Phase Two is my own name, by the way.
That’s kind of how it feels since the non-essential retail was allowed to re-open, which was last Monday here in England.
Before then, it was all about staying home unless you were doing something essential – like a key worker job, or grocery shopping, or daily exercise.
Now the stores are back open (with distancing requirements) and the economy needs people out spending money to boost the economy. A la, Phase Two.
To be honest, the whole thing feels surreal to me still.
I’ve been working throughout – actually leaving the house every day and going to the office – so I’ve never felt the effects of the lockdown like a lot of people has.
I’ve struggled with my own experience; feeling guilty for going off and leaving hubby alone as childcare while I worked, especially in the early weeks which were very up and down. That guilt is crazy – and I knew it at the time, but still felt it – because it was a joint decision that I’d work and he wouldn’t. He wanted a break from work and by the time he’d had that week or two off, I’d set up the systems to handle everything alone and it didn’t really make sense to change that.
But as the lockdown has gone on, things have got easier. My daughter has really done incredibly well. After the emotional rollercoaster of the first few weeks, where she didn’t understand why she couldn’t see the people she loves or go to her favourite places, she’s really eased into enjoying her time at home. Hubby has done an amazing job there.
We’ve noticed that she’s also grown in independence during lockdown, and is better able to entertain herself. She’ll often take herself off into a different room so she can be alone for a while.
The puppy has made a huge difference. She’s been a constant play mate for my daughter, and I think that’s really helped her deal with not seeing other people.
I realised during the first phase of lockdown that what I missed was freedom. It wasn’t eating at any particular places or visiting any particular area, it was just the general ability to decide what I do each day without restriction.
Of course, that smacks of privilege. To have ever had the freedom to choose (within reason) what I do each day, while there are people in the country limiting how many hot drinks they make a week so they can afford the electric bill, is a tremendous privilege. One that I try and stay mindful of but no doubt take for granted more than I should.
I do remain interested – and concerned – by the changes that will come over the next 6-12 months, for jobs and businesses. The UK government has been amazing (in my opinion!) with financial support for people and companies, but that help will stop. Of course it will. It has to. And once that help stops, certainly some jobs will be lost and some businesses will fail.
I hope I’ve done enough during this time to see our business get through the hard times I’m expecting in the future. I hope that expecting the hard times to come has allowed me to make sensible decisions now, that will let us survive – maybe even thrive. Only time will tell.