So, this weekend the sun shone and inevitably where I live was literally heaving with people. Not just local people but very obvious visitors. As I walked my dog along the sea front I felt the anxiety levels rising as very little social distancing was being observed, in fact it was like a normal spring or summer day.
We are still in lockdown.
Today I went to our local farm shop, it’s only a short walk from our house and they have been amazing throughout the pandemic supporting the local community in so many ways. They still have regulations in place to ensure social distancing and to keep customers and staff safe. People ignored them, the staff asked them to move back, even leave the shop and still, they took very little notice. One of the owners apologised to me as an elderly lady pushed her way past, no mask and no distancing – he told me that he was really struggling now to enforce anything and it was making his life quite stressful.
We are still in lockdown.
Now I appreciate we are hugely lucky to live in a beautiful part of the country where we have the opportunities to walk in lovely places, not everyone is so fortunate. I also appreciate that everyone is very weary now of all of it and just wants to get back to “normal”, I get it. I could write all about my fears of opening up too soon and particularly my fears for this summer, living somewhere where we will doubtless be inundated with visitors BUT……I want to talk about patience, about managing those fears because to be quite honest, we have to.
I cannot affect other people’s behaviour, all the ranting in the world, the deep sighing or loudly exclaiming “which bit of lockdown do they not understand?” is going to make a jot of difference to the people who are just forging ahead. I can only affect my response to their behaviour. What I can do is stop myself from getting completely wound up by behaving in a way to avoid as many stressful situations as possible and if that means my summer is not “normal” this year, well so be it!
I will continue to walk my dog very early before people descend on the beach, I will also try and food shop as early as possible to avoid busy town centres. When I can meet with friends, I hope to meet them in their gardens or places that I can manoeuvre around the masses. I won’t be going very far afield this year, I want to ease gently back into normal keeping me & my family as safe as possible.
It’s also a mindset thing, being angry with those who apparently seem not to care at times is unfair. A client of mine was explaining how she had lost her temper with someone who she felt was just not following the guidelines which they weren’t BUT upon further investigation (and I appreciate we can’t do this with total strangers) she found out that they were going through some horrendous things at home and basically were coping the best way that they could which meant that they were pretty much oblivious to everything else. We don’t always know what’s going on for others, even those we think we know.
We’re back to that kindness thing….being kind to yourself by managing your situation and being kind to others because although you can’t manage theirs, you can treat them with kindness and respect that they too might be struggling with it all.
I think the next few months is going to test all of our patience but then if that can teach us to have more empathy, to be kinder and more respectful of others then that’s not such a bad thing is it?