Locked-in by any other name

There are different kinds of locked-in. The current housebound one from pandemic restrictions or being locked-in a destructive relationship. I was both last year, now I’m just coping with the pandemic one and I feel free as a bird. So, I think that’s very telling as to which of my lock-ins were worse.

If you’re struggling never forget your mind is always free. Free to wonder, free to learn, free to imagine better times, free to strategise your escape – or great escapes.

My days in the current lockdown are all the same, pretty much, but I refuse to wish my life away and I make the same decision each morning to enjoy this day. I do this by celebrating all the little wins. Seeing the daffodils blooming in my garden and on my dog walks – spring joy! Getting in a good yoga session before work and feeling the blood and movement return to my limbs – big high 5 to myself! Finally getting that task off my work ‘to-do’ list – pat on my own back. Redecorating my guest room – creative fun. Building a fire then watching its glow and listening to its soothing cracks and hisses – warm relaxation. Making the perfect margarita – savouring it’s taste.

I’ve tried out some Zoom live Yoga classes as well recently, both were very good from Light Space and from one of the teachers who does Yoga Fit retreats. Invited some friends to a virtual comedy night put on by one of the London comedy clubs we used to go to – Guinea Pig club night from the Boat Show.

Living alone

I used to be afraid of living alone, it was one of the reasons I always wanted a dog, the idea of them making wonderful companions. I have 3 now and I was right – I only need my dogs. They are a bottomless source of love, fun, laughter and cuddles. We go on our “adventures” every day, this is their word for “walks”. I understand their language now, they’re all very different. Totally different breeds, sizes and personalities. I know the body language and sounds of each and what they mean. They really know how to enjoy freedom; they revel in it. When we’re in a place of nature, where it’s just us and possible (no sheep etc) I let them all of their leads and smile and laugh at their joyful antics – rampaging around, running races, playing, hunting out smells, rolling in smells (unfortunately), my hound likes to run while barking loudly and continuously – it’s what she does when she’s very excited, long ears flapping like wings in the wind. Passers-by on our street walks often comment, “You’ve got your hands full”, with a smile. I return their smiles and always respond, “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Luckily the ex has left me alone and it gives me peace. He text once to ask to borrow some money, I ignored him and he’s not contacted me again. I was worried in the beginning how he’d be, but I’ve changed the locks and he’s left me alone, so my sense of peace and wellbeing continues to grow. A consultation with a legal service has confirmed it would be simple for me to get a non-molestation order if I need it – so I have that knowledge in my back pocket also.

Dating?!

Some friends I hadn’t spoken to in a while, I can now speak freely with. It makes me smile when some ask excitedly, “Is there anybody else? Are you dating?” I smile because that is the very last thing I’m thinking about! I am more than enough to be happy. The joy of not needing to consider anybody else right now – I’m savouring, thank you. If I decide I’m ready and would like to date again I can see at this age it’s quite liberating. There are no big things like “do you want children” on the table, my biological clock did its last tick a while back. I value older and wiser too, there’s a hard-won wisdom, maturity and some great stories that come only from living for a bit. I like people, I like learning what they have to say, I’m curious about their stories. I’m always open to new people and making new friends – everybody has something to teach, something to share.

Adventure

I am desperate to be away on holiday and travel again. Every day I check the post to see if my vaccine invite has arrived, that will take me closer to this goal is how I see it. In the meantime, I use my mind to dream of where I want to go and remember some of the brilliant travel experiences I’ve already had.

When I look back, I see my travels and holidays have provided some of the biggest learning experiences and times of joy in my life. Provided the moments I remember most – moments of pure happiness and feeling free.

So, while I can’t go anywhere right now, I’m preparing by doing my research into trips and travels and adventures – here and abroad. I’ve been looking into holidays where I can hone some skills, sailing, yoga, horse-riding. One yoga holiday offered it with a herd of free horses – there for the privilege of being around rather than riding, I like that idea, I just love being around horses – they’re healing. I’ve been buying new holiday clothes as well; I have a ludicrous number of unworn swimsuits now so that needs to stop. I learnt Spanish years ago so now I’m doing some YouTube classes with Alexa on French. I learnt some French in primary school but that’s all but mostly forgotten, along with the piano lessons I took back then.

Wherever you are, be free – be free to be yourself, be free to imagine what ever brings you joy and work towards it.

Published by JoJo

Confessional writer, starting over at 50 - I promise you brutal honestly with a few laughs along the way.

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