Transition Girl

Why transition girl?... Best answered by a quote from the Iliad....."The soul was not made to dwell in a thing; and when forced to it, there is no part of that soul but suffers violence."

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

staying at home - random notes in times of existential threat (part 4) - the stir-crazy reflection

I have always been a bit anti-social. Comes with the territory - introverted writer. It explained why the stay at home lockdowns did not trouble me because, in truth, the restrictions imposed involved very little adjustment to my normal routine. And, largely, the time has passed smoothly from when I first bunkered down at home in early March without feeling like the time spent apart from others has been hard.  

Others I've talked with on the phone, in virtual meetings on my computer, in written messages, have seemed to struggle a lot more for a variety of reasons. For some, it has been the challenges of juggling working while looking after children. Noisy households seven days a week. Much harder during the time of hard lockdown when curfews were imposed and activity outside of the home was limited to a 5km radius and 1 hour a day. Several weeks in that stage of restrictions felt like several hundred.  For others, it was being stuck at home alone with only pets to provide company and, in some cases, not even that.  It did not surprise me that governments here in Australia - state and federal - have invested a lot of extra resources in providing wellbeing support services. The kind of virtual access available (so I've been told) is outstanding.

I reached the point (that others arrived at much sooner) about seven months into the restrictions. It matched closely my prediction (see earlier posts) on when I would start to feel the need for human connection again. And, the continuing absence of it, would fuel the stir-crazy feeling. Even introverts need some face-to-face time with their (small) circle of super-close friends. 

Little signs marked the shift in mindset:

  • Getting teary while walking over the lyrics of a song playing through the earphones (this happens normally but not when the song is about something unlikely to bring a tear to the eye).
  • Getting teary at the sight of a baby magpie falllen from its nest and its siblings and mother watching over the little bird's last breath before moving on (actually this is something I cry about normally).
  • Getting teary over the smallest of emotional scenes in movies or television shows (actually this might just be menopause).
The pattern might be obvious. The swings in emotion more marked. Triggered intensity by the littlest of things. Talking to someone virtually about it doesn't quite cut it for dealing with the feeling.

My routines have dulled as well. There's only so many podcasts I can listen to, books I can read, black mirror viewing I can do before it all starts to feel a bit "m'eh".  Although I did find the book "24 hour mind" an interesting read. But I have to STOP listening to existential threat themed podcasts no matter how good they are. (See: Brave New Planet.) Even the walks around the suburb are starting to feel a bit repetitive. (I know local residents' gardens like the back of my hand now.) 

I have started watching old favourite shows again because I remember they made me feel good on earlier viewing and I live in hope that the second viewing will spark the same joy. It probably doesn't help that most of my favourite shows of years-past have deeply philosophical themes about the meaning of life so maybe not the best option right now. (See: Six Feet Under, Pushing Daisies, Dead Like Me for example). Fallback one alternative are fantasy action or whimsical comedies. (See: Nikita, Community.) Fallback two alternative at this time of the year is to watch the plethora of trashy Christmas movies and show specials where the cheesy volume is pumped to the max. (See: Holidate, Dash and Lily.)

Even as restrictions are starting to be lifted, I am finding it hard to venture out without the irrational fear that the disease is still out there.  Even harder is rustiness in social skills. It's been so long, I seem to have forgotten the basics of interaction. 

But the thing that has disappointed me the most is realising that it will be 2021 before I see the majority of the people I know (work colleagues, friends, my siblings) in person again. In stark contrast, I'm less fussed about not seeing my office any time soon (looks like I may clock up 12 months working from home before that is a possibility).

In the meantime, the house pets - Sterling (the caped super-feline) and Mallory (the poser) - continue their never ending quest to win the who's the most smoochy badge from me.