We are all nice people – my husband and me (as well as you and your loved ones). But lockdown life showed us – how much we need “alone time”. To take a walk – just me (you) alone, drive into the city, spend a few ours doing “your projects” – learning, reading, daydreaming…And during this time – not administering to needs of others a single second.
That is why 6 months and now a year of work from home has been so hard on me. And I know – on many of you. After 6 months I had a nervous breakdown and spent a happy day in a hospital. Things that happen for the first time, and difficult ones at that, change you. I had time to think, and I used it.
Back home, I saw the world with different eyes. I didn’t want the experience repeated and I knew that it was up to me to change some of the rules and set boundaries. (I know, worn out word “boundaries”, but we do need them. And it is also “this is what I am comfortable with, let’s fit this into our life-dance”).
Here is what we came up with. Thank God I have my room with a door, where I can escape. This is “everything” room – studio, reading room, and an office with a daybed for naps. There is a “sun/moon” sign on the door. I made it myself. It looks like one made by a five-year-old, but works for me. Here it is.
“Sun” means, it’s ok to come in, “moon” means I am taking a nap or don’t want to be disturbed.
This is just one thing. I am even more proud of my other arrangements. We learned how to be together while doing different things and not bothering each other. Our bed is the favorite “together place”. The TV is also there. So, while my husband is playing chess online (with music in headphones, or without it), I can watch a movie (with my noise cancelling headphones), post a blog, reply to emails or sew. It is not “quality time”, but sitting next to each other feels good. Later we watch something together.
Another part of life dance – I read in my room during the day, then to my husband – after the evening movie, and I also have 30-40 minutes – with my teddy bear until 1:30-2 am.
I also learned to take short walks by myself. In the evening or during the day. Before the pandemic solitary walks were not a problem. When my husband left for the office, I started my day with a walk quite comfortably. But now? You know how we are afraid to hurt another’s feelings. So, to every “I’ll go with you” we say, “Yes, sure”. So, you have more walks together.
And I knew I should find a way out. A good one so far is – going down (we live in a mid-rise) to get mail and take out the trash. With this done, I just walk around the building to get some fresh air. The most difficult thing here was to tell my husband – I want to go anyway, even if he suggests getting the mail himself.
By now, my husband also understands that I need these walks – for my health and sanity. I mentioned it numerous times. It is always worth to speak up, no matter how scary it might seem. In my experience, silence ruins more relationships.