Not Getting Things Done

I have to admit that I'm feeling quite sad at the moment. I can't hug my mum and dad. I can't hug Rosy. I likely won't see my oldest children for a few months as they live in another state. Paul, ironically, is the busiest he has been since I've known him as he has a huge project due in a few weeks' time, so we are not seeing much of him and I miss him terribly. Posy is agitating to be homeschooled rather than do her approved on-line learning with her school after the holidays; I don't know what the answer is for that conundrum, and Posy, when she wants something just doesn't let up, an attitude which I applaud generally, but find very tiring when it is turned in my direction..
None of these problems are at all pressing in the scale of world events. They are the small, sad realities that are currently shared by all of us, that we take on board for the greater good. I was very moved by all of your responses to the last post where you shared your experiences, everyone, everywhere being in social isolation and what that means for us all. We miss our families, the easy interaction with friends, we suddenly realise, even the introverts amongst us, what it is that community life provides for us on a daily basis. We are fearful because we are in an unknown place, anxious for our loved ones and grieving for the tragedy in the wider world. Gretchen Joanna summed up my feelings so beautifully, "No matter how much potential for good there is in all this confinement, it's just plain hard to get used to, and we find that every day turns out to be a fresh challenge to the psyche." This is so true. The pain of separation is real, the difficulties of confinement are the small irritations of a buzzing mosquito, but no less confronting or irritating for all that.
Nonetheless, we are all keeping on, working from home, or going out into a newly frightening world to work, toiling in the garden, walking the dog, making dinner, keeping tabs on extended family and vulnerable neighbours, sharing seeds and garden produce, raising children, celebrating birthdays. We do what we can, which is all we can ever do. And in between the times where we do what we can, well, those are the spaces where we can't, where we collapse into little puddles of sadness and grief and loneliness or just plain blah. For me, I hide in my bed with the cat and re-read Agatha Christie novels for the fifty-fourth time. Or I realise it has taken me three hours to make an apple crumble or half a day to get all the floors swept. I am not at my most productive right now. Well, to be honest, I was never noticeably productive, and now less than ever. But I have decided to be at peace with that. I will do what I can do, and what doesn't get done, why, it can remain undone. Peaceful acceptance of imperfection is my aim. Grumpy resignation about not getting things done is my reality. 

Congratulations to us all for getting through each day with as much grace as we can muster. It is enough xx


simplelife said…
Purely selfishly I'm loving that you are back in this space.
I'm all over the place up, down, fearful, calm, accepting and wishing this was a dream I could wake from, pretty much all in one day, most days.
Today is my boys birthday and luckily he is one of the kids living with us right now, so cake and carbs it shall be.
I'm not getting anymore done than I did pre-virus. I'm not inspired, motivated or encouraged by those who suggest we use this time to learn that thing we've never had time for, or to do all the extra spring cleaning jobs, write that book or any other productive suggestions. I'm taking this time to actually be, to go slow with permission rather than feeling like I'm swimming against the tide. I don't want to swap busy pre life for a new kind of busy life, I want to just be, get to myself again, what do I actually like? To live just how I want, as soon as I figure that out,
Cheers Kate
I'm an introvert and not a hugger but even I'm missing hugs.
Jo said…
Kate, I'm enjoying being back in this space too, because it is such a kind and uplifting online community. And mmm, there do seem to be a lot of people online achieving all the things, aren't there? But they probably achieve a lot of things in 'normal' life as well; good for them, I say, as I stare at clouds and pat the dog.. it's kind of hard to admit I spend so much time in my life doing very little, but I don't function very well if I am endlessly busy. I hope you do find a space to live just how you want, and have the time to figure out what that is x
simplelife said…
Not much has really changed for me Jo, except my yoga classes and monthly lunch dates with my sister. I think so far the biggest hardship is the library being closed. All those holds that had finally got to next in line sigh
Cheers Kate
Jo said…
Kate, the library! The last time I was there I am afraid I chose very rashly and now have a pile of books I don't really want to read. Not great planning on my part. I may have to read a lot of worthy books on my bookshelf that I keep putting off..
Anonymous said…
I hear you, sister! I quietly, go by my day: Missing hugging my 81 year old mother, and wondering when I will hug my 4 year old grandson. I stay focused (not necessarily busy) on getting things done with no set time frame, and that works for me. "Productivity is in the eye of the beholder." :)
Silver lining to this is you are blogging more, I will take that virtual hug any day!
Be well, and stay sane, Jo!
Treaders said…
I'm on day 21 of what is a pretty strict lockdown here in France and I'm 99% ok with it oddly enough. I've missed my yoga classes but have been doing a bit on my own, and I had a slight wobble at about the 2 week mark because I hadn't spoken to anyone all day, but otherwise I really am enjoying the solitude. I have loads to be getting on with and I'm slowly realizing that I don't have to tick 5 things off that to-do list every day. It helps of course that the weather is glorious, but I am itching to get in my car and go off somewhere spectacular for a long walk. Still, there are worse hardships in this world and some who are suffering terribly so I feel this isolation is just a small price for me to pay! Anna
Kathy said…
I spend most of my time at home normally however knowing I can't visit my friend on her property 10 minutes from here for a weekly coffee and catch up or my Mother and sisters or have a family BBQ that is what I'm finding difficult. This week is okay however if I start to think this is what it is like for 6 months I just can't imagine it so I don't. I just think about today, this week only. As it's school holidays the kids are home so it doesn't seem different except they cannot see their friends however in 2 weeks time I think when they are schooling from home that will really hit us. Once good thing is I won't have to get up and iron their school uniforms - the silver lining and they can make their own lunches. I follow Elise Joy on IG and have followed her blog for over 10 years and she is the Queen of goal setting, wrote a book and reading what she achieves in her day amazes me. Her husband deployed 7 weeks ago he is in the Navy so she was facing the deployment on her own and now she is home with the kids and a whole other level of being on her own. Anyway as an achiever when she had her first baby it was a shock to the system that she couldn't achieve lots of things like she was used to so in order to have some sort of achievement she aimed for "3 things to do today" and once they were done she felt great so in this time of distraction and lack of motivation due to the world wide events she also implemented the "3 things" so I have been doing this. Of course you can do many other things you don't need to write down however if you write 3 and achieve 3 you feel like you are doing something and 3x7 = 21 things you have eg make yoghurt, fold washing, mop bathroom & ensuite floor. I did not include mop all the floors because that would take an hour vs 10 mins.. and I may put that off. So try writing down 3 things to achieve each's simple and it works. Have a good week. Kathy
Jo said…
Patricia, hello and virtual hugs to you:) It is difficult to think about how long it might be before we get to hug the people we love, isn't it? It's a bit of a grief I am leaning into right now. I will of course keep going and stay sane and all of that, but have to sit with the sadness as well.

