Life of an Extrovert in Lockdown!
The lockdown has been extended in India, to be honest even before the announcement, every one of us in a way knew what was coming.
There is so much to deal with at a time like this. It is such a unique time, there is no expert out there to tell you what is normal, what you are supposed to do, what to avoid.
There are some days which are better than others, I feel really motivated, want to conquer the world, tick off my to-do list, and then there are those gloomy days, when I feel incredibly desolated, don’t feel like coming out of bed but still have to and tick off everything on my to-do list.
Expectation Vs. reality
A few days back, when I heard about the lockdown for the first time, to be honest, there was a part of me who was looking forward to having more time at my discourse. I had a pretty long wishlist ready to be explored - work, learn, rest, and whatnot. I wanted to achieve a lot of things in these few days of solitude — Go-getter attitude. Somehow I was expecting a break from my world, a place to stay still in this racing world.
I wanted time to just stop for a moment so that I could internalize the beauty of life, I could introspect and understand the world around me, pamper myself, and take much-deserved rest. Who knew what was in store for me instead…
My time was mostly dealt doing this
Work: Working on new work projects the entire day. I think for me “work from home” didn’t cut any slacks and somehow I was spending much more time on the laptop than I ever did in these 10 years of career. Somehow I felt the work never ended or was it just me obsessing about the whole thing or was there really a lot to be done. I didn’t know!
I usually have March end and April very hectic, but I have never come across this level of crazy. Apart from the usual appraisal season, I have a laxed schedule, have help at home, etc., so post-work, I would spend a lot of time reading books, writing, pursuing my hobbies. And somehow now in this lockdown, in spite of striking the travel time off my schedule, I was stuck at work without being at work the whole freaking day. I had no idea how I was capable of overworking, whether it was my speed or efficiency or just the fact that there was a lot of work.
House Chores: I really don’t know how my friends get so much done at home without any help. I mean, I always had help for chores — cooking, cleaning, dusting, washing, even grocery shopping was outsourced. Now I was doing all the chores (with a lot of help from partner). I know a lot of people do it anyway with the office, in a way, even I have done something similar (with minimal help) for a couple of years initially when I got married. But this was a crazy amount of work, too much on the plate of someone who is a cleanliness freak.
Watching News: Checking out the COVID numbers online, tracking the drug development closely, world news, and just obsessing about it. I didn’t realize how badly this was affecting me, I wanted to stop but I just couldn’t get hold of myself.
Netflix: Watching movies late in the night, while the laptop is still glaring back at me, imploring me to pay attention, so that I complete what I have endeavoured on. But I am too tired to continue, and the TV is on now. Then I suddenly realise I am not even a TV person, still, somehow this unknown territory was strangely enticing me. I give up one of the two, which is most of the time work — and I manage to rationalize this by telling myself -You have been working the whole day and need some time off it.
Thinking: Generally, I am an utterly organized person, I have always wanted my days, months, years planned, organized, and timed. But the way I was spending my days during the lockdown was freaking me out. Apart from this I was emotionally exhausted all the time, literally anything and everything would make be shed bucket full of tears. Trying to figure it out made me feel lonely. Thinking about the fact how cluttered I was becoming, how spontaneous I was being, how emotionally vulnerable I was behaving, how I was not able to take control of the things. It was like my life was just slipping out of my hands and I could see it, realize it, feel it, still could do nothing.
Suddenly after spending the day collecting my emotions which were bestrewed all over the place, a strange feeling of guilt would engulf me, the day spent would make me ponder that there are people out there with real sufferings, they are worse off, I have a clean and healthy place to stay, someone to take care of me day and night and still, “I” am feeling this. What about them! These 20 days have been a very challenging time for a lot of people, and I am nowhere close to what they have been experiencing.
Domestic violence is on loose, child abuse is running rampant, Medical practitioners are being discriminated, people have lost their jobs, there are people who have no money to get through the day with proper meals, people are dying each day — and here I am feeling sad by just watching the news.
Scrolling through Social Media: I would then browse through my feed while trying to sleep and trust me this is 2–3 hours of work. I would have snacks in the middle of it, stroll in my tiny apartment, simply lay there on the bed praying to get some sleep, when finally I am bestowed upon with some solace till my weird dream-marathon kicks in. But still sleep is all, I wished for at those times. While I was at it, trying to sleep, I would look into people’s lockdown world, some were really motivating and inspiring, I would learn how to feel ok in all these crazies, some were making good use of the time being productive, some were playing games, some were connecting with others, some people were bored with no work to do, some were getting in shape. I learned how not to judge myself and try to take a cue from each of them and try to better my situation. However, I really wanted to part some of my workload with people who were getting bored though! :) But jokes apart.
Connecting I learned a great deal by connecting with people on and off social media. I learned how to have a laugh at the end of the day through a lot of memes with your partner, I learned that everyone is in the same boat and it is ok to feel this sadness in such times. It is ok to cry watching silly movies, It is ok to feel scared watching a documentary on COVID, It is ok to be non-productive or overwork, be messed up, be an emotional wreck, It is ok to let out your feeling, it is ok to ask for help.
End of the day even a long hug from your loved one will lighten up your day! Trust me!
Rather than denying reality, I have started to embrace it. I still feel shit scared about the whole situation, there will still be those gloomy days in the future but there will also be those loved ones always wanting to pick you up every time you fall!