‘Ten weeks for me, working from home,’ Sue says, looking wistfully out of what I presume is the window, just off camera. ‘This is unchartered territory for me, I haven’t been at home for this long, for, well, ever. It’s been quite weird in that respect, working from home is normally just a ‘treat’ day on a Friday. I’m living in my house, rather than just visiting it.’
‘Every day I know I’m really lucky. I’ve got a job, people still want chocolate,’ she laughs, referring to what her company manufactures, ‘so my life has stayed relatively the same.’
Sue changed jobs within the company not long before COVID-19 hit, moving into a global role which should involve world travel. ‘The world has stopped, and I was like, OK, this is interesting. The first week of lockdown I should have been in the US. It’s really frustrating, I can’t do everything that I really want to do.’
Sue finds it hard being in the same space all the time, because it’s not what she’s used to, and has had to work at creating a division between work and home life. Her usual commute sees her spending two hours a day in a car, and she says, ‘it’s nice, having that time back, but it’s like being a kid in a sweet shop, thinking ‘what do I do first, with all this time’? I don’t know!’
‘I’ve tried to be constructive. My house has had a load of work. On the first weekend of lockdown I wrote a list of all the jobs that needed to be done around the house, and I’m pretty much through it now. My ‘Era of Procrastination’ had to stop. Normally on a weekend I’d be like ‘oh, I haven’t got time to do that’ and so wouldn’t do it. I know I’ll never get this time back, so I know if I don’t do it now, I’d kick myself. Every single weekend I’ve taken something else off the list. Stupid things like, I’ve glossed all my woodwork.’ I laugh and Sue retorts, ‘desperate times Paps, desperate times.’
She’s done things she never would have tried before, and I ask if that’s because she would’ve normally got someone in to do it, or just not done it. ‘Probably just not done it, because I would have thought of about ten other things I’d rather be doing, all of which would involve me exiting the house, so then I couldn’t see what I procrastinate about, come back, restart the procrastination, and then go out again,’ she pauses. ‘I don’t want to just sit here and think, I had all those weeks and did nothing when I eventually go back to work. I wanted to be able to show I’ve achieved something. I’ve started learning French too, and Battle Bootcamp has been a staple of daily life, both for fitness and the social aspect.’
Sue liked her life before lockdown. ‘It was completely mad, completely ridiculous, I hadn’t stopped for any length of time at all and it was pretty full on. I miss my life, and I do feel like part of it has been stolen. In the long run though, I think I’ll look back and think it’s a good thing.’
Sue likens her life over the last two years to being a bit of a rollercoaster, at certain points just hanging on by her fingertips. Major life events, including bereavement and a relationship break up, has left Sue wanting to spend some time on the back seat of the rollercoaster, taking a breath.
‘I will reflect on this time and think it’ll have been good for me, I think it’s allowed me to address quite a lot of the things that have gone on in the last two or three years. It’s allowed all the emotions to catch up with me, and for me to start to process them, which is a positive thing in the long run. I’ve put some things in a box, and you know at some point that box will get opened. I’ve had a couple of days that were really emotional, with such little things as the trigger, and I’ve had to work my way through it.’
Sue’s found it quite difficult to settle into this ‘new normal’, not wanting to, because it’s ‘admitting defeat in some way’. I laugh, thinking that’s Sue, a rebel until the end.
The first thing she’s looking forward to, when she can, is to book a flight to Jersey to see her partner; being apart has been tough. ‘When this is over, people will get a big hug. Looking forward to that.’
Hopefully there’s light at the end of the tunnel soon.