Understanding lockdown anxiety

One of the benefits of my lockdown exercise

So Sydney is in Covid lockdown again. The next 2 weeks, no substantial contact with anyone outside my home, except if I’m sick, need toilet paper from the shops or a barista-made (take-away) coffee.

I decide that I need to go for a walk after online church, where one of the upsides is “seeing” a friend in the chatbox, whom Sue and I haven’t spoken to in ages. We call him after the service and the three of us spend the next 30 minutes chatting. That’s one benefit I can chalk up to the lockdown.

The GWS Giants are playing at 1:10pm, so I figure I can get a walk in and a short lunch before the game. My walk is part of the permissible exercise in lockdown, with up to 10 others. That’s easy as it will only be me.

I discover that life in lockdown doesn’t look that different, at least from what I see on my walk. I pass my local park and it is filled with people enjoying this perfectly sunny, Sydney winter’s day. Why not? I guess the public health orders can be interpreted with a bit of elasticity.

A scene very similar to what I saw on my walk

Lockdown anxiety

While I walk, I notice that I’m keeping a little bit of extra distance between myself and on-comers. I make a conscious effort to walk on the fringes of groups congregated outside cafes waiting for their caffeine, but for all my careful calculations I don’t reckon on an older woman who just wants $5 from anyone who will stop and give. Seeing I don’t carry any cash, I can’t help her and tell her as my arc around her grows wider and my pace picks up.

About a hundred metres on, I see a pile of books outside a house, ready for any taker, which is where I pick up The Book of General Ignorance. A quick scan, published in 2006. “How much more ignorant could we have grown in 15 years?” so I pick it up and decide I can take it home if I give it a thorough clean with my anti-bacterial wipes. Another quirky book to add to my quirky book collection.

Another five minutes on, I hear a screeching of brakes, a horn and look to my right and see two cars on a roundabout, their front ends only a couple of metres apart. “Someone forgot to switch on his brain this morning”, I think. Actually, I feel pretty angry and feel like walking up to the guy who lamely waves at the other driver, as if to say, “my bad”. “What’s wrong with you?!” I think.

Careless driving gets under my skin. Then I think, I’m still pretty angry with the woman who asked me for $5. Doesn’t she know we’re in lockdown?!

It’s then I realise, I’m pretty cranky. Little things set me off. Even though I’ve been trying to pray while I walk, I sense that my emotions and my body tell me I’m uptight. People are making me uptight. I decide to pray for the people that just made me mad.

I guess, that is another outcome from this lockdown. Not necessarily a benefit, but a benefit that I can see it in myself, and hopefully balance a little better.

Praying for my other fellow lockdown Sydney-siders…and others more adversely affected by this virus.

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