A few weeks ago, back when the idea of coming out of lockdown was met with scepticism at best, I asked my dad, a 50 year old support worker, if he preferred working from home or going to work at the office.
I almost feel embarrassed to admit that his answer surprised me. He told me that he preferred working from home. It meant that he’d be around his family, able to log off and have a proper lunch with his wife, and check up on me and my little brother. It meant that he could return to home life and all the comforts therein, without the drive there and back.
Initially, I was diametrically opposed. I told him that I disagreed. I tend to become restless when I stay in one place, and the idea of working from home often leads to work and rest bleeding together. I took my lectures in my pyjamas, and the same computer that was running Microsoft Teams at 1, would be playing Call Of Duty Warzone at 2. It’s heaven for some, and I completely understand why.
But for me, the sensation makes me feel uneasy. Even talking to my classmates feels off, having to rely upon an increasingly frail internet connection, and a headset that was built for “pwning noobs” instead of face-to-face professional discussions.
I also completely understand that that’s how it’s going to be for the foreseeable future. Even after everything opens up, it will take a while before the masks come off and the one-way signs are peeled off. Please, don’t confuse my thoughts for a demand to reopen everything, consequences be damned, nor a demand for life to be locked-down forevermore.
And yet, when I think back on that paranoid haze that was 2020, I think back on the time me and my family built a summer house, even the times with the harsh sun, the splinters, the frayed gloves and fraying nerves, and the not-so-silent pride we all felt when we sat down on the barely-used sofa we brought in.
I think about the digital bonds forged between friends during movie nights (or movie “nights” depending on their timezone).
I think about the long-neglected hobbies that gained a new lease of life, without an hour’s commute to drain my enthusiasm.
All those moments came about because we had nothing better to do, and a group activity does a lot to ease the anxious mind.
It’s the kind of moments that would be impossible when everyone is too busy with their own lives to be part of those things.
And then I find myself agreeing with my dad. My restlessness may have come from the feeling that I always needed to be somewhere, even when I should be relaxing, or with friends. Without having to travel, I ended up having more of those moments that brought me closer to my loved ones.
So, in a way, I guess I miss the time I spent in lockdown. That’s strange, isn’t it? But that’s the truth. And I know I’m not the only one who feels the same way.