I had to laugh looking back at a blog post I wrote at the end of the 2019. I was writing about how difficult the year had been, how much I was looking forward to a fresh start in 2020.
I actually snorted. Out loud. If only I knew what was in store…
I know that for many of us the past two years have held some of the most trying, lonely, and uncertain days of our lives. There isn’t much I can share about my own personal experience that would come as any kind of surprise — collectively, we’ve felt a lot of the tough stuff together, apart. But I guess what I’ve realised over the last few months is that I’ve changed. As cliché as it sounds, Covid has changed me.
I know, I rolled my eyes too. But it has.
In large part, I moved through the past two years [how it has been nearly two years I still don’t know] counting down between lockdowns, ignoring any semblance of daily routine, sleeping longer and later than I ever have in my life, working under constant pressure with little regard for my health and wellbeing, struggling to maintain a personal life. ALL THE WHILE believing I was coping pretty damn well.
And maybe I was. But I feel like I’ve woken up in recent weeks — reality has set in — and whatever fictitious land of “it won’t be like this much longer” I was living in is gone and now I just have me. This life. Far less energy for social interaction. And some hardcore anxiety that this is just who I am now, irrespective of when this all blows over and life “goes back to normal”.
I think this is my normal.
I think my normal is tired. Tired all the time. So tired my brain talks itself in circles and I hear the sound of my voice with no idea whether it makes sense to anyone.
I think my normal is indoors. Like… I don’t go outside for days because I “don’t need to anymore” kind of normal. Just the thought of walking downstairs out of my building feels like too much. Sometimes I wonder how I ever managed to leave my flat 6-7 days a week.
I think my normal is quiet. I can hardly summon the energy to find food in the fridge and engage in conversation with Rory. How did I ever do things in the evening after the work? And on weekends? Just having ONE obligation feels like an infringement on my “me time”…
The thing is, I do miss the old days. Not that I was ever brimming with enthusiasm for my daily commute to work or weekends packed full of plans, but there was something different about me. Everything was a little brighter — colours, feelings, experiences more saturated and intense. Life felt less lacklustre.
Is it any wonder I’m not in the Christmas spirit?
I had to do a double take when someone wished me a Merry Christmas yesterday. It’s a weird feeling to know the date and time I’m in and yet feel so detached that, honestly, it could be any day of the year right now and I’d barely notice.
And I can’t draw a direct line from how indifferent I feel about to Christmas to how I’ve changed the past two years, but I know they’re related.
If you find all of this horribly sad and depressing, know that it’s okay. I’m okay. I’m going to let myself feel whatever I feel while listening to Christmas music, exchanging gifts, FaceTiming my family, eating all of the food. I’ll smile and cry, laugh and be silent — I’ll stay open to whatever comes up trusting that it’s all part of whatever it means for me to “be in the spirit” this year.
If you relate — if you know exactly what I mean and share my nostalgia for the person you were back in 2019 — know that you’re not alone. That this year is tough for many of us. That the best you can do is good enough. That what is now will not necessarily be forever. That just as quickly as life changed two years ago, it can and will change again.
I hope this finds you well and that your holiday is filled with warmth and compassion, patience and kindness. Here’s to making the best of whatever next year brings.
Merry Christmas x