Social Distancing Day 18

Hello dear readers, apologies for the break in posts. The last few days have featured some ups and downs. After two weeks of social distancing, I am at once both settled into a sort of routine, and also chafing against the restrictions. I’ve gotten used to staying and working from home, more or less. I don’t really seem to mind not being able to leave the apartment, but I do miss having things to do. In particular, though I’ve been pretty well fed at home, I am really starting to miss going out for meals, and having them with different groups of people.

It’s been very important to keep myself occupied. It’s too easy for me to be constantly worried, or always refreshing news or Twitter, none of which actually helps the current situation. I’ve been doing that through a combination of work and play. My mornings have usually been filled with getting a slow start, some meeting, and catching up with news and email. The afternoons are when I’ve been doing the bulk of my work: reading, programming, writing reviews, etc. The evenings have been mostly social time, either with the roommates in person, or remotely with friends over some kind of video conferencing. My life is generally better when there is some sort of routines, and I’m glad to be settling into one.

The last few days have been sunny and enjoyably warm here. I’ve been making use of our balcony, which faces south and gets lots of sun in the afternoon. I spent most of yesterday afternoon on the balcony reading. I started reading a book called This Life by Martin Hägglund. It’s a combination of philosophy, politics and governance devoted towards living a satisfying, meaningful and finite life (hence the title). It’s both aligned with my interests, and also seems relevant to the current times.

I’ve been thinking about how time is going to a time of change for many, maybe all of us. For me, my emotions have been very intense, and all over the place. I also don’t have many of my usual coping mechanisms, like going out for a good meal, or spending some time in a bookshop or museum. So I have to actually sit with and make peace with feelings when they come up. It’s been difficult, especially the last few days, but it’s also been a learning experience. I’m getting better at seeing my emotions come and go. I’m getting better at realizing that no matter how I feel, I will feel differently soon, and don’t need to get carried away. I’m also (re-)learning that physical details, like how much and when I’ve eaten, or exercised, have a big mental effect. Much of this is stuff I’ve been thinking about and working with over the last year, but this time has reinforced and accelerated that development.

I took today to be a proper day off. Played a lot of Age of Empires, did some laundry, had some good meals. Tomorrow I’ll be preparing for the week ahead. My weekdays are actually still pretty full: almost all my meetings have gone online, so I need to plan ahead and manage my time and energy like I would for any other week. My Zen group usually meets on Sunday afternoons, and we’ve been doing that online too. Hope you all are having a good weekend in whatever way you can, and I hope you’re all staying safe, staying sane, and taking care of each other.

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