We are in the grips of winter. The cold weather, coupled with the lockdown and the chaos in our country means that staying at home is the only option at the moment.
It’s hard to focus right now, so why not keep busy cooking a delicious meal or losing yourself in a good book. These are our two suggestions, but you know we love hearing from you, so please email us here if you have a recipe worth sharing, or if you have read a book that you absolutely loved and would like to share.
Taste Magazine’s Delicious Oxtail
5 T olive oil
2.5 kg oxtail, cut into 4 cm chunks
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
400 g carrots, sliced julienne
400 g celery, sliced julienne
1 T fresh rosemary finely chopped, plus an additional sprig for remembrance
1 T fresh thyme finely chopped, plus an additional sprig for courage
4 dried bay leaves
2 T flour
2 x 400 g whole tomatoes cans
1 cup red wine
1 litre beef stock
Preheat the oven 220°C. Place 3 T oil in a roasting tray and heat in the oven. Once the oil is hot, add the oxtail and toss until all the meat is coated. Season to taste.
Return the meat to the oven and cook for a further 20 minutes, or until it’s nicely browned and the fat is golden.
Meanwhile, place the carrots, celery and herbs in a large saucepan with the remaining olive oil and gently simmer for 20 minutes. (You many need to add a few tablespoons of water at some point.)
Remove the oxtail from the oven and set aside. Reduce the oven’s temperature to 170°C. Add the bay leaves, cloves, flour, tomatoes, wine and beef stock to the vegetables. Lastly add the oxtail, all the roasting juices and bring to a boil.
Return to the roasting tray, cover with a lid and cook in the oven for a further 5 hours. If you make this a day or two in advance, no harm comes to it if you put it into the oven at 170°C for another hour or so to heat it up.
BOOK REVIEW & COMPETITION
The book we highly recommend this month is The Heart Is The Size Of A Fist by PP Fourie. If you would like to win a copy of this book, please email email@example.com, and we will put you in the draw.
The Heart is the Size of a Fist by PP Fourie Review by Kate Sidley
The semi-autobiographical novel centres on Paul and his relationship with his politically liberal but cruel and violent alcoholic father, and his loving but damaged mother. The book shifts between recollection of his childhood, devastated by addiction and domestic violence, and his adult life in which he does the work of understanding and healing, and reconnects with his much younger half-brother in a poignantly tentative and tender way. It’s a coming-of-age and coming out novel, a book about survival and healing and memory.
It’s beautifully written, thoughtful and strangely gripping. It had me glued to the book and the sofa all day. One of my best books of the year so far.
Forbes recently published an article on 10 tips to being happier and making 2021 your best year ever. We thought they were very useful tips and answering the question at the end of each tip allows you to pause and reflect and gain some perspective on the year that was.
Focus on the upside of a downside situation. When there are so many incidences of devastation, fear and heartbreak, it’s natural to focus on the downside of the pandemic. But we can balance that out with how it’s brought people together, volunteering and helping one another and strengthening the whole idea of collective selflessness. What upsides can you name?
Pinpoint the opportunity in the difficulty. Ask, “How can I make this situation work to my advantage? Can I find something positive in it? What can I manage or overcome in this instance?” During the pandemic, for example, we can use times of self-isolation for self-reflection and think about the direction we want to take in the new year. What opportunities do you see?
Frame 2020 as a lesson to learn, not misery to endure. Ask what you can learn from the difficulties of 2020 and use them as stepping-stones, instead of roadblocks. Think of the adversities of 2020 as happening for you instead of to you. If you consider this perspective less taken, what has 2020 taught you that you can take into 2021?
Practice gratitude. Look beyond the fear, loss and disappointment at the big picture. Take an inventory of your life and include all the things the pandemic prevented you from doing that you once took for granted. And consider all the people and things in your life that you’re grateful for, letting gratitude steer you beyond the gloom and doom. What are you grateful for?
