Lockdown

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Lockdown has now been on-going for over a year. It has felt like someone has pressed the pause button on life in general. We have social distanced, cleaned up our personal hand health habits, kept to our bubbles and generally changed the way that we have lived for generations. This lockdown period has largely been viewed negatively. But I believe there are quite a few positive aspects that can be easily overlooked. Because I am after all a “glass half full” guy. But there is one major positive for me, which I will elaborate more on later. Lets get on with my take on why I feel that there are positives that can be had from a very negative situation.

The Environment

The environment has benefitted substantially from the reduction of traffic and the closure of factories. Not only are there fewer cars on the road, but there are fewer planes flying and many large cruise ships have been idle for some time now. And it feels like Mother Nature has grabbed the opportunity with both hands. People in India for example are seeing sights of the Himalayas that were previously hidden by smog. Venice has noted a big difference with the clarity of the water in their canals. Major cities like London and Paris have seen a substantial reduction of harmful pollutants in the air due to the reduction in the use of transport. And carbon emissions are down by 17%.

Even the wildlife has decided to take advantage of the lockdown. There are numerous pictures online of animals walking through housing estates. Deer have been spotted venturing into the cities. Venice has reported being able to see shoals of small fish, jellyfish and crabs in their waters. Wildflowers are more plentiful due to the lack of tourist footfall and the reduction in human tending. In particular, the wildflowers have a positive knock-on effect for wildlife including birds, bees and insects. It is a huge indication that humans do alter the environment they live in. But it does not take long for nature to return when we are not there.

Quality of life

One of the main reasons for less traffic is because many people have had to forego the office environment and work from home. I realise that this is not everybody’s cup of tea. But there are a lot of people who enjoy this way of working. And why not? Not travelling to and from work effectively means less time and expense to do their job. There are a lot more meetings being held via screens now than there ever was, which has helped with the reduction of people travelling to business meetings. In return, the amount of extra time people have to live their lives has increased. But this can only be seen as beneficial in the short term. The downside for some people to this way of working is loneliness and a disconnect from working colleagues.

But this new way of working has also taught us to find ways of doing other things differently. For example, the gym membership was almost a must have for working people. Now people are finding other, more inventive ways of exercising. And guess what, these options were always available and free to use. Walking, running, cycling and physical exercise routines at home. Lockdown can have a negative effect on all our waistlines.  But with a little imagination it is still possible to stay fit and well even without leaving the house.

Have we stumbled across a better way to live?

Because more people are working from home, they are less dependent on fast and convenience food. A lunch break at home is quite different to what happens in the office. From my experience, an hour lunchbreak at the office is wasteful. Do you need an hour break? According to working law, it is essential. But what do you do for an hour? The answer is not a lot. At home we have access to our own food and not pre-packaged expensive convenience food. We could do something that would be beneficial to us like taking the dog for a walk or catching up on some pastime that we enjoy before returning to the home office. All small things, but sometimes the small things make the big difference to the quality of life.

All the big stores now provide a delivery or collection service. Indeed, most of the local smaller farmers and stores also deliver. I am not a fan of grocery shopping, so this suits me all the way. I don’t have to drive there and walk around the store picking, packing, paying and putting it into the car and driving home to unpack etc… it is boring me just writing about it. So, for me, this is a better way to shop.

I like going to the pub after work. But this becomes habitual and unnecessary. How many times have we sat in a pub knowing that there are more important things to do? It’s great for socialising. But is it really what we want to be doing? Not always in my experience. More times than not, we talk shop when all we want to do is get away from working. But if I am honest, having a beer with friends is what I have missed most.

Lockdown and MeHere We Sit Album Artwork opt3

I am of the same opinion as most people and want to get back to normal life. But I am not sure what normal will look and feel like in the future. Maybe how we are living now is the new normal. In fact, the prospect of coming out of lockdown is giving me a strange sense of anxiety. But as with everything I always try to have a positive approach to most things. I have tried to employ that attitude during lockdown, and it has helped me achieve something I have always wanted to do since I was a teenager. That is to write an album of my music and release it to the world. On 20 February 2021, I did just that.

“Here We Sit” is a 10-track album that I started a little more than 2 years ago. At that time, I was just writing songs and music because I wanted to. In my opinion, there is nothing more fulfilling than coming up with a simple idea and then creating the whole sound to bring the piece to life. It can be frustrating sometimes. But the pain is worth going through to get to the result. I knew what I wanted the album to sound like and I believe I got there. The one thing I did not know anything about was how to make my music available to other people. And that is what I focused on for most of the lockdown so far.

Learn, learn and learn again

I have learned many new skills in song writing, music production, engineering and mastering. In addition to those, I have also learned how to create a website to sell the music – well you know about that don’t you? I have also learned quite a lot about marketing the music as well, although that aspect is still on-going. A part of my newfound skills is blogging and writing articles such as this one. Something I never thought I would do but it is a part of the project that I really enjoy.

I was also not keen on going to record companies with the music as this is not the way I want to work. We all know how difficult it is to get a recording contract, but I felt happier that going on my own initially would be more beneficial to me. As time goes on, it may be a necessary partnership. But not right now. I am more than happy to get on with releasing my music independently and getting on with all the other bits myself. I am very happy with the way it has all evolved and am more than happy with the album. Learning and implementing the business side of it is now the focus. You can hear the album previews by clicking here. 

So what is going to happen next with lockdown?

Keep calm take one deep breath

One Deep Breath

So how long will lockdown carry on for? I don’t think anybody can genuinely put a figure on that. Although it feels like we are through the worst, we are not out of the woods. Wave 3 looms on the horizon. I have my fingers crossed that it will be the last. It feels like COVID19 has behaved very similarly to the Spanish Flu that hit us a century ago. That pandemic stopped after the third wave, so we just need to sit tight and ride this one out in the hope that it will not enter into our lives again. But I am no expert. I am just talking as someone who has lived through it and luckily did not have any issues.

My sympathies to all families who have had to say good-bye to a loved one because of COVID19. I cannot begin to understand what a horrible experience that is. My Dad passed just over a year before this pandemic started. Heart-breaking as it was, I got the opportunity to say good-bye. But that was not the case for everybody. I do realise that not everything is as simple as having a positive attitude. In fact, it is far from it.

All we can do is try to stay positive. Try to keep safe and out of harm’s way. Try to deal with everything that COVID19 throws at us and try to carry on as normally as we can. I am sure that one day we will be rid of this virus and all will be well. I am also hoping that we can utilise some (if not all) of the new ways we have discovered during the last year, and make the world a better, more sustainable place.

Stay well and stay safe.

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