It’s been 1 year since I first worked from home.
I remember that day perfectly. My colleagues and I were happy to be working from home, it was something new, different, exciting. The professors were concerned about the students, lectures, exams, while the PhD students were happy that they can just stay home and wake up late and don’t face the weather in the morning. Ah, the WEATHER in the NETHERLANDS. Not something to be happy about. The next day is blurry for me, because I wasn’t used with working from home. Suddenly everything was boring. I think that day the media announced that this situation will last for more than a few weeks, so guided by some crazy impulse, right before the mayhem, I decided to create a home office. I ordered a screen, a desk and a chair right away. Oh, and a game controller, because what else can we do at home besides playing games?
Then every day became worse … emotionally. I didn’t have energy, I didn’t know what to do, work was not inspiring, going outside was scary, meeting with people wasn’t advised. What should we do with our life?? So the entire internet went crazy about cooking and baking and creating routines and trying to stay entertained in any way.
When I think about that time, my first feeling is of contempt, because I forced myself into creating routines, into doing stuff because I HAD TO. But on a second thought, I think it was just the right thing to do. Otherwise, I would just be adrift, laying on the couch all day, eating junk food and feeling miserable. By pushing myself to do stuff, I got out of my comfort zone, and I can look back at my year and say “Well, it wasn’t that bad”. I was so focused on exercising and diet that people who don’t know me that well thought that I gave up my career in computer science to be a nutritionist. That was crazy!
I became interested in lounge wear and makeup at the same time. I was spending a lot of time outdoors and wishing for social interactions, while being scared of people. I remember that in April I went out with my bike (me and the rest of the city basically) and I was so scared about catching the virus from the people that cycle ahead of me! I was scared of getting it at the pool, restaurants, basically everywhere, although I was outdoors.
It was a crazy year, with lots of ups and downs, but I want to focus on the bright side and I want to share a few things that I learned this year.
5 Things I learned this year
These are 5 things that come to my mind when I think about my year in the pandemic.
1. Living in the city doesn’t make me happy.
I learned that I need nature to be happy. I need to spend time outside to feel good and living in the city makes it so difficult. You can say that cities have parks, which is nature, right? Well, parks are busy, there are so many people at any time of the day! During the pandemic everything is closed anyway, all the (sport) clubs, restaurants, bars, gyms, shops! Everything! So what else can you do but spend time in nature?
2. I don’t need to get out to look good.
I learned that I don’t need to be out in the public eyes to look good. I’m still doing my nails, making my hair nice, putting on lipstick and occasionally a full face of make-up and everything is for myself. My boyfriend appreciates it too, but first and foremost it is for myself.
3. I wear a uniform at work.
I am wondering, is my true style comfy sporty and relaxed? Did I just forced myself into wearing shirts, dresses, heels, so I can look good in front of other people? Well, yes and no. I thought a lot about this, mostly because I have lots of clothes hanging in the closet, untouched for one entire year! I realised that I am wearing a uniform at the office, although I don’t have to, but it is something that helps me have a work-life balance. It helps my mind making a distinction between work and personal life.
4. A car is useful.
I realised that a car is actually good. I was against cars, I didn’t find them useful and with all the climate change situation, well … we should cut down using cars. But, boy, oh, boy! It was so useful and needed in these times. You can just go away in any corner of the country without having to fear that you’ll get infected.
5. I’m clingier.
I’m definitely more clingy! I don’t like being alone anymore, and at the same time I’m afraid of being surrounded by too many people. I hope that once the pandemic is gone, we will work more on improving our mental health. I won’t say that I want to get back to how I was, because I think I have grown so much in this period and I can only look forward with hope.
Somehow there’s no difference between me this time last year and me today. Well, I’m one year older and I have pink highlights. But I find myself in a similar situation: drinking gin and planning the next workout challenge.