Obviously I miss:
- Meeting people other than those in my street
- The city center
- Free time
But that’s predictable. I finally realized I miss something else too: the feeling that I’ve had forever: that I’m constantly improving things for myself and the world.
Normally I’m pretty excited about my job. But now a lot of that happens against the background of getting the economy out of this standstill. It’s about regaining what was normal. Same goes for my own role in that: I’m struggling to deliver the bare minimum of what is required, rather than redefining and improving my position within the organisation.
Before the isolation, I used to spend about fourteen to eighteen hours per week on side projects: the website you’re looking at, Big Timer and the things I do for ForTomorrow. Then there were home improvement, gardening and trips with the children. Those activities all give me a feeling of progress. I’m not saying that it’s all useful, important stuff that gets me closer to enlightenment, but it felt positive, creative and I learned things from it.
Much of that is gone now. Life is about maintaining the status quo, making sure we sleep enough, get enough exercise, don’t get annoyed, keep the children happy and engaged.
This made me realize that until the isolation, my private and professional life had a big amount of excess capacity. Capacity I used to learn, improve and plan. Growth was the default.
I’m missing that now. But I realize too that growth can’t be the default forever and being able to enjoy the moment is more important for my wellbeing than being good at learning. And that I’ve been very lucky to have had that capacity required for growth to begin with.