The risks that really matter in life are not the small, day-to-day ones. The risks that matter in life are the things that hardly ever occur, but when they do occur, they are catastrophic. Rare but high impact. You really only need one of these doozies to occur to upend everything. And they do occur. So if we take one thing away from all this, it's got to be that we shouldn't, as the saying goes, sweat the small stuff.
You can barbecue practically everything.
Barbecuing is more a state of mind rather than a cooking technique. Once you are in the state of mind, you can drag everything along with you. Go to the fridge, grab whatever you fancy, whatever is nearly on the turn - put some oil and some salt on it if necessary, and barbecue it.
One of the nicest things I ate in the last few days were two courgettes that were on their last legs and in danger of going to waste. I biopsied them cross sectionally, oiled and salted them and barbecued them. They outperformed all the meat.
We have all become frugal, not so much because of the cost of things, but because of the effort we put into getting them.
When you only shop once a week, even with all the planning in the world, you will overbuy some things. But it will kill you to throw anything out or let it go off, because you fought hard and wore a mask and had a battle of wills with other, no-socially-distancing shoppers to get every item. And if you can make one more meal out of something, it can save you going back to the supermarket for one more day.
As one of the character in Lionel Shriver's new novel says: Nobody likes running, people like having run.
I don't enjoy my new running hobby, but it's a guaranteed good mood boost, every day.
You can't run every day, especially if you are new to it. When you are 50, and new to running, you have to listen to your knees. If you come out of lockdown too early and start running again on a knee that is trying to tell you something, you may have to go back a phase and lockdown harder, for longer. It may take you a few goes to get this message. Confucius says: In order to run again, first you have to master not running.
Kids love you just being there.
You don't have to actively be doing things with them all the time.
They just like that you are there in the background, visible out of the corner of their eye, apparently available. You might drift in and out of doing things together.
But just all being there, in roughly the same physical space, deepens relationships and creates a new intimacy, an intimacy you thought you had before. But of course, as it turns out, we knew nothing before.
Sometimes, everybody needs to get out of each other's faces and spaces for a while. Disperse to the four corners and not speak.
Not much traffic can be as dangerous as loads of traffic.
Because people can start cycling and walking around the place as if there's no traffic. But of course there is some. It's just more unexpected.
Specialisation is one of capitalism's greatest gifts.
It's all very well cutting your own hair and baking your own bread, but sometimes, it's really nice to be able to fall back on someone who is actually really good at cutting hair or baking bread, and just pay them to do it for you.
Wearing a mask fogs up your glasses. Because some air clearly escapes out the top and sides of the mask. Just saying.
You don't actually need many of the things you thought you needed.
You don't even actually want many of the things you thought you wanted. We can only hope, for the sake of all our jobs, that when this is over, we all convince ourselves again that we need things we don't need and that we want things we don't want.
We want our old lives back.
But there are moments, maybe sometimes even whole days, when it's nice to just exist in a bubble.
I will never take travel for granted again.
What a wonderful thing, to be able to go somewhere else, without a care in the world.
The weather is everything in a pandemic lockdown.
Well, maybe not everything, but it certainly sets the tone for the day. On a sunny day, it all seems possible and doable.
On a grey day, we don't know that we can keep going like this.
Food doesn't actually solve your problems in the long term.
But as a short-term fix, it does a pretty good job.
It's easy to gain a stone in a pandemic.
It's hard to lose even a pound in a pandemic.
Love can't conquer everything, and love is not all you need.
But love, when given time to reveal itself in a world that has become quieter and simpler, really is such an underrated thing.