As we begin, possibly, to move out of lockdown and back into the world, it’s time to take stock I think.
There we were, tiddling along – and suddenly we could only go out for essential purposes.
Which I think forced us all to think about what is essential. We discovered that lots of things aren’t essential.
My credit card bill is pitiful – I’m only spending money on food and petrol. Seriously, where the hell did it all go before?
But ‘essential’ is a moveable feast.
Milk and bread and eggs are essential. But so is fruit, and veg, and meat (if you’re an omnivore).
And loo roll. And pasta. Apparently.
Sometimes, in this house, chocolate is essential. And tea. Tea is always essential round here.
Some things aren’t essential, under any normal definition of the word, but make life bearable. Wine, beer, Haribo.
What about cigarettes? Probably one of the least essential things on the planet – and yet the tobacconist was one of the few places you were allowed to visit in Spain during lockdown. Supermarket, tobacconist, pharmacy. That was it. So someone somewhere thinks cigarettes are essential.
To begin with at work (I work for a major DIY retailer in the UK) we were selling essential items only. Roofing felt, lightbulbs, rat poison, that sort of thing. But what people really wanted – what they thought were essential – was compost and paint. Are they really essential? Well, if you’re in lockdown and bored beyond anything you could have imagined, then yes, yes they are.
And boredom has been one of the hardest things about this lockdown.
All that time when we were complaining about being too busy, never having enough time, never having a minute spare. All that time when we thought that what we really wanted was to sit down and do nothing.
It turns out that having nothing to do isn’t all it was cracked up to be.
We discovered that what we needed more than anything, the most essential thing for all of us, is to feel that we’ve achieved something.
What are you looking forward to doing?
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