Anna, introvert that I am I would find it very difficult to do this alone. I'm very grateful to have my crazy 15yo with me. I salute you in your 21 days of solitary confinement, and am so glad that it is working for you, and also hope that it comes to an end for you and all of us soon so you can go on that long hike in the spring sunshine.

Kathy, yes, I think a general lowering of expectations is the key for now. I am very pleased to hear that you will be able to skip ironing the school uniforms. Confession: I have never ironed school uniforms. I dried them on the line, hung them up straight away in the cupboard and decided that was close enough to ironing as any school uniform deserved:)
simplelife said…
Yay to no ironing Kathy. I read in a parenting book once, how to choose which school to send your child to? The one whose uniform doesn't need ironing. Like Jo, I never ironed the uniforms either, tell a lie did iron the dress once for photo day.
Cheers Kate
GretchenJoanna said…
Another thing that is confusing: I always love being home and doing "all the things" that look to some people like nothing. They fill my days with happiness. But most people don't understand "what I do," and I feel apologetic in a world of high achievers. I normally do go places, too, about half the time out of love and commitment to other people, and the other half of the time for myself, though I drag my feet even going to church or the nursery or the symphony!

Now, the whole world wants me to stay home, so much that they will even do the shopping for me. Even with my confused psyche, I find it so restful to be able to set my own pace and come to the point of being able to think deeply, because I'm not getting interrupted by errands and visitors. Part of me wants to feel guilty for living the good life and knowing it, when many are not able to for various reasons.

