Maureen

How are you feeling right now?

I’m feeling good, and I’ve been feeling good since all of this began. I’ve been very balanced about it all. We’re really lucky, I’m not one of those parents who’s juggling childcare and homeschooling and then on the other side cocooning parents and parents in law, we don’t have that situation, it’s just ourselves. So we’re in our own little bubble, not a huge amount has changed other than I now share my daily working space with my son who’s studying and my husband who’s working from home. So from that point of view, we’re very fortunate, we’re really lucky. I’m working and adapting to the new circumstances and discovering things I didn’t know I could do.

What do you really miss?

The one thing that I’m finding myself saying quite regularly at the moment is I just wish I could go to a coffee shop! To meet someone for a coffee or lunch – it’s that freedom that’s gone, that’s the big thing. I’m really looking forward to that, being able to go out for coffee, meeting people. I met my neighbour the other morning outside and I realised it was the first time in a week that I’d spoken to somebody outside the three of us within our house. Just connecting with people, it’s strange not to do that. I’m coping with being inside well, I think that’s because of the interaction on zoom and there’s a huge amount of support from different networks. Because I’ve been involved with so many networks since I set up in business last year, that’s standing to me now, the supports are in place – but it’s not the same.

What have you gained or learned?

I’ve learned that I was putting limitations on myself that I shouldn’t have been. The workshops that I do are face to face workshops and I thought they could never translate in that format to online until I had to do it last week and I realised they do actually. It’s just thinking about it a little bit differently. I’ve been on such a steep learning curve for the last year anyway and I’ve done so many things that I never thought I could do anyway but it’s even pushing me further now. The whole world has been on a steep learning curve and I’ve been part of that. I’ve also gained the confidence to just try it, it’s a great time to just try things, to experiment. The world is in experimenting mode I think, trying different things out – thinking differently, giving it a go, and if it doesn’t work out, so what?

Who are you most worried about?

I have two sons and my elder son is in Scotland. He was supposed to be going to New Zealand but the borders closed the day before he was due to leave, so he’s still over there and I would rather just have our whole family under one roof. From our own family point of view, luckily there aren’t concerns. When I think about who I’m worried about, it’s particular groups of people I think of – I worry about people who have mental health issues, or elderly people who are cocooning and afraid to go out, that’s huge too. I was a teacher up until last year and I just feel so sorry for students and teachers, the uncertainty of what’s going on and what it means for their futures. I think that’s for all of us – when we know what’s happening, we can deal with it, but it’s the uncertainty that’s the big stressor. I don’t take it for granted that fortunately there’s no one in my inner circle that I’d be concerned or worried about, it’s a blessing to be able to say that.

What are you most hopeful for right now?

I’m hoping that all of the positivity will stay, that things are going to change, that people are going to slow down. I’m saying that, but I find that I haven’t been able to slow down, yet. But I’m conscious of it. I’m hoping that we can take a step back, whatever that means for each of us, that we’ll re-asses where things are and ask ourselves ‘do I want to take it up at exactly where I was before or do I want to change it and tweak the way I’m living my life?’ And that’s different things for different people. This isn’t like summer holidays where you’ve got your two weeks in the sun and you come back feelingl refreshed but it’s back into the old routine – this is a complete break for everybody from their routines. Habits are being broken and new routines are being formed. Once childcare goes back to normal, you might find people thinking they don’t need to be stuck in traffic, commuting five days a week, there are different options now maybe. I think there could be very exciting things ahead for the world. Who knows where it’s going to go from here.