The reopening of Ireland – the good and the bad

The lockdown is slowly coming to an end. I have mixed emotions. Of course, I want businesses to reopen and make money again, I want people to get their jobs back. But I’m also worried, or perhaps even scared, of the effects. Is this going to work? Will infections rise again? How is the new normal going to be? Will we ever get back to what we used to have, in terms of social interactions? And all this makes me sad and restless. I’m not good at handling uncertainty, not at all. Lately, I’ve been low, restless and anxious. May has been a good month in many ways, summer has come and I’ve been doing some inspiring and good things, but looking back, I can see that I’ve struggled a lot, and still do.

Of course, the easing of restrictions is a good thing. The virus statistics has been very good here for some time and they’re working on a strategy to do the reopening in four stages instead of five. We’re now in stage two – or what they called two plus because they allowed certain reopenings that otherwise would have happened in stage three. Many shops are open now and you can meet in small groups of a few people for shorter periods of time. We can travel in our county or within 20 km if we live near a county border (if I’ve understood it correctly).

The gardening and DIY shops opened on the 18th of May, I’ve done some planting and I’m working on some new flowerbeds. Some of it will take time and I can’t plant too much because we’re also in a state of water shortage, which means hosepipe ban and we need to save water. I do my best to save household water for use in the garden, and use the watering can for the rest. I love warm and sunny weather, but I’m happy every time it rains because it means I don’t need to worry about the plants.

On Saturday, we went to our favourite café that had reopened. It was so good to see those lovely people again!! They offer coffee, cake and lunches for takeaway, this is the type of service that will allow cafés and restaurants to be open. During these months, one of the things I’ve missed most has been to sit at Wilde & Co with a good coffee and have a good chat with the staff, including the café owner. He’s a lovely person and very passionate about the business. In addition, they offer some fantastic barista coffees. Getting back there was a nice step towards some kind of normal life!

Another important milestone happened this Tuesday. My husband went back to work in the office. He runs a business on his own, and has the office to himself, so he doesn’t break any rules by going back there. He’s been working from home since the end of March, and our kitchen has been an office. It’s worked and hasn’t been too bad, but the feeling to have the kitchen as a kitchen again was incredible! Seeing a CLEAN uncluttered kitchen table and being able to use it as a kitchen table is fantastic – one of those things you normally take for granted. Being on my own at home again during the day felt like a good step towards normal life, and it made me feel so good. Yesterday we celebrated our wedding anniversary, and could have a good dinner in the kitchen. Fabulous!!

Kitchen

This inspires me to start decluttering again. Everything came to a stop with the lockdown, since everything was closed, and we had nowhere to leave the stuff we want to donate. I had already packed several boxes of clothes, homeware and more to give away, and they are still in the bedroom. A few days ago, I read that charity shops have reopened… so finally, we can get going again! We’re so incredibly behind with getting the house in order. Last year was totally focused on fixing electricity, plumbing and other things, then fixing up the kitchen. I was also super busy with my Italian studies and it was impossible to get any further with the decluttering. I’ve been doing remarkably well with living in this mess without freaking out… but I know I will be much happier with less clutter. It’s time to start working on that again.

The uncertainty surrounding the pandemic is teaching me something about life and how I look at the things I do. We may need to live next to the virus for quite some time and there is no way to hibernate until there is a vaccine, so I’d better just learn how to live with it. In reality, even during normal circumstances, we can’t control everything in life, and we should never take life and wellness for granted.
I tend to make a lot of plans, think that “When I have planted the garden…”, “When the house is uncluttered…”, “When I’ve learned this…”, “When I’ve managed to create a new career…”, then this and that will be great and I will truly live.

But life happens NOW, even if the now isn’t what I want it to be. I need to find joy in what I have here and now even if it’s not perfect. I’m trying to work on this and to be happy about what I’m doing even before I have the results. I’ve often thought that this is a cliché that only applies to people with perfect lives. What if your life now totally sucks? If the only thing that makes you happy is to think about the future? I used to feel that way.

It’s been easier since I moved over to Ireland because generally, I’m happier with my life here. But especially during the pandemic or other uncertain times, I tend to go into some kind of waiting mode, only planning for what I will do when we get back to normal (whatever that is). That isn’t a very healthy way of living though… what if I die tomorrow and all I did was to wait, instead of finding joy in what I had to be happy about?

This also sounds very cliché but there is truth in it. For me, the simple things are certainly the most important in life. These days it’s so trendy to set high goals in life and strive for success and high horses, but I don’t want any big things. I don’t need to be extraordinary. I only want to feel that I’m good at things I like doing (I’m not there yet but I’m working on it), create a career around something I enjoy doing, live a quiet, peaceful life in my little house with my garden, do things that inspire me, be able to travel to other places that I love and be around good people. For now, some things are undoable, and I’ll have to have patience with that and find joy in something else. I’ll need to be able to do that instead of wait for the bad times to be over.

This post is rather scattered and I don’t know if it all makes sense. I suppose that’s what happens when you don’t write for a long time and have lots of things to share, during such weird times. I hope you are all doing well, following health guidelines and staying safe.


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