When lockdown was first announced back in March 2020, none of us could’ve imagined that we’d still be here today. I remember thinking it was just going to be a couple of weeks! As much of a rollercoaster as the past year has been, I want to reflect on some of the good that’s come about because of lockdown. Because on a personal level, it’s been quite a good year for me!
Lockdown has inspired the entire nation to really get creative with their lives. When you can’t leave the house and socialise in the ways you normally would, you have to look for other ways to fill the void! We’ve seen the birth of zoom quiz nights, online socials, digital interactive events, and the rebirth of working from home. Who’d have thought that 2020 would be the year the daily commute became obsolete?!
I’ve really latched onto the idea of going back to basics. Finding joy in the things that I once took for granted has really allowed me to find a whole new appreciation not only for my life, but for the people in it too.
When it was announced that travel was a no-go zone for the foreseeable future, I was gutted. I’d had plans to go on a few trips to celebrate the end of my degree. Now that travel restrictions are in place, I’ve had to think of some alternatives! One of the big ones has been becoming a tourist in my hometown.
As ridiculous as it sounds, I’ve never truly taken the time to explore my hometown until now. I discovered a bunch of coastal path walks, and truly ventured into the wilderness to see all that it had to offer. I’ve even been running round with a 35mm film camera, trying to capture Aberystwyth in all it’s glory!
Sure, it might not quite be a sunny beach in the Bahamas, but I’ve had so much fun. I can definitely see why so many people flock to Aberystwyth’s campsites when they’re open – there’s really no place like it!
With all the extra down time in my life, I’ve been able to take the time to explore new hobbies that I wouldn’t have been able to before. Like I already mentioned, I’ve been giving 35mm film photography a go – which has really helped fuel my eBay obsession. But I’ve also found more time for reading books, something I never quite managed to do before! Not to mention the countless hours I’ve spent drawing, painting, and Lino printing.
Not only does it help me kill some time, but it gives me a huge sense of fulfilment knowing that I’ve managed to create something from nothing all by myself!
I know that I’m in an incredibly lucky position to talk about this one. I’m fortunate enough to live with some of my closest friends, so loneliness hasn’t been a massive issue for me during the pandemic. Although it sucks that I can’t see people in my wider friendship circles, I’ve truly come to appreciate the companionship and friendship of those closest to me.
We’ve well and truly made the most of the pandemic through weekly board game nights, hosting HUGE movie marathons in our living room, and exploring the wilderness together. While it hasn’t been the year that any of us had planned, we have comfort in the fact that we really did make the best of a bad situation.
Spending such a large quantity of time by myself has really enable me to know exactly who I am. I realised that I wasn’t living a life that made me happy, and lockdown has given me the chance to re-evaluate what’s most important to me.
I found that my life going forward needs three things; a good support network, access to outdoor spaces, and a career I’m passionate about. Knowing what I want my dream life to look like has helped me make important decisions going forward as I reach the end of my degree. For example, choosing a Masters course I’m passionate about in a brand new city!
As easy as it was to sit and moan that I felt I was losing the best years of my life, I had to remind myself that we’re all in the same boat. While it’s not ideal, I’m very aware that it’s being done in the interest of keeping us safe. Hopefully we can all get through this together and Keep Wales Safe! Instead of seeing lockdown as a punishment, we should see it as an opportunity to get to know ourselves and enjoy the little things in life.
I absolutely love the sense of community spirit that’s come about as a result of lockdown. We’ve seen people come together like never before! Both online and in the wider community. I hope this sense of togetherness is something we take forward even in a post-lockdown world.
I'm Elen Mai, the brains behind Welsh Wanderer and 20-something human biology student from (you guessed it) Wales! Welsh Wanderer is designed with the eco-conscious adventurer in mind. So stick around for tips & tricks on living sustainably.