Thought Experiment #10 – COVID-19 Edition

It’s been a while since I did one of SavingNinja’s famous thought experiments and here’s his latest one:

“Unprecedented events create new experiences. What fun, misadventure, or positive discoveries have you encountered while locked down?” 

Usually I don’t take part because I don’t have the time, but I can’t really use that excuse on this occasion!

So here goes with a few things which come to mind after 4 weeks of official lockdown:

1 – Discoveries

The week when the bottom literally fell out of the stock market’s backside, I discovered that the massive drop in my investments did not give me any sleepless nights.

Here is how I slept that week (from my Fitbit):

I’d always wondered how I would feel during a stock market crash and now I know, although admittedly, it would probably have been a very different story had I relied upon my investments for income.

2 – Fun 

Although there’s a lot more time for me to read, instead of doing so, I’ve decided to have some fun and have re-taken up another passion of mine, that of video gaming.

Still conscious of cost, I looked for a good free game to play and have settled on Guild Wars 2, a MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) which is my favourite game genre.

I think I’m likely to be playing this game for a long while and find it really relaxing levelling up my character.

It’s also been fun having virtual meet ups with family located on the other side of the world and also virtual nights in with friends.

The other night, I also attended the first virtual Manchester FIRE Meet Up (via Zoom) – over 20 of us logged in for a good chat, debate and discussion. Post lock-down, I can see these virtual meet ups still taking place.

3 – Misadventures

Not driving my car for over 2 weeks meant that when I did try to drive it, the battery had gone flat. One of the neighbours has offered to jump start it so I’ll hopfeully get it sorted this weekend.

Also, my oven typically stopped working just as its 5-year parts guarantee expired, so not sure when I can get that sorted. My friend’s husband has offered to take a look  (while practising social distancing) but I don’t know yet how much the parts will cost. In the meantime, we still have use of the hob and also the microwave.

Pre-lockdown, my diet was fairly low on carbs but our groceries recently have noticeably include a lot of carb-laden comfort food, eg bread, cake and biscuits. The good news is that I haven’t piled on the pounds (much!) so I’ll allow myself to enjoy these sinful treats while we must hunker down in our abodes.

4 – Routine

Being stuck at home, I feel that it’s important for me to keep my weekdays separate from the weekends as I don’t want them merging into each other – otherwise, what else is there to look forward to!? This is something I intend to maintain when I retire.

As such, I have continued to keep to the following routine:

  • Wake up to my work alarm every day during the week (a little later than my previous work alarm as I don’t need to commute), shower and get dressed.
  • Go for a quick 10 minute walk (replicating the walk I used to take from the tram stop to the office).
  • Log onto work laptop at the usual time, stop for a dedicated lunch break and log off the laptop at the usual time.
  • Rinse and repeat Monday to Friday.
  • Alcoholic drinks only allowed at the weekend, as well as lie-ins!

And thus I reckon I have maintained my own sanity and a sense of normality.

5. Positivity

You will have gathered that I have remained pretty positive during lockdown but of course I’m not entirely happy.

I miss hugging my friends, I miss eating/drinking out, I miss the office and commute (yes really!!) and I am really missing sport on tv.

I’d say the routine I’ve kept to has helped loads with me staying positive, but also, I think this ties in with ‘Haves’ and ‘Have Nots’: I still Have a job, I Have a garden and I Have Not got children. These 3 things I feel have contributed to my positivity, although as I’ve mentioned, my lifestyle has adapted well to lockdown.

I’ve switched off from a lot of social media and ‘news’ – all I do is keep basic tabs on what’s happening with the virus in this country and I don’t bother looking anything else.

I feel sorry for people who are suffering (mentally, financially or physically) but there’s only so much I can worry about so I reserve my concern predominantly for my family and friends. The government will do (or not do) whatever it will do (or not do) without me having to stress about it too.

