Today marks two months since the imposition of lockdown, during which time we've all been living under a series of ill-defined rules. So I made some rules of my own.
✔ no more than once a day
✔ no more than 5 days a week
✔ for less than 2 hours
✔ no more than 2 miles from home
✔ within a 1×2½ mile box
✔ keeping as far from others as possible
✔ without meeting friends or family
✔ without stopping to sit down
✔ avoiding all transport
✔ and be home by noon
Some of these were the law, some were what I felt comfortable with and others I fell into as a matter of routine. At no point in the first eight weeks did I break any of them.
Then as lockdown supposedly eased, I realised I needn't/shouldn't/couldn't carry on. Some of these rules were no longer necessary, while others risked tying me into a set of limiting behaviours for no particularly good reason. So I started breaking them.
Here's where I stand today, with a red cross if I've finally broken that rule.
In brackets is the number of consecutive days I've kept it up.
✘ no more than once a day (63 days)
✘ no more than 5 days a week (56 days)
✘ for less than 2 hours (59 days)
✔ no more than 2 miles from home (68 days)
✘ within a 1×2½ mile box (60 days)
✔ keeping as far from others as possible (61 days)
✔ without meeting friends or family (73 days)
✔ without stopping to sit down (60 days)
✔ avoiding all transport (68 days)
✔ and be home by noon (60 days)
no more than once a day: This'll be the law requiring 'daily exercise'. I finally broke this rule yesterday when I went to Tesco to do 'essential shopping' and then went out for a walk. no more than 5 days a week: This is me ignoring my right to daily exercise in favour of staying in a couple of days a week because it felt safer. I got a lot of spring cleaning done. But last week I upped 5 to 6, and this week I've been out the full 7. for less than 2 hours: Two hours felt about right to start with, then became a self-imposed limit. I finally broke through the 2 hour barrier last week, delayed by writing copious notes, and haven't been timing myself since. no more than 2 miles from home: I still haven't walked more than 2 miles from home since all this started. I've still managed loads of five mile walks though. within a 1×2½ mile box: I stayed within my quarantine box for 60 days, then consciously snapped out of it by doing a full circuit of Victoria Park. My new 'box' is now 2 miles wide, but still 2½ miles deep. keeping as far from others as possible: It's impossible to social distance perfectly, but every step of every walk since March has been made with human avoidance in mind. without meeting friends or family: My last social meets with friends (73 days) or family (75 days) were both for birthday meals in early March. I have no idea how extroverts are coping with this. without stopping to sit down: Pausing during daily exercise was specifically outlawed, you may remember, and I still haven't slumped on a lawn or a bench since lockdown started. avoiding all transport: It's now 70 days since I was last on a bus, and almost as long since I was on a train. In the absence of a bike, my horizons are significantly diminished. and be home by noon: Entirely my choice this one, but being out first thing in the morning has felt safer than being out in the busier afternoon. I haven't been out in the evening for 79 days, so have been missing a heck of a lot of sunsets.
I intend to break at least three more of these rules today, and then hopefully I won't feel trapped by not doing things any more. But don't expect to see me on board public transport any time soon.