After more than four months of shielding, George and I are now venturing out into the Big Wide World. While most of the world has been learning how to navigate the “New Normal” we have been sheltering in our little house, spending time in the garden when weather allows, having our groceries delivered and keeping courier drivers busy with the online orders of what we can no longer venture out to find. It’s been a strange time.
Last week we needed paint for the garden bench. We couldn’t get it delivered and the local hardware store didn’t stock it so we resorted to ordering it via Click & Collect at B&Q. This was our first time in a big shop since March. Apart from weekly visits to the local Co Op when shielding was relaxed and occasional walks for George we literally hadn’t gone anywhere. The B&Q experience was not pleasant and we won’t be repeating it any time soon.
I won’t go into all the details of everything that made us anxious, but the main problem is that while the general population has been learning how the world now works in small increments, we, and thousands like us, have gone from a rarefied existence straight into a very scary world with no chance to become acclimatised. We’ve been thrown into the deep end and left to flounder. There are many more cliches I could turn to but you get the idea.
I don’t know what to do about it. If we went out a lot more we’d maybe get used to masks and distancing but to be honest, is it going to be worth it? A second wave is inevitable and it’s only a matter of time before we are shielding again. I can’t see our new freedom lasting beyond October. And I can’t think about Christmas without crying because I don’t know if our daughter will be able to stay with us. It’ll be different when – if – we get a reliable vaccine but until then I think our world will remain small and claustrophobic.
I am finding life very difficult. I know many people have it worse, I know how lucky I am to have a husband whose company I enjoy, daily online chats with my daughter, a garden to sit in, a multitude of wildlife visitors, hobbies I can enjoy at home…but the future scares me. Usually when we think of the future we think of change: next week I will…; next year we can… Now, when I try to imagine the future I see nothing and that makes me very afraid.
I try to distract myself with various activities and they mostly work. I enjoy sewing clothes for my Blythe dolls, I’m learning embroidery, I got a tin whistle (that I hardly play because it’s so bloody loud!) and I watch a lot of Prime Video, Netflix and YouTube. I’m finding it hard to lose myself in a book but that will come back, I’m sure. I’m also finding it almost impossible to write creatively as pandemic stress and anxiety make my fibromyalgia flare and the brain fog is off the dial.
So here we are, caught in a nightmarish Groundhog Day and no Bill Murray to lighten the load. I am so incredibly grateful to all my online friends on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for their wonderful love and support and I can’t thank my lovely neighbour and friend Liz enough for all her practical help. You are a godsend, lovely.
If you’d like to share how the pandemic has been for you, please comment below. If you ‘d like to share but not make your experiences public, you can write to me here. I’m a good listener.
To paraphrase the popular podcast, stay sexy and don’t get covid.