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Overthinking the rules?

This lockdown is already getting to me. Despite not being entirely squeaky clean on the Covid law-abiding front (no halo polishing here and in fact quite a lot of self-disappointment), I do want to adhere to all the rules right now in order to do my bit. I am finding it a little confusing though and think I may be overreacting.

We must stay at home and not go out unless it is for an essential reason. One of those reasons is to shop for food – straightforward and clear, and I am trying to go as infrequently as possible. Once a week is quite easy to achieve for us. All good.

Another reason is to take exercise. This has to be local. I reckon if I am going on foot then I am local, right? But I have some nervousness (paranoia?) that the police will not believe me when I am on the far side of the Park and tell them I have walked from home. Mind you, maybe they’ll take one look at my knackered footwear and mud-spattered trousers and agree. And honestly, are the police really going to swoop on Richmond Park and ‘raid’ us middle-class leafy-borough-dwellers? Common sense says no, but there are so many celebs in the northern part of the Park I guess it would make a fantastic hunting ground to expose one of them. Or maybe that would be too much like courting social-media outrage when a much-loved star is outed for driving just that little bit too far to take their exercise. 

I met a friend in the Park the other day. I walked to our meeting point (well, in fact, I almost ran because I left it just a tiny bit late to set off – good for the calorie burning I suppose even if it was inadvertent) and she cycled. She bought us coffees from a kiosk and we walked side by side (not close) chatting for about an hour before going our separate ways home. I later saw a news feature about two women being fined for doing something similar in the Peak District. Perhaps the fact they had driven there was the key difference, but it made me nervous that I had contravened some nuance of the rules. Maybe the coffee was indeed a picnic? Overthinking now, for sure!

Incidentally, whilst on our walk, we shared our amusement that people miss hugging.  We are both ladies for whom the requirement not to greet others with a hug or kiss or similar has simply brought a reassuring release from the need to decide what exactly to do on approaching a friend. A curt nod and a bit of a smile? Fine by us, thanks. Always a silver lining!


Choices and small decisions

Had a bad day yesterday. Everything I touched or tried to do seemed to go wrong. We all have days like that, I guess, but I always fear the worst: that this is the beginning of my dementia-fuelled end. 

As I rushed to the post-box just before afternoon collection time, I had a few moments to collect my thoughts. I realised that, despite earlier feeling that I could not trust myself to go outside without falling over (yes, there had been an episode of slipping on the front path whilst chasing a delivery driver – enough of that for now), I had made the small and almost insignificant decision that I could get out to post my cards. 

As I deposited my cards in the postbox (successfully before last collection time – small positive victory!), I also realised I was so miserable I did not want to go carol-singing in the evening with one of my singing groups. I knew it would be difficult – that my glasses would steam up whilst trying to sing through a mask; that we would not have any coherent plan; and that others would get too close together for my liking – but I also knew that singing ‘live’ in a group would potentially be uplifting.

Of course, I did go. I had said I would go, and I rarely go back on my word. Two out of the three difficulties did indeed arise – and the steamed-up glasses was an absolute pain – but our reasonably-distanced singing did indeed eventually cheer me up. 

I wonder at what point I will stop making these small decisions to override my immediate feelings and stop pushing myself outside my restricted comfort zone. There are many small choices like this to make in any normal day, most of which we don’t notice at all. It is only when I stand outside of myself I can see that sometimes I need to make a conscious decision and make something happen. So far, I have actually been good at this, but I can see the slippery slope beckoning. I could easily become a recluse*.

Often I make the decisions because I have somehow committed to someone or have an obligation in some way.  Thus I dragged myself to work for years with migraine on the majority of mornings rather than giving up – I suspect because I simply did not see giving up as an option. I worked around it, tried not to schedule early meetings, did the easiest admin whilst my medication did its work, avoided making my condition an issue for colleagues to know about (although inevitably some were aware in my closest teams but perhaps not quite the extent). 

It is harder to see the choices and make the right decisions now that I mostly have to set my own rules, but I think that’s how I do it on the bad days. I can’t simply stay in the house – it isn’t an option. Hmm – I suppose it is this ability to make the rules, or at least to make suitable rules, and to remember them, that will decline.

In any case, I’m immeasurably cheered up today, due to the announced impending arrival of the rest of a large beer order which we thought had been lost/stolen when only 2 bottles out of 38 arrived yesterday with no explanation apart from an email which said the delivery was complete (one of the many problems contributing to the mood yesterday). So, yay!

*Actually, with my recent feline bereavement, I don’t currently have enough cats for the stereotypical mad-old-bat-in-a-cluttered-house. And that’s not a hint for a furry Christmas present.

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