2020 – A life out of balance

2020 is an odd one.

“Happy New Decade – this one’s going to count!”

I for one certainly had big plans. I had plans for starting up a business that would see me happily working through to retirement, I was writing a book, and I had big biking dreams. Yep – 2020 was the year that it was all going to start happening.

By February though I had all but burnt myself out with endless late nights/early mornings trying to get an online motivation course created, whilst also training hard and working full time. I slowed the course creation down a little, so that I could get some sleep, and slowly tried to get my life back into some balance. But, I either needed more hours in the day, or more days in the week.

Then the Virus hit town, and things started to change.

At first I was quite excited, lockdown was going to mean that I would gain some of the precious time that I needed and I could get stuff done. Some of my more forward thinking friends saw this as an opportunity to try out new things and different ways of communication and doing business. Zoom became a thing, and we made the most of our hour a day outside exercise, and indoors we started created our home gyms, or seeking out online exercise programs. Then for some there was Joe Wicks.

The Government furlough scheme meant that many people I knew were no longer at work and although taking home less money each month, they could get by as they weren’t really spending their money on other things. Houses were fixed up, gardens made beautiful, Tik Tok became a thing, and families in the same home spent more quality time together.

Sadly this wasn’t everyone’s experience, and for many anxiety set in early as business owners and the self employed worried about money. Others were terrified of the virus and getting ill, and millions were at once lonely and isolated.

It was never really clear just how long this would last. In the backs of our minds, we would be locked down maybe for a month at most, the virus would fizzle out as it wouldn’t be able to spread, and then as long as we were careful as a country, life would slowly return to normal.

We are now almost 3 months in, and the country is opening up again, although differently now. The virus has started to go quiet, at least in Portsmouth where I live, although in other parts of the country they still have a significant problem. But one thing is clear, part of the country will return to their workplaces, others, myself and Hubster included, will continue to work from home for the foreseeable future, but many, many others will lose their livelihoods entirely for a while.

The Hubster and and I have been very lucky through all this. We have both remained fully employed and can work from home, although we haven’t been fully shielded from the financial impacts as there were some temporary salary reductions made….which seem to be ongoing. We have each other so we haven’t been alone, and I seem to have gained a full time chef in the kitchen. We have remained fit and healthy throughout, although wonder whether we did in fact catch the virus very early on.

So why is it that my emotions are so up and down now? Why do I feel so out of whack?

Parts of the lockdown I’ve really enjoyed. The quietness of the roads, hearing the birdsong, late evening bike rides to the seafront to watch the sunsets. These parts I wish could have lasted forever. Then a little later, my joy of seeing the locals taking to being outdoors walking, cycling. Whole families on their bikes, just passing the time. It was possible to dream that we didn’t have to go back to the way things were when the city was congested, noisy and polluted.

But other parts that I haven’t been comfortable with is the isolation from those that I know. I actually really like working from home, and would be happy to continue for 2 or 3 days a week. But the most enjoyable part of my job is the interactions I have with my co workers. It’s not the same by email, or Skype.

I hadn’t realised just how much those momentary interactions that you have with others really matter – the passing comments when you chat about the weekend, or complement someone on their haircut, or that they’ve lost weight, or look fabulous in that dress. We think of them as idle chit chat, but actually these interactions really matter – and you don’t realise that until it’s not there any more.

I’m a communicator by nature. I can’t help it, I love to have conversations with people. Proper two way, share your opinions, have a debate kind of conversations enthral me the most. And I can’t really remember when I’ve had such a conversation with any one other my the Hubster or one of the children. And laughter, I just love to laugh, have a giggle with friends, but I’m not finding much very funny at the moment.

And then of course there’s the fact that I don’t have anything really to be sad about. I have my husband, my pets, my job, I’m being paid, I’m healthy, and even my children are coming off of furlough and back into work. So what gives me the right to feel down, when others have lost jobs or even family members? I feel like an imposter.

But, we all feel things in different ways, at different times.

I’m a pretty strong person, I just feel low right now. This will pass eventually, and most days I’ll feel fine, and then suddenly on others I feel less so. Usually when I feel like this, I go into hibernation for a bit and emerge feeling great. But with a Government enforced hibernation at a point that I didn’t emotionally need it, it seems wrong to now lock myself away for a couple of months.

Ironically weekends are my best days. I get out, I even sometimes can now meet up with a friend. Meeting a friend or two on bikes just melts away any sadness.

I do wonder what the rest of the year holds, it certainly won’t be normal, but then I’m not sure I want to go back to our previous normal anyway.

I do have my big ride to look forward to at the end of summer, and acknowledging that my low feelings are pretty mild compared to thousand of others I decided that with this ride I would raise money for mental health charity Solent MIND.

If you’ve like to find out more about how they help with mental health issues, check out their website here

Solent Mind

They say, it’s OK not to be OK

So I guess that’s OK then.

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