Another day to be lived. Those were my exact words this morning. Hardly motivational but reflective of my current mood.
The novelty of lockdown has well and truly disappeared. As an introvert, I embraced social isolation with open arms. I loved what it entailed: staying home, crossing the road to avoid people, enforced pottering around the house. The unexpected sunny weather mirrored my bright mood. Like the character of Cottard in La Peste, I welcomed lockdown because it put me on a level pegging with everyone else. I was no longer shy, reserved, anti-social, even ignorant. I was merely doing what we all had to do to keep each other safe.
So the first few weeks were, strangely for my crazy household, happily harmonious. The kids hadn’t descended into their nocturnal sleep patterns. Joel and Abigail would take turns to accompany me on dog walks, providing material for my blog. As someone who has pretty much shunned the idea of keeping fit her entire adult life, I actually enjoyed two hours of exercise due to having to first walk a leashed Frankie to somewhere where he could then be set free. Luckily no one was around to issue tickets for exceeding the allotted time of one hour or no nosey neighbours had been recording my clocking in and clocking out times.
All of life’s daily stresses disappeared: morning alarms, ironing uniforms at the last minute, rushing to catch school buses, dashing to dancing and football, trying to split myself in three. Instead of throwing a ready meal in the oven, we made pastry from scratch for a cheese flan. Instead of grabbing biscuits from the cupboard, we baked simple fairy cakes. Instead of screaming at someone to get ready for some activity, we relaxed without feeling guilty.
However, suddenly and without warning, a darkness has descended. As the plague leaves his hometown, Cottard can’t cope and goes mad. And, as lockdown is eased, I am feeling the same. Dog walks have become mundane. Home schooling is fraught when it takes place as I barely see my children during daylight hours! Even when we do attempt to complete online learning, I feel torn that I should be prioritising my own Year 7 students who maybe need me more. Microwaveable meals have made a reappearance in the fridge. Maybe, it is the possible return to a previous stressed status quo that I am resenting. However, the media talks now of a new ‘normal’ – maybe the fact I don’t know what this new normal will entail is what troubles me. I am a creature of habit and I don’t know yet what my new habits will be.
It is all too easy to identify what makes you happy but it can be infuriating to pinpoint what makes you sad. As K.D. Lang sings in ‘Outside Myself’, one of my favourite songs, ‘something in me…veils my vision, leaves my thoughts unclear.” Hopefully this mist will clear soon and I’ll be able to adapt to whatever it reveals. Until then, more days will just have to be lived.
When I finally realised I was an introvert – I am who I am