Be chancy. Take small risks in new situations instead of predicting negative outcomes before giving them a try. “If I ask for a shot at the promotion, my boss might laugh in my face” becomes “If I ask for a shot at the promotion, my boss might think I have guts and ambition.” How can you stick your neck out at work in the new year?
Avoid blowing a situation out of proportion. Don’t let one negative experience rule your whole outlook: “I was supposed to get a promotion until the pandemic; now that everything’s on hold, I’ll never advance in my career” becomes “Things are on hold for a while, but nothing lasts forever and there will be other pathways to success.” What limiting situations can you minimise and overcome in 2021?
Focus on the solution, not the problem. You’ll feel more empowered to cope with pandemic curve balls when you step back from the problem and brainstorm a wide range of possibilities. Your negativity bias will direct you to zoom in and focus on the problem. But when you broaden your perspective, your wide-angle lens will help you see potential in the big picture. What possibilities do you see for 2021?
Practice positive self-talk. During tough times, be as kind to yourself as you would your best friend. Underscore your triumphs. Replace bludgeoning yourself and using put-downs and criticisms with the practice of self-compassion. Affirm positive feedback instead of letting it roll over your head. Give yourself “atta-boys” or “atta-girls.” Throw modesty out the window and remind yourself of all your personal resources. What are your strengths?
Practice Solitude. Solitude is good for the soul. It takes you out of the rat race for a while, gives you a bird’s-eye view of your daily life and replaces chaos with serenity. Spend a minimum of five minutes a day alone. Meditate, pray, practice yoga or contemplate nature and connect with something larger than yourself for inspiration and peace of mind. What type of solitude can you practice?
See a fresh start contained in loss. Every loss contains a gain, but you have to look for it. Every time you get up just one more time than you fall, you increase the likelihood of scaling hard times. Baseball great Babe Ruth said, “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up. Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” What endings in 2020 contain new beginnings in 2021?
In previous years we hosted numerous client events throughout the year. These events provided the perfect opportunity for us all to connect. When lockdown happened, we knew that staying connected with each other was essential, so we planned weekly client Zoom events. These events kept us connected and provided a welcome relief from the monotony of life in lockdown. We asked some of our guest speakers to share their reflections on 2020.
Pippa Shaper and Gabi Louw
The Resilience Talk
As our business, The Resilience Factory, centres around teaching Authentic Resilience, 2020 will be a year we’ll never forget. Never before has the need for authentic resilience been quite so prevalent, and it has been a privilege to take our model, tools and techniques to people around the world. Like so many other businesses, The Resilience Factory had to ‘pivot’ really quickly, and we took our course online the week South Africa went into lockdown in March. Since then, we have taught over 1000 people around the world the secrets to living an Authentically Resilient life – one of thriving, not just surviving – and we are delighted to see so many businesses investing in their teams.
However, the impact will continue to be exponential, and we foresee a long tail of mental health issues as the world continues to change so rapidly. Adaptability, flexibility and the need to embrace impermanence have never been more important than they are now. We so look forward to continuing to develop our work, our learnings and our impact.
Storytelling and Truth
I’m a freelance writer and producer, and the pandemic caught me well prepared financially for the first weeks, but quickly that evaporated as the months of joblessness crept by. It was – as it was for millions of people in our country – frightening, and then, terrifying. There was just nothing on offer for long stretches of time.
My first positive reaction was to embrace the world of technology far more than I had ever done, and reach out via social media to people with whom there was a chance of meaningful connection. This approach yielded some successes quite quickly. The business that grew was small, but at least it provided positive steps in the right direction and kept some money flowing in.
Importantly, I was lucky enough to be able to keep working on my original vision which was to expand my writing, journalism and communication business – and step by step, sometimes with my heart in my throat; I kept that vision alive. Now that severe lockdown has eased, business has picked up again, and I count myself so fortunate to have been able to keep to my own life vision throughout a very scary time. Let’s hope it remains that way going forward – for all of us!
