It’s June, 2020, and here in the UK the coronavirus lockdown is relaxing. (Actually, it’s not at all relaxing, it’s extremely stress-inducing, but you know what I mean.) Like most people, I’ve struggled with isolation and stress during these early stages of the pandemic but now that some aspects of daily life are returning…
Have you ever entered the doldrums? Not the literal doldrums—the tedious places at sea where winds are few and sailors struggled to escape. I mean those times in life when nothing at all feels interesting.
Wishes are dangerous. So every fairy tale tells us. The genie will grant your desires… but too literally. The monkey paw will give you what you want… but with an evil twist. And, just when you think you’re safe, the magic lemming steals your fruit in the night.
Last year, life was tedious. It was like my own personal Groundhog Day, except I actually got older and I barely learned anything. Each day was the same: I awoke, I worked in my little office, I slept.
Sometimes I grow tired of the constant hum of failure. Most of my dreams end up as flops. But I’m sure I’m not alone, and we all struggle with the guilt of not finishing from time to time.
This year I’ve experienced a constant stream of setbacks, of varying degrees of seriousness: minor administrative life hassle, major family tragedy, missed career opportunities, painful emotional entanglements, idiotic breakages, unexpected financial demands.
At times, it’s felt as if the universe was sending me regular doses of deliberate punishment.
As a kid, I never understood why adults were so slow. Surely it would be more natural to run around and bounce and clamber – what was wrong with them? Why were all adults so lazy?!
Now I’m (allegedly) an adult, I get it: We’re not lazy… we’re just exhausted.
“Look after yourself,” suggests a well-meaning friend.
“Um, thanks…” I respond—but privately, I bristle. What else am I going to do?! Not look after myself?
And yet… I absolutely need to be told this, because every single day I fail to take care of myself through dozens of poor, tiny decisions.
[post status: a brief life update] When Walking on Custard came out in 2015 (aside: I cannot believe that was three years ago! What on EARTH is happening to the flow of time?!), I needed some sort of online home. I considered all kinds of wild, imaginative ideas, like interactive websites which would act as companions to the…
Do your attempts to be kind to yourself ever backfire?
I’ve noticed lately that my moments of self-generosity are occasionally actively unhelpful to me: