Lessons from lockdown: ‘I will miss the slow pace of life’

Readers share what they have learned about themselves, and the habits they hope to continue

‘I will miss the slow pace of lockdown life’. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

‘My needs are pretty simple’

Anne Browne
I have learned my needs are pretty simple. I don't need the latest fast fashion fix. I don't need to run to the hairdressers every week. I don't need takeaways because I can cook. I have discovered hill walking within a 5km radius of my home, which I didn't even know existed. I've learned to slow down. To appreciate the little things, and to listen to my kids. I've learned to bake bread and to live in the moment. I will miss the lockdown days. I feel the treadmill beginning to turn again, and I just want to press hold.

‘I will miss the slow pace of lockdown life’

Jude Mc Carthy
I will miss the fluidity of time. I will miss the mindset that didn't change the batteries in the kitchen clock because there was no pressing need to. I will miss the commute that brings the worker home at 5.32pm; three hours of life reclaimed from the roads. I will miss the family walks after dinner because we are all at home and we can. I will miss the guilt-free sneaky episode of Poldark when the boy is occupied. I will miss having my tumble dryer in the hall (a socket blew just before lockdown and it was the only place it could go. It looks ridiculous and it makes me smile.)

I will miss Joe Wicks. Walking was my only exercise before Joe; I thought a burpee was something a baby did after drinking. I can now do a Joe Wicks workout and not need help getting down the stairs the next morning.

I will miss sending handwritten cards because I have the time. I will miss the feeling that we were all in this together. I will miss sitting in the garden and not feeling like I was doing something wrong, wasting time when things had to be done.


I will miss the slow pace of lockdown life. We have been lucky, tragedy did not hit us. I am in the privileged position to view this time in a benign way. My usual worries were laid to rest for a while. The batteries will have to go back into the clock soon and decisions for the future made. Re-entry will be challenging, but it is probably about time.

‘I would have liked a few more weeks’

Mary Noonan
As I settled into lockdown, there were late nights. Late mornings. Eating rubbish. No routine.

Then, I started getting up at 7am. On with the runners for a morning walk, listening to the birds. No traffic. No noise. Absolute peace and tranquillity. Everyone had time to stop and chat. People had changed. We would get through this together.

My daily steps went from 5,000 to 20,000. I was getting a tan. I started looking good. I felt alive. I felt positive. The lippy and the perfume were applied before each walk.

I finally opened the big white polystyrene box marked “The Wedding Story”. I have been separated 22 years. It took a pandemic and a lockdown to finally get me to open this Pandora’s Box. There was no emotion, only a great need to use this time to declutter. Filling the bags for shredding, my energy soared. Then I started on the photographs (still a work in progress).

Somewhere in the middle of it all, I rediscovered myself. I found new confidence. I made decisions that will change my life. I felt my life starting over.

In early June we started phase two and I struggled. I didn’t want the cars back on the road, or the big shops to open. I would have liked a few more weeks.

I want to stay in that space where we take care of each other. To continue my daily walks and greet my fellow walkers. To shop locally and buy what I need rather than bulk buying. To continue with my crazy hairstyle because there is no pressure to get the roots done.

I understand the need for the country to get going again, but I desperately want to continue my lockdown lifestyle. I am scared things outside my control won’t allow this to happen. But I am determined to continue being the new me.

'I will miss the feeling of being safe'
Carol Coleman

I will miss the feeling of being safe. The start of lockdown was a Christmas-like bubble. Nice dinners, family games, baking, walks. Time to do things that generally you don't have time to do. Life slowed to an enjoyable pace. People made more effort to stay connected.

I look forward to meeting people again, going for a meal, a concert, a drink; but in years to come we will all look back and think we were lucky, life wasn’t too bad.

‘I’ve learned I’m an introvert’

I've learned I'm an introvert at heart, and that's okay. I'm happy in my own company and I'm quite self-sufficient. I enjoyed the slower pace, it gave me a chance to reconnect with myself. I'm coming out of lockdown more sure of myself, more rested and far less anxious. I know who my true friends are. While fully aware of the many sacrifices people have made, overall it has been a positive time for me.

‘I haven’t been in the fresh air so much in years’. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

‘I haven’t been in the fresh air so much in years’

Julie P
I always considered myself fragile when it comes to change, but the Covid-19 outbreak made me realise I am stronger and more resilient than I expected. There have been ups and downs. My husband and I work full-time from home with a four-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son who require a lot of attention, home-schooling, and regular feeding. But despite the struggles and missing our families, there are aspects of this new lifestyle we enjoy.

We will miss the regular cycles, walks and skates to the shop together. It is refreshing that our days no longer require so much planning, because the calendar is pretty much empty. We feel lucky for this extra time together.

What I will miss most is fresh air. I haven’t been in the fresh air so much in years. When you work in an office, commute by car and don’t have much time to spare, it is easy to get sucked indoors almost all the time. Walking every day around the neighbourhood in lieu of commuting, and simply playing in the garden with my children, are the simple things I have loved.

‘There is nothing wrong with a simple life’

Mary Broughall
Life has been calm and quiet. No watching the clock and rushing to work. Instead I'm taking joy in nature; watching two blue tits building a nest in an old chimney outside my window, admiring their industry and finally seeing four little fledglings take to the sky, I've learned there is nothing wrong with a simple life.

‘I’ve learned I really like my family’

Madeleine Lyons
I've learned our lives are full of far too many distractions and unnecessary commitments. I've learned I really like my family. Of course I love them madly, but it's also nice to find they are people I enjoy spending a lot of time with. The children are growing into young adults, and we've had a ringside seat to their personal growth over the last three months - a rare privilege. They've also put up with a lot of sacrifice – like many other young people – uncomplainingly.

Growing plants is great until you realise you have to keep everything alive – that’s a new kind of low level stress. A glorious day out really just requires sunshine, going somewhere with greenery (and if you’re lucky a watery view), sandwiches and crisps. Always crisps. The pandemic stole all my clothes and replaced them with smaller ones. Baffling.