Writing about this confusion just now has helped me to remember that the "solution" to the disconnect is to connect, to struggle inwardly and pray with all my fellow humans everywhere. We are physical creatures, to be sure, but that's not all we are, a truth that is coming into better focus through all our sufferings.
Jo said…
Gretchen Joanna, thank you again for your willingness to share your truth with us. I hope you don't feel guilty for enjoying being at home. There are many of us who feel the same, me too when I am not having a sad day as I was yesterday.
The way I see it is that in life we all take turns at bearing burdens and being courageous because we have to be, and also having times of rest and reprieve. A few months ago here in Australia it was the firefighters who were in the front line, now it is the nurses and doctors, and hopefully the firefighters are getting some R&R before the next fire season. You yourself and our dear friend Patricia in this commenting community are not many years out from your dark nights of the soul when you both lost your beloved partners. And now you are in a relatively safe place. That is good because society needs people who are calm and strong and cheerful as well as those who are stretched to the limits on the front line. It needs people who can call family and neighbours to be a listening ear, write cheery notes and letters, facetime with grandchildren to help them through difficult days away from their friends. There are scores of people in my community who are busy sewing masks and scrubs and others who are cooking meals for those who need them. Your own hard-won experience and compassion may be needed when people in your community lose loved ones.
So I say, use the rest and reprieve while you can to build yourself up to be useful in ways that only you can know how in your community. Much love to you xx
Mary said…
Well, first I put my sloth down to hay fever because the pollen has been so heavy here the last two-three weeks. Now I blame it on spring fever. My house is getting dustier but I spend a lot of time outside. I got interested in cloud spotting over the winter and read some books about identifying clouds. I find this activity to be just the right match for this period of time.
I, too, am enjoying your more frequent posts. Your garden viewed through the window in the photo looks quite charming. I don't think you can read Agatha Christie too much. My favorite rereads currently are the Miss Read series on Thrush Green and Fairacre.
Jo said…
Mary, cloud spotting sounds like the perfect pastime to me. I can recognise maybe two different sorts of clouds, but I love knowing the names of things, so I think Posy and I will go outside and look at clouds today. Thank you for that idea. And I'm with you. Ignore the dust and go outside after a long winter. The dust will still be there next week, ready and waiting, but the first days of spring won't come again for another 12 months. True self-care is following the dictates of your heart to be outside on a spring day:)
I have read many of the Miss Read series, though I don't have them in the house to re-read. They are such gentle reads, perfect for these times.
Anonymous said…
Jo, I just re-read your post on Stoicism, and it helped! My own stoic tendencies seem to have been a bit smothered by recent events, and needed some reviving.

As for Miss Read, yes. Also the Minack series by Derek Tangye. Pure nostalgia and charm from a lifetime ago.

Keep smiling, everyone.

Linda in NZ
Jo said…
Linda, ah, Stoicism, yes, que sera, sera..
I vaguely remember the Minack series, I think I may have read those books over twenty years ago. I think what we are craving right now is very calm reading about nature and the simple life. I am reading a chapter of Payne Hollow to Paul every time we get together. It is Harlan Hubbard's account of building a house in the woods of Kentucky with his wife Anna, just after WWII. It is a sort of modern Walden. Then we will move on to the first book in the series, Shantyboat, where the couple build their own boat and sail down the Ohio River for eight years.
Fernglade Farm said…
Hi Jo,

Hope you are well and enjoying the quiet days. It is quiet here, but yesterday morning three aircraft flew overhead which was a reminder as to how things used to be not that long ago. Can't say that I miss the noisy things.

Keeping busy here - it's a lifestyle choice after all - and the hunt for the best hot cross buns around is a worthy use for a persons time. :-)

Have you ever considered that you are meant to be feeling the way you are currently feeling? And are such feelings yours or someone else's? It is not as simple a thing to work out as it first appears.

Strong work ethics are just as much of a pesky problem. Planted out about what must have been about 500 raspberry plants yesterday. Those berries make the best jam around. I totally mucked things up last December with those plants by not watering them due to fears of running out of water in the crazy hot and dry weather. That was a bad call. Anyway, I've feared a few things that have not come to pass, and that was one of them!


Anonymous said…
Mrs Tiggywinkle here. As a librarian can I just say that we went to extraordinary lengths to re-hold books for people and placed them first in the queue. Jo I love that you need so much time to just be. That is me too xx
Anonymous said…
Thank you Jo for your kindness.
Enjoy being.
Jo said…
Chris, well, of course we all know that you deal with stress, anxiety, happiness, Easter, snow, rain and the apocalypse with the same response - build another rock wall/shed/pathway/chook house/vegie garden/cut a year's worth of firewood :) By my estimate it will take about another 20 years until my garden resembles yours in any way:) :)

Mrs Tiggywinkle, I amazed and humbled by gratitude at the many stories I hear of how people in so many professions have gone above and beyond to make things just a little easier for their clients in the past few weeks.
And time to be. Yes, I love that way of putting it:)

Patricia, let's all enjoy being xx

Anonymous said…
Hope you're feeling better - the not being able to hug people is hard. All my males are at home and should the desire strike me, I can hug away.

We are lucky that we have bushland around us and have been walking on different tracks nearly every day for the past week and a bit. I do miss that I cannot go and visit my mother - she lives in Qld, but besides that, I wish I could be in lock down for longer than the two weeks' break. I could easily potter for months around the garden and house and online. I am over being exhausted by work. But I know I shouldn't whinge and should be grateful I have a job.
Jo said…
Lucinda, working in education is pretty tough right now, especially when you have a lot of decision-making to do. Hope you managed to get enough rest to be able to carry on the good work. Glad you have some hugging therapy at home:)

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