Yesterday, one of my closest friends messaged me saying she has the virus symptoms – here’s hoping she doesn’t suffer too much and that she makes a fast recovery.

As I write this, I realise that if the government were to announce a further extension to this current lockdown, I think I will just shrug my shoulders and get on with it.

Other bloggers with their personal takes on this Thought Experiment include:

Mrs SavingNinja

PathtoLife2

Indeedably

Money for the Modern Girl 

Total Balance

Anyone else got any thoughts to share?

18 thoughts on “Thought Experiment #10 – COVID-19 Edition

  1. Nice to see you are getting some gaming action in! I bought a new “console” type thingy and have given it a whirl but it’s more of a quick hit (arcade games) which fits my lifestyle well as I never get a long time to sit on my own (well I could in theory but be a bit anti social on Mrs T).

    We’ve gone a bit mad on the cakes and choc as well. It’s hard not to as that is the only real thing you can do to treat yourself right now it feels like! As long as we do our daily exercise hopefully won’t be too bad haha.

    I’ll try to knock one of these up at some point. I don’t think I’ve learnt much so far though that I didn’t already know (e.g. avoid the news, I am mostly fine with pottering around the house all day, friends and family are the most important thing in the world and not all the distractions of modern life, etc etc…)

    • Hey TFS

      I saw the video you posted of the console thing you’ve bought and was quite tempted to get one myself! I used to LOVE Street Fighter (Chun Li’s Lightning Kicks!) and all those types of games! However, just as you realised that quick hit arcade games suit your current lifestyle, the slower pace of RPGs suits mine, so I’ll stick with GW2!

  2. Oh also hilarious that you have linked your sense of positivity to not having kids 🙂

    TFS Jr is lovely 95% of the time but the other 5% I can totally see where you are coming from!

    (Other parents may want to adjust those percentages I feel haha!)

    • Haha! Young kids are loving their parents being at home 24/7 but those parents still working are exhausted! Then there are other parents who are worried about their kids’ exams (lack of) and others struggling being cooped up with surly teenagers. So yes, I see having no kids linked to my easier time in lockdown! 🙂

  3. Hi Weenie
    I’ve rediscovered the joys of the bike, and splashed out on a new one that I’m well chuffed with. That was justified on the fact that I’ve hardly spent a penny during this lockdown period, no pub, no takeaways, no Costa’s or Starbucks, no work lunches, no 19th hole after the golf, no petrol spent….it all adds up. And special mention to Bannatynes, who refunded my monthly £50 gym membership without asking….

    • Hey Jim

      Hear what you’re saying on not spending any money! I thought I had cut back on my spending but the odd occasions of lunch out, after work drinks and petrol do all add up! I’ve only just realised that I should have applied for a reimbursement on my travel pass! Oh well, better late than never! Yes, my gym stopped all membership fees and will only start charging once they are open again.

  4. Hi weenie – I enjoyed reading your perspective on it.

    Generally I’m remaining positive but struggling with the work situation slightly. I’m set up to work from home and am probably busier than I was before all this started. It’s frustrating as I had plans to do all sorts of things with free time that hasn’t materialised. I do get slightly jealous feeling when I see others with free time!

    It’s useful to read your post and be reminded of a bit of perspective. I have my health and I have my job, so I should be grateful.

    Ps. Didn’t know you were a gamer! I’d love to be, but with young kids and already short on time, my wife won’t let me get away with it (at the moment )

    • Cheers Chris.

      The first couple of weeks of WFH was a bit of a struggle, I found it hard to concentrate but it’s gotten better as it’s become the new ‘norm’.

      Yes, I was a bit of a serious gamer for several years (World of Warcraft) until I realised that I needed my life back again (and to catch up on sleep!). My friends who have got kids generally waited til they were a bit older before they got back into gaming so there’s hope for you! 🙂

  5. Hi Weenie,
    One thing I’ve noticed is our relationship to food and food shopping has changed.
    Previously we’d be going to the supermarket on a daily basis, buying for that day and grabbing snacks and treats while we were there.
    Now we’re consciously trying to minimise the number of trips we make, which means that we’re planning meals much more, and being much more conscious about the food we eat.
    I think it’s been probably the biggest positive that has come out of this whole lockdown experience for us.

