The quality of rest

Last night we had our Zoom ‘party’, which perhaps went off better than I expected. There were four of us each sitting in our disparate homes in front of a laptop or iPad or phone, connecting with a glass of wine or beer in our hand. It was pretty much like any occasion you get male friends together. There was plenty of banter and lots of friendly abuse and regular laughter. We made light of the situation, more or less, while each of us explained our situation with work and at home. One is on half-pay, another has been asked to take leave. Only two of us are still working full time and on full pay still.

It was a welcome break from the locked-in routine, though very strange also. One is in walking distance from here. Another a 7 minute drive. One of my friends, usually dapper and handsome, looked like a Portuguese fisherman, as I told him, unshaved all week and wearing an old cap. Cheeseboy hadn’t shaved either and was looking very silver. Me, I’ve actually gone the other way. I figure I’ve got no-one to impress for a while, so I’m letting my hair grow out, and have shaved off the beard and moustache I’ve had for years. I don’t look like Viking anymore, though God knows how I’ll appear in months from now.

We’re catching up again next Friday night. In between times we’ve set ourselves to all watch the same movie and to all comment on it in our next meeting. These are the things you do in times like this.

It’s Saturday, and I have an excuse today to be a bum. I need it. I keep saying it, but I’m so weary. As I figure it, I’ve had only one day without work in the last four weeks – last Sunday. I plan to do none this weekend. I need to recoup my energy. It’s not so much the act of working that has tired me so, though there’ve been many long days. It’s the mental energy I’m depleted of because your mind is always on high alert. You’re always anticipating and wondering and figuring things out in your head and planning next steps, and so on, even when you’re sitting down to watch TV or laying in bed.

I could handle it, except the quality of rest isn’t there. I’ve come to realise that there’s a difference in how we rest. Doing nothing is insufficient. I could spend an hour lying on the couch with a book or watching TV and sometimes my mind and body will relax into the moment and begin to restore; and other times, doing nothing different, I get up as weary as I sat down. I feel I know more about this now and realise that rest is as much a state of mindfulness as it is of the body. Only rarely in the last few weeks have I managed true rest, and so here I am, running on empty.

It’s a good day to do nothing, though there a few alternatives to that these days. It rained all night. It’s blowing outside now, and more rain is in the air. It’s much cooler. I’ll go for a walk soon enough, but I’ll relax my exercise goals today. Normally I would use the footy as an excuse to take it easy. It’s a perfect day to watch it from the warmth of home. I’d look forward to it. But there’s no footy now but old replays. Instead, I plan to lay on the couch and watch a good movie. I might spend another hour reading. I’ll lower myself into a hot tub later. I’ll clear my head and ease my body. I’m not going anywhere.

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