Oh friends, what a challenging and trying time this is. It’s been difficult not to feel like a guinea pig with the latest restrictions imposed on Sydneysiders. As of Saturday we are required to lockdown for two weeks. I know the imposing fear is that restrictions will be extended further. Those in Perth are undergoing lockdown also but for a significantly shorter time- three days. For now Melbourne is open and free and I’m grateful for that. They’ve been down this path and stuck in an at home routine for way too long. Not their turn anymore, that’s for sure.
My personal situation is somewhat unideal. While I’m at home in the Blue Mountains with my grandma, my brother is with my dad and step mum for the week and my mum is at the apartment in Parramatta. As I’m over sixteen my parents can’t legally make the trip up to visit. The government has become very strict and highly obstructive in ways. We risk an eleven thousand dollar fine for non essential outings. At this point two hours of exercise is permitted but I’m unsure of whether masks are required. My brother called today to show me a pair of kittens which was precious. It was so good to see him smiling and content.
My thoughts truly are with everybody navigating this circumstance and I’m extending so much love, light and prayers to you all. From the bottom of my heart, I hope you’re coping and traversing through this adversity like the troopers you are. My college classes are solely online until the twelfth of July and I remain grateful that I picked this trimester to study at home most of the time. It’s meant that I’ve missed less coursework and adapted faster to the program.
However I’ve needed to renew my commitment to learning twice as often and I’ve ridden my own back to ensure that I meet necessary deadlines and remain on top of lessons. The urge to kick my feet back and check out is strong but I’m reminding myself of the big picture, the long haul. Oh, and the hefty chunk of money I laid to be here in the first place.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, let’s delve into my week. I discovered true crime podcasts for the first time and they kept me riveted as I completed assignment work. I’m currently listening to cold case files which seems to be an audio extension of the renowned Netflix series which I binged religiously. Yes, I’m a mystery buff and psychology intrigues me endlessly. At times it’s morbid but I like being closer to cracking the enigma that is the human mind. In the very least, understanding it.
These people who become infamous are just like us. Perhaps they went through events that caused a mental snap or rewire that went fatally wrong. At the end of the day, everyone starts somewhere and we all have stories to tell. If I wasn’t so invested in interior design, I’d pursue a career in criminal psychology. There’s just a brilliance to working with individuals on the fringe of society. A subtlety, tact and open minded perseverance that shouldn’t be underestimated.
Lockdown so far has provided the space and opportunity to ask those bigger, deeper questions and do right by myself. I want to turn over a new leaf by keeping my spirits up and remaining in good habits. With such an overload of time on my hands I’ve slept in way past what is acceptable and gone to bed as the sun came up. I mean, to stay up all night and then not even see the sunrise? Now that’s truly criminal. I’m working on keeping in touch with friends more and just checking in on my loved ones.
These people that make the world go around need me just as much as I do them and it’s never weak to let that show. Facetime goes a long way in bridging that distance and encouraging us to push past the small talk. There is a closeness and intimacy that comes from keeping people in the loop and engaging in that back and forth. A lot of my creator friends are doing lockdown diaries and crafts, sharing this warmth imbued perspective with us all. To laugh with them, build inside jokes and share feelings is priceless.
While I’m not imposing too many expectations on myself, I do want to optimise the gift I’ve been given in this outstretch of empty days. So far that’s looked like sitting out in the courtyard or on the balcony reading, a warm afterglow hitting my skin. Watching rainbows flicker across the living room wall, dance on the wood panels. Oh so beautiful tricks of the light.
My therapist and I chatted about routine and debunked the myth I’d been sticking to in believing I didn’t having one. She asked what I do that is predictable and I began realising that all actions are valid, even if they aren’t timed to the minute or productive as such. I told her that I update my social channels at certain regular intervals, I call my partner anywhere from three to five pm my time or ten to twelve pm his time in Washington. In that, I have a schedule to rely on. She highlighted the fact that my routines are all self driven and that I must be a motivated individual to keep them up for so long. On that note, it was the sixth anniversary of infinitelyadaydreamer the other day. Cheers to that!
I’ve begun collaging again, playing with this idea of the human experience. Contrasting mental states, our tendency to hide, cover up, become small. The perspective we have of ourselves when we are curled up and tiny as opposed to mighty, commanding and on top of the world. This notion of us existing naturally on a spectrum, falling into rhythms both conscious and unexplainable.
These ecosystems and our chosen interactions, reactions. It’s become a way to make sense of a challenging season that has demanded more of everybody. I hope that I can encourage others, particularly my friends in senior years who are nearing their final exams, to find zing and purpose again right here and right now. Holiday has got to be a state of mind.