    • Hi Baldrick

      I’ve always done a weekly shop but now, it’s shopping enough for 10-14 days to try to limit the occasions we need to go to the supermarket further. Planning meals is the tough one as you don’t want to be eating the same stuff every day – funny, I can eat the same breakfast every day, but not the same evening meal! Although as mentioned we’ve been buying more carb-laden comfort food, there’s a lot of emphasis on fresh fruit and veg and we’ve been really good with not wasting anything.
      Good to hear that you have experienced this positive from lockdown!

  6. Anyone looking to invest in video games should look at Keyword Studios (KWS).
    It has gone sideways for a couple of years following a multibagger rise but eventually it is more likely to break out sharply to the upside than downwards

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  8. It’s awesome that you’re staying calm throughout the storm and getting back into some ol’ fashioned gaming action! You prompted me and the Mrs to re-download GW2, although we logged in to find a ‘free’ version of the game with only 2 character slots and our main ones nowhere to be found! We had to leave a support-ticket asking what had happened. My friend bought me GW2 all the way back in 2012 so I have no idea where my serial key is 🙁

    I really like your idea about trying to stay in a normal routine. I’ve been a bit lost lately, a 10-minute walk in the morning sounds just like what I need!

    • Hey SN

      Hope you and Mrs SN managed to sort out your GW2 to get your old toons back. I guess there must be some way for you guys to upgrade?

      The 10 minute walk in the morning has been great as the weather has been good – let’s see if I continue when it’s raining, haha!

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  10. Hi Weenie,

    Glad you are keeping the routine during lockdown.
    I hope you can get your oven fixed soon, maybe its an opportunity to look at microwave and slow cook recipes?

    I keep sewing scrubs and it’s my ‘work replacement’ at the moment. There is still demand so will keep sewing. I read that supermarkets are laying off their temps now, so if I had been temping I would be losing my work again now.

    I have stopped looking at social media and news sites too.
    I have found either music playing radio stations or audio books for background sound during the day. I have been downloading audio books from my local library (free) and listening to them while I ‘work’. I am listening to Douglas Adams books at the moment, so refreshing my ‘hitchhikers guide to the galaxy’ story line.

    I have been cycling or walking most days and that allows me to relax. I get cabin fever if I stay inside too long. I have also started growing veg. I have a garden so it hasn’t looked this good in years! Again, I can put an audio book on and get on with tasks in the garden.

    On the food front, I buy once a week and I have sourced a few things online (like flour and had to buy bulk) which has taken me over my weekly budget but over the long term this should balance out. I have been batch cooking and freezing so I don’t end up eating the same thing every night.

    I am enjoying this ‘back to basics’ style life and getting use to the lockdown. I am a introvert so the isolation isn’t as hard as it could be, but I do miss a social gathering for some face-to-face interaction now and again. This was something I would gain from working, having no job limits this. But when cycling or walking lots of people are being friendly and saying hello and having the odd chat as they too feel the need to interact with someone while out and about.

    I have managed to find a good time to go food shopping when there are no queues so I can walk in, shop and get out as quickly as possible. My only exposure points are when shopping or when interacting with the scrubs team so my contact points are low.

    If the lockdown continues I will just keep monitoring my spending and how my finances are holding up.

    Stay safe and keep to your routine.

  11. I’ve found that the good weather and daily exercise have really helped to keep me sane!

    Also whilst I was initially quite negative about being locked down, I’m now trying to focus my energy on the positives. For me, that means reading more, playing more board games with family in the evenings and also writing more for my blog.

    Good blog by the way – I just stumbled across it in Google.

    Matt

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