Managing your relationships in Lockdown
There have been many positives and negatives coming about from COVID, but one thing that has stood out for me is that we have realised what is important versus what is valuable. We have had time to reflect on what’s important to us, such as freedom of movement, relationships, family, friends and quality of life. We’ve also realised that we can do without so much stuff (i.e. material things).
Being in lockdown has allowed people and families to do so many things that they have been putting off, procrastinating over, or wanting to do, but never have for various reasons. It’s allowed us to have some downtime, spend quality time together, change our lifestyle and force us to connect in new ways. Perhaps COVID was here to teach us this important lesson that we had been neglecting and taking for granted in so many ways.
The Music Guru
This year has shown me how music, as it always has, shines a light when days are darkest. We’ve witnessed Italians banging their pots on balconies, making music that declares, ‘We are still alive’, a torrent of fine lockdown songs recorded, and ordinary people making, sharing, dancing to, and enjoying the pure truth of music. Witness, comfort, and part of the way back, music will underscore the triumph of the human spirit.
As long as there’s a melody, I’ll not be melancholy.
Dare to Lead
I cannot reflect on the year without feeling immensely grateful. I have been overwhelmed with how our clients have embraced technology, keeping in contact and joining the Chartered Family through numerous online events. I am grateful for having had the opportunity to share my learnings on vulnerability and empathy with our clients, which is the one thing that I believe has helped me through this year.
For me, this year has been about leaning into my vulnerability. It’s comforting to know that it’s ok to feel anxious about uncertainty, that it’s normal to feel afraid, and it’s perfectly natural to give yourself the time to feel these emotions, to really connect with what you’re feeling, instead of fighting or flighting from it. So now, when I feel overwhelmed, I allow myself to experience my sadness, my pain, my frustration or my sense of helplessness. To allow yourself to be vulnerable is to permit yourself to heal from the inside out.
What really stands out for me this year is the abundance of kindness and give-back that I’ve noticed and seen firsthand among our staff and clients – and also friends and family. Empathy sits at the core of this heroism. I have experienced that by just being present in someone else’s story, really tuning in and listening, without judgement and without jumping in to give advice, establishes true human connection.
And finally, I am surprised by how much I was able to save this year. I rediscovered the joy of home-cooking and spoiling myself with hot baths, manicures and pedicures. And of course, spending so much time with my family and making new, unforgettable memories.
Dr David Kloeck
Covid-19 and what is really happening on the homefront
As a clinician in the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa, this journey has most certainly been a roller-coaster ride. We South Africans were lucky to be spared the devastating effects of a novel disease, dictating the lack of normal pathophysiological mechanisms that patients and healthcare workers in the Northern Hemisphere suffered at the beginning of this pandemic. Our healthcare teams had the advantage of preparing, and undertaking drastic measures in terms of complete lockdowns and states of disaster, in order not to replicate what the north was experiencing.
The telecon calls from our overseas colleagues were heart-wrenching. Being a completely medically-focused member of the community, I perhaps don’t recognise and acknowledge the hardships of what an economic disaster we are in. Still, the light in our tunnel allowed us not to experience the burden of disease our other international colleagues faced. Not making too light of the situation, we were most certainly placed under new and significant stressors and pressures, but the most incredible memory I recall while I write these few words is how the men and women who work at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital rallied together, volunteering and giving more than 150% of their time and effort to look after our main Covid Intensive Care Unit. My junior doctors all have walked out with smiles on their faces and personally said to me that they “loved working in the Covid wards”. My nurses always (and I really mean always) had a smile and a willingness to make a plan. Every day, without fail, the senior nurse asked me if all was okay, and if there was anything she could do to make things better. I appreciated this so much. My wish is for a way to lift these frontline workers, and give them the true recognition they deserve! They are the real South African heroes! It’s been an honour for me to work for the people, with the people!
It has been a year like no other. I am grateful for the technical skills that helped me to convert to working online seamlessly, and at the same time, help many others to learn the skills needed.
