Lockdown Nostalgia: It’s a Thing

by | Sep 29, 2020 | COVID-19, Uncategorized | 23 comments

It’s late September, summer in Joburg, and I’m suffering from a case of lockdown nostalgia.

Remember that time I published a blog post every day for 100 days, and I had nothing to post except flowers and cats but you all enjoyed it anyway? (Or maybe you just read it anyway because you had nothing better to do?)

Rose in my garden -- pandemic nostalgia
I just realized I have lots of flower pictures stored up on my computer and I haven’t posted them because I don’t write a lockdown journal anymore. Sad.

Remember when I hugged a tree and wasn’t even being ironic about it?

I looked so young and carefree back then.

Remember when we were legally bound to stay in our houses, and when we did leave — only to buy groceries, because nothing else was allowed — there were no people and no cars outside? Remember when the simple act of inviting another human being into your home felt naughty and subversive? Because it was, indeed, a crime?

Remember when we had prohibition, and everyone bought cigarettes on the black market, and drinking a glass of carefully rationed wine after a long day sitting in front of your laptop (at home) was the ultimate luxury?

Remember when women stopped wearing bras? Remember when we all watched The Tiger King, and we hated it but we loved making bad jokes about Carol Baskin?

Oh look, it’s the Melville Cat. I’m sure some of you have been missing him. He’s been quiet lately because he doesn’t have much to blog about post-lockdown.
Trixie the Melville Kitten also has lockdown nostalgia.

Remember when there was no pressure to make plans, no need to make any decisions because virtually everything we normally make decisions about was banned? Remember when going to bed at 9:00 p.m. was cool? Remember when all the restaurants were closed, even for takeaway, and baking banana bread was the most exciting task of the day?

Remember when community Facebook groups were filled with posts by people ratting out other people for jogging?

Remember when we thought the world might end, and it sucked, so all our everyday worries suddenly seemed insignificant and we all just said “fuck it” all the time about everything and that was enough?

Is it weird I miss those days? Is it weird I can’t fathom the idea of blogging about restaurants again? Is it weird I haven’t slept a single night outside my own house since February, but I still don’t feel like going anywhere? Is it weird I’m relieved to be writing a book — a task that gives me an excuse to continue living like a hermit?

Actually it’s not weird. I did a little research and it turns out lockdown nostalgia is a real thing. There are actual articles written about it. So I know I’m not alone.

Wisteria blooms during my September lockdown nostalgia

I know I have a privileged perspective. Lockdown nostalgia isn’t possible for those who acutely suffered, or are still suffering. I don’t have kids who needed home-schooling, or an abusive partner, and I didn’t experience a serious financial calamity. I haven’t contracted COVID-19, or lost a loved one to police brutality, or gone hungry, or suffered (too much) in the countless ways people have been screwed by this pandemic. I’m very, very lucky.

The lockdown wasn’t funny. But the fact that I miss it kind of is.

Lilies in the garden


  1. Albert

    Haha. This is so true. I am having post lockdown anxiety trying to integrate myself into some type of normal life again. Lockdown was like being in utero – a safe cocoon!

  2. AutumnAshbough

    I might have nostalgia…if we ever got out of lockdown. We’re still in it, and what I wouldn’t give to go sit at a sushi bar somewhere!

    • 2summers

      I hear you. It’s a weird dichotomy. My friend in the UK just went back IN to lockdown. And I can’t deny being slightly envious but that is just so wrong.

  3. dizzylexa

    Spot on, I feel exactly the same – I have to push myself to do things I used to love and have become such a homebody. I don’t even feel FOMO anymore, which is not a bad thing.

  4. Catrina

    The other day I opened my freezer and I saw the frozen daisies from springtime. Remember you posted about a photographer who did that?
    I copied that idea (like you did, but I couldn’t do it as well ).
    I had the same feeling of nostalgia when I saw them.

    • 2summers

      Aw! That’s so sweet. I also feel nostalgic about that project – I thought about it as I was writing this.

  5. violetonlineisonline

    I totally get this. I think it’s called Stockholm Syndrome?
    Life was weirdly easy when other people (government) made decisions for us.
    Now we forget to hug trees and we have CHOICE which is a terrible thing.
    Also, the world is not so pretty.
    This is all to say I get it…

    • 2summers

      It is a bit Stockholm-y, now that you mention it. Although I also think I more hermit-y than I previously realized.

  6. Kris

    Today my boss said we have to start coming into the office more often and I cried real tears.
    Don’t make me leave the house!

    • 2summers

      I feel your pain!

  7. Lani

    I imagine there will be a lot of looking back at this time in an effort to change, anticipate, and understand. From what I gather, there seems to be more of a focus on working at home and a refocus on what’s important. Lockdown definitely gave us an excuse to #stayathome which made us ‘lazy’ or place on energies on simpler things? Perhaps its about finding that balance again?

    • 2summers

      Yes exactly. And also not criticizing ourselves too much (my main problem).

  8. Maarten

    We, my wife and I also have some kind of nostalgia but we also will be very happy when all this is over one day. Life during Covid-19 was and is not easy for most of us and I’m still not happy to see that our Government is capable to solve the problems that we have. The new normal (whatever that will be) will be a strange period and the start of new life for most of us. Driving to work, not being at home 24/7, run races again, organise your day in a totally different way etc etc etc
    I’m curious what will come and what will happen as we move to another level again. We are absolutely not there yet.

    • 2summers

      Yep. It never really ends.

  9. Lara


  10. caroline reay

    Great post! Nostalgic myself

  11. thegriefreality

    Great post! I’m not sure where you are in the world, but in the UK we are in our third (?) national lockdown. I’ve gotten so used to is that part of me feel safe by staying home and not having to brave the cold weather on the way to work!

    • 2summers

      Haha, thank you! We’re in South Africa. We had a very hard lockdown for many months but now it’s a bit less strict. It keeps changing though, and the pandemic here is really bad right now (although it’s summer not winter, which helps). It’s very hard to figure out how to manage life!


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