339 // I Don’t Want to Go Back

This morning is adhering a lot closer to plan than the last few have. I’m up before the sun, my favorite time of day as long as I get to spend it sipping coffee and reading in bed next to a sunny window rather than stumbling through the beginning of the workday routine, and from here things are only looking up. I have nowhere to be and nothing much at all I have to do.

These days, these not quite work days but not quite weekends, are quickly becoming a large source of peace and fulfillment for me. I’m concerned about how hard it’s going to be to return to a full-time work schedule after the turn of the new year, and even more so after the corona virus vaccine becomes widely available and distributed.

The pandemic has really put into focus what matters, and at the top of that list is time. It’s become clear how much of it I have been giving up, how much we’ve all been giving up. Forty hours—and often more!—a week spent doing what? I love my job, but it isn’t for me. I don’t do it because I love it; I do it to survive.

I have to give up my life in order to live? It’s all so contradictory, depressing, and, the longer the pandemic wears on, infuriating.

I want the pandemic to end, but I do hope life doesn’t just go back to normal after it’s safe to leave our homes and be within six feet of each other again. I don’t want to go back to working so many hours a week. I don’t want to go back to feeling guilty for staying home when I’m sick. I don’t want to go back to long meetings, and crowded offices, and impossible expectations.

Sadly, I suspect everything in the workplace will go back to the way it was and faster than I can adjust physically or emotionally. People are just too happy with what is familiar even if a little change, uncomfortable adjustment, and imagination is all it takes to give a world with a little more balance, peace, and, most importantly, time.

I can’t do it today. I just can’t. I woke up this morning still feeling exhausted and just the thought of repeating the stress of yesterday was more than I could handle. So, I’m staying home today and you know what? I feel a hell of a lot better without the weight of the outside world on me. I may be feeling down and sickly but here in my own home all alone it isn’t so bad.

I should have spent the day resting, or even writing if I really wanted to get something done but instead I cleaned the house. Cleaning, after all, is the most satisfying kind of procrastination and I had hours and hours for it today. What makes it so insidious is how hard it is to regret. How can I feel bad when everything around me is so organized now? It’s a space clear enough to think in, to write in, but now I’m too tired.

And tonight I’m miserable again and tomorrow I will be too but I have to go back to work. Resting time is over and I wasted it, but for now the house is clean, my wife is home, and having at least that means everything.