Today, as promised, I’m bringing you the answers to the survey questions I asked last week. Thank you so much to everybody who responded so quickly to each survey giving us a hefty sample size of 3,000 overall which means we have a really good insight into how midlifers are feeling as we come out of lockdown. You’ll see that I haven’t separated out the national and international charts because most answers were very similar which surprised me. I thought there might be significant differences given that other countries are a week or two ahead of us in emerging from lockdown but it seems that despite that, we’re thinking mostly along the same lines – where there are differences I’ll discuss them below each chart.
So let’s go through them and I’ll give you some topline narrative as we do. Some charts trigger more discussion than others and of course I’m sure you’ll form your own interpretations along the way so do let me know in the comments if anything jumps out at you. Before I start, apologies for the formatting of the slides, I’m working within the limitations of the software and I’d have to pay even more than I already do to make them editable. I’ll repeat anything that’s difficult to read below the chart.
How midlifers are feeling as we come out of lockdown
It’s always interesting to take a snapshot of this and align it with my broader information. This chart differed slightly from my Google analytics which shows the 35 – 44 age group to be the fastest growing one. However I titled this post as ‘Women Over 40 – tell me how it is for you’ which may have discouraged some younger readers from answering (sorry about that if you’re one of them) and older readers tend to be more invested in our community so are more likely to interact with something like this.
With this one I’m sure we all send a virtual hug to the 7.32% of readers who have been going through this alone. That really can’t have been easy at times, I hope Midlifechic and the readers who comment have played a small role in keeping you company.
Now there is disparity between the two surveys here with 23% of international readers saying they’re classed as shielded. Given that the age groups align, does this mean that shielding is stricter in other countries? It’s a conundrum. However, another virtual hug flies out to all of those readers who have to live with restrictions for longer than the rest of us. It’s also worth holding shielding in your mind as an influencing factor when we discuss travel later on.
Looking at this more granularly, 9 UK readers and 6 international readers have had Covid-19 confirmed by a test, a surprisingly tiny quantity. The majority of us have not yet been afflicted which may well have an impact upon our attitude towards exiting from lockdown. I’m one of the people who wonders whether we’ve had it or not. The middle son was really ill for seven solid days in December with symptoms that absolutely align with Coronavirus. The youngest returned from his French Exchange in Lyon in late January with Covid symptoms too and was off school for over a week. Neither of them are ever usually ill like that. Ten days after my last trip to London in March I had a few days of feeling off colour, one where I was completely wiped out and slept for a whole day. I’d love to know if we’ve had it and have any immunity, especially with the middle boy due to head off to uni in September. 18% of UK readers are in the same boat but only 7% of international readers.
The tick-boxes here were:
- Lifechanging for the better
- On the whole a positive experience
- It’s had ups and downs in equal amounts
- It’s been difficult overall
- Lifechanging for the worse
The percentages were the same for both surveys and I think they’re fascinating. I’d be really interested to drill deeper and find out more about individual experiences versus personality types as for some people it will be a matter of perception whereas for others there will no doubt have been some very sad losses. I think there are going to be so many different stories to be told when we come out of all of this.
Now this is interesting isn’t it? It’s annoying that the software won’t allow me to rank the chart in order but listed according to preference it goes like this:
- Eating / Drinks out
- Theatre / Cinema / Concerts
- Work contact – life in the office / meetings
- Schools being open
- Big social events such as weddings / festivals / sporting events
‘Other’ included: art galleries and museums, gyms and sporting facilities, church, spontaneity, beauty treatments, garden centres, volunteering, graduations and freedom (written in capitals lots of times).
There was an identical pattern between UK and international here. This chart is most interesting when aligned with the next one.
There is a possible correlation between ‘furloughed, self-employed and surviving / struggling’ and ‘worse off than before’. ‘Better off’ is interesting and it only ranked 11% internationally taking away from ‘no difference’. I can imagine that some people are saving the cost of travelling to a place of work and all of the lunches, coffees and spontaneous spending that accompany being away from home all day.
The fields here were:
- I will work from home more
- My partner will work from home more
- I (or my partner) will deliberately choose to reduce working hours and income
- I (or my partner) will commute differently
- My work will return to normal
- I may lose my job / business
- My children may lose (or already have lost) their jobs
- My career prospects will have improved
- My career prospects will have worsened
The international scoring aligned on this chart. The big surprise for me was that more people aren’t planning to reduce working hours and income because it goes against the predictions coming through from the media. Lots of us seem to be hoping to go back to normal, keeping our careers going. I wonder if it’s the generation below us that is making the reported choice to work and earn less after this. I suspect a lot of us have sinking hearts for our children’s generation though as so many of them are having knockbacks just as they’re starting out in life.
Here are the fields:
- As soon as they open
- At some point over the next few weeks
- With new season in September
- Not until lockdown is completely lifted and shopping returns to normal
- Not this year
The international results were more conservative with heavier weighting saying ‘not until new season’ or even ‘not this year’. I wonder if it reflects overseas readers’ experience of already having been open for a few weeks and of course we have to take the heavier shielding into account. As the shops reopened here yesterday we saw a similar surge pattern to other countries so it will be interesting to see if, after the first few days, footfall subsides dramatically.
