When we began our Majorca lockdown 24 days ago I genuinely thought that by now my house would be completely perfect, tidied to within an inch of its life, I would be practicing yoga twice a day, meditating and drinking herbal tea and crystal rolling my face to reduce wrinkles. How wrong I was. Now please, don’t misunderstand my words or my brevity, this is not a “It is terrible being inside, I want to go out, the government is wrong” article at all, quite the contrary. I am extremely happy, proud and relieved to see the number of daily deaths on the decrease, and I have done my part by staying at home, along with my family. There have been some entertaining moments during The Clap at 20.00 every night, our neighbours are now taking it in turns to applaud whilst wearing crazy outfits, it is our turn tomorrow night Geoff help us, but aside from that we haven’t been outside except to go to the shops and the vets. So why, tell me, WHY, haven’t I managed to get all of those life projects underway?
Not much of this has happened.
It turns out that it has nothing to do with how much time you have on your hands, but indeed it is completely down to how motivated you are to undertake whatever projects interest you. Asking in the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/MajorcaMallorca/ if others had big plans for projects that had not come to fruition I was met with three very different types of responses. Response type one, “Oh my goodness yes, I have replanted my entire garden, learnt how to tango and can now make bread whilst speaking fluent Portuguese”. Two: “This is the first time in years that I have had any time off and I am just resting and enjoying the time”. And Three: “I can’t seem to get motivated and I don’t know where the time goes”.
If you are a number one, well done, I salute you, as soon as you can come round to my house and crack on with all of my projects, please just show up. Number twos, I completely understand you, if you are able to rest without letting doubt and fear creep in about how the future is going to pan out, then enjoy it, give your body and your mind and your spirit as much time off as you can because when this is all done we are all going to be working like crazy to catch up. Number threes, guys, I feel you. I think I AM you. I have a list longer than my arm, I have a list OF lists. Last night whilst I was asleep, getting a good eight hours in by the way, so that is good, I actually dreamed of all the things I wanted to do, and yet today, it is already half way through the day and all I have done is write this column. Which I guess is an achievement of sorts.
Date night for saucepans.
We can’t ignore the fact that a lot of us are traumatised, frightened and concerned about becoming ill, going bankrupt, losing our jobs. Some of us are locked in with people we were in the process of leaving, or we don’t want to be with, we might be in a house with our parents or our in-laws or we might be on our own and lonely as hell. Everyone is facing something difficult that they have to overcome. This can mean we go into hyperdrive with productivity and can’t sit still, or we are completely paralysed and cannot imagine even tidying up that manky cupboard under the sink. I’m going to say that if you are one of the hyper productive people then take yourself off for a little bit to a quiet corner, or put on some headphones and create a quiet corner, and if you are in paralysis, do just unpack that cupboard and clean it out and put it all back in nicely. You will feel better. Looking for some balance here is really an interesting process, you will learn something about yourself.
Back at the beginning of the lockdown I did have a couple of days of productivity. There was “The Great Tupperware Amnesty” where we gathered all of our plastic boxes and lids into one place and married them up, only allowing the happily paired ones back in the cupboard. If they were single and couldn’t find their partner they had to stay on the table. Then I gave them 24 hours on the table where a kind of “container singles night” happened before a second sorting and then “Adios suckers” and the sadly still single ice cream boxes and odd lids were recycled out of the house. Next up will be “The Lockdown Sock Sorting” where a similar process will occur, but you can’t run at these things all at once you know, step by step, as it were. There is still time for this mammoth and important job to be done.
The one thing I have learned is this, you will do whatever is truly, authentically important to you. Mahatma Gandhi said, "It's not just words. Actions express priorities". So take notice of what you are doing and what your priorities are. I know that we will get through this and we will each understand ourselves better at the other end.
So here is what I HAVE been doing over the last three weeks. I have spoken to my family more often than I think I have since I left home 30+ years ago. I have eaten breakfast, lunch and dinner with my husband and daughter every day, I have hugged them and told them I love them every day. (I have also done that to my dogs just to be clear, they are family as well, the cats on the other hand cannot wait for us all to get out of their house ASAP). I have written every day. I have tried out some new recipes and even made a meringue! I have supported my clients every day, even though the vast majority of them cannot afford to pay me at the moment to manage their social media, write website copy or take photos for them, I am continuing to support them because that is who I am.
Now, if I were to tell you that we only have three weeks left of the lockdown, would THAT spur you into action? What could you do in that time, apparently it takes 21 days to really get a habit locked in, not just locked down, into your psyche. What will yours be? By the end of this process I will have written and produced a new website for my business, www.phoenixmediamallorca.com and my husband Oliver and I will have recorded and released a brand new podcast for Majorca in association with the Majorca Daily Bulletin. There. I’ve said it, now I just have to turn off Netflix and get on with it.