Coronavirus: Making the Best Use of Lockdown

Coronavirus: Making the Best Use of Lockdown

Thursday, April 2, 2020 7:20 pm


Mariam Peter-Omale, Lagos

…some things are important; others are ‘importanter’!

By Mariam Peter-Omale, Lagos

The last time I set up my TV to work was probably three years ago. Yes, you read that right. Since I moved into this place two years ago, the TV has been on the wall, catching dust. Why? Well, I tried to fit the cable when I initially moved in but for whatever reason it didn’t work, so I just left it. Plus I discovered that the absence of that distraction made it a lot easier for everyone in my house and everyone who comes to visit to connect, to actually have no choice but to talk with each other ( I almost placed a phone ban once but that’s story for another day). 

Anyway, last week I reconnected it. I can hear you thinking ‘oh because of the lockdown and boredom right?’ Not completely so! I majorly reconnected it because a friend of mine turned sister has a crazy work schedule, she works from morning till night, gets home 9pm at the earliest, works weekends and works during public holidays. This lockdown presented a rare opportunity for her to just lay about and not do anything but sleep and watch TV and I encouraged that, for me too it presented an opportunity to catch up on my Nickelodeon shows. Do you know that those guys are still airing  the same shows even after all this time? I’m elated ( yes I still watch kids shows, don’t judge me ). Anyway, I understand that to rest is what her priority should be and I will not begrudge her that R and R.

I on the other hand have a schedule that includes sleep, online meetings, more online meetings, work (yes, I do still have a day job), writing, finally getting to study those online courses I paid for in February,  prayer, food, lots and lots of food, analyzing the first quarter, setting up new structure and plans (thanks to the lockdown, the initial plan needs to be tweaked) for the second quarter, long video calls with my friends, long voice calls as well, complaining about how fast my data burns out these days and the list goes on. 

Online I see different patterns. While some persons are still marketing their wares, knowledge and courses, others have become self acclaimed, self appointed journalists and prophets of doom and gloom (the number of people I have blocked recently ehnnn….) while others still just perpetually put out memes and argue online about the government, the conspiracies of world termination, religion and the Imam of Peace all day long. 

If you fall into the second  and third categories; folks lazily basking in distractions, indiscipline and cheap talk that serves no purpose, then this piece is DEFINITELY NOT meant for you.

If you do fall in the first category however, a category of humans like me who aspire for greatness but life always happens, who strive to read those courses, create those channels of income but you’re just so tired and sleepy, plagued by the perpetual guilt of your body and mind not in sync with your goals and plans. Then, please read on…

If you are that man who leaves his house at 4am and returns by 11pm from work, whose children have a vague shadowy image of what he looks like since they rarely get to see him, who is so tired on Sundays that he sleeps in while the kids go to church or go out. This man who now has an opportunity to bond with his kids, to share meals with them, to play with them and trade banters. For this man, bonding with your family is your topmost priority. Don’t apologize for it, don’t replace this time with studying and income stream generation only.   By all means, do that course but ensure that it is well balanced with family time. You have been given a special gift of time right now. Use it well. Your sons and daughters need you. Be present!

If you are  that woman who has been on her feet juggling everything from family to business and everything in between, the woman who ends the day with aching feet and an aching back, the woman with bags under her eyes. This woman who now has an opportunity to sleep in and wake up by 11am, this woman who now has the time to savor the taste of the food she spends long hours making. For this woman, rest is your priority. That book on dominating the entrepreneurial space and the accompanying worksheet can be spread across specific hours in a day. A time schedule to study that should be strictly adhered to so you can rest. Please Rest!!

And  the couple who run shifts, one by day and the other by night so that the increasing bills in their home and for their kids can be met, barely spending more than a couple of hours with each other. This couple who are living under the same roof but are apart every other day except Sunday, who now have the rare opportunity to spend time with each other, rediscover each other and even get annoyed by each other . For this couple, your time with each other now is the priority. Bask in it!!

For the young teen boy or girl who has burning questions about identity and sexuality, who has existential questions about God and humanity especially with everything going on in the world today. This teen who is really tempted to experiment with all kinds of things, who wishes he could ask his older brother/sister for help or some sort of direction , his older sibling who hasn’t been around lately because of school and all it’s demands. This teen who is suddenly presented with the opportunity to see and share his/her niggling doubts and worries with their sibling over an extended period of time, asking those questions and seeking insight. For this teen, in addition to keeping up with scheduled school / class activities , clarity is your priority. Seek it!

To the young man/woman like my friend turned sister who has carried such a huge burden of being provider, friend, sister/brother, employee, side hustler, student with little or no time to rest and catch a breath,  juggling all these multiple roles, whose shoulders are wearied out from being brave for everyone and from all the burdens. As you market your much needed course and set up zoom classes for your online products, even if just  for a few days, Its okay to catch shows on Netflix, binge watch NCIS or any show, eating and sleeping is your priority. Own it!! In all things, balance is paramount.

Conclusion: For each person, the times have presented us with a unique opportunity to reflect, connect, read, write, take courses, invest, develop softwares, develop relationships, put up channels/structure for multiple sources of incomes, listen to abc rhymes with our toddler, have daily video calls with your grandparents, plan world dominance, seek an economic overhaul, sleep well, pray together, publish that book/online course etc

Life without balance is chaotic. Some things are important while other are ‘importanter’. Whatever may be your priority per time(of course dependent on your ability to tell yourself the truth), please own it! 

I’ll end with these lines from my favorite book:

“I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive.

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