Choosing to live a simpler life has meant the pandemic and subsequent lockdown in the UK has had less of an impact on us than many people.
I am fortunate that my job has not been affected by corona virus any further than working from home instead of in the office. Putting aside the obvious financial impact of the pandemic on millions of people, there has also be a huge psychological and emotional impact on many, even if (like me) they continue to work and be paid as normal.
Before lockdown we spent most of our free time in the garden, walking the dog in the countryside, doing DIY and reading. Since lockdown we have been mostly spending time in garden, walking the dog, doing DIY and reading. We haven’t been able to visit friends and family, but some friends we have actually spoken to more often (via whatsapp and zoom) than we would’ve done in normal circumstances, as they aren’t so busy with ‘other stuff’. My Mum has even mastered whatsapp for video calls!
Really, the only major impact for us is not being able to travel, but with the weather having been so un-seasonally dry and sunny, it has been like being on holiday sitting in the garden!
At a high level my life has not been adversely impacted by the pandemic and subsequent lockdown in the UK in a dramatic way. I am aware that this is not the case for a great many people, but I have no personal experience to draw on, so I will acknowledge that I am in a fortunate position and that my learning from the last few months is a tiny spec on the surface of a sea of dramatic change for many people.
As we approached FI at the end of 2019, actually stopping working was an intangible concept. While I was spending each day in the office, collaborating with colleagues and generally being caught up in the urgency of day to day problem solving and driving toward goals, I never really thought about what I was not making time for. I didn’t really feel that I was missing out on a potentially more rewarding life. Out of sight, out of mind.Now that my morning commute involves a flight of stairs up to our spare bedroom for a long day of Microsoft Teams video calls, I am more aware of what I don’t have time for. I can see all the jobs I want to be getting on with in the garden, out of the window. I can see my rarely used photography kit gathering dust in the corner of the room. I can see Mr Wombat making progress with DIY projects each time I come down to make a cup of tea. Suddenly it feels like I am missing out and making sacrifices spending 9 hours a day working, when there is an alternative.