■ Hello, neighbours.
I live with my girlfriend in a small apartment in North London without any outdoor space and previously this hadn’t really mattered to us. In fact, we’d not even considered it, as we have a huge park just up the road, so it’s wasn’t really necessary. But through lockdown, this lack of a personal garden or balcony became a very apparent need in order to connect to nature or strengthen our minds through this process and ongoing media panic.
London during lockdown was not as strict as other countries in regards to how long we could spend outside, but the lack of shops, restaurants, pubs and removing our ability to plan the future still had a deep impact on us all. This was our new normal now. So, we began to plan what we could, influence what we can influence, carve a new way in this world. From weekly food menus to movie nights on Fridays, gave us the structure were we lacking and also something to look forward to. Time moved slowly and became less relevant, so we wanted to make the most of what we were given.
We removed the latches on our window, which opened up a whole new balcony for us where I spent most of my time learning French and daydreaming in the sun. It was from here that I learnt the names of all my neighbours and got to know my community better. Friends often came to visit us and we’d chat from the window with either a beer or cup of tea depending on the time of day.
In the first weeks of lockdown, my days became filled with Yoga, painting, and illustrating. I felt an urgent need to learn more, do more, and be more productive which became extreme and probably a little unhealthy. Understanding and finding a new balance takes time and it took me a while to learn that it’s ok to do nothing. Actually, rest is just as important to the creative process as thinking and doing is.