FIFTEEN SHADES OF GUILT.
I begin to wake up and can feel the new warm rays of sunshine beaming through the slatted blinds that reside to the left of me. The cotton slept in sheets beneath me are supporting my curled up position comfortably and I can hear the light snoozing of my other half at the side of me. My eyes flicker with anticipation of seeing a new day. I open my eyes and just as I come to, something nudges lightly in the back of my mind. And just like that I remember that we are eight weeks strong into a lockdown, enduring a global pandemic. My anticipation soon settles itself and I predict the monotonous routine today is going to offer. Cup of tea, a workout, some writing or reading, lunch, watch an episode of a nominated series, prepare dinner, eat dinner, and lounge on the sofa until the tiredness of the lazy lockdown day number 589 kicks in. Each day is accompanied by different moods and feelings towards the isolation and distance from friends and family. There's always one persistent feeling present however, a constant nagging yet aching pain, good old guilt.
She refrains from giving it a rest, persistent in getting her point across. She’s there when your being somewhat productive and relaxing on your arm chair bedside you when your chilling out. There has been numerous fights between her and myself as to whether she has any leg to stand on but she’s stubborn, obstinate, tiring and unwanted but it seems I can’t shake her when it comes to these tenacious fifteen shades of guilt.
1. Waking up after 9am– The pleasure of lying in your own heavenly kingdom of a bed far later than your daily working routine would usually allow is ceaseless. I have been given this opportunity to create my own schedule and yet the dream of waking up anytime past what's deemed early morning is crushed. Guilt ridden lie-ins are now the new lie-ins, how are you ever meant to get the most out of your twice as long day sitting in the living room if you are festering in the bed. I need to get up and do something. . . my sleeping time is up.
2. Staying up after Midnight – Without going to bed early, there isn’t much hope of dragging myself out of bed before 9am either. So when that hourly hand is ticking by as politely yet quickly as it does, I am desperate to stick to my bedtime routine. This is not a holiday. . .
3. Missing Out A Day Of Exercise –The long wretched London working hours and soul draining commute would leave me energy-less. Seemed as though time and motivation was well and truly diminished when it came to any type of after work physical activity. Now current circumstances seem to be giving me every free hour that god sends *You best get your ass in your gym gear and feel that burn* Two times a week of exercise used to be an achievement, four times a week - a breaking triumph. So with all the spare time, setting the bar high at the beginning seemed attainable if not applaudable.
Six days on/one day off – Turns out not so attainable.
4. Writers Block– I couldn’t tell you the amount of times I've day dreamed at my work desk about becoming a full time writer from the comfort of my own home. Well, here I am given the chance of a self employed free trial during this pandemic and stats show that if this was to be my main source of income then I'd probably be evicted right now. The ideas and inspiration train has come to a significant halt and I can’t see any repairs team to get it back on track. It seems everyone else is pouring with the stuff and I am sat here idea-less, uninspired and blocked. Great ..
5. Not Pursuing New Hobby – New hobby, new me. Baking - Relaxing, Anxiety buster, Fun for all involved, what is not to love? I gave it a good old go on the baking front. I invested in my nine pound loaf tin, built up a solid ingredients cupboard and threw myself into the world where Mary Berry lives. Banana breads, Lemon drizzle… I was conquering the world. It came to my attention that the more baking I was doing, the more cake I was consuming which was not supporting my attainble 6 days a week workout schedule. As I stood there with more flour on the floor than in my bowl, I considered it my last bake for a while. All that effort I contributed into the hobby and I quit. I am sure I can hear the unused loaf tins' tears.
6. Online Shopping– THE BANE OF MY LIFE. Less daily outgoings, more pennies sat there going to no good use. Abandoned filled baskets wondering where their owner is to claim them. Every single shopping app is visited at least twice a day waiting patiently for me to put them to good use and order something, it has become part of my daily routine. Online shopping is a temporary high, the feeling is soon dissipated when the clothes arrive and you have absolutely nowhere to wear them, I am trying my hardest to not give in to the ‘What’s New’ tab and twice as hard not to click buy.
