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  • Writer's pictureRobert Lynch

The New Normal is the Old Tired

It is now a month since the restrictions on businesses started in Australia. From the data, we can see that it has been very successful – we are currently adding new cases at 0.5% per day. This is great news.

I’ve been sleeping a lot more. I’m still working at crappy night job, which is seeing fewer customers, but more cleaning jobs and cuts to other staff hours, so I’m actually doing more work than before. When I get home, I’m out of juice. I go to bed and get rubbish sleep. At first, I thought it was just the low-level pandemic anxiety that now owns a portion of my brain. But it’s also a factor of more people being at home. People are mowing their lawns more, making more noise because they are at home during the day instead of at work, and someone is learning to ride a motorbike (Why?). Maybe it’s a combination of both more distractions and more tiredness, but when I wake up, it takes longer than ever to shake the drowsiness of sleep.

Sleeping more and feeling tired when you wake up is a symptom I’ve had before. Usually, it is a symptom of depression. Another common symptom of depression is eating like crap. Since all this started, I’ve eaten not just a record amount of take out, but also I’m eating a tonne more sugar than normal. Buying cake, and biscuits, and ice cream in ridiculous amounts have always been a huge red flag for me. Typically putting custard on something that isn’t at Christmas is a signal that maybe I’m not doing well. Custard with breakfast doubly so. Well, that is a little misleading, as a night worker I often end up eating a dinner meal for breakfast and a breakfast meal for dinner, but I usually don’t eat dessert with any meal.

I’ve had depression more than a few times, and this doesn’t quite feel the same. Yes, I’m thrashed all the time, and I don’t want to go to work (the not going to work isn’t a symptom of anything, that is always there), but I am still motivated. Depressed Bob doesn’t care that he’s not getting his writing done, or going to work, or getting out of bed; but right now I’m furious. I’m annoyed at myself for tasking the easy road by eating a bunch of crap; I’m grumpy that I’m not getting my words done, and I’m pissed off that I feel tired all the time.

I already started to make a change last week. I found a butcher that opens early, so I can drop in on my way home from work, and I can start cooking again and eating better meals. Good start. I’m going to start wearing my fitness tracker again, and I’m going to start exercising on the weekend as well. As for my writing, I need to be getting it done on time. No if, buts, or maybes. Due to the pandemic, I can expect that sales are not going to grow this year how I was hoping, but that was also never a certainty in the first place. What I can do is start building an audience. If I come out of all this with an audience, I will have a solid base to market to and to grow from.

I keep thinking about parents right now. My two brothers are still working. Both of their wives are still working. They have to deal with all the same shit as me, plus they have to look after my nephews and niece. Everyone’s trying to make the best of it, trying to work out how to get through, trying to manage work and life. I can’t imagine how tiring it must be to have all of the work and worry that I already have, then throw in a sack more for each of the kids. And that’s not even taking into account how stir crazy the kids must be. I’m knackered, but nobody gets set on fire by their bother when I take a nap.

The government has said there will be weeks more of this. My work has permanently changed rosters for the next three months. Even then, the economy isn’t going to bounce back like the government is hoping. This has changed our culture. The question is, will it be a change for the better? Will we come out of this with a better appreciation for each other? We’ve been becoming more and more factionalised for the last 20 years, but will we exit the lockdown with more of a tolerance for our fellow human beings?

It’s hard to be optimistic amid a global crisis, but I like my scifi to be hopeful. Maybe this moment will be seen by history as a catalyst for a better world; maybe this will be the turning point when humanity finally stops taking from the world and starts adding to it. Maybe.


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