In my Young By Name column for the Tetbury Advertiser‘s June issue, I’m anticipating a return to almost-normal life – and being careful what I wish for.
Inheriting my parents’ strong work ethic and optimism, I have developed a lifelong tendency to try to do more than is physically possible in the available time. Even so, people often remark that I’m prolific, usually in the same breath as asking me to do something for them on the old “ask a busy person” principle. (I really need to learn to say no.)
The upshot is that most of the time, like the Red Queen in Lewis Carroll’s Alice Through the Looking Glass, I feel as if I’m running to stand still. “It takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place,” the Red Queen tells Alice. “If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that.”
I occasionally write a ‘done’ list to prove to myself that I have been more productive than I think, but who has time to do that every day?
Jumping Off the Treadmill
When in 9-5 jobs I stepped off the treadmill for holidays, I was conscious that my work would come to a standstill while others beavered away in my absence. My favourite time to take a break was therefore during the Christmas/New Year break, when almost everyone else went on leave too.
When I worked on a year-round contract in a school office, I rejoiced every time term ended, because in the absence of teachers and pupils, much as I loved them, I felt I had time to catch up with myself.
Stopping the World
To help me stay on top of all my tasks, I used to wish I could put the rest of the world on hold, in the manner of Sleeping Beauty’s fairy godmother making the kingdom sleep for 100 years. My only proviso was that I wouldn’t age a century by the time I woke everyone up again. What a shock that would be for my poor husband!
Covid-19 has put paid to that fantasy for good.
As we emerge, blinking, from the quasi-hibernation of lockdown, I’m hoping this past year is the closest I will ever get to casting that magic spell. As I predicted in the April 2020 issue of the Tetbury Advertiser, for me lockdown resulted in tidier bookshelves, larder, wardrobe, etc, and I’m pleased about that. But going forward, my priorities have changed.
Top of my to-do list post-lockdown will be hugging my parents.
That’s one action I’m happy to keep adding every day.