Anyone else been asked ‘How are you?’ and replied ‘I’m OK’ when really you’re anything but?
People who know me well, always think I’m the extrovert in the group, upbeat and energetic, so no one expects or wants me to be anything else.
But over the past few weeks, I’d stopped saying ‘I’m OK’ and admitted I was struggling, and the response was always the same, ‘Yeah, me too’ and the subject moved on. So I stopped saying it and reverted to – ‘Yep, I’m fine’ and slunk back into my cave.
Motivating myself to work has been even harder. I had lost track of what day it was, what I needed to do. As a procrastinator who needed deadlines, I was uninspired and dispirited. Keeping up a pretence of being efficient and ‘on top of everything’ added to my misery.
Today, however, it all changed. Nothing dramatic, just a simple call from a friend inviting me out for breakfast. After almost eight months of being alone, I went out to a cafe, sat in the sunshine and watched the world go by. I ate food I hadn’t made (that in itself was a major delight) and talked about everything from food colonisation to trivial gossip. Oh and I laughed – I laughed a lot. Even the pooch enjoyed the moment. I wore something other than the three outfits I’ve worn throughout lockdown and put on some make up. The transformation wasn’t just external. I had re-joined the human race and it felt really good.
I came back to a Zoom call for a podcast and my energy was back, for real – not feigned. Even the interviewer commented on how inspiring I was and it felt really good to know that I was starting to recover my old self.
‘Whilst I have empathised with others not coping well under lockdown, I have never allowed myself to feel the same, but always given myself the pep talk’
I have always been a resilient person, faced challenges and adapted well to change. I have said yes to opportunities without knowing where they would lead and as a result have had some fantastic experiences and careers.
Whilst I have empathised with others not coping well under lockdown, I have never allowed myself to feel the same, but always given myself the pep talk – all you have to do is stay indoors for goodness sake, what’s so hard about that? (Being confined to a wheelchair for 4 months back in 2014 was much more restrictive).
I am grateful for the diversion of setting up this new business under lockdown and understand that The Best Life Project has been a life raft for me. Living on my own has never bothered me, in fact I rather enjoy it, but living and working in a vacuum is something else. I realise now I had lost my joie de vivre. Today taught me it had not gone forever, it was just hibernating in lockdown and simple acts like sharing breakfast in the sunshine with an old friend was all I needed to find it again.
So tomorrow, I will go out for lunch and wear yet another outfit. I will hopefully remember to put on the rest of the make up I missed off today. I will sit in the sun and laugh inappropriately with my good friend and business partner, Diane and enjoy food cooked by a chef. I will drink chilled wine, plan for the future, be grateful for what I have and toast life.
Pic by: @rotkif