Retreat, Day 24

The pandemic is a weird time, where strange domestic situations are played out with a background of dread and appalling news. My world is very much turned inwards. This can be hard, but it also provides an opportunity for self-examination.

For years, I’ve complained about being too busy and too tired. If only things slowed down, I thought I might be able to catch up with myself. You need to be careful about what you wish for… I have so much more time now than a month ago, working from home, and restricted to one outing a day. Yet I still feel too busy and too tired. I even managed to somehow miss a friend’s birthday at the start of this month which is stunningly incompetent.

It turns out that having more time has solved nothing: it’s not lack of time that makes me feel too busy.

It’s common for people who went to boarding school to engage in ‘timetabling’, filling up all their time to try to make the best use of it. When I knew I was going to lockdown, I made sure to have a structure for it and goals.

But now I am going to try something different: to trust myself to do what I need to without putting pressure on myself. I’m going to focus on what’s most important right now: work, self-care, and my new creative project. After all, this Quiet Time is the perfect opportunity to experiment with being easier on myself.

A year ago, I had an apocalyptic story published, called A Disease of Books. In the biography, I wrote, “Despite obvious downsides, James looks forward to the apocalypse because of the resulting time off work“. Be careful what you wish for. I am currently very grateful to be here at the end of the world and still have a job.

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