Social Distancing : My Experience

The UK has started to relax *some* of the lock-down conditions, so I thought I would write down some of my thoughts related to social distancing…

The Good

First and foremost, social isolation and social distancing is predominantly a good thing for me. I live alone, and as I’ve said many times before I like it that way. There is a “work Tim”, a “conference Tim”, a “with friends/family Tim” and a “home Tim”, and it’s the “home Tim” I’m most comfortable with. I’m not talking about some schizophrenic thing. Just different aspects of my personality that I use to cope with different situations. The only authentic me is when I am home alone.

I keep saying to people I’m living my best life at the moment.

The Bad

Having said all that, it’s not been plain sailing. One thing I’m really struggling with is work-life balance. Before this I mostly worked from the office, and my computer at home was for doing my own thing, like the website and blog etc. Since I’ve been working from home the working day has stretched, which has been made worse by some weekend work. When I do eventually switch off, the thought of doing my own thing is really difficult. I feel like I want to walk away from the computer, so that’s what I’ve been doing a lot. I think the solution to this is to define some different phases of the day and try to stick to them. Things have improved since I’ve been actively trying to do this.

Exercise is another issue. The gym is closed, and I find it really hard to be motivated to do anything other than go to the gym. I’ve done very little exercise, which is really not good as I’m a fatty, and being a fatty is not good at the best of times, but it’s even more problematic at the moment. This week I’ve been going on some bike rides at lunch time. Nothing big. Just getting out of the house and moving a bit. Once again, it’s about trying to define phases of the day.

I started the social isolation/distancing thing about a week before most people in the UK. I go to the shop every few days, and go to pick up a prescription once a month. Apart from that I stay home. I think it’s going to remain this way for quite a long time for me, regardless of what the government suggest.

I feel sorry for people who live alone and don’t like it. I feel sorry for families with kids who are going stir crazy. I can’t relate, but I can sympathise.

The Ugly

What this whole thing has taught me is there are some selfish fuckers out there who should go fuck themselves. People who blatantly ignore the rules, without thinking what impact they are having on others. I kind-of expect this behaviour from young people, as they think they are indestructible and are too dumb to think about the bigger picture, so I give them a free pass. What really pisses me off are adults who don’t seem to give a shit.

You don’t know anything about the people around you. You don’t know what their risk factors are. You don’t know if they are worried about relatives they live with that are vulnerable. It is not your position to judge, and you have no right to put them and their families in danger.

Now I admit some people take it too far, like walking in the road when there is nobody on the path, but for the most part people are being sensible and considerate. For those that are not, see my first sentence in this section!

The Good… Again

Despite that there have also been some really positive things.

  • On the whole people seem friendlier and more considerate at the moment.
  • It’s quieter. Lawn mowers are working overtime, but most of the time things are quiet.
  • Life seems a little calmer.
  • I’m not using petrol.

The Future

Some random thoughts from me.

  • I can’t see myself working full time in an office again. I’m not saying I will never go in, but I don’t see myself doing a 5 day week again. My company used to have some issues with working from home, but now we’ve been forced to do it for a few months, I can see a lot of people never going back to the old ways. I’m not sure how they could justify not allowing working from home on a mass scale now.
  • I think it will be quite some time before I consider travelling again, if ever. I had already scaled back my conference stuff, but maybe it’s over for me now. I may change my mind. Time will tell.
  • I want to consume less. Both from a food perspective, and everything else. I’m not a very materialistic person, but I can still cut back. I want my life to be as minimalist as possible.
  • I understand there will be economic hardships as a result of this pandemic, but I hope it has taught people something about themselves. Life doesn’t need to be some dog-eat-dog race. You don’t need as much as you think you do.

OK. The random bullshit is over for now.

Cheers

Tim…

Author: Tim...

DBA, Developer, Author, Trainer.

5 thoughts on “Social Distancing : My Experience”

  1. I think I’m looking at this all very similarly to you Tim. I don’t have too much of a problem spending a lot of time at home away from people, but I understand that others do. The only main difference is that I have a partner at home and we have never spent as much time together as this, in about 30 years of being a couple. All in all it’s been good but, again, I can understand how some couples and families will be really struggling.

    I am getting really…vexed at people who are not taking it seriously. Something I’ve realised is how many intelligent people I know who, for various reasons, have decided that the scientific & medical community across the whole fucking globe, who have as one come to the same conclusions, don’t understand Covid-19 as well as them. Yes, it’s a lot worse than any ‘flu in the last 100 years. Yes, it spreads incredibly well so we DO need to take steps to prevent our NHS being hammered. No, we are not getting a widely available vaccine this year. Yes, it kills “normal” people” as well as the old and infirm – and the old and infirm are still *people* and I am not friends with anyone who keeps insisting “everyone who’s dying would have died soon anyway, so that’s OK”. Those people are despicable. And wrong. And can fuck themselves, as you say. Most people dying would have had many more years of life, scientific studies have corroborated that.

    The VE celebration and programs made me realise a key thing. What we are going through is nothing as bad as the two great wars. And that there are billions of people across the globe who face issues that make staying mostly at home and not being able to go to the pub or gym a pathetically small thing to deal with. So deal with it.

    Sorry for ranting on you blog post. 🙂

  2. My wife died on March 4 (not from covid) and was buried on March 7. Even then many of her former students all over the world in the UK, Japan, Netherlands, Russia, Vietnam and other places could not attend her funeral due to already-growing travel restrictions, so I live-steamed it over zoom using my cellphone and a tripod, and for an amateur video production arranged at the last minute with no prior videographer experience it turned out amazingly well. I highly recommend live-steamed funerals now in general to reduce air pollution from scores of people flying in; it was a funeral Greta would approve. The funeral segued almost immediately into the pandemic. The “lock-down” actually suited me very well, because I lived in our bedroom for the next 5 weeks surrounded by a montage of photos of her life I had created for the funeral and rarely even getting out of bed, kind of like Lennon & Yoko in the hotel except with Yoko there only in spirit. When I finally ventured out of the bedroom in any sustained way, it was to return to my home office which had become a “junk room” during Yelena’s multi-year illness during which time I was her primary caregiver, and had hardly touched a computer or used the home office except to put things I didn’t know or care where to put. After I cleaned up the office I set up a shrine to Yelena on the top shelf of the desk and started working on “my life’s work” Orabuntu-LXC (https://github.com/gstanden/orabuntu-lxc) for the first time in two years. I had turned my back on corporate America (both private and government) really even before Yelena became ill. Perhaps you will remember Tim when you counseled me at an OOW that I “still had skills to offer” and should consider working in the “usual” sense of that word. All this background is to share that I really began “self-isolation” years ago. I wanted continuity of purpose and Orabuntu-LXC increasingly fulfilled that goal, and “work” became an increasingly painful nuisance (at best) and painful (at worst). Now I work for Instacart delivering groceries to people as a “gig economy” worker. I daresay the pay is such that I think I’m breaking even or slightly above, but I joined Instacart because I wanted to help others and also be able to say I had “done my part too” (“Vanity, my favorite sin!” as Al Pacino said in “Devil’s Advocate” ). I hope it doesn’t prove to be one of the “seven deadly sins” for me but there also working for Instacart I use my PairPal gear, my other “life’s work” (https://pairpal.net) and so my life has become totally about supporting my own creativity. Yelena 100 % supported me in spirit and currency when I stepped away from “work” and shifted to “life’s work” and “came home” to her and to my “real” life. Thanks.

  3. I share your pain Tim. I’ve been a remote worker for 6 years so it’s business as usual for me work-wise. I’m not a great traveller but have missed meeting up with friends and the footy but it’s OK. I am slightly fed up of Zoom quizzes though 🙂

    However, I’ve had more run-ins, altercations and heated exchanges with flipping idiots encroaching on my personal space, flouting the guidance, cycling in the park in the last 8 weeks than I did when I following Manchester United home and away in the hooligan ridden, violent 1980’s.

  4. Master, You are the master!
    Someone is alone and miserable by herself or herself then that person has surely some problem. Only Psychological /emotional drama…One can give any kind of exotic names to it -“boredom, stress, financial instability, jobless, no friends etc” It’s unfortunate.
    One should be joyful with anything that one has.
    I’m living in Germany for 14 years now and never feel that communication distancing is of any issue. Social distancing is always good in life.
    Attached to things and people without having any kind of influence on oneself..

    Cheers,
    Praveen

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