• Gabi Bellairs-Lombard

What a nationwide lockdown taught me

My mom reminded me, as she picked this gorgeous protea from our garden, that protea flowers take two years to grow and flower. There is, therefore, a huge amount of patience and nurturing involved. That being said, proteas are also one of the more resilient flowers, and it prompted me to write this and use our stunning national flower as an analogy.

Patience and resilience are probably the two of the most important characteristics to exercise during this time as we confront the reality of an extended lockdown. With an extended lockdown came over 140 new infections and deaths reaching a total of 25. Pairing with these scary stats is the daunting realisation that businesses will have to suffer for a bit longer, wondering how they will recover when this is all over as they practically watch money fall from their business’s name. The knock-on effect has left many retrenched and searching for jobs in a market that is almost bone-dry. Surprisingly, though, many have maintained a resilient positivity that there is a light at the end of the tunnel for business owners.

But we all have a part to play, both as members of our society and as individuals trying to maintain our sanity. People with sewing machines at home are churning out hundreds of material face masks to help slow the spread of this infectious disease, and businesses are taking it upon themselves to deliver food packages to those that need them. Local businesses (like my clever friend over here) overlook competition and strive to support each other because of these extraordinary times. I know we are all dying to reunite with our friends and family members, to go out for a nice meal at our favourite restaurants and to go back to the gym. But this is why we need to be thankful we have the technology to help communicate through various video calling apps, to prompt us to get creative in the kitchen, and to help us make the most of our space for home workouts to keep fit and prevent ‘lockdown spread’.

I have lost a client who understandably cannot afford a blog writer during this time. This was a bit of a blow but one I cannot be frustrated about. Instead, I have been repurposing my time and fine-tuning my book, discovering new workouts, trying new things in the kitchen (just letting you know that honeycomb is not that easy to make), and doing a lot of reading. I have also been perfecting my golf swing with help from my boyfriend so, if anything, I am dying to get onto the golf course (and imagine how nice those greens will be, hot damn). I have also often sat and thought about the postponed Kevin Fraser show I was dying to go to with a good friend, the wedding dates of dear friends that have been moved, and my poor boyfriend who was like an overly excited puppy waiting to go on golf tour at the end of the month.

However, as important as it is to spare a thought for those who have had to move special events, we cannot dwell on ‘what could’ve been’. Being at home for such a long time with my family and boyfriend has made me so damn grateful for what I have. Things like good health (although lockdown spread is on my tail), a roof over my head, and outdoor space are things I clearly took for granted and I vow never to do that again. This experience has forged a reshuffling of priorities and a fresh perspective on my many, many gifts and privileges.

I will not succumb to the restrictions imposed by the lockdown. I am not using them as an excuse to sit for hours on the couch, although this has been a good time to get some much-needed rest. If anything, taking on the responsibility to better ourselves at home will empower us to become more liberated as a people. I know articles about not putting pressure on yourself to be productive during the pandemic has been doing the rounds, and I agree to a certain extent, but it's my opinion that this is such an incredible opportunity to do things we thought we didn't have time for previously.

Take time to be patient as you develop new skills and passions and be resilient when you sometimes fail. Be patient as we wait for the lockdown to be lifted, and resilient as we count down the days to a new sense of freedom.

Let’s all be proteas, together.

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Gabi Bellairs-Lombard



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