Its been a long while since my last post. I haven’t gone back and brushed up on my writings to keep the flow going, so this will be a post from The Now.
The hope that I had that I would get through the pandemic unscathed is now shattered.
I didn’t catch COVID, had no exposures, and am now a member of the Zeneca club having had my first dose; I’ve maintained my isolation and social distancing without a shred of guilt, and I’ve built coping mechanisms as the pandemic stretches on into it’s fifteenth month, but my resilience had been worn down, and I wasn’t bouncing back after tough conversations or another two hour long Zoom session.
From January, right up until probably the middle of this April, I’d been feeling at my most alone and with out much of an ability to see the positive of what the the future could bring. My irritability had increased, and I felt on the edge of snapping on an deserving bystander. Dissatisfaction with my employment developed, and the lack of engagement in my volunteering endeavours grew to its worst level ever.
My mental health wasn’t what I thought it was. It seemed that some of the healthy lessons and habits I learned earlier in the pandemic had, not departed me, but had been shelved. Notably missing was my ability to summon the energy to do something that been bringing a lot of joy back into my life, in particular my creative endeavours and writing for pleasure. Any energy I had to write was devoted to cold work pieces instead of something with heart, and this left my writing energy bank empty.
While undiagnosed, I imagine I was suffering some degree of depression, perhaps I still am, but with spring upon us, the days now gloriously long, and my back yard and patio now vastly improved, I feel like I’m ready for my second and final COVID summer. I knew what made the last COVID summer tough, and what made it special, so with a little preparation, this second summer of isolation will be done right. No longer will I be chased from my private patio paradise when the heat, or a light rain comes blowing through, I’ll shelter under the umbrella. My days will start with coffee on the patio, become my workspace during the day, and my living room in the evening. Sometime in late October, the couch in my living room will once again embrace my butt, for now, however, my primary work and living space is moving outdoors. I couldn’t be happier; this is the work from home routine I could fall in love with.
Another of the recent lessons The Pause has given me, and this time due to a bout of mental un-wellness, is: ‘Don’t focus too much energy in trying to please other people’. I could now recognize when I took the time to seriously reflect on so many years of volunteer service, I did it because I was trying to please people.
It became clear, that I had so much wrapped up in trying to improve systems and processes, efficiencies and abilities, and the appreciation that seemed to accompany it, that when The Pause began, and there was no longer any direct feedback to help fuel my motivation. The truth revealed itself to me: I feed off seeing others react and develop our environment to become more professional, and then with the pandemic shutting us down our in-person gatherings, all I had to feed me was a monitor and a Zoom feed. Nowhere. Near. Satisfying.
Some time ago Bae and I had commented that the announcement of the vaccines’ development felt as though that was the first push on building the momentum to returning to the new norm. I am determined not to allow the learnings and lessons of The Pause be lost to a simple return to The Boil. The second time I felt the lurch of momentum of a return to the pull of The Boil was one evening recently, when despite our own worst in North America numbers, our southern neighbour’s CDC announced that fully vaccinated people could stop wearing masks in public or private (with a long list of exceptions of course; baby steps here, people).
More signs of normalcy: there’s apparently a plan to have the Calgary Stampede go forward this year, in a very different manner than ever before; the CFL announced a plan to see the start to the season delayed until August, with the Grey Cup held in mid December; and my tickets to a concert in October haven’t been rescheduled or cancelled yet. There’s talk of a return to normalcy in my volunteer environment returning this fall. Yes, the leading indicators are there, life will get back to normal, but I want it to be the new normal, or the normal plus: what I did before was killing me, and I can’t, I won’t go back to it.
Okay, pipes clean? Let’s see if I can get the flow going again…