I am accustomed to working from home. What I’m not accustomed to is having someone at home with me, sitting at his desk just on the other side of the pillar while I sit at mine. It’s not really a big deal- while he’s busy on one of his conference calls, or speaking to a colleague on the phone, in go my earplugs and I continue as normal. So on a practical level things have not changed much- I still do pretty much the same stuff as I did before lockdown: cook food, clean house, garden garden, feed cat. And write.
But my routines here have slipped, or changed, or shifted. Or something. And I’m not alone. People’s lives are being thrown about and turned upside down. Well- laid plans and routines have been usurped by something wild and scary and we don’t know how it’s going to all end. (Whether there is truly an ‘end’ to this is for another article and another day. I think of it more as a ‘beginning’ of something of which we are still at the early stages). I don’t know if it’s because I’m not accustomed to having ‘company’ at home during working hours, or because of the upheaval caused by the Pandemic, but the last day or two is the first time since our lockdown was implemented in late March that I have felt a sense of a sustainable routine creeping back into my day. And it’s not that I wasn’t working. Life was ticking along, albeit accompanied by a certain other ‘ticking’ in the background- the silence of the thing that had thrown everything off course, and has changed Everything, causing misery and uncertainty everywhere. And I think that’s a thing to be reckoned with- that weird feeling of kind of going on with life as normal while something so huge and unwelcome is now so very much a part of our lives.
But I see above that I have erroneously switched from “my” to “our”, and one of the things that I wanted for this post is to speak of “my” own experience- what is Amanda thinking, feeling, doing at this time. I can only vouch for how I am feeling, coping, or not coping. And there have definitely been moments of not coping.
Aside from the well of emotions such as sadness, anxiety, anger and “well, honestly I’m not really surprised when I think about the appalling ways that we have treated our natural environment,” I have also been dealing with a lot of self-doubt, as in “do I really think I can be a writer? I’m too distractable, too old, not focused enough, and my vocabulary is too basic. And besides, the market is flooded, isn’t it?” So maybe I should just stick to a bit of blogging here and there, and go back to learning a third language (French- which I haven’t spoken since 1979, when I was still at school.) And then I doubt myself even further when I remind myself that I am an experienced Yoga practitioner, who knows (should know) that I am stronger than my thoughts, and that if I just pause and breathe slowly, I should be able to rise above my negative feelings.
And it’s true, by the way, that if you pause and breathe, and take a moment to sit up straight in your chair so that your ribcage can lift and let the air in, you will feel better. But sometimes I think I need to remind myself that I am only human, and it’s ok for me to feel unsure of myself, anxious about my abilities, doubtful of my chosen path, or whatever. And whether lockdown or no lockdown, these feelings may have come up anyway, as happens from time to time. Maybe I thought that I was more ‘on top’ of things than I am, and the “down-ness” and self-doubt that hit me quite suddenly a few days ago was unexpected and quite humbling.
Subsequently I spent most of Monday in bed- not sleeping or watching Netflix, but more just ‘slow reading and thinking’: going through articles that I’d saved months ago on my phone for ‘future reference’ (well if this is not the future, then what is?), and then bookmarking or deleting as needed. Also Googled things like ‘writers who started out in their fifties’: that kind of thing. I bookmarked a few sites (including ones I hadn’t visited before here on WordPress) which post regular writing prompts and invite submissions of short stories.
I honestly think that seeing how people (all YOU guys who visit my blog and who I love to visit) just getting on with work- running their sites, their blogs and the like, has helped me to come out of the horrible slump that I was experiencing: Thanks everyone, and please keep writing.♥