Coming Out of Lockdown: Spending money on what you value

I have noticed a huge change locally in the past few days. The combination of warmer spring weather in London, the clocks changing and giving us more daylight in the evening, and the long-awaited easing of pandemic lockdown restrictions have caused a boom of activity.

Suddenly, there is traffic on the streets, on the footpaths, and on the bike paths. People are moving, the sun is shining, and the world seems to be waking up from hibernation. Personally, I am giddy with the prospect of catching up with friends and loved ones. And catching some sun.

However, before I rush out and book all the appointments and things that I haven’t had a chance to do for a while – hello chipped nails, I’m looking at you – I have decided to look at the habits which were forced upon me through the pandemic, and decide which ones I will keep.

What’s worth keeping?

The pandemic lockdown has sucked – there is no doubt about it. It’s been an enforced behavioural exercise of epic proportions and has allowed us all to look at our lifestyles with fresh eyes. Suddenly we were forced to stop and stay still. No parties, no eating out, no gyms, no socialising, no travel to work, no window shopping, no haircuts, no manicures, no outdoor team sport, no soft play, no movies, no theatres, no live music. It was uncomfortable as hell.

Yet, we have each picked up new habits which will benefit us for the rest of our lives. All these ‘essentials’ which we had been convinced we needed, aren’t so essential after all. My gym membership (because I couldn’t possibly exercise outdoors in winter pre-2020) has been replaced by a kettlebell and some new thermal exercise clothes (an annual saving of approximately £1,000). I’ve found a local hairstylist who will come and cut my hair for a fraction of the usual cost and with far more convenience – allowing me to have a trim more often. Transport costs have gone down – and I use my electric bike far more often (it has already paid for itself in saved taxis).

What’s worth saving (for)?

One thing I have missed was live music, theatre and going to the movies. This is odd because pre-pandemic I wasn’t in the habit of making time for these things. I had taken it for granted that when life slowed down (like, when does that ever happen?) I would have more time to go. Now that the pandemic has threatened the continuation of the arts so drastically – I realise I don’t want them to die. A future without music or theatre would be a bleak future indeed.

I have resolved that I will spend my time and my money supporting the things that will make my future bright. Music, laughter, connection with other people. I cannot wait.

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