13 March 2021 | All the Things Not Done

Thanks, COVID!
Thanks, COVID!

A year of working from home and none of the projects, big and small, that I figured I would have time for have been realized. I did not learn a new language or two; I did not make it through the pile of books that I’ve accumulated and most importantly, I failed to do the deep cleaning of my house that I figured I would. And I have a small place!

Why? I can’t figure it out. And for a single man with no kids and not even a pet, the entire day was a massive canvas to get work done. There was no “9 to 5” framework going on here: if I started working at 6 in the morning, I could take a four-hour lunch and have until the late evening to put in my time, or even more if I wanted. Getting in my eight hours took on a whole different look. And for someone who has eased into the habit of having groceries delivered, there was no need to spend time masking up, driving and being super alert under a quickened shopping venture. Sure, I might spend time anxiously looking out the window wondering if that slow moving car was hunting for my address or the people across the way. But once food was delivered and properly put away, the rest of the day beckoned.

But so many of those things were left undone. And still remain so.

A fortunate person I am, I know, to be able to work from home in the first place. To get used to working differently while navigating Zoom World like everyone else. Having hours that could be used in the best way possible and move at a leisurely, but determined, pace to make those projects come alive without office distractions, small talk, or regular meetings. My entire little place became my office, including when I was using my laptop on the couch. Living alone, I didn’t need to wall myself off from the spouse or the kids. I could take breaks whenever I wanted to, but I also accepted that work/break time melded together.

I liked it, and I adjusted easily. Maybe it’s because I am somewhat prone to a quiet life of a hermit. But I still have not accomplished any of the things I figured would get finished. It’s not because I’ve been wasting time with Netflix and such. It just hasn’t gotten done. When it became obvious that we weren’t going to be heading back to the office any time soon after March 2020, I saw it as an opportunity. But after a year, now I see it only as The Lost Time. Either I am more unstructured than I imagined, or I give myself more credit for being productive than is warranted.

I’m still unsure when I will be heading back to the office, like so many others. Maybe this will be a permanent thing. Maybe not. But whenever that happens, I can’t shake the feeling that I don’t have much to show for it. That could be a pathology of our culture that determines that if you’re not working, you’re not living. I don’t like that, but after a year with not much to show for all the progress I thought I would make, I’m just not certain about anything anymore.