Week 5 – The Guilt

Date: 30th April 2020
Days unemployed: 29
Days spent looking for a job: none
Days spent in isolation: 44

I’m coming to the end of my first month unemployed. There has been good days and bad days. Mostly good. Like a weekend we’ve stretched to last a month. A weekend at home obviously.


I’ve run, and been a lot more consistent with it than I have done in months. I’m not doing long distances though, and I miss the planning and exploration that comes with them. March/April are times of year when I usually spend my weekends on long marathon training runs. I spend hours planning these, getting excited about spending 2-3 hours outside, hopefully in the spring sunshine. On the day I usually end up getting lost at some point, in woods or fields, sometimes having to jump a fence to get back on the road or away from mean looking cows I didn’t expect. This year, it’s been shorter runs. I’ve been mindful not to go too far from my house, not tire myself too much so my immune system could cope if I did catch that C virus. Repetition is a bit boring as I stick to the same routes, and more road than trails so I can keep away from most people who have understandably flocked to trails to get some fresh air. As a side effect, the emergence of many virtual races, in various formats, have added goals to my running in a period when all in-person races have been cancelled. It’s also brought some of us together virtually.

I’ve also been swept in the P.E. with Joe wave, which is getting me to do some strength work-out. I know, I’ve surprised myself too! It’s been unexpectedly fun to follow the sessions every other day, and having the other half joining in has definitely helped with making sure we do them (and also made them even more fun).


I have been very lucky being in isolation with my other half. We have plenty of space and a garden. He’s an easy person to live with but we’ve also found ourselves in similar position, being at home all the time. I’m unemployed, and he’s on furlough. Although the outcome for both of us at the end of the lockdown will be different, while we’re in this together, we’ve been going through similar emotions. We both have plenty of time and not paid work to do. We both have that underlying fear that we’re not being productive enough. Surely with all that time, we should be learning so much, producing so much. It was our excuse for not doing, the lack of time, remember? It was mine at least. Turns out, you can’t cram 10 years worth of ‘I’ll do it later’ activities in a couple of weeks of free time… And that’s fine. One thing at a time. We understand each other and help each other.

The Guilt

And that’s where this comes in. 7 weeks in isolation and although I’ve struggled most days with the external pressure that I should be achieving loads with all this free time, I’ve mostly enjoyed this time in lockdown. I’ve spent a lot of time in the garden, soaking up the sun. I’ve lounged on the sofa engrossed in the story of Chernobyl (shout out to the Rebel Book Club for a thrilling April read). I’ve sat down determined and finally finished a knitting project (and a few more after that). I’ve spent more time cooking/baking and playing with the other half. I’ve spoken with my family more often this month than I have in the previous 6.

I’m having a good time and enjoying the lockdown, weirdly. So I feel guilty. Because I know that this situation is very hard for so many people across the country and across the world. Some people close to me are struggling with it. So I try not to rub it in, listen and sympathise with their worries and difficulties. Help where I can.

But inside… I’m in a better place than I’ve ever been in the past 10 years. And it feels good.


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