I find it so difficult to remember a time before covid-19, before restrictions, before all the fear and the world going crazy with panic buying, the days when 'happy birthday' was a song you sang on a special day- not whilst washing your hands!
I can, however, distinctly remember the way I felt when the announcement was made to put us into lockdown, I will always remember that day.
Being extremely close to my parents and siblings, visiting each other a few times weekly, and then suddenly being separated from one another with the fear of something happening them... Well, I can't even put into words how terrifying that was. Add to the mix my OCD and anxiety, my mental health, like so many others’, began to rapidly decline over the following months.
My sister Linda (founder of elebubble) and eldest of us 4 siblings, quickly went about arranging zoom quiz nights once a week (remember those!)
Before lockdown, Linda was always the one who organised the most amazing, fun, themed evenings for the family- everything from a Love Island Launch Party in her living room, to a cosy evening ‘in Cambodia’ with a curry and quiz!
Linda’s plans had involved travelling the world in 2020, visiting new places had always been one of her biggest passions, and now it had to be put on hold until further notice.
I guess Linda and I, like a lot of people, had time to deeply reflect on life during lockdown. Something, I am ashamed to say, I never really took the time to do prior to this difficult period- I guess I was just too busy chasing the next promotion, trying to be a good mum and wife, making plans with friends and basically exhausting myself without even realising it.
"I am going to start up my own business" Linda announced. It had been almost 4 months of us not seeing one another in real life. She’d made the decision to use the money she had saved to quench her wanderlust and take the leap into starting a small business instead! I was so proud of her, my amazing sister, she had always been so business smart and bossed everything she ever put her hand to- I was sure she would smash this too. And so, elebubble was born, Linda was using her passion and skills in party planning to keep other people connected throughout lockdown, providing them with fun ways to make memories with their 'bubble' too.
After I returned to work from furlough in September, my job was made at risk. I was told they were reducing my team’s headcount from 15 to 5. I had to interview to keep my role, alongside my amazing work colleagues and friends- it was the most awful, gut-wrenching, unfair experience. Team that with losing my dear friend to cancer, on the day the day I was told I got to keep my job- I guess that was the moment I realised that life was too short to do something I wasn’t passionate about anymore. Working stupid hours to keep ahead of the game and support a business that didn’t see me as anything other than a number was no longer important. It wasn't until June this year that I decided to cut the crap, to stop chasing the next promotion in a corporate environment, to start doing a job that I loved, and so I joined elebubble with my big sis as my boss.
My passion has always been to help people and make them smile, which is how I got the title 'Customer Experience Manager'. If it wasn't for lockdown, I wouldn’t be in this role. I wouldn’t have been introduced to the most amazing people I have met through elebubble, I wouldn’t know diddly-squat about websites, SEO, hashtags, or what it means to do a job that you truly love- helping people to have fun and create lasting memories with their bubble.
It was so incredibly hard, but I thank you lockdown, for changing my life.