Before we begin I want to make clear that what occurred was in no way my work’s fault. I was in no way coerced and the decision was completely mine. Just life seemed to want to s**t on me this time.
Yes with 3 months of lockdown over, stuck inside all alone things were looking up. Thanks to the exceptions put on single person households extended households I was able to see family for the first time and I also got word that I was able to return to work. I had remained in contact with my boss though online chatting. He phoned once and we ended up chatting for over an hour about nerd stuff so we were excited to see each other again.
Now of course things wouldn’t be the same as they were pre lockdown, I’m no eejit. I was already taking precautions in the weeks before lockdown and after they would of course become standard. But me and my boss were happy to see each other again as we let loose nerd stuff upon each other. I even tried to spice things up a little bringing in takeaways and other treats; it’s been hard for them too.
The problem happened shortly after I came back. I agreed to do some extra work. Now this meant I had one more work day and one less rest day, something I have often done if the need arose, say someone else was on holiday or there was an emergency, I was happy to do it. I can’t go into too much detail about what happened, for one I never inquired as I respected people’s privacy and it’s for that same reason I have to choose my words carefully here. I had thought, well I will be doing this for quite some time, I know I can crash at my family member’s place on the weekend to help mitigate the exhaustion. 2 problems occurred that ruined all our plans. 1 the extra hours went on for far longer than any of us had originally thought. And 2… Said family members car broke … 2020 huh.
Now I don’t consider my job too exhausting physically, (once again needing to choose words carefully for privacy reasons) but all those extra hours begin to build up on you mentally, and it was the mental exhaustion that was slowly killing me. Also take into note I was heading to work, in the summer wearing essentially winter clothes (mask and gloves) for reasons of deadly virus still out there. Some of those summer days were so hot for me (also carrying a bunch of work stuff) that I started to bring a second shirt as the one I was wearing was usually covered in sweat by the time I got to work.
However during all this my boss was very supporting and understanding about it all, in fact while talking to him about writing this, and the difficulty of making sure I don’t give away anything that breaches their privacy, they mentioned at times they could see how much the mental exhaustion was getting to me and how they even considered forcing me to go home and get some sleep. Truly I am lucky to have the job I do.
Eventually I had to admit defeat and stop taking the extra hours, work understood of course and after taking an extended weekend to get my body and mind back into working shape it was back to work with renewed vigour.
It was during these times that a most bizarre realization occurred. Though I had been through some very depressing times, first 3 months of isolation and fear followed by my own foolishness causing me to take on too much work – I was actually very lucky. I chat with people all over the world and in the time since the start of the year, many had lost their jobs, or loved ones, some even got positive cases themselves. While I felt miserable, an emotional wreck. I still had family, a job and many things they now didn’t. At the same time I depressingly realized I was not OK, I was also having to accept I was lucky in how the events of the year had hit me.
Orkney to my much respect, continued as a whole to treat social distancing and the pandemic very seriously. Cafes adapted to new layouts and people even wore masks in the streets probably finding like me that they are quite comfortable in the colder months. In fact the only real cause of concern was when schools started back up. I’m quite worried on days when my journey home coincides with children coming out of schools as I see large clumps of them all bundled together none wearing a mask. I am often forced to walk onto the road to avoid these as they have an annoying habit of being on both sides of the path moving at the same speed parallel to one another.
But anyway as my hours returned to normal, my family member’s car fixed so I could visit their home again (remember extended households we both live on our own) things once again started to look up. Wasn’t much to watch sadly, many of the anime had to have been held back since their development period was hit by the state of emergency Japan had been in, and ones I had looked forward to often ended up on streaming services I didn’t have. One show I had started to watch was the new version of Digimon Adventure. It had started its first 3 episodes earlier in the year but went on hiatus when Covid got bad. But with it now in full swing… well I’ll be talking about that in the last week of the year.
But my journey through this most difficult of years is not over. There was an election that was going to happen after all and someone I didn’t want to see 4 more years of.
My Auntie Bridie was a wise woman.
She told me…”Take care of yourself, because, if you don’t, you won’t be fit to take care of anyone else.”