The quiet joys and foibles of solo living.
It’s now just over a week since Victoria returned to hard lockdown at midnight on Wed July 8.
That Tuesday, I prioritised a few out-of-home errands, as I’m sure many locals did. It was, by all accounts, a couple of days of relatively decent takings for shops and restaurants.
I got my glasses tightened, acquired two jigsaw puzzles, picked up some Officeworks supplies including a pad of watercolour paper. Then late afternoon, popped into the mostly-empty bar Saint & Rogue for a glass of wine. This turned into two glasses, a delicious meal of barramundi and mash, followed by a cheese board. All up $80 – quite a splurge, but a satisfactory one. The almost-empty premises began to fill to its limited capacity, and I could hear bookings for the next evening pouring in over the phone, as locals prepared to say a physical catch-ya-later to each other.
I very much relished that meal. It would be the last meal for six weeks not eaten under my own roof. I devoured every last scrap of food on the plate. Including the dill garnish. I never garnish my own home-cooked meals.
And then it began.
Last lockdown, I spent a good 30 – 35 hours diligently doing all the things I’d been advised to do, in seeking jobs and networking to gain freelance copywriting work. Some of it paid off. But I also learned the effort was not equally rewarded.
Now though, a despondency has crept in. It doesn’t seem worth the effort. And yet, effort must be made, to stop the rot setting in. This past week, I applied for two jobs as part of my four-applications-a-month Job Plan. This is the work I must do, in order to keep my Job Seeker payment coming. So I treat it like a job. I apply for content writer and editing jobs that I’d love to do, and data entry jobs that I’m less keen on – but my transferable skills would appear weak beside the multitudes of exact and lengthy experience no doubt pouring in from the fellow unemployed. I feel for the poor sods who are now fielding hundreds of semi-useless applications from job seekers fulfilling their mutual obligations. But I feel more for the others like me.
I’m determined to be more creative this time, but so far this had been foiled by another great difference from last time — winter. It’s bollocks-freezing cold in my place – even with my small oil heater – and my feet are distracting ice-blocks. My hot water bottle and microwave wheat bag are doing overtime, trying to thaw these poor tootsies before shoving them into two pairs of merino socks and ugg boots.
I can’t seem to muster up the enthusiasm for creating. That’s OK – we’re told not to put pressure on ourselves to do so. But oh how I dreamed of and longed for more me-time when I was working full-time and stressed to the max. (Actually, right now I am drafting this from bed, at midday. Because I can.)
I’m aware that I am susceptible to SAD – seasonal affective disorder – so I keep a bright yellow scarf near my eyeballs (this works, apparently) And just about every day, I get out for an hour’s walk or run, listening to podcasts and music. It feels good to be keeping fit.
The evenings are a bit ordinary. That’s when I’ve been most likely to feel a dragging loneliness, even when attempting escapism via reading or screen time. I really should go to bed earlier, but this week it’s been 11:30 or 12, still watching or reading something until I recognise the preferable escapism of sleep.
Yet Week 1 has still contained elements of joy and hope. I spent most of Saturday happily doing my Inspirational Women circular jigsaw while listening to the audiobook of Stephen Fry reading his autobiography The Fry Chronicles. And have had a couple of nice phone chats with my sister in New Zealand.
But for the moment, I am in limbo and have to recognise that, like many other peeps in this part of Australia, I’m kinda down in the dumps. Yet personally, I don’t think my mood will get too much worse. I see the potential of this alone time, if only I can access my motivation. I do need to actively work on self-care and really embracing my introvert nature. And for that, my friends, I HAVE to get creative.
And, maybe, enjoy a little more time working/playing from BED.