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We’re all on a science fiction adventure (again)

I’ve now lived in “lockdown” for four weeks without properly realising it. In a miniature version of my experience of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, I accepted a need to stay at home for a little period while the danger passed; but four weeks later I find I’m still at home with no particular expectation of getting out.

So far, I feel I’ve made good enough use of the time. It’s coincided with the busiest time of year for my academic position (meaning my main daily task is to answer e-mail from students); I’ve made good progress on a software development project for the Society Creative Anachronism; and I’ve got some writing done. I even made a lucky choice to take holidays on the two weekends before the lockdown, giving me a mid-year break before starting work again for the new semester. And the weather for most of the weekends since hasn’t been much good for going outside anyway.

Still, my mood is a little more grim than what I recall from last year. Re-reading the blog entries I made under the titles We’re all on a science fiction adventure now and What have I learned from COVID-19, I see a lot of cheerful thoughts about meeting challenges, learning from experience, and making good use of time. But for the past four weeks I’ve just been waiting for it all to end.

The waiting is partly because the new lockdown snuck up on me. At first I expected a short lockdown like the ones that disrupted my holidays plans over Christmas and Easter, after which I could go back to normal. But a week later cases had spread to western Sydney; two weeks later the number of cases was still increasing; and as I write I’m looking forward to at least four more weeks of restricted movement.

My main thought, however, has been been there, done that. Having done it before has a positive side insofar as I know survived the last lockdown and surely I can survive it again; but I don’t feel like there’s anything left to learn from the experience and I feel like I’ve used up all of my ideas for what to do without leaving home. One of last year’s entries ends with the thought that, while some people talk up suffering as a way of building character, whatever value suffering might have surely ends when there’s a way out of said suffering. Now I’d add that, having suffered once, suffering again seems even less likely to build more character.

So far my strategy has been to think about one day at a time, making sure I have a good spread of things to do for the day and trusting that the days will eventually end. Knowing now that I’ve four weeks at home, perhaps it’s time to dust off the thinking that got me through last year and look up some of the ideas that I wrote down but somehow didn’t get around to executing.


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