Wasn’t it weird to see two hour queues for Primark of all places? I suppose that’s the outcome of not having a transactional website, there’s a surprise element to going in store. Not that there will be much to see – the middle son was back at his weekend job there before they opened and spent the whole time marking down the March stock that was still on the rails. When he goes back this Saturday he’s been taken off his usual job on the tills and put in charge of the queues which I suspect will really challenge his sunny nature!
The fields are:
- Yes – completely cancelled them
- Yes – postponed or altered them
- No – I’m waiting to see what happens
- No – I had no holiday plans
I’m so glad I asked this after we’d revised our holiday plans because it would have sent me into a tizz. We had a lovely but quite complicated summer planned with various shorter trips that were centred around the boys’ different interests. During the winter I spent a lot of time working out who would be available when and planning what we were going to do. It’s funny when I look back because there were discussions about whether they felt they’re too old now to spend two whole weeks with the family in the summer. They decided that our long holidays in Kalkan had probably come to an end because there are so many other temptations and calls on their time.
Two weekends ago we sat down and had a big chat, there were options within our plans that we could transfer but not cancel without losing a lot of money. The boys and Mr MC were unanimous in their suggestion that we collate the short trips and transfer them to a fortnight in… you’ve guessed it… Kalkan. Strangely if we’re going to travel it’s the only place we want to be. You’d think after lockdown that we’d be bursting for adventure but there’s something comforting about being somewhere we know so well. And I’m delighted that they’re all really keen for us to spend yet another two weeks together. It seems that just as the boys were each spinning off in their own directions, lockdown has reunited us as a family and them as siblings. I will be forever grateful to Covid-19 for that.
So, at the moment that’s what we’re hoping to do but obviously it’s a case of watch and wait. I’ve taken vouchers rather than refunds for other flights that have been cancelled purely because I don’t know how things are going to pan out over the next year and it will be nice to have options that are already paid for so that we can still have a break away.
Some of you have been saying in the comments that you’d be reluctant to go through the airport / plane experience. I completely understand that and I’m not looking forward to it. In the end though we’re hoping it will be a risk we can balance although of course if the infection rate rises we’ll change plans again. I hope this summer won’t turn into a judgemental one as far as travel is concerned with people pointing a finger at those who are taking a different course of action to their own. We all have to do what is right for us individually and I’m seizing the opportunity for a fortnight en famille while they’re all keen to go. If everything is back to normal next summer it’s very unlikely that we’ll have the same chance.
It’s great to see that so many people will be holidaying in the UK and I hope we’ll have a couple of short breaks too – we need to head over to Newcastle to see mum-in-law as soon as hotels reopen. In the international survey, 59% of people said that they were planning to holiday in the country that they live in with only 13% travelling any further afield than that.
This makes sense, some people are tied to school holidays and the hope that surely schools will start again in September!
- Does not apply
- It was always my plan this year
- Concern about the infection rate in other countries
- Concern about falling ill abroad
- Concern about falling ill on return
- Concern about finances
As I’ve already said, a few of you mentioned that your main concern was the journey including the risk of infection on the plane and also the likely extra measures at the airport that could make travelling even less pleasant than usual.
Other questions that followed this included the topics that you’d like to see on Midlifechic over the summer – most of you ticked all of them apart from menopause which only ranked at 37% for both UK and international readers which was interesting.
As far as the idea of a subscription format for one post a week was concerned, it was a 50:50 result. A few of you have asked me whether the subscription posts would make me feel more pressured and funnily enough that’s what Mr MC and the boys said too. Of course it would enable me to bring extra resources to Midlifechic but on reflection I think that other contributors might dilute the very personal nature of this blog. It’s very reassuring to know that you’ll support it if I need help to keep it going but let’s just hope that retail springs back into action for autumn/winter so that we can continue as normal. Until then I’ll reduce costs by only posting once a week during July and August.
- I love it and wish it would never end
- There have been bonuses but I’m ready for it to end soon
- I can’t wait for it to end
The result was the same across both groups and I wish I’d started asking this question on a weekly basis from week one onwards because I suspect we’d have seen the weighting change. Even so I thought there would be more people saying they didn’t want it to end, again that shows disparity with the media reports saying we’ve all become settled in our home bubbles.
I went out for the first time properly today, I had an appointment at a runners’ shop to have my gait analysed and then I went on to see a physio to combat my Achilles problems. It felt exciting to be out with somewhere to go. Some things felt odd – I really struggled to think where to park in a city I know as well as the back of my hand, I’ve forgotten how to put appointments in my calendar and I was so happy chatting to someone in the car park that I didn’t notice a traffic warden lurking behind me writing out a parking ticket. Grrrr!
So I hope this post has sparked off some interesting thoughts with regard to how midlifers are feeling as we come out of lockdown. It’s too soon to say that all of this is over but it does feel as though we’re entering the next chapter doesn’t it? Let’s hope it’s a good one for us all and that we look back on the last twelve weeks as a time when we learned something about our selves, our lives and what really matters to us.
Disclosure: ‘How midlifers are feeling as we come out of lockdown’ is not a sponsored post
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