Ryan aged 39

I work for a frontline local charity supporting volunteers so I came across a lot of people not putting themselves first, in these really challenging circumstances.  Everyone was impacted, but their first thought was how I can help someone who is in a less fortunate and in a more vulnerable position than me. I can’t put into words the privilege of seeing that.  I think it was just a kind of reminder that there is a lot of really good people out there.  It was also grounding because I had space and was forced to confront elements of myself and really look at my purpose both professionally and personally, I found it kind of centred me in who I am in a bizarre kind of way.

My husband got me through, but we are very independent individuals, so having a lot of time that was just us, was not something we normally had.  My husband works a way a lot, which works for our relationship, so going into lockdown just after you’ve got married as well is a big test of that marriage. But it was just a reminder of why we are together and why we are good together, I’m not saying it was all plain sailing but the thing you’re supposed to be to each other was really evidenced, having each other’s back, understanding and love.

Zoom is a bit of a dirty word, the fatigue and novelty really wore off!  But we have one group of friends who we had a regular, come hell or high water, Friday night zoom and drinks with. It was really important for me particularly because my experience was very different to everyone else’s. They were either furloughed or working from home and going stir crazy and I was still going into work, arguably busier than ever.  

Professionally my core role and responsibilities dramatically changed, a lot of what we normally did we couldn’t do because of social distancing and people’s needs changed quite significantly due to Covid.  The core of my work became very different and was about facilitating access to food, to clothing, to toiletries. The work we have been doing is really important and I feel a lot of pride about that. It was chaotic and things changed rapidly and people had their own stuff to deal with. Our team suffered a significant loss from one of our members but those kind of challenges built the bonds and the cohesion of the team that remains today.

What I found incredibly disappointing was the levels of outrage that people felt regarding their liberties being impinged on and the irresponsible spreading of misinformation.  There has been lots of dreadful things that have happened in the last 14 to 15 months, particularly things to do with police brutality in America.  People who I have observed, either through my own social networks or in the media, have been so angry to be asked to wear a mask but had nowhere near that level of anger when innocent people were being murdered. It’s the best and the worst of human nature in a way, people who were so selfless and then some people who proved themselves to be operating with complete self-interest and entitlement.

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