The day lockdown was announced in India on 25th March 2020. I was not expecting much of a change in my schedule. Being an introvert who works from home, I was expecting everything to be more or less the same. The challenges were there already because of the shutdown across the world as I was losing work, but overall it looked like things will be easier for me. However, it was not all as easy as I thought.
The sudden loss of work
Being a freelancer, I do not have a fixed income, but from the last two years, I had a stable income that supported my day-to-day expenses and I was able to do little bit saving as well. But the moment lockdown was announced, almost every client put the work on hold and I had virtually zero work for more than 15 days. I lost a client for whom I worked for two years during the lockdown, which was a big dent on the income.
The second wave of shock came as a complete shutdown of affiliate income that was one of the stable sources. After 45 days, I am still waiting for them to revive and I do not think I will be able to reach the percentage I was making before the lockdown. For me, it was a comparatively smaller portion of my income, but for many, it was one of the main sources.
Weird mood and unnecessary arguments
No matter how big of an introvert you are, there is a moment in the day when you want to shut down everything and go out for a walk. It is just not possible from the last 45 days. It is not as simple as it may sound. No, I am not claustrophobic. I have no problem living in small confined spaces, and there are only two members in my family, so that is not a problem. The issue is I need some peace of mind and some moments alone that I am not able to get.
Do I have any problems with my mother that is causing problems? Not at all! We always divide house chores and do our bits when we feel like so that is not a problem. I never knew I have a habit of walking around in the lane just outside my house that I cannot do anymore. This minor change in the schedule has cost me my walking sessions, and it is causing stress.
With stress, a lot of things change in your schedule. I started stress eating that I only noticed after ten days of lockdown. Though it is now in control, I always think about the people who are still stress-eating or stress fasting. I had arguments with a few people that were totally unnecessary and could have been avoided. The whole scenario is affecting mental peace, and it is not good in the long run.
Is there a silver lining?
After spending a few days in coming out of shocks associated with the lockdown, one day, I sat down and thought what if I start to find ways to see the glass half full? Is it even possible during the time of the pandemic? Is it the right thing to do to see if there is a silver lining to all the problems the people around me and I are facing? The decision was as simple as eating cake. I had to find a way to make it look a little better. I might not have enough work, but I can learn something or do something different.
Learning new things
Out of 45 days, I spent a good 15 days learning the basics of social media management. Honestly, I was aware of a lot of things that were taught in the sessions, but the thing is doing everything yourself and learning it from a professional makes a huge difference. While I am looking for work, my skills in a comparatively new field are getting honed and hopefully, by the end of September, I will be able to get better-paying work.
I have spent more than ten years in sharpening my skills as a photographer. During the lockdown period, I have taught six people the basics of photography over chat that too free of cost. It was not difficult as I have done the thing before in person, but the response I got was much more satisfying than I have expected. I moved out of my comfort zone and proved myself not only a good student but also a good teacher. I might not have done it if there was no lockdown.
Reconnecting with old acquaintances
There is a friend of mine who had been pushing me to connect with old clients and friends since November. The lazy me decided to ignore her for a good five months, and then this lockdown happened. Since the second day of lockdown, I have made a habit of reconnecting with at least one person daily. A few good conversations and a few rotting ones are there, but overall I am happy that I did it.
Is it possible to rediscover the self during the pandemic? Actually, it is. I am still in the process of digging out the lost skills or half-learned skills that were left in the mid-way because I had to meet the needs of the family. There are a lot of things that are silently eating the peace of mind and need to be thrown out of life. Let it be some materialistic thing or even a relationship. If it is hurting the peace of mind, it is the right time to let it go.
Nature around is healing. If the Mother Earth can work hard and heal itself using the time she has, why can’t we? Yes, it is stressful. Yes, money is a significant issue. But do realize a lot of things that were essentials are not really that important. For me, it is a glass half full and hopefully, I will come out of the lockdown as a better person.
Writer by profession, photographer by passion, poet by choice.