7. Doing Business– You would think with all this time on my hands is when my brain would finally grasp onto the multi-millionaire business idea. This is the time when I could be really putting things into place and working towards becoming the next Oprah Winfrey. How am I not halfway towards becoming the next Oprah Winfrey?
8. Not getting dressed– They say if you get dressed, you feel ready to take on the day. It supports you to feel productive and get things done. I gave it a go and committed to getting dressed in daily clothes. I admit I felt more alive, looked half decent and could finally wash my pyjama bottoms I had formed a strong bond with. I gave myself a taster of what it feels like to get up and get dressed again. But truth be told, jeans are uncomfortable, my house is weirdly cold and I don’t deal well with separation. As I sit here typing out my feelings of guilt of not making an effort to dress myself, my pyjama bottoms sheepishly comfort me.
9. Committing to TV Recommendations– The list in endless, I don’t know why I get myself into this predicament of committing to watching something recommended by someone when I don’t even watch the TV. I know there is more time on my hands and I’ll say my hours of TV has increased from 1 to 2 but not half as much to keep up with the amount I am being told to entertain. The answer is No, I haven't started Homeland and yes I have TV commitment issues.
10. Going Outdoors– Even though we have been allowed 1 hour of exercise per day outdoors and still allowed to the shops for essentials. I still can’t help feeling like I should still be indoors when I'm outdoors.
11. Being Indoors– I also try to limit my time outdoors and be a complete caveman for a consecutive few days. But then I also can’t help feeling like I should utilise that time we have been blessed with to be outdoors when I am indoors to refrain from going completely mad. Makes sense?
12. Nipping to the shop for an essential – I am trying my hardest to stick to the once per week shop. Making a list and awaiting that day to come around so you can re-stock your snack cupboard. But sometimes when your halfway through the week and you realise you haven’t got that one ingredient for your Tuesday night spontaneous dish (or you have ran out of sauvignon blanc) the yearning to just pop over to the shop is aching. If I break this one tiny, tiny rule would this make me a Covidiot?
13. Not having much to say– The phone calls are constant, but the conversation is still. My usual want to spark an interesting conversation has wilted into forgotten herbs that live the back of the fridge. Even my Nanna is cutting the conversation short as she realises I’m sighing into the universe wondering what to say next. Seeing as we have already covered what we both had for breakfast, what we’re having for dinner and what were having for breakfast and dinner tomorrow I am turning into a uninteresting mute.
14. Short attention span– I cannot concentrate on anything long enough to even claim it as a productive activity. It looks as though I can't finish more than two chapters in my book, I loose faith in a writing idea the moment it pops in my head and I am already looking at my phone fifteen minutes into the movie even though I have been aimlessly scrolling all day. It seems the want is there to do everything but the attention span is minimal.
15. Feeling Guilty– I’m feeling guilty for feeling guilty. *Someone get her a strong drink*. . . A constant game of ping pong taking place in my brain battling out feeling guilty for not being as productive, enthusiastic, willing, motivated, prepared, driven, ambitious as I’d imagined in these circumstances and to just STOP - FEELING - GUILTY.
I am aware nobody was prepared for this situation we are all enduring momentarily. I cannot remember the letter from Boris Johnson either claiming we all must utilise this time to become an overnight millionaire, overnight fitness fanatic or star baker. I am a sucker for beating myself up, feeling unproductive when actually there were lots of productive highlights to my week. In our generation we are so used to seeing everything we achieve documented on social media platforms yet we have to stay grounded and remember just because you are not announcing it, doesn't mean it didn't happen.
Guilt is a feeling people typically have after doing something wrong, intentionally or accidentally. A person's sense of guilt usually relates to their moral code.
- Guilt isn't necessarily bad. Sometimes it's even productive. -