Empty roads and motorways stripped bare of life like the supermarket shelves of food and the storms a past memory for the many. Commuting now just a few metres via the breakfast rather than a dash of dual carriageways and parking spot hunting. It’s another world we have been transported to and our daily routines changed.
My working week now carried out from home with meetings online and my kettle and coffee machine rarely cool. But it’s not the remaining indoors for the best part of the day that is the challenge but finding little bits of routine from my normal working day and fitting them in at home. That little chocolate bar with a cup of tea when I’m an hour in. Taking regular breaks away from the desk in the study to switch off for a few minutes – in the kitchen or a breath of fresh air in the garden. Starting and finishing at the same time and switching off, and I really mean switching off.
As much as I’ve taken some routine home there are also some differences that I have tried to embrace. The single hour a day allowance of exercise that we have been given is something I’ve taken advantage of, nearly everyday. Using my bike to go on local cycle rides to keep fit where I am no longer walking to work or walking at lunch times and to also clear my head. See other people, at a distance of course, and remain anxiety-free.
I have had several weeks of putting the whole gender thing aside. With the pressure of work and fatigue, a poor combination, I’ve had to take some time out from many things in my life. Now I’m at home with a little extra time to do things around the house and the garden with that short commute to another room at the end of the working day, I have a bit of time to think about things. I’ve been able to reconnect with that part of me that’s been filled with doubt and lacklustre. Trying to find a little bit of confidence, that I seem to have so much more of several months ago, that has dissolved a little and that I can no longer see.
It helps that we’ve had some blues skies and sunshine, even if it has come with a little snowy chill from the north. I don’t know how long being at home will be ok for me mentally. I’m already about three weeks in and I feel quite settled in some ways. A reasonably safe job that is necessary in these times means I don’t have that weight of financial worries to add to everything else. Missing family that I can keep in touch with is always going to be hard as weeks are likely to turn into months.
The one place where I can express a little of my feminine side, running each weekend, is something that I’ve missed while the impact is subtle its a source for the start of being able to express that side. But I’m not one to dwell on what I don’t have under difficult circumstances like this. I need to look at what I can do. I can go for a walk, a run or a ride. I can explore my village and find places I’ve not been before or not appreciated in the same way. The lack of so much interaction is the difference but there is something there. Saying hello to people I’ve not met before in passing, well, at least passing at two metres or more.
It seems that I’m reconnecting with enjoyment of each day and trying to bring in gender is something that may be I can do with my limited outside time whether it’s a spaced-out queue at the supermarket each week or riding along a flowing river with the leaves flourishing in the trees and birds sounding louder than ever now that the carriageways are devoid of traffic for most of the time.
What really changed my state of mind today was a photo I came across. It was me with the girls at running last Easter. All of us with bunny ears walking back from the event smiling. At the height of bringing my femininity to running I look at the photo and I look my most feminine in – probably, the last fifteen years. It felt naturally so. I also look happy and that’s the goal with the gender thing isn’t it – happiness?
It’s a different time to be expressing ourselves and may be not the most important thing right now but mental state, anxiety control and happiness are also part of our survival through this hard time. May be it’s time that we can use to think about where we are with things and what does actually make us happy and be who we want to be around people while there are few people around us.
Until next time, stay safe.