When I commented that I was late this morning my son said, ‘sure you’ve got nothing to do anyway’. Before that my husband had encouraged me to stay in bed as I didn’t have anything in particular to get up for. As you can imagine, neither comment helped with my sense of purpose for this day.
During lockdown two types of people have emerged: those who are defying circumstances and achieving an awful lot, and those who are mainly sitting around feeling lost.
Sadly, I would relate most to the latter group. I walk in to my children sitting with their school books out, check they’re on track and leave the room again. When I try to involve myself they seem a little frustrated with me, so on the whole, home schooling looks after itself, much to their credit.
Years ago we read Richard Scarry’s What do people do all day?. Both my children decided separately that the answer to the question, ‘what does your mummy do?’ was ‘she cooks the dinner’.
I have always bumbled my answer to that question anyway. Inside I’m scrambling for the best response like a proud ‘I’m a stay-at-home mum’, a half-hearted ‘I used to work in adult education’ or a whispered ‘I’m an author’. Maybe it’s time to put all those half-hearted self-definitions aside…
Here’s the truth: over these recent years, I have learned more about sitting than anything else. If I have to sit in a public place, I still take my phone out to look more purposeful.
The challenge for me is to sit empty-handed and just be.
If you are feeling lost at the minute, whether because of furlough, unemployment, illness or just lockdown-itis, let me encourage you to enjoy just being for a while. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have anything to tweet about or take photos of. You are worth more than your job title or your Facebook status. Much more. And you know what?
Sometimes being is more important than doing.