So far, my lockdown posts have been broadly positive, concentrating on those aspects of the situation we are in that I can turn to my advantage. But at some point there had to be relapse, and this happened towards the end of this week. I’ve been thinking about what brought it on.
I think that two online meetings I ‘attended’ during the week, a Chemistry Course Management Meeting, and a Forensics Student Voice Meeting didn’t help. Both served to underline, if it were needed, the long term severity of the situation, and this was compounded by an email from our Vice-Chancellor on Friday, setting out 5 scenarios for the academic year to come, ranging from ‘business as usual’ (unlikely), to a continuation of the current lockdown. Quite how we are going to teach lab based subjects like Chemistry and Forensic Science if any level of social distancing continues is open to question (and I have registered for a ‘meeting’ next week to discuss how universities will respond to these challenges).
Another irritant was a post I read on social media, where a retired person was waxing lyrical about the lockdown, and how they hoped it would never end (and that they would never go back to the way things were, pre-lockdown). Although retirement isn’t that many years away for me, there are still things I want to do, and I couldn’t disagree with this post more. Even when I do retire, I will want to be able to travel, and to get back to being able to take part in musical activities, for example.
The net effect of all this was a building of a feeling of resentment, particularly focused on things I miss, including travel and scientific conferences. I haven’t attended many conferences in the last couple of years, partly because I went through a period of travel anxiety (see posts from 2018, but now thankfully gone), and also because there hasn’t been much that has appealed to me, given that I use funds I have built up over a number of years, and want to make sure they are well spent! So now it is clear I won’t be able to attend a conference for some time, somehow I’m missing them more.
However, after about 24 hours, the resentment passed, and I am back to feeling I can continue to make the best of the situation. Being able to finally finish a paper which has been dragging on for weeks has helped – I could never have done that in normal times, at least not as quickly. No doubt the negative feelings will return, but at least I’ll know they won’t last long.