Looking Back, Looking Forward

Written by Milli-Rose Rubin

Instagram: milli.rose

2020. This year has magnified all of the flaws that we naturally will think about more, but equally, there are so many accomplishments to recognise too. They may be minimal and only feel recognised by yourself, but however small, it is still succeeding in a way that you can validate.

Initially, being stripped back from a fast paced structure, terrified me. For many years, I have worked continuously and filled up free time by being “productive”, but in doing that, my emotional process was immensely hindered. The concept of “slowing down” was so daunting because I knew that I would be positioned to face a layer of undealt with issues. The anticipation was far worse than the reality of it. I did not realise how much I needed the time to look at my present situation holistically and with a large amount of time.

As a creative and somebody who loves social interaction, for many of us, redressing a new day to day ritual has been a project in itself. The main areas that would usually make me feel like I am being productive had suddenly been taken away. From here, I had to create a space that would stimulate the areas that would make me feel good (music, fitness and writing). I was going into this, thinking that it would be a setback, however lockdown facilitated a space where I felt that I could express myself organically without feeling the need to reach out for any form of validation, with regards to my creative practice. It has been rather therapeutic to proceed in doing anything that I wish too, at my own pace and not having a slight anxiety about “keeping up” with everybody else. Expectations had suddenly gone and the way that my creativity and fitness was going to be navigated, was down to me. This resulted in me having far more control over the things that I wanted to consume and do throughout the day, without the pressure of “facing the world”.

Interaction

There is no doubt that with face to face interaction being taken away from us all, it has felt (for many) lonely and unfair. This felt like another setback at the beginning. Much like what I mentioned, being alone with my thoughts, terrified me at first. I suppose social interaction can be a distraction for many, and it enables us to deflect from the personal areas that we wish to turn a blind eye to.

Interaction, as we know, has been redirected to a world of online platforms. There are so many setbacks with this form of interaction, but equally, there are ways to look at it in a positive light. Without face to face, physical contact, a lot of the emotional layers are unavailable to engage with. I believe that this can limit the ability to have an in depth and substantial conversation at times. On the other hand, there is an element of pressure that is ,by not having the full extensive exposure of interacting face to face. For example, if you are having an off day, you do not need to “perform” to the world as much when talking via a Zoom call. It can feel disconnected, but at the same time, there is an element of control that you can take with this as well. Lockdown has enabled us to connect and disconnect at a pace that feels right and once lockdown becomes a normality, I start to see the positive elements clearly. These are some of the positives that I have taken from this new way of life.

I think it is essential to recognise that not every family has access to technical devices. Moving forward, as a collective we could start to drive connecting with others through other forms. Connecting will look different for everybody and that can be decided based on cost. Despite the fact that other options are limited at the moment, I think that appreciating any technical device that you may have to reach out, is necessary.

Appreciating the Little things

Over this lockdown, filling the time with drinks out and retail therapy has well and truly gone. We are all positioned to consume the things in our day to day lives that may be more simplistic, but by no means are they insignificant. The “daily walks” that have now substituted the time that we may have taken doing other costly things. Without a doubt, this transition has had a positive impact on me. Despite a few urges to see people and proceed, it has enabled me to appreciate things that are free to see and far more therapeutic to do.

To conclude this, I think that it is clear that every individual has their own interpretations of what a setback and an accomplishment will look like. Through experience, I have learnt not to compare my versions of progress, on the basis of looking at somebody else’s version of progress. We all move at our own pace and creatively, it is easy to fall into a mindset that manipulates the thought of “being behind everybody else”. Whether it may be making your bed in the morning, or completing a song that you have been working on, they are all significant steps to applause (especially during the year of 2020).

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