I decluttered the camera roll on my phone a few nights ago. It’s one of those tasks that I endlessly put off, even though I always feel a lot better when I finally get around to it.
It was easy enough to delete the photos of the last forgettable month. Save for a cat-driving-a-car GIF (always handy) and a picture of a robot hoover I’d like to buy, I all but wiped every digital memory of January from my device.
The photos and videos from March and April were a little harder to erase. Every photo brought back a distinct memory of a very different time and it was hard not to compare the first lockdown we experienced with the one we’re experiencing now.
Amidst the screen grabs of alarmist headlines and videos of hysterical supermarket sweeps, I discovered hundreds of photos that captured a rather different mood.
There were pictures of kaleidoscopic paint colour charts and big blowsy blooms from my home renovation phase. There were decadent risotto and lasagne recipes from my eat-like-it’s-your-last-meal phase. There were screen grabs of piano chord progressions, music masterclasses and quarantine concerts from my I’m-going-to-be-the-next-Dr-Dre phase.
These snapshots of a moment in time captured the fear and paranoia of the first lockdown but they also reminded me of the can-do spirit that prevailed. Like a lot of people, I thought I finally had the time to become the person I was meant to be.
I was going to write a piano composition and start a podcast! I was going to build a pizza oven with my bare hands! I was going to learn Japanese! In retrospect, I was probably spinning out…
Looking back at that time now, I can’t believe I once had the patience to stir risotto for an hour, buy garden compost online and play piano until the wee hours.
It was a high-octane period and while I marvel at my own enthusiasm, I’m also a little suspicious of it. Was I really that resilient or was the euphoria some sort of trauma response? Was I really being creative or was I just burying myself in my hobbies? Was I thriving or merely surviving?
Needless to say, that manic energy soon subsided. And while part of me would like even a smidgen of the drive I had during the first lockdown (especially now that I’ve swapped homemade risotto for Deliveroo), the other part of me wonders if it’s just two sides of the same coin.
What goes up must come down, after all. And perhaps performative thriving is a facade we contrive when we’re actually just surviving.
Until now, my approach to lockdown has swung like a pendulum. It was either a 30-day abs challenge or three days straight of not doing any exercise at all. It was either clean out my closet Marie Kondo-style, or pretend not to notice the overflowing laundry basket and the limescale in the sink.
Much like the Government strategy of closing down and reopening the economy, my lockdown strategy was all-or-nothing. And we all know where that leads…
My new approach to surviving lockdown is somewhere in the middle. I’ve made peace with the fact that I’m probably not going to write a book, learn a language or get a six-pack in 2021. Likewise, I’ve made a pact with myself to never again watch 12 episodes of Ozark in a row or wear pyjamas to the supermarket (yes, that happened).
There’s a happy balance between performative thriving and surviving, so from now on I’m looking for a few small wins. A daily walk. A couple of home-cooked meals a week. Twenty minutes a day of piano or whatever other hobby is holding my interest.
Granted, it’s not quite as exciting as March when we were all painting our homes and baking banana bread, but perhaps the comedown from that global wave of helpers’ high and can-do spirit is what has made this latest lockdown so hard.
Over the last few months we’ve seen Covid community spirit devolve into Covid snitching and curtain-twitching. We’ve seen small businesses pivoting and rising to the challenge before giving up and pulling down the shutters. We’ve seen Ireland close down, open up and close down once again.
We’re living in a world of extremes so perhaps it’s time we let go of the all-or-nothing approach and found a happy middle ground instead.
Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has many strings to his bow. He’s the CEO of Space X, Tesla and Neuralink. He’s an electronic music producer. He’s a social media personality.
Musk, the richest man in the world, has so much influence over his social media following that a single tweet of his can move the markets and send the prices of stocks and cryptocurrency soaring.
The price of Etsy stock rose by 3.5pc after he said he “kinda loves” the online marketplace. The price of Bitcoin spiked by 20pc last week after Musk (49) added the hashtag #bitcoin to his Twitter bio.
Musk is fully aware of his influence on the markets, so why then does he promote the notoriously volatile cryptocurrency Dogecoin?
For the uninitiated, Dogecoin is based on the Shiba Inu dog meme and was created as a joke in 2013.
The price of Dogecoin soars during cryptocurrency bull runs, and whenever Musk tweets about it. Last week, when a TikTok trend sent the price of Dogecoin soaring, Musk got behind the rally with a tweet that pushed the price even higher.
It all seems like fun and games until you consider the young people who got badly burnt by this pump-and-dump scheme. They blindly invested in Dogecoin thinking it was a get-rich-quick scheme, and many of them took Musk’s tweet as some sort of confirmation that they had made a prudent decision.
You could argue that they should have done their research, but perhaps Musk should have known better.
A Sex and the City reboot is in the works and, according to Sarah Jessica Parker, it’s going to deal with Covid-19 as part of the story.
The pandemic will “obviously be part of the storyline,” SJP (55) told Vanity Fair, “because that’s the city [these characters] live in. And how has that changed relationships once friends disappear?”
There’s no doubt that people want content that reflects the world we live in, but let’s not forget that SATC never really reflected real life. Viewers tune in for escapist glamour and fabulous shoes. Perhaps it should be kept that way.