Personally, it has been a big year as I have just moved to the Western Cape. These are not easy decisions and should not be made lightly. The most important thing is that you take yourself with you wherever you go. Make sure you are content and filled with joy, no matter where you may be.
Finally, going grey, gracefully, during lockdown has been about giving myself permission to be who I am and to celebrate the process.
Stephen Mc Gown
Freedom is an Attitude
For me, 2020 came charging out of the starting blocks, I was fully booked for corporate talks, both locally and internationally. 2020 had very exciting prospects. By the 18th of March I had had 28 talks cancelled. My initial reaction was disappointment, but then over the next five months I was asked to do 35 virtual presentations to companies. I was reminded to be patient and not to waste a day worrying. Focus on what’s important in life, do your best and opportunities will follow.
This year has been challenging, and we have all had to tighten the belt to make our money go further. One of the perks of being an older member of society is the wide range of discounts and savings offered.
Property Rates – As a pensioner, you qualify for a rebate on your property rates of between 40% and 100%. Registered property owners who are pensioners may apply for a reduction of rates, subject to certain criteria. Pensioner’s rebate application forms are available from any municipal Customer Service Centre. If one is 70 years of age or older, and the municipal value of your property is not more than R 2.5 million, you can claim a full rebate on your monthly rates. Please check with your municipality to see what discounts you qualify for.
SABC TV licence rebate – If you are over 70 years of age, you can apply for a rebate on your TV licence. People under 70 who are eligible for a government pension or disability grant are also able to apply.
Mango flights – on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, flights come with a 10% discount for over-60s.
AA – The AA offers over 60s a special membership package at a discounted rate. The AA 60+ Advantage roadside cover includes everything you may need, from medical rescue to on-the-road assistance.
Tiger Wheel and Tyre: Pensioner Specials | Tuesdays – In-store discounts on tyres / selected products and services for customers over 60 years old every Tuesday. Preferential discounts on products and services in-store only.
Hertz’s Car Hire – Drivers over 55 can hire a car from Hertz’s ‘A group’ fleet from as little as R200 per day. Rates include theft and damage waivers, airport surcharge, VAT, tourism levy and 200 kilometres free per day.
Clicks – If you are 60 years or older and a ClubCard member, you can opt for Clicks’ ClubCard Seniors’ programme and earn Double Points every Wednesday.
Builders Warehouse – If you are over 60, you get a 10% discount on your purchases every Wednesday.
Spec Savers – If you are over 65, you qualify for a free selected frame to the value of R599 when you purchase an eye test and prescription lenses.
Torga Optical – Pensioners get discounts on Pensioners Packages every day. Packages start from R1200 and include an eye test, frame and lenses.
Makro – For over-60s, 10% off on general goods and 15% off on food items on Tuesdays only.
Pick ‘n Pay – Pick ‘n Pay offers over 60s double smart-shopper points on a Wednesday.
Nu Metro – Nu Metro Cinemas offer pensioner discounts on every day of the week except for Wednesdays, as the Wowza Wednesday Special applies which costs even less than senior prices.
Ster Kinekor – If you join the SK Club, and you are over 60, you can enjoy 25% off movie tickers every day of the week.
SANParks – They give all permanent residents of South Africa, over the age of 60, discounted tariff rates. However, this does not apply on Friday and Saturday nights, nor does it apply over any long weekends.
Tsogo Sun Hotels, which include Southern Sun hotels and resorts, including The Palazzo, Suncoast Towers and Beverly Hills, offer a 50% discount to those who are over the age of 63 on the Best Available Rate of the day, subject to availability.
If you know of any other savings that you have found beneficial, please email us – we would love to add them to our list.
When 84-year-old Chartered client, Andrew Stewart booked his annual skiing holiday, something he has done annually since the 1960s, he had no idea that 2020 would be different. After enjoying six blissful days skiing in Leich, Austria, Andrew and his friend Bruno literally caught the last plane out of Zurich.
