No, I haven’t had Covid. Lots of people I know have, but so far I have avoided it. I attach no value or morality to that – who knows why (certainly not me) – but just accept the fact.
However, we have all had the impacts of Covid in our lives. That hardly bears repeating. Many have had significant, life changing impacts with the loss of loved ones or long term health effects. These are people who deserve our compassion and support. But that isn’t to say that the other, more subtle impacts aren’t also relevant as we each navigate our way through this mid-stage of the pandemic.
As an office worker, I joined the masses in migrating work from a dedicated building to a temporary desk at home. That temporary desk (I literally had to build myself a desk with the available wood I had at home) has been a pretty permanent home for the past two years. If not exactly the working set-up I would design, it has become comfortable enough for the life of “living at work” so many of us have taken on.
Being at home is great. I like our house – our home – and it’s a source of security and happiness for us. It’s the base from which our daughter now heads off to secondary school each day (a transition made easier by us working at home) and to the nearby dance school where she spends so much of her “free” time. My other half has also enjoyed a kind and benign environment in which to catch her breath from the pressures of running two near-full time jobs.
Here comes the but…. As we have all willed ourselves apart from each other in the interests of public health, so my world has shrunk to this house, a twice weekly trip the the office and the daily commute between home and the dance school. A kind of inertia has set in, where many things seem far away and perhaps just a little too far to reach. I feel a little stranded from the vigour of life outside the repetitive rhythm of day to day, week to week.
In part this is as a result of what felt like a long, dark winter. But in reality it would be too easy to blame external factors, or indeed ascribe blame at all. It has been, I think, an accumulation of small things: a world that shut itself down, not spending enough time in the fresh air and daylight, working too much and falling into a limited routine. Spring is now very much here, so it’s time to take advantage of those sunny days and fit in some more living. This requires deliberate, conscious effort and cannot be changed overnight – bit by bit we can get out into the world and live more.
Last Friday we did just that: we drove up to the Lake District (not much more than an hour from this part of The North) and climbed Catbells, which looks across Derwent Water towards Keswick and Borrowdale. Not the hardest fell in the Lakes, but what a day for it. A few hours outside in the fresh air making our way to the top – which remarkably we had to ourselves – was really good for the soul. There is life out there!