Week Five – meh
Five bloody weeks. To be honest, for some reason, I’m a little flat this week.
Last Sunday was without doubt the highlight of the last seven days. Finally my eighteen year-old daughter made it home safely. I am in awe of the way she self isolated for fourteen whole days, alone. She’s always been determined and this strength of character certainly served her well during her time in my friend’s annex. There was a definite party atmosphere in the house the morning she came back – I even heard my husband singing in the kitchen – and whilst it’s so lovely to have her home, it means I don’t have anything to look forward to anymore. And I think I underestimated how much the countdown to her return was keeping me going and giving me something to aim for. Now, it’s just this. The five of us under the same roof, unable to even go out for a walk, until 15thJune at the earliest. No early release for us. Shielding for twelve weeks whether everyone else has gone back to normal or not. I’m already dreading the jealousy and resentment that I’m worried is going to hit me at that time, when I see everyone’s Facebook and Instagram posts showing them all meeting up without me. My children’s friends getting back to normal, when I’m once again reminded that my children aren’t normal and will miss out on stuff because of it. I can feel the bitterness creeping in. The catastrophising that the Year 6 prom will go ahead without my eleven year-old there. That my children will be forgotten in the excitement of a return normality for most.
Caveat – just for the record dear friends and family, I KNOW you won’t actually let any of these things happen – this is just the way my brain works, most of you know that by now. Worse case scenario. Every time. Like I said last week, not got anything to worry about? … hold my beer…
So yes, as I was saying, everything seems a little bit flat this week. We’ve filled the box of ‘things we want to do when this is all over,’ and I know that some things have been put in there more than once. But on the news this morning they said social distancing would have to carry on for many until there is a vaccine. And that’s what my thoughts are focussed on at the moment… that we (as in my family) won’t fully be able to relax until we either get a vaccine, or have a test to see if we’ve already had Covid-19 or not. I know I won’t be able to relax until one or the other of these things happens. And so it doesn’t matter what is in our box of stuff to look forward to, it just seems too far out of reach at the moment. One of the amazing nurses who is part of the boys’ PCD team has already expressed concerns that I’m going to want to keep them safe at home when we are finally allowed out, vaccine, test or not. She knows me well.
Anyway, I’ve rambled on a fair bit already, so let’s get on to what I’ve learnt this week…
1. Normality. This links to what I was saying above. There’s been a quote doing the rounds on social media. It says,
In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to. Dave Hollis.
I cannot get this quote out of my head. It’s like New Year’s Resolutions, but with bells on and I am feeling all the pressure. Some days I want to return to none of it. I want to finally commit to moving to Cornwall (we talk about it ALL of the time anyway) or change my job or my routines. Other days I dream of returning to it all, every bit.
It is fair to say that I’ve realised, I think, that I was so busy powering on through my life that I wasn’t taking the time to notice what was working for me and what wasn’t. Which of my friendships were toxic and which of them I was taking for granted. What made me happy and what didn’t. I don’t want to just plod along everyday simply making do when this is all over. But then, I’m also craving the mundane, the normal, the everyday. It’s a very confusing time! I’m hoping that when the time comes I’ll be able to trust my instincts and know what I want to rush back to, and be at peace with leaving behind anything that doesn’t call to me or fill me with pleasure. Here’s hoping anyway.
2. Guilt. I feel a lot of guilt this week. Mainly for not checking in with friends and family more. The Houseparty notifications have tailed off as have some of my Whatsapp and Facebook messenger groups and texts. The initial excitement/agitation of when this all kicked off is gone and people are settling into a new way of living and communicating, which is understandable. But I feel bad that I haven’t sent a text and checked how someone is, especially when I know that person has been struggling. It’s not from lack of time, obviously, so I’m not sure what it is. Maybe this is becoming the new norm and I’m already slipping into old habits and not reaching out. Maybe I’m becoming more hermit like, safe in these four walls with my family around me. Maybe I feel helpless as I feel I cannot do anything to support them other than listen and empathise. Or maybe I should stop worrying about it and stop feeling guilty… it serves no purpose anyway!!
3. Webcams. Never before have I known the joy a small camera can bring! A very good friend of mine sent me the link to a webcam at my favourite beach in Cornwall, where we used to play as children, and since then I have become addicted to the things. I’ve been watching cameras from my favourite beaches and harbours in Cornwall and France. You have to imagine the sound of the waves crashing on to the shore, or play them from another device and pretend, but still it is lovely seeing my favourite holiday destinations in real time. Beautiful sunsets and sunrises. The odd dog walker or person getting their daily exercise. It’s a great way to pass the time and I find it very calming. Those beaches are still there, waiting for me to return to them. And I will.
4. Complacency. Now, I am at the height of paranoia and anxiety where the Coronavirus is concerned. I have had extreme health anxiety since I thought I was having a heart attach aged five (true story) and with the boys’ being so vulnerable this is literally all of my worse fears coming true. But still, it’s bizarre how easy it is for even me to become complacent as time goes by. To wash my hands for ten seconds instead of twenty because I’m sure it’ll be okay. Or to open the post without sterilising it first. Or to not wash my apples in Fairy Liquid (okay, maybe this was one step too far in the first place.) But it’s scary how easily we can convince ourselves that something is okay just because we are exhausted from keeping on top of it. I’m rightly furious with people ignoring social distancing, but I am starting to understand why some of them think it’s okay (aside from the twats who think rules don’t apply to them, obvs.) Take my neighbour, for example, who had her grandchildren around again this week even though she should not be seeing them at all. Perhaps she thinks that because they’ve been social distancing for weeks they are all safe and it’ll be alright if they don’t visit for too long and stay two metres apart from each other whilst they are there. I can see the logic. But NO. NO. NO. DO NOT GET COMPLACENT. Notice when it’s happening and as much of a pain in the arse it is to stick to the advice DO IT. Call people who walk two abreast on the pavement out. Wash your fruit and vegetables, in Fairy liquid if you want. And keep cleaning your damn hands. This isn’t over yet and complacency will make it last a whole lot longer.
And so, I think that’s it for today. Five weeks in and still, for us at least, eight weeks, three days, seventeen hours, forty-three minutes and twenty seconds, nineteen seconds, eighteen seconds … to go…
Plenty of time for me to deliberate over what I do and don’t want to rush back to.