I touched a nerve with the blog last week for it seems that I was not the only one feeling some long-term Covid blues; the messages that followed were warm and heartening. It is hard to wallow under your duvet when by staying there you know that you will miss out on so much heart. I decide to re-emerge.
Oldest Friend (OF) grants permission for my pity party to be extended for one week if I miss my self-imposed recovery deadline of half a day – after which time I am cautioned that commercial quantities of medicinal gin will be prescribed (quite frankly I think she is calling in a long time threat to organise a school reunion and this successfully serves as a cold shower to my inertia – despite the gin being a temptation).
Favourite Man (FM) appears relieved that I have finally ‘come out’ about my glums rather than continuing to spar in a snarky and erratic fashion. He celebrates by arm wrestling for the first table to come available at our favourite local hostelry as soon as the May 17th easing dawns. I see him as a knight brandishing a patio heater in his joust to the bar to get that table. With such rewards, it will need moral fibre for me not to U-turn and eek these blues out a little longer.
Frankly I was beginning to bore myself with my blues; there is only so much sighing and catastrophising that a fifty- something can pretend is good for her health. I start to unpack my tried and tested box of feel good strategies and decide that the following will surely assist my exit from this swamp:
- Starting a new book. This means giving up on the tome that I have tried valiantly to finish although it is making me miserable. This in turn means ditching my own self-imposed rule that I must finish any book I start. This new book is soooo much better. I feel liberated – albeit a little sad that I am never going to complete ‘Ulysses’.
- Moving my second jab forward by two weeks. I decide to take this age-related perk before discovering that FM has not received the same text invite from our GP surgery, although he is one month older than me. I sense he may feel that I have been selfish to cancel our second Covid date – we took our first jab together in a moonlit football stadium and were due to complete this romantic double together. He tells me that I must have some underlying health condition that has put me at a higher risk and jumped me up the NHS queue. His comments throw me for a while. Then I reason that it would be counter-productive for the NHS to hide my secret health risk from me – surely best tell someone that they have high blood pressure or a diabetic tendency than let them continue to hit the drive-thru or bulk buy in a sweet shop?
I tell FM that he should acknowledge that it is in society’s best interest to get this menopausal teacher doubled jabbed as soon as possible.
- Sneaking in a coffee with a former colleague after work and being greeted with a huge grin because – once we have put the world to rights – she is going off to a ‘real’ pilates class after a year of having to contort on Zoom. To celebrate she is wearing the brightest orange t-shirt and black non-sports bra combo (straps showing in a wanton fashion) . She reasons that after a year of WFH she simply does not care if she is wearing the ‘wrong thing’. She challenges me to wear a boiler suit to work the next day. I say I will think about it.
She is grinning also because there has been yet another lockdown hatching of budgie eggs in her dining room; her house is full of dulcet budgie warblings and she is teaching her latest aviary addition to swear like a trooper.
It is a busy week work-wise so I don’t want to over-cook my recovery. I feel that the above three strategies, ignoring the vile weather and sticking my running shoes on each morning, should be enough to nudge me back into rainbow searching.
It is too early to tell if my operandi is working, so I suggest that if you are feeling blue yourself, you raid your own box of tricks. My qualitiatve data is currently revealing mixed results but it is early days:
- I manage to snap the arm off my second pair of glasses. I no longer have a reserve pair and have no time to get to Specsavers. Monocles may need to have a new moment
- In a moment of euphoria at feeling no after effect from my second Covid jab, I slam my finger in the door, turning my nail bed black and causing my finger to double in size. I will not be picking my nose for a while. Purple nail varnish may also need to have a new moment.
- We discover a Sixth Former blatantly embroidering in the Common Room, and this is a beautiful thing. Stitching deserves its moment.
Anyway I soldier on.
My running shoes have been put to good use, so I reason that I am lucky not to have slammed my toe in a door; I am completing a Heath Robinson project on my glasses with the help of some LocTite, and I have high hopes of forming a Sixth Form sewing circle if I can write a risk assessment that has permission to unite students and needles in the same activity.
Most importantly, my duvet is on my bed and I am no longer underneath it. I am on the way back. Here we go again.