Seeing the light at the end of the lockdown tunnel

Today marks exactly one month since Italy went into lockdown due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus, and yesterday evening, we were told that the lockdown would be extended further – until May 3rd.

In four weeks, I haven’t gone much farther than 1 kilometre from my home – and that was only for shopping, or to go to the pharmacy – now we’re facing another three weeks of the same.

I wasn’t that surprised when I heard the news, and neither was anyone else here – we knew that we weren’t out of trouble yet. On the upside though, the daily numbers show that the rate of infections and deaths aren’t rising nearly as fast as they previously were, and experts say that the curve is beginning to flatten – we’re heading in the right direction, at least.

Despite not being surprised at the decision to extend the lockdown, it didn’t make the news any easier to hear. I’m generally an optimistic person, but even I am not immune to feelings of sadness and disappointment when faced with the prospects of being stuck at home for another three weeks.

Only a few months ago, before the lockdown – in what feels like a such a long time ago now – my wife and I used to spend almost all of our free time outdoors, discovering new places on this amazing island of Sardinia together. I miss the things that I took for granted – going to the beach, trekking, going for runs or walks, and just sitting outside enjoying a beer and a chat with friends.

In a previous post ‘A Rainy Day in Sardinia’, I raised the idea of amending the current concept of time to ‘before lockdown’ and ‘after lockdown’  – the strange reality of the situation at the moment.

Now, ‘after lockdown’, with all of the government restrictions in effect, and fines of up to €3000 for travelling without a valid reason, sometimes I feel a little bit like a prisoner in my own home. My wife and I are keeping busy, and we’re trying to use our time productively, but some days feel like an active fight to stave off cabin fever. A month in quarantine is a long time.

These are fleeting thoughts however – unwanted moments of melancholy that creep in unexpectedly from time to time. Feelings are only meant to be felt though – you aren’t meant to control them, and likewise, they aren’t meant to control you.

To keep myself optimistic, and to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I’ve found myself putting together mental lists of the things I’m going to do once the lockdown ends. I can’t wait to get back to living la dolce vita – the sweet life. I wrote before that I’m a professional procrastinator, but I won’t hesitate to take full advantage of life ‘after lockdown’.

I can’t wait to enjoy a Campari Spritz on a terrace with a sea-view. I can’t wait to have a pizza with friends. I can’t wait to go to the beach. I can’t wait to go to the mountains. I can’t wait to go for a typical Sunday passeggiata – the Italian national pastime of enjoying a casual walk with no real destination. I also can’t wait to drive on the open road with all of the windows open, breathing the fresh country air.

The coronavirus lockdown, or any social isolation for a long period of time, is enough to push anyone to breaking point, but remember you’re not alone – we’re all in the same boat.

It’s ok to feel bad sometimes, but don’t allow the negativity to take over – this lockdown, this quarantine, this emergency, or whatever you want to call it, is not forever.

To quote the great Martin Luther King, Jr. “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

Viva La Dolce Vita, – ‘Long live the sweet life’.

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