A lot has happened since December, and this post is not a review of everything. It is a reflection, I guess, based on where I find myself at the minute.
January was the usual start-of-term daftness. I thought, hey, I’ll get back to the blog in February.
February was a little less busy, until industrial action was confirmed. I was hopeful – ever the optimist – that it might not last the full 14 days. It did. To March 16th. I had time to post, but couldn’t without crossing the #digitalpicket, as my posts were related to my research and work.
March saw me return to work for one day from home (16th) and one day from the office (17th) before my institution transitioned us to working from home. The UK lockdown was confirmed the following Monday.
So here I am, with a thin post because I feel thin. And so very fortunate.
I am fortunate because those I love are well and I am well. Because I can stay home and do a tiny bit to lessen the pressure on the NHS. Because I have a job that can be done from home, as does my husband, so wages are still coming in. Because my husband is a kind man, and I am not in danger. Because I have been prioritised due to my health, so I can get shopping delivered. Because amazing people are working in those shops and delivering food to people like me that are locked in. Because my husband is still permitted to go to the allotment to tend and gather home-grown produce for us to eat. Because he traded strawberry plants for two pots of jam on Tuesday at the allotment (at a safe social distance, the jam is still under quarantine). Because there are free yoga videos and our Pilates class has gone online. Because my husband has developed a passion for baking soda bread. Because I have indoor hobbies like stitching and reading. Because I made lime marmalade at the weekend and saw an otter on Monday. Because I see bats most evenings when we take our one walk (at a social distance from the few people we meet walking at night).
Seeing why I am so fortunate is easy. Why I am feeling mentally thin is less so. As I’m generally a happy, cheerful and oh-so-fortunate person, this is a new experience, and acknowledging it is important.
Reflecting on the cause, in part I know it is because there are added pressures in work, and the proliferation of MS Teams meetings which have been shown to be mentally draining. So I remind myself that I’m lucky to have work. Unlike friends, family and colleagues, I am not trying to juggle home-schooling and work. Again, another mental reminder to pull my socks up. But beneath it all, there is still, all the time, the awareness of the pandemic, of the ongoing loss of life across the globe – people who might still have been here if lockdowns had happened sooner, or been maintained longer, or been more restrictive. If enough support and funding had been given to the agencies and services that research diseases and maintain public health, rather than the endless budget cuts by short-sighted politicians focused on “big business”. The knowledge that this is not over, not by a long stretch. All this loss and sadness, all this fear. It wears you down.
We are keeping a diary during lockdown. My entries are getting shorter, I’m skipping days because some days there is either no news, or the news is too hard to write. I’m not a particularly good recorder of social history, I guess, but you can’t be good at everything.
Tomorrow is another day, and a new month. I’m sure I’ll be back in May, perhaps with one of the seven draft posts I started before the strike, before the lockdown. Perhaps with something else. Whatever it is, I’m sure it’ll have something to do with nature connectedness, because it is that and the kindness of lovely people that is keeping me from fading.
In the meantime, until I post again, stay safe and well.