Normality Take Two II

Published in Wellbeing / Personal - 3 mins to read

It’s been two full days of “normality” now, and honestly… I don’t like it. I want to go back to the way things were last week.

Don’t get me wrong, obviously I like some bits of it. I have an appointment to get my hair cut tomorrow and I know afterwards I’m going to feel great about it. I was able to go see my doctor in person today and have an actual face-to-face conversation about my health and wellbeing. My brother is spending more time out of the house, which means he’s spending less time playing electric guitar in the room above me. All these things are great, and I’m glad that they’re a part of my life again. But they come with a heavy price tag - normality just has so much noise. I already feel a lot of pressure to socialise in ways I don’t especially want to. Having the time and space to reflect on my relationships during quarantine has been really healthy, and I’m hoping to get out a lot of the things I feel obligated to do socially, rather than because I want to, and I have a much clearer idea of what it is that I want socially or out of my relationships. I’ve known for a long time that I prefer spending time one-on-one with someone than as part of a group, but thinking about it now, I enjoy time spent as part of a group so infrequently that maybe I should try to limit how much I choose to do it going forward. I get disproportionately more from a small number of very close friends who I can be wholly myself around than I do from maintaining a number of lesser friendships and acquaintances, and again, maybe I don’t need the latter at all, and should focus all my time and energy on the former.

Another wonderful benefit of lockdown was quite how low I managed to drive my baseline, day-to-day anxiety level, to the point of being appreciably close to zero. Heading to the climbing gym or into town yesterday made me realise quite how much anxiety I still have even being in public. I struggle a lot with small talk, I don’t like the thought of bumping into people I know, I hate not being able to be anonymous; fortunately soon I am moving and hopefully this will be less of a problem in the big city, but right now it sucks. Maybe I shouldn’t live in a city at all and would be better suited in a remote mountain hut somewhere, or perhaps I should switch careers and become a lighthouse keeper.

Jokes aside, I am definitely planning on going back into my shell now I’ve poked my head out a little. Once I’ve got my hair cut, I’ve discharged all obligations I feel towards myself in terms of leaving the house (apart from to go running) and I’m not going to do any more in-person socialising this week. I’m only responding to messages from a small group of people (if you’re reading this blog, the good news is that you’re probably one of them) and I’m going to try to get back to the simple life that already seems to be slipping away from me. Eat, sleep, work, run, read - that’s all I want. And of course to have less hair while doing all those activities.

See other posts in the Lockdown series