A Year in Lockdown | Then and Now
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A Year in Lockdown | Then and Now

A Year in Lockdown | Then and Now

As of tomorrow, we will have spent a year in lockdown: 23rd March 2020 to 23rd March 2021. As such, I thought it was prudent to do a reflective post on where I am now as to where I was then.

A Year in Lockdown – Then and Now

Early 2020

Let me take you back to before lockdown. 2020 was going to be my year. I started it by winning the London Book Fair Trailblazer Award, going back on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss zero waste, going roller-blading with my friends, and moving flat.

Roller Blading

Little did I, or anyone else know that less than three months into the year we would all be in lockdown.

The beginning of the lockdown

For me, the lockdown began on the 17th of March 2020 when my company, HarperCollins closed the office and told everyone to work from home full-time. Or at least, until further notice. We had no idea that a year on we would still be working at home full-time, except for a brief time when we were able to go into the office on request.

Leaving the office

Since leaving the office on the 17th of March I have been in the office for four days in total. I went in very recently actually and it was a ghost town filled with exciting book proofs – the books before they’re printed – for July 2020. After that it sort of stops. No more books were sent to the office as we were all aware that this was not a short-term situation.

First time back in the office

It was strange sitting back in the office, next to my desk as my desk was deemed ‘closed’ so that only one desk is ‘open’ nearby, and feeling like that was a field trip.

During the lockdown

My life, as with many people’s lives, has been on literal pause since the lockdown began. I can tell you off the top of my head about all of the excursions I have had since 23rd March 2020. By excursions, I include trips to visit my sister, go shopping on the high street, have coffee with a friend, dates, and going to the theatre.

However, I still managed quite a few big events in 2020.

I organised my sister’s hen do – which happened in August 2020 when lockdown restrictions were lifted and we were told to Eat Out, to Help Out. A lot of us travelled to Devon for GoKarting and a picnic in the park, which was lovely. We, of course, also did go to the pub and got wasted. Or the hens did – I was a mother hen (despite being the youngest!) and was practically a nun all night.

My sister also got married in October on her original wedding date, shortly before we went into another lockdown. Her wedding was cut from 100 people to just 15 and it was lovely. But stressful AF! Her ‘big wedding’ is happening in 2022 as well… I’m not planning another hen do though. Sorry, sis!

On top of my sister’s wedding, I also wrote two books and got a book deal which was fantastic and I do wonder if it would have been possible if not for the lockdown. Who knows!

What Planet Can I Blame This On

But I haven’t seen my cousins in over a year and I’ve missed a lot of their formative childhood years. I’m very close to my extended family so not to have seen them for the odd dinner and BBQ has been tough.

Spending time with others

Although I’ve only seen a few friends a few times during this year in lockdown, I’ve got to spend a lot of time with my parents, which has been lovely.

I moved into a brand new, much more spacious flat shortly before we went into lockdown the first time, but I decided to move back in with my parents when we were told to isolate the first time. We didn’t know how long it would last and I didn’t want to be entirely on my own for months on end.

Working from home full-time was interesting though. My parents’ internet is the pits, quite honestly, and the cat doesn’t understand boundaries when it comes to working hours. But we made do.

Working from home in lockdown

I returned to my flat in July 2020 and then came back to live with my parents in prep for my sister’s wedding in October. I spent the second lockdown in November in my flat and it was surprisingly okay.

What’s happening now?

During this lockdown I’ve been back with my parents again. I’ve been ‘stranded’ (not exactly a hardship)  since Christmas and I’ve popped back to London for three days to deal with some flat issues but that’s it. I plan on returning to London in April full-time. But who the hell knows what will happen?!

Shortly before lockdown 3.0, I started dating again – I have the best timing don’t I! – and trying to navigate a potential relationship during lockdown is confusing and ridiculously complicated for what it is. But it’s an ongoing thing so we’ll see what happens over time.

I’ve basically given up on making plans. Every time I make some sort of decision from moving back to London, going to work in the office, dating, or seeing friends the world turns upside down again. So I’ve decided to just stop planning down to the detail and just go with the flow when the mood takes me.

As of today, the only plans I have are these:

That’s literally it. What else is there to consider? Nothing really. I’m sick of this pandemic, as I’m sure most if not all of us are. I’ve no issue with the way it’s being handled, and I completely understand why but it’s been a long year.

I’m about a stone heavier and feeling like I can count on ten fingers all of the exciting achievements I’ve done in the last 12 months of my life which is frustrating for someone like me, who is very goal-orientated and driven to achieve. But it’s what we have to do, right? So why complain about it, if it’s not going to help?

Apart from learning that even when given the time I will still not do the things that I always said ‘if I had the time I would…’ do, I’ve also learned a lot about relationships and the importance of communication. That’s a blessing at least.

Love Ellie x

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A Year in Lockdown | Then and Now

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