Hi Team,

It seems that the stage 4 shutdown restrictions will slowly start to be eased at the end of next week, but unfortunately will continue to restrict our lives in many ways for another month or so. Life under stage 4 restrictions has not been all sun shine and roses for anyone, but this week I am going to be a bit self-indulgent and look back at what I have actually enjoyed about living in shutdown and working from home, and a few things I have learnt along the way.

As I have stated several times previously, DDB has been very fortunate to be able to keep working throughout the last 6 months of the pandemic and, "touch wood", no one in our direct community has been infected by COVID 19 (to my knowledge). Although many aspects of being in shutdown have been difficult and disruptive to our normal lives, there have been many positives that I have personally experienced over the last month or so.

Ten things I have loved about stage 4 shutdown.

  1. Taking a long walk each afternoon with Penny (our dog) whilst listening to a podcast. I love long form podcasts and recently I have revisited one of my all-time favourites "Hardcore History" by Dan Carlin. If you love history or a great storyteller, you should definitely try this podcast.
  2. Reading the newspaper on Saturday and Sunday. For the last few months I have had the time to restart an old routine of taking 2 or 3 hours to read the Sat & Sun Age newspaper, which I have really enjoyed and this has been my main source of news throughout the pandemic.
  3. Keeping a personal journal. On the 23rd March I realised that this pandemic was going to be a life changing event and I thought it would be important for me to record my experiences and thoughts as the crisis progressed. So, I started to keep a daily journal of significant events, 3 personal challenges and 3 things I was grateful for. Since then I have journaled everyday up until mid-May and then once per week ongoing (166 days and counting!).
  4. Maggie's cooking. Max and Amie, my two older children, take after Maryanne and are both excellent cooks. During the current shutdown Maggie (turning 16 next week) has discovered her interest in cooking. Maryanne and I have loved watching Maggie plan out and prepare several complete meals which have all been Instagram worthy.
  5. Watching foreign TV series on Netflix & SBS on demand. Maryanne and I have watched several fantastic foreign drama series including, "Made in Italy", "Morocco", "The Girl from Ipanema", "Velvet" and "The Twelve". All these shows are visually beautiful and for us have been the next best thing to actually traveling abroad.
  6. Walking around the corner to Crimea St for my daily site visit. I am very fortunate to live in St Kilda and even more so during shutdown. The highlight of my day has been to walk to Crimea St each morning to catch up with Will for our daily huddle. This has been such a great project and Will has done an exceptional job as the site manager and lead carpenter.
  7. Watching Maryanne paint. As you all know Maryanne is a very creative person and over the last few weeks, she has rediscovered her passion for art and painting. It has been wonderful for me to be at home during this rediscovery and to witness her creative process whilst she creates some amazing paintings.
  8. Reading books and blogs. I have tried to set aside a couple of hours each day to read. The main book I have read during shutdown is "Sapiens" by Yuval Noah Harari, a 500 page "brief" history of humankind (yes more history!) which I have thoroughly enjoyed. I also read several blogs each day such as "Farnam Street", "Friday Forward", "Hodinkee", "Mark Manson" and several others.
  9. Playing music during the day Whilst I'm at my desk and Maryanne is painting on the dining room table, we have been playing music from all our favourite artists such as Van Morrison, Kat Stevens, Neil Young, James Taylor etc etc. So nice to have the home filled with great music.
  10. Researching and writing my Weekly Emails. The pressure of having to write a one page email each week for the last three years has, on several occasions, been a real challenge for me. But for the last 5 weeks I have had significantly more time to read and research topics I am interested in writing about. This has enabled me to write more freely and get ahead 2 or 3 weeks and I have really enjoyed the process of writing again. 

Thanks for reading,
Stay safe, we are starting to come out the other side.

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