A year indoors

Ben Lindsay
April 4, 2021

A year ago this week I started to work from home, right before we went into our first lockdown in Northern Ireland. Since then most of my time has been spent inside my house.

You'll probably be seeing a lot of this type of content around now, but I don't care because I wanted to record what I'm feeling right now. I don't want to ever forget this last year, or take the freedoms and people I have in my life for granted again.

This isn't intended to be a "poor me" or cry for sympathy post. There are people that have had far worse situations than me over the last year. I'm just hoping that something like this never happens again in my lifetime, and I don't want to forget what it's like right now.

This last year has been fucking nuts.

In a way, it's a bit like a long run or some tough exercise. You feel like it's all too much and you want to stop or give up but you just keep going. Although in this case it's like we're tied to the treadmill, because there isn't really an option to stop yet...

I'm not sure whether its my subconcious reminding me that it has been a year now, but this week has been the toughest so far for me. I've been catching a well of emotion in my throat and forcing it back down with shitty food. It just feels like lockdown extentions and life under restrictions will never end.

All through the pandemic I've been thinking we would be out of it in another 3-6 months. Every time I've thought that, my hopes have been dashed. Thanks to vaccinations, it feels like we might actually pull it off this time.

But I'm trying not to be too hopeful.

Daily cases now are higher than the peak of the first wave. There is a potential third wave on the way, and even though vaccinations are rolling out quickly, less than 10% of people here have actually had COVID.

There's still plenty of room for damage to be done. Then again, I'm not an epidemiologist. The vaccine is providing me with some hope, maybe it's false hope, but maybe not.

I wonder would things have been different if we all acted as swiftly as countries like New Zealand or Taiwan. I suppose it's a null question becaue we'll never know. We're here now.

Here feeling fed up, disconnected from life, like the last year has evaporated.

I watched an interesting video recently that described how our perception of time passing changes depending on the variety of events within a certain period. It goes like this;

High variety of events

  • Feels like time is flying when expereinced
  • Looking back it feels like a long period of time because there is a lot to recall

Low variety of events

  • Feels like time is dragging when experienced
  • Looking back it feels like nothing because there is very little to recall

This feels accurate right now. I've been terrified of life slipping away recently. The last year doesn't seem to exist in my memory, but also feels like it has raged on forever.

I miss my friends, my family, sitting in a coffee shop. I don't want to wear itchy masks anymore. I just want to worry about my liver health instead of my mental health.

Right now all I can do is take things day by day, and not let the waves of anger, sadness, and pent up energy get the better of me.

I feel like I should be angry at the people that have been breaking lockdown rules. I've tried to be pretty strict with them myself, with the exception of trying to WFH¹ as little as possible. I haven't seen any of family since Christmas, and I don't really venture out for anything other than exercise or food shopping.

But it's hard to be angry at people for wanting some sense of freedom or normality. Especially students.

I watched some TikToks last week of univeristy students enjoying the sun in the park on St. Patrick's day. Followed by images of them jumping over fences to flee police enforcing lockdown rules.

Not saying I condone this...but it looked fun...

I hope we remember all of this, and global pandemics don't gain the same frequency as recessions. I'm not sure I could take another one.

Maybe if this blog survives, someone will read this post in 20 years, with no knowledge of the pandemic and think this is all wild. Maybe blog extracts will be printed in history books instead of diary entries....

  1. On WFH, I find it realy difficult to spend so much time in the same space. I'm really not sure how people who enjoy WFH like it, but maybe they're more disciplined than me. Maybe if I had a dedicated office space and not our kitchen table it would work better. I've probably done 50:50 work from home and from co-working spaces this last year. I've only ventured out of the house when I felt like a workspace was going above and beyond to keep things safe; temperature scanning, distancing rules etc Not WFH has been a major factor in holding onto my sanity. I really enjoy a commute, seeing people in real life, and a change of environment for work and home life.
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