It’s the second day of February and I just returned from my daily end of the afternoon walk through the neighbourhood. Many people were at work in their kitchen, some alone, some together, some were women, some were men. The Man is cooking me dinner, as he’s done for almost every day since working from home became the norm in March 2020. As Paolo noticed in Italy, the days are becoming longer again. A few weeks ago I would walk in the dark from beginning to end. Today, I started my walk in dusk just past 5:30PM.
January came and went. Except for the first two days, which I spent together with my parents, all days looked the same so far this year. The Man and I had to find a new work rhythm so that Daughter had the constant company of at least one of us. Rather quickly we settled into a rhythm where the Man worked mornings, I afternoons. A good rhythm, but less can be done in half the time.
During the mornings I do stuff with Daughter. Play together, do some school assignments (examples are: stack some cups and throw a ball at them, draw a snowman, measure what is longer: the scarf or the heater, rhyme on ‘want’ and ‘slee’), go to the park, practice cycling to school. To be honest, I’m often looking forward for lunch time, because by that time I’m often feel tired and out of ideas what to do next. There’s only so much Frozen role playing I can take. After lunch I can go to work and spend time without a falsely singing Elsa interrupting my thoughts or being asked yet another question about the universe and everything else.
The time constraints for work resulted in being more focused during the hours spent in my office. I still got the work done that needed to be done past month. I successfully migrated a client’s cloud to a new server, I recruited a new interviewee for my podcast, ran the interview and finished the first assignments well in time for the Data & AI course I started last week.
Two weeks ago I hit a low point. I suffered severe headaches, probably caused by worrying about how to manage studying for the course on top of all the other responsibilities. Not easy to deal with when you can’t just lie in bed for a while, because Daughter needs attention. Put that together with days of endless wet greyness, a total lack of social interaction outside the household and general bore-out and it’s the perfect cocktail for proper sobbing. I find it very comforting to notice that this is absolutely nothing like being depressed, it’s just feeling really sad and without hope every now and then, giving in to that feeling and then moving on. After a good nights’ rest I start the new day with renewed acceptance of living boring day number 33 of 2021.
Speaking of boring, it’s the most commonly heard theme when talking to others these days. All days blend in together. Nothing exciting happens during the weekend. The best series and films on Netflix have been watched. Some days I wonder why we didn’t just extend the work week with two days, but that would have prevented us to do stuff as a family.
Next week it will all be different again. Primary schools reopen. The government allows reopening with all sorts of (new) restrictions. I hope Daughter can go back with the regular schedule of five days a week, but her school will announce their plan on Friday. A few days more of waiting what type of rhythm we’ll have to adjust to next week. For two weeks, because then a holiday week follows. And who knows what happens afterwards. Schools might close again.
I’ve learned not to look too far into the future this past year. Though I did cling on the concept of this being a gap year. The set-back is that the length of the gap year just got extended by (probably) half a year. Vaccination rate in this country is a joke, and EU-wide slow. The only hope I still have is warmer weather in Spring and Summer, when it’s possible to have lots of outdoor activities and viral activity (hopefully) slows down. Until that warm weather arrives, I keep my mind occupied with Python, SQL and other nerdy stuff, reading books and reminding myself of this: