Maybe it annoyed me more than the average person because as someone who works in healthcare, I didn’t actually have any time off (not one single day!) but even so, in the Spring of 2020 I did find myself with a few extra hours on my hands every day; we weren’t seeing as many patients, so I just didn’t have as much work to do.
I don’t know about you, but during the Pandemic Proper, nothing annoyed me more than being “told” that I should probably take my time “off” and do something productive – something perhaps that I’d always been passionate about. Something that I’d always longed to do and never got around to because that pesky thing called real life got in the way.
Now, Instagram, Facebook, the dreaded media, even friends, seem to be demanding that I do something productive with my extra time. Learn Piano! Resurrect your college Italian! Try your hand at baking a really unappetizing bread that looks like a large round dirty rock! It was like if I didn’t fill my hours with something extraordinary then I was somehow wasting this bonus time.
Know what I did? I gained 8 pounds and got SUPER tan. That was my contribution to the Great Corona Self-Improvement Tour. For the first time in my life, I didn’t quite look like a vampire in the summer.
Why am I writing this now, when, God willing, all of that bullshit is now behind us? Well, I don’t feel like I wasted my pandemic time. It was, after all, interesting to see myself with tan legs for the first time in over forty years. I think I’m writing it because now, with two years between myself and that period of time, and nearly eight years since I first started to write down notes for my now nearly finished novel, I’ve finally decided to do something. Because I want to. Because now, I feel like it.
I’m not sure why now was the right time to finally get the words of my book nailed down, but it was. And all of the prodding and pressure and guilt piled on by the Internet en mass two years ago just could not get me to pull the trigger. But now, back to working full time and then some, with a crazy kindergartner and lots of other stuff on my plate, it has been, dare I say, natural to write this book. The most natural thing I’ve probably ever done in my “professional” life. And I feel so much improved for having done it.
Now. On my terms. Not because someone told me I should.
So, by all means if you want to bake yourself a rock bread, go right ahead. But please don’t do it because you want the photo cred on Insta. Just bake that horrible bread, slather it with butter and bust a crown on it because it’s what you felt like doing today.
You know, or write a novel. Whatever.