He arrived back to a world turned upside down and was immediately put in self-quarantine for two weeks. During this time our national lockdown was announced, and it was at this point Andrew began wondering how he could fill the long days ahead. He started by arranging all his books but soon realised that he would need to do something else to occupy his time, so he turned back to his roots – farming.
Andrew had recently sold two plots on his property, and he decided that it was the perfect opportunity to build a hydroponic garden. Every single day from April to June, he spent the day digging in preparation. He also had to learn about hydroponics, so he embraced Zoom and learnt all that he needed to know. He used pieces of his old tennis court to build the structure and set up the irrigation system. When lockdown eased, he enjoyed the help of a bricklayer and welder to complete the structure.
Despite having a sore back, Andrew has found the process extremely rewarding and believes that had it not been for lockdown he wouldn’t be as fit and healthy as he is now. Health is important to Andrew, and he has always lived by the motto: health before wealth and fit to have fun.
While lockdown meant that he couldn’t regularly play squash and tennis and socialise with family and friends, there are many things he is grateful about. He is grateful for his community that has rallied together to help each other. He’s grateful for the WhatsApp groups that have kept the community connected. Mostly though, he is content that he has done his time spent in lockdown justice, he did it his way, and because of that, he has no regrets.
Chartered women, both clients and staff, are celebrated each year in August. Despite lockdown, we decided to continue with this tradition and hosted an online event focusing on self-love, growth and wellness.
Our first guest, Sylvia Lampe, spoke about and guided us through some calanetics exercises. Calanetics is a system of exercise involving frequent repetition of small muscular movements and squeezes, designed to improve muscle tone.
Our second speaker, Sally Williams, delighted us with her story as to how Sally Williams nougat came about. Sally is living proof that age is merely a number, especially considering that she started her nougat business in her 50s. She is also the epitome of courage and determination, as she never gave up, despite numerous obstacles along the way.
Our final guest, Patricia O’Hare, a retired psychologist, shared how, despite being an active person by nature, during lockdown, she went into contraction mode. Her outside world had to contract as a result of COVID, but unbeknownst to her, she also started to contract psychologically. Her world, her thinking – everything contracted, and anything that took her out of that safe-haven, she rejected.
She encouraged us to be open to new experiences, innovations and opportunities no matter how uncomfortable, especially during lockdown. The older we get, the more rigid we become- both physically and mentally, but this lack of flexibility, especially in our thinking, is harmful to our mental health and our overall sense of happiness.
Another way, she suggested, to get out of this contraction prison is to be perpetually curious and interested in the people and events around you. She has seen so many older people who have allowed their worlds to become so small that they lose perspective of the bigger picture- they become the main feature of a very small screen instead of a single unit in a vast panorama. Self-absorption reigns supreme but at the same time increases isolation.
Each of us has a story, and now is the time to reflect on that story, become aware of misconceptions and inaccuracies and put them right. We can’t change the past, but what we can change is our reaction and attitude to the events of the past. Viktor Frankel said that everything you have could be taken from you, but the one inviolable freedom is your freedom to react or relate to the event. You are no longer a victim but an observer who changes your reaction and are thus a director rather than an actor with a given script. Consciousness and awareness are critical elements of this task. Eric Erickson in his theory of the eight life stages said the main task in the final stage was to achieve integrity – integrity or wholeness of your being, incorporating the black and white, the yin and the yang, to make a meaningful whole. Lack of success in this task leads to despair!
In conclusion, she shared a mantra with us, one that encouraged us to tell us ourselves daily– I am light, I am bright, I am beautiful, I am strong, I am kind.
As we continue to face the challenges and uncertainty that lockdown brings, let’s remember that mantra, we are light, we are bright, we are beautiful, strong, kind, and we are brave.
