Will we ever get back to normal? I don’t know, though I’m pretty sure our ‘normal’ won’t be the same as our old one – but I do know that it is even harder than ever before to get down to writing on this blog. It’s not entirely due to lockdown – for a while before covid struck I’d struggled to keep up the (frankly ridiculous) pace I’d maintained for many years of one or more posts a week. But it has become harder since March, and it remains so. Partly because of a shift in priorities – towards wellbeing – towards the garden and the sunshine and getting out in the fresh air with the dog – towards focusing on wall to wall trial work through the summer, until finally I got to a point where I realised it was a good idea to take a break in August in order to be able to keep it up through the autumn.
But there is also something else, I think. Since I’ve been back to work after my 2 ½ weeks off it’s been oh so hard. Something beyond the usual settling back into routines, something beyond the melancholy every-September realisation that you are going to need to get out of bed before it’s light again. I have been dog tired by the end of the working day (something I was managing better in the peak of summer). Too tired to walk the dog, to cook dinner, to do all those things I thought I might do after court finished – and that includes writing blog posts. I haven’t regularly gone to bed before the children since they were wee babies, when I used to nap until 9pm and get up again to finish my prep. But throughout September I’ve been intermittently giving up and putting myself to bed before them, and often sleeping badly when I do. So, blog posts are being pushed down the priority list, some way below doing a good job at work and sleep. I am managing the work just fine, it’s just that the extra bells and whistles are dropping off! I’ve got nothing extra left…
It’s not that I don’t have ideas. I’ve got a list of things I want to gripe, vent and ponder about. I’ve even written some of them in draft but got stuck, struggling to find a time when I have enough focus or energy left to wrangle them into shape.
I’m writing this post this morning before court, hoping that doing so will somehow galvanise me into action and that a more substantial blog post will emerge before long, once I’ve got the blogging juices going again. This post is easy, it writes itself with little brain power or concentration. But I am determined to get back to writing something of more value soon.
Yesterday after my remote hearing I forced myself to go for a walk because I needed to be away from that desk and that screen. It’s the first time I’ve felt a bit of resentment to my lovely new office – somehow even after the link was ended and the screen went dark that room was contaminated by the emotions of the day and I didn’t want to be in it or near it. That is the first time I’ve felt what others have described about the intrusiveness of doing this sort of work from home.
So far my theory is that if I allow myself to recuperate by giving myself enough sleep and fresh air and family time I will be back to it soon enough. But it’s taking longer than I’d hoped, and I wonder now if that is because there is something so much more intense and so much more exhausting about trial work when it’s on a screen in your face all day long, something that perhaps accrues over time and is only now becoming apparent. I think we are still working out what the long term ramifications will be for our working and wider lives, and I’m sure a diminishment in blogging output will not be the most serious of them.
This post then is a little marker of where I’m at now. It will be interesting to see how I feel about things in a few months time when I’ve worked through the assorted care trials that are looming in my diary. I might eventually have to concede that I’m just getting old, but maybe I will have a different excuse by then…