My life in lockdown by Kirsten Laken


My life in lockdown.

As an artist and a person that enjoys solitude, who has a small amount of agoraphobia and depression, plus a love of the hermit lifestyle, I found myself deeply grateful for the peaceful place the world of Covid 19 had created for me.

I watched the turmoil outside my space from a distance through media.

The news bulletins on the TV and internet, speaking on the phone to friends and family, meetings with colleagues over live internet stream, emails and texts kept me up to date with reality and falsehoods. I watched ... integrated by what I saw and heard.

I had no fear or terror and managed to keep a positive outlook of the benefits that were being offered to me by life; my love of the land, wildlife, living in the hills of Ferny Creek, being with my partner and sons. Spending time in my veggie patch, the kitchen, home and studio. Being given time to read, write, create, cook, renovate and talk about changes that could be made by the options opened to me and us as a whole.

I have a completely renovated kitchen, like no other on this planet, completely unique thanks to my husband and I and being artistic and creative ... physically and mentally.

As a glass artist who runs a small business from home, work still continued just at a calmer pace and following health regulations, yet since I was unable to continue teaching students in my home studio I utilised this space to begin creating 2 thought provoking artworks based on the 2 major reactions I witnessed via multi media, ‘Fear’ and ‘Calm’

The birds in the garden come down to sit with my husband and I each day to share company and scraps of appropriate food, often pushing me to scratch or weed the garden to expose grubs and bugs for their breakfast or lunch.

The land and wildlife never left my side and supported me through the lockdown.

I was saddened to have to step back into the world of consumerism when lock down was over, yet I instantly saw the positive change in people. The calm nature of shoppers waiting patiently in line at a distance, friendly smiles from strangers, a slower pace on the road, many positive chats to shop assistants and general generosity.

I also saw fear, anxiety, anger and aggression, though these were slightly rarer. I refused to focus on these and knew that if I took a positive calm approach then my one small action can make a small difference in the way we all feel and behave.

Then recently we find ourselves in lockdown again during a second wave of virus outbreaks.

We all seem to know what to expect and most are better prepared this time.

I find myself reconfirming my new beliefs for a slower gentler life. Refusing to be pushed or bullied by outside views of what I should own/purchase, how hard I should work, how much money I could make, how quickly I can drive, eat, or walk.

I’ve found it is easy to loose these new morals when the world pushes to go back to what it was and I must remind myself that I learnt a LOT about myself and what is important as a society and I must retain this and continue to slowly impress it into a natural format for living.

I am happy with a gentler, slower paced life. My mental well-being is healthier. I eat healthier with better prepared and resourced food. I have time for family and friends and refuse to be pushed by consumer demands, work or peer pressure.

I don’t want the world to go back to the past behaviour.

I don’t want to go back into society if it is going to behave so poorly.

I don’t want to have to dodge rudeness, aggression, negativity, lies, greed and speed.

I can block this from entering my home and I can take my happy self out into the world but am concerned I will loose it or it will be worn thin by an old behaviour resurfacing in a world that’s been given the opportunity to change and grow.