It’s July 2020, and Melbourne has been in the second lockdown/stage four for around 3 weeks now. Lockdown means: no visitors or visiting. Don’t leave your house unless it’s one of 4 things: Food, Exercise, Medical or Care, and Work/study (if you must). We also need to wear masks if venturing outside. I have discovered if you tape the mask over the bridge of your nose, a) your glassed don’t fog up and b) you get the wild thrill of ripping off a bandaid from the delicate areas of your face.
Just joking about the wild thrill bit 🙂
BTW I am going to punctuate this post with random photos I already have uploaded. There is no sense or order. Why? Why not.
Other than a few weeks of relative freedom when it looked like we beat the increase of covid – where I went for some short drives and walks and had two people over for dinner twice and visited parents – my days have pretty much been the same for five months. For five days a week, I get up, feed cats, get breakfast, then walk over to my work area and start work. I break for lunch, and sometimes to go for a wander around the garden. I start early and leave early, so 3pm I sign off and then I either: do supermarket shopping, exercise, read, nap, watch random stuff on youtube, go for a walk, or try and do something interesting. The weekends, I get to sleep in and do all of the above without the ‘work’ bit.
Now. The good things in my life are really very seriously good, relatively speaking. I have a comfortable house in suburbia, with a pretty, large garden that has endless amounts of pottering potential. The house itself is full of bits of maintenance and work that has always kept me busy – a 1951 weatherboard…it’s always in need of tweaking and repairing. I like to potter, and fix things. Inside, my home is full of my hobby stuff: bass, clarinet, things to sew and embroider, things to sculpt or paint or make. I’m employed in a great company with an excellent team and my home life is stable and happy, I’m in good health, and my cats are fun and cute. I have not directly lost anyone to covid at this point; I do know someone who had it (said it was horrible) but everyone I know is, at this point, fine. I also don’t have children and I don’t need to home school or entertain other people.
It should be enough, but everyone I know is falling about into giant holes of despair, uselessness, and pointlessness.
There is for a start, the existential dread and sorrow at the terrible figures pouring in. The last few weeks, there have been over 6000 deaths a day; the death toll is just shy of 690000, and this seems to be increasing fairly steadily. India, Brazil, and the US are currently the hardest hit at the moment, but Iran and bits of Europe are terrible too. The death rate is going up in Melbourne, particularly in the elderly care homes, which is where it’s taken hold and started everywhere. It’s horrifying. I scroll through and seek out news and there is nothing good. We also have the utter bonkers situation of US politics (BLM protests, citizens being teargassed by the military, the president is clearly trying to figure out how to make himself a dictator and I can’t say he won’t succeed) and Australian politics are still shitty. The environment is shitty. Everything is shitty and the news is full of shittiness. There is a daily announcement from the Victorian Premier which is honest – he had integrity; but it’s depressing and upsetting every day.
I 100% support all the restrictions in place. I am staying at home. I am social isolating. It’s the least I can do. I am angry and sad that a lot of other people don’t seem to be able to understand why the rules also apply to them.
A big problem too is that home is no longer a haven, but it’s 100% all I’ve got. Every day is the same as the one before.
Home used to be where, after time at work or out, or doing stuff, one would come home and do lone-time, relaxing or creating stuff. One would do art, read, chill out, fix something, do a craft, take a nap. In the words of the Floyd: “Home again. I like to be here when I can.” True words -but home as a haven or a refuge from the outside world is now the entire world. It has turned into a well-appointed, well stocked, cage. The things I used to do to relax from doing other things, are all I have, and I’m struggling to do anything meaningful or constructive. I am managing to drag myself to my workbench and do some work on things. It’s like going through the motions, and my goodness do I not have the mental capacity to do much more than this.
I have often relied on the fact that I have the capacity to jolly myself along through the down times, to find joy in small things and that life is about the journey and the only things that matter are these small things. Sometimes I falter and fail at this, sometimes I have nothing other than survival mode, but usually I can drag myself back to the place where joy can be found. Lately though, the joys are harder to find. It’s boring and tedious. I’ve slumped, and yet, I need to keep going because there is no other choice. It’s grim and grinding. The cold has not helped; grey overcast miserable days.
I took the last bit of last week off work because I frankly just couldn’t even. I just needed a break, which I’ve had and I’ve done very few of the things I thought I should do. It took me months to finish tiling a bit of the kitchen because I kept putting it off. I fixed the front door not swinging. I sharpened my chisels. I have had a break from the routine, as far as i’m able. Back to work tomorrow, back to the grind. back to the daily round of angst.
This seems to be where everyone is. I go to zoom meetings where greetings are pretty much ‘How are you’/’As well as can be expected given the state of the world’. And that’s really all there is to say. We all get it, we all feel it.
This is a hard time. Lots of memes/tweets out there about forgiving yourself for not being productive or proactive. For letting yourself grieve: we are truly, world wide, in a totally different state of existence that no one wants to be in. That’s what we’re feeling, people, it’s grief. We have lost the world as it was, our freedoms, unlucky people have lost people they know. It’s upsetting, there is no certainty and no idea what the future will hold. Plans, intents, lives, are all changed or ended. Almost no one is unaffected. It’s HARD.
That’s kind of what I came here to say. Not a lot of joy today. Perhaps read this and throw it away as it does not spark joy. Just…do what you can to drag yourself through. We will see each other again, on the other side, whatever that looks like.