together time and so few distractions. The kids loved home schooling, and hubby loved working from home. Even when we have a long break together over Christmas, it’s still different, we still are rushing around shopping, cleaning, visiting, just stressing in general. This time, we couldn’t go anywhere, and were forced to just STOP.

It does help that some of the projects were fun things like “bake a cake”!

I was pretty nervous about home schooling, but it went far better than I anticipated. It helps that both kids have fabulous teachers, and were there for us every step of the way to help, but both kids LOVED it, and they actually said if it wasn’t for not seeing their friends, they prefer learning at home, as they can do it their way and at their speed.

I really struggled mentally to begin with. There was a few meltdowns on my part. A lot of “what ifs”. So we decided we had to keep busy to get through it.

We got so much done! So many projects that otherwise would have sat around waiting for “one day”. I sorted my spice and herbal tea cupboard, the hot water cupboard, my wardrobe (massive job), my drawers, the gym had a huge tidy up. We’ve gone through all our wedding, honeymoon and holiday photos and ordered a heap of frames so we can finally make that photo wall we’ve talked about for so long. We even got down all the storage from the roof and sorted all that. The house feels so much cleaner. And then we did a HUGE run on outside work as well. This was all in the first 3 weeks, the last 4 weeks we’ve done eff all!! But still, it has been so satisfying to get through so many long overdue jobs.

I realise this wasn’t the way for everyone. Some were still out working right through. For some, it was better for their mental health to just REALLY stop. To watch Netflix and sleep and be with those they loved. And I totally understand that, if it was you, I hope you loved every second of it. That was us in the last 3 weeks, just stopped. And it was awesome.

Lots of cuddles have been had over the last 8 weeks!

But it’s really made us think. And I know so many other people around the world have been thinking the same.

WHY? Why did we let ourselves get so busy? When you are forced to stop and just really look at what it was like, did we enjoy it? Was it for our benefit to be always racing around doing something, stressed out and worrying about getting to the next thing? Did it help us? Were we happier for it?

And the shopping. Did we NEED to shop as much as we did? I’ll be honest, I’ve put in a big Warehouse order, but it’s all photo frames and essential winter things for the kids – undies, socks, a sweatshirt etc. Nothing fancy, and nothing for hubby or I. Does buying stuff really make you happy, long term? Or is it just a pretty shine that wears off quickly?

Shall we discuss the takeaways? I’m very surprised (and pleased) to say, we haven’t missed them! Every now and then I think I could go a pizza or a Quarter Pounder, but, besides a curry, we’ve not rushed out and bought all the takeaways like we thought we would. We’ve been making Fakeaways – home made takeaways, and that’s turning out pretty good. But yeah. I thought I would miss a sneaky drive thru, and be desperate to go back. Nope. Not at all. Definitely a good change! This is absolutely no judgement on anyone who did the 3am drive thru line up, the first day of Level 3. I’m talking about ME and MY habits. You do you, Boo.

Some of us got a little hairier and scruffier than others!! He’s still gorgeous, though.

So I was thinking about it all the way through Lock Down, but even more so over this weekend, as we got ready to go back to normal. Our “new” normal.

Do we REALLY want to go back to how things were? Was it really the ideal way of living?

Maybe your way before this was different to mine, and it totally worked for you. Then, by all means, don’t change! But I know for so many of us, it has been a sharp jolt to realise that, for many of us, the old way wasn’t the right way. And it didn’t need to be like that. Lockdown has been hard in SO many ways, no doubt about that. But it did show us (my family and I), that there is a lot of things we don’t need to do, or buy, that previously have felt like “must do’s”. Money was tighter than it’s ever been, with me not working, but somehow we managed. At the beginning I couldn’t see HOW we would manage, but we did. So how much money do we spend on shit we don’t need, without even noticing?

Spend time, not money. A good philosophy, right?

Obviously now petrol costs will come back in, and school costs will be back with a vengeance. But there’s a lot of things that don’t HAVE to come back in, and it’s up to us to make sure we stick to it.

But just stopping can be so good for you. Yesterday I spent most of my day sitting around or lying on the bed in the sunshine just chilling. I really didn’t want to go back to the grind today, I would happily home school the kids long term, we loved it. But besides going back to school, does any of the rest REALLY need to come back?

My work is down considerably for the next while, so I’m taking the time to build some more stable habits around my time management, exercise and keeping the house nicer. But just keeping the pace slower than it was, for as long as I can.

I definitely got out more for walks, even though they weren’t as far as before, it was great to be allowed to get out and get fresh air!

There’s been so many deaths and so much sickness from all of this, and the side effects of thousands of people now being out of work, risking losing their homes, it is awful. I don’t discount that in any way. Dealing with highly anxious kids and worrying about money, parents and close friends still out working amongst it all, has been tough.

But between seeing life more clearly, and the obvious lesson that when the whole world stopped, it wasn’t long before the world got cleaner again. The skies are just clearer, even here in tiny little New Zealand, where we usually have pretty clean air anyway. There’s definitely been some positives to come from all of this, and it does help to try focus on those.

How did you survive Lockdown? Was it something you enjoyed, or was it tough? I’d love to hear from you!

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