We have been in lockdown for 16 weeks already. This has brought with it anger, frustration, sadness, new hobbies, new skills and lots of time for spring cleaning. We asked our clients to share what they have been doing during lockdown, and it’s so encouraging to see so many people making the most of their time at home.
Finishing all those projects on the to do list has been popular amongst clients, and lockdown, it seems, has certainly been the perfect time to do so.
Keeping some type of a routine and staying connected to body, mind and spirit has been essential to many clients, especially as we have no idea when this will be over, so we have to keep our mental health a priority.
There has been lots of cooking going on, with some clients wondering whether to buy new freezers and more containers to keep all their frozen food.
There has been a lot of upskilling taking place, and most the clients are now extremely comfortable with Zoom, one client is even doing an online Zoom computer course.
Lots of books have been read, and clients have discovered some beautifully written and inspiring reads.
And lastly, but certainly not least, some clients have used this time to reconnect with their partners, through doing activities such as gardening, or by simply sitting on the couch, holding hands while watching Netflix.
Please let us know what you have been doing during lockdown. We would love to hear from you.
Sally Williams is a much-loved South Africa icon, fondly known for her legendary nougat, a business she started at 54 years of age. Her story is one of passion, determination and an entrepreneurial spirit. While Sally sold her business many years ago, she still has big plans, so we decided to catch up with her to see what she has been up to during lockdown.
Last year, Sally decided that she would start working on a recipe book that would feature a selection of her favourite and most loved recipes. She had hoped that lockdown would be the perfect time to do this; however, she says it’s a slow process, especially since she has so many to work through, and deciding what to include is proving to be a difficult task.
She is also spending much of her time doing day-to-day chores since her Char has been off since the start of lockdown, so all the cleaning and most of the cooking is left to Sally.
Lockdown hasn’t been with its complications, particularly so when she fell and broke four ribs. Sally stayed at her daughter’s house during this time, and not one to remain idle, she made the most of this downtime and joined Tinder. Her Tinder journey was short-lived, especially as her first encounter was with a potential scammer. Sally knew better than to fall for his story, and it’s safe to say that the scammer was taught a lesson by Sally. When Sally describes this story, you can hear how she lives her life, full of humour, joy and passion.
Having recovered from her fall, Sally is back at it and goes for daily walks between 8:00 and 9:00 am. She walks with friends who live in her complex, and has made a few new friends along the way. She believes in sticking to a routine and feels that no matter how you feel, it is essential to be well-groomed; for this reason, she does her hair and make-up every day.
She says that before lockdown, she had no attachment to her phone, however, since lockdown she has become somewhat addicted to it, particularly WhatsApp. She has a group of friends who share videos and memes daily, and she delights in them.
Sally has managed to watch some TV, and she highly recommends: Becoming, Self Made and Unorthodox, all on Netflix. She also read, and thoroughly enjoyed, Marian Keyes’ latest novel called Grown Ups, particularly because she could identify with so many people in the book.
Despite being isolated, Sally reiterates all the things she has to be grateful for. A wonderful reminder to us all, especially at this time when it is so easy to get caught up in all the negativity surrounding us.
Sally will be one of our guests at our virtual Women’s Day event that will be held in August. Keep an eye out for more details.
We each express and experience love in different ways; this extends to romantic, platonic and interpersonal relationships. Dr Gary Chapman conceptualised this in his book, The 5 Languages of Love. He breaks down the love languages into five categories: Quality Time (spending time together attentively), Receiving Gifts (receiving thoughtful physical items), Acts of Service (helping with tasks), Words of Affirmation (acknowledgements, compliments) and Physical Touch (hugs, touches of reassurance).
Knowing your language of love and those of people closest to you can help nurture relationships during this time of isolation and vulnerability. If you don’t know what your language of love is you can take the quiz online to narrow down which ones are most relevant to you and those around you.
It’s not business as usual, so we need to be creative and adapt to how we express these love languages during this time.
