One of the side effects of the pandemic was that I got de-calendared. The days were all the same, and my objective became, “Do three things every day.” The three things were usually writing new pages, doing 10,000 steps on the tread desk (five days a week), and… something else. If it was go-to-the-barn day, that was my third thing. I might have tackled a little housework, or maybe I wrote new pages AND read over three chapters of copy edits. Three things…
And that, with a few routine chores, an occasional Zoom, and a lot of reading, often made for a satisfying and productive, if not exactly busy, day.
I also got de-watched. Didn’t matter at what hour I got up, when I went to bed, when I finished my pages for the day, when I got on that tread desk. Didn’t matter, because tomorrow was just another day.
A minimally-structured approach to time is a good fit with my intrinsically motivated style. I have always liked being the boss of me, and not being the boss of anybody else. I don’t make lists, I don’t have schedules, I just kinda do the next thing, and it all works out. Mostly. I jot appointments down on the calendar because next week is part of one undifferentiated mass of “later.”
I remained temporally oriented at the level of the season and the weather. Did my flower gardening the same as always, put in my fall bulbs, stockpiled some firewood on the porch for when the power went out in cold weather. I was aware of shortening and lengthening of days. The daffodils came up, then the forsythia bloomed, followed by tulips, irises, and so forth. Then it got hot. Hello, magic lilies!
Then the days weren’t so long, and the last flourish of flowers was from the dahlias, which go right up until a hard frost, and then it’s time to plant more bulbs.
My horse grew his winter coat, or shed out, depending on the season; the feral cats had kittens, or not, depending on the season.
And that worked well for me. Now I’m having to “manage myself” back into a more structured existence. People want to meet at specific times on specific dates in specific places, and that requires effort on my part. It’s not a relief, it’s discipline–for me–to go back into a time-clock-and-calendar driven life.
And I’m lucky. I’m self-employed, I like my little tumbledown farmhouse, I love my job. The degree to which I must re-enter a structured world is minimal compared to the adjustments many others are making. I am taking it slowly, still trying to do just three things per day, and to spend most of my days at home.
Are there aspects of pandemic-time that worked better for you than the time-clock-and-calendar approach? I’m not doing a give away this week, but I am making a donation to the Maryland Food Bank. For me, life is getting back to some version of normal, but for a lot of my neighbors… not so much, and not yet.