Five times I’ve started crafting this blog, and scrapped them all, so sixth time lucky, desperate to find the thread on which to hang all the clever words I had lined up. And still not sure where it’s heading.
Like everyone else during the lockdown, I’ve been trying all sorts to find ways to interest and entertain myself outside of work, to fill the long hours, days and weeks. One way was to watch the whole original 60s/70s series of the Planet of the Apes movies. We can discuss another time how sad or weird you think that makes me, but a guilty pleasure, nevertheless. Where is this going, you ask?
As I watched the first film, of a man thrown into a new world, one so familiar and yet one so turned on its head, with the disbelief of his circumstances reaching its peak, he screams ‘It’s a madhouse!’.
Just seemed to sum it all up.
What has become clear over some of the strangest months I’ve been through in my lifetime, is that everyone has had their own battles to fight, their own circumstances to try and manage to emerge out the other end of this outlandish and challenging tunnel. I can only give an insight into mine.
I was perhaps ahead of part of the game, in that I’d already been working from home for four years or so. For me, that side of life didn’t change. It was just virtually everything else that did. I’ve known some of the people at TPSquared for almost two decades, so it was a great comfort to be working with friends who I could rely on and trust, without stressing about it. So, work actually just seemed to continue along its normal path, we’ve been fortunate – great people, both here and clients, and plenty to occupy us all. But what about the rest of the time?
I feel quite blessed that I have a hobby which not only allows me to express all sort of emotions and release some of life’s pressures, but writing, recording and producing my own music also takes up copious hours, so I always have something with which to distract from some of the rigours of lockdown existence.
I’ve always had a love for prog rock (another guilty pleasure, I’m afraid), but have found a new curiosity in writing classical pieces of music, along with mixing songs for GSMVC, a male voice choir which has helped them to sing together, despite the separation of this awful virus.
For me, my music has afforded me headspace, some ‘me time’, a focus, a direction and, hopefully, an output which will still satisfy my ears in years to come, and other who choose to listen (or are forced to as they are related, and therefore have no choice).
But what of my trials and tribulations? My wife and I had our third wedding anniversary in June (paper, cotton, lockdown) and our main challenge was to ensure the safety and health of our family, including my two stepchildren. One of the issues with having young adults with learning difficulties is that they struggle to understand that the lockdown isn’t personal. It’s not aimed at them, it’s not designed to make their specific lives even more difficult than they already were. It’s a global pandemic. It doesn’t differentiate.
That’s a tricky concept to grasp for those of us who have never experienced anything like this before, but for people with disadvantages, or understanding that most of us completely take for granted, it’s even more difficult to comprehend. I’m sure, like many families in a similar boat, they have had days with struggles that others have never experienced. I’m only being honest when I say it’s certainly tested us all, and I can only stand back and admire the resilience, patience and love that my wife demonstrates every day, as sometimes I don’t cope so well with the examinations we’ve faced.
I certainly understand much more today what it is to cope with these challenges than I did when I first encountered them a few years ago, but again, I take my hat off to the two young men who have battled through it all, and have now returned to their places of work and are continuing to do their very best to protect themselves and those around them.
So, what I learned? Quite a bit.
We’ve all had our own circumstances and anxieties to deal with and, unless you are involved in those circumstances, I’m not sure we’re qualified to judge. So be kind.
Some people seem oblivious to the dangers, while others are simply terrified. So think of others.
Some people have strong opinions, on all sides, and often places like Facebook are overflowing with those opinions. So show understanding.
Some people have worked through the whole lockdown in places and scenarios most of us simply will never experience, and I salute them. So be thankful.
Some families have experienced real, proper heartache, losing loved ones. So offer support.
Maybe I’ll put all of the above into a piece of music one day.
Gravel Hill House
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