Day 136 and a critical one as we awaited news at 5.30pm of the plan going forward. Through the day my thoughts went crashing about. Will we stay in level 3? I could bear that but please may we not move into level 4. When I heard the decision, twelve more days in level 3, my heart sang though I never expected to write that. Also I discovered I can trust Grant Robertson and that made me happy, for in the morning I’d read on my Radio New Zealand app that he’d declared he would not allow the Auckland region to go into level 4. Still I worried that at the cabinet meeting before the announcement, they might change their minds. Incidentally, about the media and following it, I am becoming extremely reactive around bad news. I cannot cope with the avalanche of woe and doom, thus I’ve made a decision to limit exposure and follow just one news source, Radio NZ. I find there is more balance there. Recently I heard a presenter on the concert programme saying, ‘I’m going to play you something light and delightful now. We need a break from the all gloom and misery’ (or something like that). Even the people who make the media can’t stomach their own pill anymore. This means however, that the Guardian and its fabulous journalism is off-limits for now, even the cultural articles. I can’t risk the possibility of spying bad headlines as I scroll down to the arts section.
Today as I awaited the announcement I found myself needing to re-establish a routine. Fortunately I had kept my schedule from the first lockdown. Reading the content I was reminded how to do this. The principle is to divide the day into small, achievable segments being careful not to be overly ambitious and then experience failure. Mine is divided into the following: work, house cleaning, clothes washing, exercise, play if possible, I’m still working on this, and for a person in a bubble of one the crucial online contact with family and friends.
I wrote out the new plan this morning and mostly kept to it finding in the process a sense of security and of purpose. The work I’d hoped for, making a start on the first three chapters of a manuscript assessment got done, and I relished the experience. There was housework that satisfied me and more arranging of flowers to beautify the table where I work.
The day had begun with meditation. I can’t do long stretches at the moment. With my jangled nerves, thoughts galloping and leaping over one other, it has become a battleground. But to manage just a little time of sitting quietly, slowing my breathing, settling like a hen on her eggs, feathers floating, fluffing, gently closing in on the body, simply being here, that felt good. Then breakfast which was oat porridge cooked with banana, raisins and cinnamon. I still had some apricot halves from the tin I’d bought at the dairy the other day, and added yoghurt and the smallest drizzle of cream. I’m not worried about extra calories at the moment as I’ve lost weight. It went up in lockdown and then dropped away. I’m sure these changes are happening for everyone in the time of anxiety and loss of hope. And anyway self-improvement programmes that were important before coronavirus have shrivelled into irrelevancy in this fiendishly difficult environment. I've decided, ‘What the hell, I’m going to drink more fizzy ginger ale now.’
My friend said to me this morning, ‘I’m glad I’m old.’ I knew what she meant. I feel something similar. But oh, my darling baby Sage and her brother Remy, what lies ahead for them? It saddens me to see them growing up in the time of a pandemic and to hear that my daughter has ordered my grandson a mask with dinosaurs on it. Children wearing masks to protect them from a virus? This is not normal. Thank goodness the beach is her happy place and his happy place too. They go there every day.