By Tyche Beyens
Day one: From now on we’re in lockdown. The government - if you can even call it that in Belgium - has agreed that bars, restaurants and recreational avenues are now closed. Non-food stores will close on weekends.
My initial reaction was to write down a list of bars I would visit on my last night out and I named it "the last pub crawl". I mean, what had changed? I was in a restaurant the day before, a café the day before that. I figured it was too late for me anyway. I was probably going to become sick but I still felt healthy.
I didn’t go on that pub crawl. Throughout the day I realised there was nothing more absurd than a last grand night out. I ended the night in my kitchen, drunk and dancing on my own. I found at least one upside to the entire situation: I don’t have to wait anymore until the others are warmed-up to go dancing. I can now decide when it’s time to dance.
Today, the news reported of mass lockdown parties and at my usual going-out hub, people turned into hooligans when the party was shut down by the police. Civic duty, it’s not for the faint-hearted.
Day two: He’s becoming irritable and worried, but for different reasons. While I’m increasingly anxious about my health - I’ve stumbled upon an article about a sixteen-year-old dying of COVID-19 and have now realised that, like everyone else, I’m not immune to this; while he’s nervous about the economy. He explained it to me like this: “Companies will go out of business, so when all this is over, they won’t need people like us (I’m a writer, he’s a steadicam operator). We’re a luxury artifact. We’ll be the last industry to get reanimated.”
Not much has changed for me up until now. I’ve been working from home anyway, and have a project running until the end of April. I can pursue my writing throughout quarantine, but it’s nevertheless difficult for me to concentrate. I don’t want to write. I don’t want to hear that the economy has gone to shit and in two months' time, we’ll both be unemployed on our borrowed couch.
In the span of one week, life has become difficult and simple at the same time. I’ve always wished for life to become more interesting so I’d have more interesting things to write about, but I didn’t mean “end of the world” kind of interesting. Can I undo that wish, please?
Day three: The sun is shining. I’m still healthy - knock on wood - so that’s the only reason I still have energy to reflect. They’ve been telling us to learn from our lockdown. Hearing that air pollution has drastically decreased and the water in the canals of Venice is clearer than ever, I truly hope that humanity will start appreciating mother nature again. I’ve started making a new list with plans; nothing alcohol related in it.
- Buy rollerblades and start skating again - Learn how to climb - Visit the Atlantic ocean and swim - Get a tattoo of ‘Before Sunrise’ (my favorite film)
Usually, my list of plans looks more like this:
- Write a film - Win an Oscar
I’m shocked to see what a couple of days of quarantine has done to me. Most of this list is stuff I’ve been thinking about for years. But who has time to peacefully rollerblade when you have to earn a living, clean the house, visit your family, and stay mentally sane?
When I look at this list, I can conclude the following: this lockdown has forced me to think. No more ten-year-plans, but appreciation of my life and body in the now, while both are still alive and kicking.
Life in lockdown. Womankind approached its community to write about life in lockdown around the globe, notably a three-day diary of everyday life under the threat of COVID-19. Womankind is publishing these stories freely to show how the pandemic is affecting women from all over the globe - from New York, to Barcelona to Glastonbury.
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