The Life Upgrade

Madness, isn’t it, how it has taken a global pandemic to help us appreciate all the good stuff that’s actually right under our noses? I think I speak for many when I say that recent events have prompted us to reassess the stuff we truly value in life, and seek to make improvements where we can – let’s talk about the Life Upgrade.

As the reality sinks in that constantly changing lockdown restrictions are now a part of normal life, it’s the things that we can take control of that we turn our focus to. Take, for instance, holidays: whilst breaks abroad remain largely out of reach thanks to closed borders and quarantine rules, staycations have taken on a whole new level of appeal. Whether you choose an extended break in one of our great British national parks, take a trip to the coast, or opt to stay closer to home and savour the joys on your own doorstep, a staycation is the ideal opportunity to try out a life upgrade.

Without the added expense of flights and transfers, staycations are the chance to accept the hotel room upgrade, enjoy an extra spa treatment, have a starter AND a dessert. And staycations at home can be just as satisfying: explore a new hiking route near home, purchase the finest sirloin your local butcher has to offer, put on your fanciest outfit and dance around your living room. (Trust me on this one.)

For a long time we have been encouraged to travel a little less, stay local a little more. Suddenly with travel abroad pretty much off the table, a UK-based break has a very strong appeal. In a few weeks’ time I would have been departing on honeymoon: A once-in-a-lifetime carb-and-prosecco-fuelled Italian adventure, anticipated almost as much as the now-postponed wedding (if not more). In lieu of a honeymoon, an off-grid week in Northumberland beckons, and I couldn’t be more excited. Blustery beach walks, magnificent castles, brilliant British pubs and grub. As far as I’m concerned, the Amalfi coast can wait. 

In more everyday terms, now is the perfect time to step back and evaluate the things we love about life and the things we desire to change. Support our lovely local independent shops, have a cuppa with our neighbours, learn a new skill, experiment in the kitchen, paint something, write something, create.

I can count on both hands the family and friends who have either made the decision to pursue (or accidentally stumbled upon) a life upgrade during lockdown. To name but a few: the parents who have discovered new walks and secret corners of the village they have lived in for 20 years; The mate, that moved in with the guy she’d been on just a handful of dates with before lockdown (yes, they are now ‘official’); The sister-in-law who discovered that running is her ‘thing’ and now smashes a 10k every day; The friend who, whilst working from home, realised how much she disliked her job. Yesterday, she landed her dream role. 

The life upgrade is the excuse we all need to treat ourselves. Not in a necessarily materialistic way, but in ways that simply enrich our souls and make us feel happier, better, more content. This is your reminder to check in on you, and on others. Consider it emotional pampering. Because let’s face it, the world isn’t going to ease up on us any time soon.