Musings on the Pandemic
Well, we have been asking some of our contributors to comment on how the pandemic has been affecting them and wondering if they have come up with any strategies to cope. With such unprecedented circumstances I imagined everyone was just waiting for me to open my big fat gob and spout forth great gobbets of wisdom… and how could I disappoint.
As many folks know, I have spent the last , four months in hospital. Just as everyone was getting out after the first lockdown, I managed to fit in a few delightful swims and then fell over, without the aid of gin, and completely incapacitate myself.
I have no objection to gin… if it’s good gin of course, but thanks to gallstones my system just cannot cope with alcohol of any kind. Falling down seems to be something I can now accomplish quite unaided.
Prior to the falling down I was surprised to find I was quite happy to stay at home. I did not stockpile toilet rolls, but was shocked to discover I had a healthy (or unhealthy) supply of pasta that I had been accumulating before there was any hint of the End Times.
I have inherited from my mum a need to have plentiful food supplies. She always made sure there were abundant food stocks, and when my son was younger she brought food parcels regularly. I had a whole cupboard full of baked beans at one point . My son didn’t even like them but they are ‘Food of the Gods’ to this woman.
So, finding myself with enough food, and with friends to shop for essentials, like chocolate, I loved the peace. No traffic and the birds came to life in the sunshine days. Spring was sprung and there was a freedom to ‘Just Be’.
I meditated a lot, thinking the world was going to change. Surely, something of such magnitude would wake us up and cause us to re-evaluate. I felt excited by the intensity of feeling. Many of my friends were hopeful. Conspiracy theories sprang up, were recycled and oohed and aahed over.
I found I loved meeting people via Zoom or Messenger or Skype. A whole aspect of my nature thrived, the unsociable , irritable old lady, could just turn off the computer and shut out the world, and the secret of my irritability could remain a secret for a while longer. I felt healthier and happier than for a long time.
OK, some of you may be thinking what a heartless b**** she is. Here we are with people dying and she doesn’t care. I must add that, irritable old lady or not, I was not unmoved by the state of the world and the panic gripping some of the people I care very much about, and the many I can never know.
Goodwick did feel a bit like a bubble but the bigger picture encroached around the edges. The time in solitude and quiet made for much introspection, which has continued during my long stay in hospital.
If I am going to share what has helped me to cope with it all then I have to say that too much introspection can go too far. As a committed overthinker I have made huge efforts to remain in the present moment as much as possible and to focus on gratitude.
I have had bad days when I can’t find any hope for the world. I have discovered that my few distractions in hospital, such as keeping the magazine going and creating rather inferior works of art, mean that there are days when I have just pulled the sheet over my head in my narrow, little hospital bed and felt overwhelmed.
I have discovered that after years of trying to be the best person I can be and to attempt at least to be kind, my underworked brain has delighted in presenting me with many incidents, some going back 40 years or more, where I failed to reach even the lowest of acceptable standards, at least that’s how it seems at three in the morning.
Generally I realised that if I did want to come through all of this reasonably sane, or die in the process, I needed to focus on the good… the good in the world, the good in other people, and the good in myself.
I have set about forgiving myself and others for not completing things, to congratulate myself and others for the little endeavours that we have achieved, and to be grateful for everything that we can scrape some thankfulness from.
Sorry if this sounds rather worthy. I have just found that keeping it simple has been a luxury I can afford and has probably saved me from going stark staring bonkers.
Now I am newly out of hospital and back home, we will see how well my strategies work . I am very lucky to have been so well looked after, but I have to say I have been so looking forward to being ignored by my cats. They are not disappointing me in the least.