I’ve found such a sense of joy during these lockdown months as I’ve spent more time with my immediate family. Weekends are made of rambling walks, barbecues if the weather is right and movie afternoons with us all snug on the sofa.
Don’t get me wrong, the time hasn’t been perfect with a strong-willed two year old with a penchant for 5am wake-ups and it’s uncomfortable to be finding such happiness when others are struggling so much, but I’ve realised that if I had to spend the rest of my life in isolation, I’d be happy with this company to keep me happy and sane.
I want this to be my life predominantly when we get out of lockdown – life is better lived at a slower, gentler pace.
But I have fears too.
What will happen to friendships that maybe need to be gently let go of to keep this space? Is this just going to tumble around me one day, leaving me with no friends and regrets for those I let overtake me in their faster life?
But this feels right for me and so I’m going to keep unfurling in the gentle joy of being a family of three.
Work, if I’m honest, has been less joyful.
Don’t get me wrong – this is not to say that my life at work is not full of satisfaction. But I’m realising that there’s something about how I’m approaching work and the distance between people which is starting to rub a bit.
And so here are my thoughts about how I can bring more joy to my working life over the coming weeks and months.
Connecting with peers and people who inspire me on a 1:1 basis is so important for me. After a good conversation – talking through challenges, connecting with others on a very human level – my heart feels bigger, my spirit feels lighter.
I feel joy.
But the connections I’d usually have over lunchtime walks and meetings have been fewer and further between.
And conversations with people in the organisation who inspire and spark something in my have been fewer and more focused on the immediate than the spacious time they were in pre-covid times.
I’m learning that these are conditions are important for me to thrive and so they should be one of the priorities that I take forward – thinking who I need to connect with and looking at how I can be intentional about this in the weeks ahead.
One of the permission slips I’ve written for myself at work is ‘the permission to have fun’. I notice how uncomfortable this feels to share with you, dear friend, because having fun isn’t ‘serious’.
It might be seen as wasting time or not being productive.
So let me clarify, this isn’t having fun in the sense of playing video games or fooling around instead of get things done. It’s a mindset, and an important one for creativity, reimagining what’s possible, stepping into new roles at work.
For me, fun is setting myself a hard task and being intentional about the areas where I can gain enjoyment from it.
Fun is looking at other people and organisations to see what I can learn from them.
Fun is trying out new things, knowing that the point is to try – not get things perfect.
Fun is working with people who are as open and imaginative as I am.
And I haven’t really allowed myself to have much fun recently. I haven’t prioritised it.
So I’m going to bring this back.
Until now, I’d said that I’d be happy to work from home for the rest of my life.
I like not having to leave the house by 6:45am to catch the right train to work. I like being able to eat lunch with my husband. I like spending the time I used to spend commuting running along the seashore and through the fields near my house. I like sometimes working from my sofa, in my garden, at different times of the day.
But I recognise now that it’s a bit lonely.
There are limited spaces for interaction outside of the meetings I’m part of and the online presence means that these meetings have less chat at the strt are are more focused on a particular purpose.
And meetings set up for connection are in big groups, which I don’t enjoy or feel nourished from.
There are no conversations in hallways that lead onto something.
There’s less laughter, less spontaneity, less connection.
So, while I like the better balance of working from home, I can see the importance of finding a way of being together in a group and recognising the impact of online connections on my joy.
So what does this mean?
There are some easy things I will be doing over the coming weeks – it feels good to have ordered my thoughts with you to look at what’s going on and what I need:
- Considering who I want to connect in with over the next few weeks and months
- Finding a sense of joy through looking at the road ahead and where I want to be intentional in bringing some fun and lightness
- Acknowledging that it’s hard to connect online, reminding myself that this will pass