I’ve also been building my closet to be more winter friendly seeing as we’ll be in the thick of the cold till the beginning of September. I’ve hopped on the knitted midi dress trend and picked up a stunning olive green wrap number from a boutique called Petal and Pup. I’ve never shopped with them before so don’t know what to expect when my order arrives but the sale got me good.
Then there were the countless five stars reviews saying I’d likely end up like them and buy the dress in all available colour ways. My bank account wonders who will win too. I finally caved and bought a nice puffer jacket for casual outings as well. It’s from Witchery and became a lot more affordable with the credits I’d amassed. I had around seventy dollars in voucher to spend as I moved up to the silver tier in their member system and got a welcome gift. So worth it!
On a serious note though, since I started receiving student benefits, I’ve felt a lot more incentivised to save and spend carefully. I’ve planned for what I needed and intentionally filled in the gaps. A process of elimination as I’ve prioritised where the money should go. I’ll be saving ten percent and over time that will add up to decent funds. It’s important to me that I’m set up for the future and that looks like being largely self sufficient. I have no problem accepting help and won’t let ego or pride getting in the way of advancement but I want to know that I can provide and take care of myself as needed.
Other than that, I’m looking forward to getting some fresh air and vitamin D when it’s not so dreary outside. The weather forecast predicts rain over the next five days which has me a little bummed. I can see myself doing a lot of cooking and experimenting with recipes, watching days in the life from my favourite Youtubers and just turning this into a cosy situation.
I’ve conducted a few interviews with some lovely gals that I can’t wait to release on the blog. We’ve talked about lifestyle, faith, family, hobbies, the future and so much more. Another exciting bit of news is that a home decor and improvement brand I collaborated with last year, Photowall, have contacted me in regards to a second collaboration. I got the email this morning and everything looks set to move forward!
When things look brighter weather wise I might head to our local Wentworth Falls lake and get takeaway chicken, chips and Greek salad. A nice picnic setup could be just the mood booster I need. At the moment there is lots of construction and renovation underway in the Blue Mountains. They’re setting up a new play area for primary school aged children and renovating the aquatic centre in a neighbouring suburb. There will be a flying fox among other attractions. I wouldn’t mind being a little kid again for a day.
The last time I went out was this Saturday gone by. I had plans to see a movie, Cruella, at the local cinema as we’ve got government allocated vouchers to spend that will help circulate money within local communities and rebuild the economy slowly. I’m doing my best to support small businesses and keep us all afloat. Ordering lunch from my favourite restaurant is always a good idea. We have fifty dollars in vouchers to spend and until the end of July to redeem them. I’m hoping this cutoff will be extended as we’re in lockdown and can’t do much at this point. I managed to get a good meal in the other day though.
My grandma and I were in Leura, a suburb up the road. They have a Papinelle store, my go to boutique for ethical sleepwear. We picked up a few new sets and a gift for my mum, then went to do groceries. By then news of the lockdown had spread and we rushed to eat before curfew. We decided on Chinese in a neighbouring town, Springwood. Surprisingly, they were so busy. That phone was ringing off the hook for delivery orders. We ate quickly though and left before six in the evening. The serves were generous and the flavours in the food spot on. They made for the best leftovers the next day when I was occupied with college work.
I’d like to leave you with some wise words from the Daily Stoic in regards to the pandemic. I hope you’ll draw from them something useful. To fight the pandemic, we engaged in what you might call the largest forced lifestyle experiment in human history. We travelled less, we ate our less. We tightened our social circles. We spent more time at home. We stayed in at night with our family, instead of going out.
It was tough in many ways. It had economic implications and mental health implications too. As strange and frustrating and abnormal as it was, there was another part of us that noticed positive improvements. We weren’t as busy. We had time, so much time. We felt things we hadn’t felt in years, got into a groove that hadn’t been there for a long time.
This is because the bubble we went into to limit transmission of the virus was quite close to the ‘smooth flow of life’ and “living in accordance with nature” that the Stoics had long talked about. In fact, it was closer to our primal state of being too. Being rooted in one place, the family unit, neighbors helping neighbors, an awareness of your surroundings, the common cause.
As the cases drop precipitously, there will be temptation to want life to go back to normal. For you to abandon the bubble you have created. Pause before you do that. Which parts of this slower stiller life are worth protecting? What did you stop doing in this last year that doesn’t need to be resumed? What did you start doing out of necessity that’s worth continuing? What would life look like with more purpose in it, what could you accomplish with clearer priorities? It’s good that we’re coming out of this but let’s make sure we emerge better than we were prior to entering it.