Quality Time: We can’t physically be with all our loved ones during lockdown, but that doesn’t mean we can’t spend quality time with them. Zoom dates work wonders, and there is no limit as to how you can use it to connect. Schedule time for sundowners or make dinner together – separately. You can even watch a movie together. Netflix offers a service called Netflix Party, which allows you to share a screen and watch together.
Receiving Gifts: With level 4 came the opening up of more businesses, so it is now easier to send gifts. Small tokens of appreciation go a long way. If you are fortunate to live close to family and friends, why not pop a letter in their post box, or leave a small gift at their gate. A friend recently shared with me how her parents dropped a box of old pictures with a handwritten note at her gate. This gesture meant so much to her, and it provided a wonderful opportunity to share childhood memories with her children.
Acts of Service: Try helping with a task you would not normally do, be it cooking, cleaning or mowing the lawn. Acts of service aren’t limited to those you are locked down with. During this time, many people have become involved in feeding schemes and initiatives to assist the poor. Show them that you care by dropping goods to contribute to food parcels, or if they live far away, consider donating to a charity that is important to them.
Words of Affirmation: Send messages to your family and friends. A simple “Hi, I am missing you,” or “I love you” can be very powerful. There are so many inspiring poems and videos doing the rounds on social media at the moment, forwarding these with a message saying “I saw this, and it made me think of you” makes people feel loved. Words are such a powerful tool when it comes to connection.
Physical Touch: Unfortunately, there is little we can do about physical touch during these times. While we can’t physically touch people, and it’s hard to read people’s expressions behind their masks, we still have words. Try and express what you would have said through a handshake or hug in words. As for the people you are in lockdown with, hug them often and much. They say hugging helps reduce stress, improve communication and generally make people happier.
Stay safe, stay connected, and stay in touch – we love hearing your stories and insights about life in lockdown and the various ways you are getting through it.
As we head into week six of lockdown, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that frustration levels are running high. If you belong to a neighbourhood WhatsApp group, you have likely noticed a shift in the tone of the messages. Initially, we got messages encouraging us all to paint rainbows on our gate, and step outside at 7:00 pm to blow our vuvuzelas and bang our pots to show appreciation for the frontline workers. These messages have since been replaced with endless complaints about people not wearing masks on their daily walks, badly behaved dogs, inconsiderate drivers and endless debates as to whether lockdown should be lifted or not. We are frazzled, we feel uncertain, and that’s okay, but we need to remind ourselves that we can only get through this together. We need to nurture rather than neglect our relationships, both with our family, partners and broader communities.
There are many downsides to lockdown, but one upside of spending so much time at home is that it has forced many of us to confront issues that were previously on our “to deal with in the future list” when it comes to relationship dynamics. We received the following from a client; she shares her experience of lockdown, forced retirement, and what it has meant to their relationship.
“A surprising consequence of lockdown is that my husband and I, after 51 years of marriage, have experienced what it would be like to retire, and surprisingly, we are both enjoying it. Before lockdown both of us were still very active – he worked full time in his GP practice, and I filled my time by working part-time at a psychiatric clinic, giving five yoga classes per week and playing golf at least three times a week. The question of retirement often came up, but both of us were loath to give up a reason to get up in the morning, and we were frankly worried how we would cope with each other 24/7. Well, lockdown fast-tracked our decision, and the results have been positive.
We have learned to accept that we are very different from each other – he is content to read and be on his iPad for most of the day, which is fantastic because he is not in great shape physically. I, on the other hand, have loads of energy so I rarely sit down until about 5 o’ clock, when I can enjoy a glass of wine.
I don’t expect him to help me cut the lawn, but he doesn’t expect me to sit with him for hours on end. After 51 years of hard slog, he is finally able to indulge in things that have always interested him, but never had the time to pursue – music, opera and literature. I fill my days with housework, gardening, yoga, exercise and reading.
Thank you, Covid-19, for giving us the opportunity to experience a new way of being. We love it. The unknown, which was so frightening, has now become the known and we are adapting very successfully to this new way of being.”