It’s easy to say, “I don’t know.” It’s easy to say, “I haven’t traveled in ages (though I know exactly how long).” It’s easy to say, sometimes with a laugh, “I don’t go out much these days.” It’s easy, because it’s true. I could write about that. But for now…
These times are hard for absolutely everyone. So what to write about now, during lockdown? Like many others, I walk everywhere I can. It’s soothing, it’s exercise. I’ve probably walked more in my area than I have in the years I was busy jetting between different parts of town, eager to discover new buildings, cafés, bookshops, views of the local river. Now I’m discovering this right here. I’ve taken so many pictures. There’s numerous beautiful buildings, the cafés all offer takeaway options written with bright chalk on blackboards, making the closed doors and empty inside slightly less foreboding; the bookshops are closed, though reminding about click and collect. The river, thankfully, is always there.
Paradoxically or not, I hope for so many things. I can’t help myself. Every quiet street, every note in the doorway of a once open, busy shop, every closed cinema, every smiling child – I can’t let go of hoping for you. Even after reading about struggles. I hope we’ll get through this, my mind repeats again and again. It’s easy to say, and then you have to live it. Why? Just because. Not being corny or dramatic here. Oh sure, there’s plenty of realism, hard facts, questions and challenges. It’s all a mix, since life isn’t just one thing at a time.
Around New Year’s Eve the thought occurred to me that maybe sometimes the best tip for getting through a phase is to not follow any tips. Maybe we already have the best tips, because they are instinctive. They are the wishes that are always there. They have been sharpened in the last year alone. They stand out, thankfully. Wanting to walk and get some fresh air. Needing sunlight and a glimpse of blue sky when it shows up. Talking about anything and everything. To spouses, children, family, friends, good colleagues, nice neighbors. Kindness, both received and given. Not waiting to pay someone a compliment. Not just making the best of, but making something – a dish, a story, a handwritten letter. Just being honest, even when you think you don’t know what to write about.