I remember having to learn my times table by rote. The repetition engraved the multiplication tables in my memory so that half a century later I can recall them with ease. I was also obliged to learn by heart Lady Macbeth’s speech admonishing her husband for his weakness, and that too I can remember decades later. It took a lot of time to learn these things. I imagine we all have a similar experience, but I do find it remarkable how these things stick.
But what has that got to do with the lockdown and the restrictions imposed on our lives these many long months?
Well, for me, the enforced absence from work is unique. Until now the longest I have been away from work in the 30 plus years of running my business is my annual 10 days or so holiday.
So one of the singular benefits of the lockdown has been a sense of liberation. Initially, I battled with a sense of guilt. Without the nine-to-five routine to mark the day, I felt I was wasting time. Having worked a five-day week the whole of my adult life, the absence of a work focus proved to be a real challenge. But gradually I came to realise that this was not a theft of time but rather a gift of time. Changing my perspective resulted in a change of attitude which enabled me to use my new-found leisure for a different but nonetheless productive purpose.
I learned to use Zoom! This came with a steep learning curve for me as I’ve tended to shy away from social media as I never felt it had much relevance for my type of work (hence the infrequent blog posts). With time now available I was able to attend The Royal Society of Medicine seminars on COVID19 topics and also took in tutorials and forums at other medical and aesthetic industry sites. I’m much better informed as a result and better equipped to return to my clinic with the beneficial knowledge I’ve gained.
Another precious benefit was the ability to spend more time with my brothers. The fact that we all get on so well made me reflect on the importance of family and the values imparted to us by our mother, father and grandparents. We constituted a family ‘bubble’ and congregated in my flat on alternate days. I suppose it was so easy because we have maintained contact throughout our lives. I have been devouring cookery books (no pun intended) and my gracious brothers have been adventurous enough to act as guinea pigs, or should that be lab rats! Look out Nigella!
Last, but not least, I want to thank my clients. They have been faithful, loyal and generous. They have chosen to purchase their products from me and not go online or to supermarkets or alternative retailers. I’m convinced they have done so to be supportive and not out of any fear that I would know what they’ve been up to, would be less than pleased and that there would be consequences! The support of my clients has meant so much to me. It has been a vital focus in reinforcing my belief that my work is appreciated and provides health benefits. It is the reason I do what I do.
This has been some of my experience of lockdown. I do not want to dismiss any of the horrors, heartache and pressure that some people have had to go through. I am especially mindful of those on the front line battling to care for the sick and dying, for those that have lost loved ones; those who are caring for recovering patients, and for those who have survived but will have to live with the consequences of the physical trauma as well as the mental one.
As of writing I have been saved from such traumas. I am conscious, though, that this experience has had and is still having an effect on all our lives. I could focus on the negatives which the five month closure has had on my business, my loss of earnings (which will not be recouped), the possible loss of some clients due the closure. The list could go on.
My experience has not been anywhere near as awful as some. I am grateful that my loved ones are well, that I have a business to return to and have clients that have been supportive and loyal.
Lesson learned? Time is a very precious commodity. Our lives can change at a moment’s notice. We need to cherish every day and cherish the people who are part of our lives. The realisation that we are human beings, not human doings, may help us to think more carefully how we spend and invest our time.