Article by Ceri Wheeldon
Just a few months ago it seemed everyone was mentioning FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) on social media. I know I was managing a full diary- busy working in the week, juggling attending various press and launch events mostly in London and tiring myself out with the travel and meeting up with friends and family at weekends. At times it felt as though I was living my life on roller skates.
Fast forward 3 months – and how life has changed!!
At the start of Lockdown, apart from coming to terms with what was happening and the impact Covid-19 was having on people’s lives, I was dreading the prospect of not meeting up with other people. I live alone so lockdown is incredibly isolating. However, I got into my routine, taking walks and zoom and phone calls with friends and family. As I wasn’t rushing around socialising on weekends I had time to catch up on reading. I was used to working from home – but not used to it being 5 days a week with no face to face meetings. But like the rest of us I settled into life in lockdown. Once the initial shock of the situation wore off I became quite content. I didn’t miss not rushing . Days and weeks just merged – although so far I still haven’t sorted many cupboards!!
Not in a rush to meet people
Then restrictions were relaxed – with the go ahead to have a maximum of six people in your garden -albeit observing social distancing. Suprisingly I didn’t pick up the phone and rush to fill my diary. With the exception of arranging to see my parents, I have made no plans to socialise at all. Within hours of the announcement of being able to meet ‘six’ being made, I received a text from one of my book club members ( I am scheduled to host our next meeting ) suggesting we put a day in the diary for the following week- I said I wasn’t ready – to go from zero to 6- and to have all the pressure of ensuring social distancing is observed seemed to much- especially when everyone is from different households and I know one of the individuals hasn’t observed lockdown at all , continuing to meet friends throughout and have her cleaner in her house. I just wasn’t comfortable doing too much too soon, and wanted to ease back into ‘normal’ life gradually.
It seems I am not alone. When I posted about the easing of restrictions within the Fab after Fifty Facebook community, the response was overwhelming, with most saying that they not rushed to meet people either. Some were concerned that they would find meeting family members – especially grandchildren but have to observe social distancing too hard. Some have had grandchildren born during lockdown, and to not be able to hold them would be too difficult.
Many said that they were prioritising who they saw – and had re-evaluated friendships- admitting that there were some friends they may never meet again! Most were choosing to take things slowly and not take any unnecesary risks. Is this a factor of age? I have some younger neighbours who seem to have no difficulty firing up their social lives. Attitudes seem to be different across the generations.
2020 is certainly not progressing as envisaged at the start of the year when it was assumed Brexit would dominate the news. How things have changed in such a short period of time, with the dreadful loss of life and a total change in how we approach our every day existence.
Enjoying a slower pace of life
It has certainly provided for those who are not key workers an opportunity to reflect. I know many in the Fab after Fifty community have said they are enjoying the slower pace of life- many have children returning from university to live back at home- they are enjoying family time. The good weather has enabled those with gardens to spend more time in them– and start growing vegetables! People are revisiting hobbies, being more creative in the kitchen. Reconnecting with a simpler way of life. It has been suggested that we should ask for refunds for our 2020 diaries as they remain empty!!
Is it fear that’ holding us back from going out, or is it preferring to stay cocooned in a simpler way of life?
Instead of fearing ‘missing out’ do we fear ‘going out’ or quite simply have we discovered that life can be pleasant staying close to home. I remember reading Candide by Voltaire in my French class- as Candide travelled the globe in search of Eldorado, ultimately he returned home to find happiness. When asked why his response was ‘il faut cultiver notre jardin’ (we must cultivate our own garden). Perhaps that is what this pandemic has led us all to do.