‘The New Normal’

I’m coming up to the end of my sixth week of distancing, and this weekend has been the first time I’ve found things difficult. A combination of not sleeping, isolation and general anxiety have taken their toll – not helped by a hangover from the cherry brandy and Cokes I was drinking last night.

When lockdown started, I very much approached it as a temporary thing. I was aware of the Stockdale paradox, so I didn’t start promising myself that the restrictions would be lifted at the first review, or even the second. But I went into this assuming Boris Johnson’s upbeat prognosis of 12 weeks to have this beaten would set a rough timescale.

It’s become obvious recently that it could be some time before restrictions are eased in any form. It’s no longer a case of briskly carrying-on as best as I can. I’m now asking myself what a sustainable and positive normal life now means. I tried to make lockdown a positive experience, but I’d not really considered what it would require over the long term.

There have been good things: it’s been an opportunity to look at how I approach the things I do; to give cooking the attention it needs; I’ve found a domestic contentment and enjoyed having few plans for the future; it’s been good to have this time to pause and look back at my life so far; and it’s a chance to grow out my buzzcut.

But I have been treating it as a novelty (part of which is blogging about this so much). I actually have it pretty good right now (and I can’t imagine how difficult this must be for a lot of other people). I need to accept what is happening, turn down the volume on the news. To find new routes to exercise that won’t be crowded. To get better at sourcing groceries.

The good news is, I have a new zine at the printers, part of a longer project. I’ve got the opportunity to really work on this, with fewer distractions than usual. And, over the next few weeks, I’m going to try to blog more about that project than the experiences and frustrations of confinement.

It’s been a tricky weekend, but nothing a good night’s sleep won’t help.

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