Jigsaw / lockdown

I’ve just realised that jigsaw puzzles are perfect metaphors for lockdown, and not just fun activities to do during lockdown.

(And I am using the word fun advisedly.)

Jigsaws – and perhaps lockdowns too – start initially with some enthusiasm when you tip everything out onto the table and anything seems possible. That’s the time when the lockdown dreams spring up – This time I will learn Swahili, this time I will do yoga every day, this time I will eat healthy food everyday and run three times a week.

However once the pieces are tipped out all over the table, you have to start sorting through them and try to make some sense of them. I’m sure many people found that after that excitement of the first few days, when they were trying to keep up with their lockdown ambitions, it all started to get harder, and more difficult, and that initial enthusiasm just tailed right off.

And once you have your pieces sorted – the sky pieces, the river pieces, the building pieces, the greenery pieces – you have to start the dull and tedious process of matching them up together, picking things up only to put them down again. In the same way lockdown becomes a long boring slog with nothing much to look forward to, and all those bright intentions fall off to the wayside, although in both lockdowns and in jigsaws, there are the occasional “AHA” moments, feelings of excitement when you make a connection.

And then when you can see the end, that’s the worst. It’s usually the sky, where every piece is a slightly different shade of blue in combination with cloud, and the only way to figure it out it to up every piece in turn and try it in every gap – does it fit here, or here, or here…? And you think you’ve finally got something right, only to look back a few minutes later and realise it was all wrong and you have to undo it and start again. This is where I feel at the moment, that I’m in the lockdown equivalent of trying to finish the sky. One piece at a time, gradually filling in the spaces, sometimes going backwards, but knowing it will soon be over.

I hope all my readers who are enduring lockdown are holding it together. Remember, piece by piece, you’re filling in that sky and soon it will be finished.

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