WFH - Working from home - The Introverts Dream!
Ha ha, laughed the Cheshire Cat, at the irony of the situation Alice found herself in.
I've been lucky enough over the last couple of years, to live somewhere that has not been highly affected by multiple, long lock-downs due to Covid 19. Not to say there's been none, but in comparison to many others I know of, we've been pretty lucky where I am.
But I cannot deny that I often had little wistful moments of thinking how blissful it would be to have to work from home, the way many people were all over the world. Ah, the introverts dream -
- having nowhere to go,
- staying at home,
- doing whatever, whenever....
Except that's not the reality, right?
The 'dream' doesn't have work, or children, or Extroverted husbands in it - they are a fuzzy, faint background concept that doesn't really factor in the best parts of the dream (sorry, beautiful family - I DO love you!)
I've been a passionate and vocal advocate for flexible working for a number of years now. I've been running my own businesses since my first child was born over 17 years ago, and even managed a co-working space for about 5 years. I always knew that I needed to work 'with' people, in a co-operative way, even though I craved time to myself. If I needed to do deep thinking, or writing, I needed to be as uninterrupted as possible. My best ideas are collaborative and inclusive, so I knew I couldn't just tap out of working with others.
So I started to find a new way of working, that incorporated a good mix of
- working from home
- working in an office
- not working all of the hours I knew I could and would, if left to my own devices!
Before I ran my own businesses, I was a bit of a self-confessed workaholic. Not in a 'running myself into the ground' sort of way, as it was pre-children, so I was always able to decompress at weekends and during holidays. But as an introvert, once I found myself not only with an Extroverted Husband, but also with a child who required my every waking moments attention (c'mon, admit it - that's what it feels like
sometimes!), I began to realise I was not in Kansas anymore Dorothy! No - I now had winged monkeys surrounding me, and I was clicking my heels for some peace and quiet of home, and realising I had the wrong shoes on, dammit!
So things had to change, to enable both sanity and family to live in harmony together.
And change I did - and still am, consistently. Every day, I wake up and make sure that I have the right balance of day or week ahead of me.
I (very) recently was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, after many years of trying to fix all the seemingly random aches and pains I was having.
So some days I wake up and - I just can't.
I'm an extremely positive person, and not someone who will receive a diagnosis and sit back and feel sorry for myself, but I also recognise that part of helping myself stay as fit and healthy as possible, is to take care of myself and allow myself to rest, sufficiently.
The learning became even more thorough and a little bit sharp, when one of my children got a positive result for Covid recently, and our local rules state that we all had to stay home and quarantine for a week as a result. Sounds great - a week at home, don't need to go to any meetings, or shopping, or exercise classes....
- had to try to do meetings over video or call - not my favourite thing to do, as I miss half the conversation, which means I can't really have any input, as I'm not sure what has or hasn't been said, and I don't want to keep saying - what was that? - until people just think I'm getting old and hard of hearing....
- spent what felt like every minute of every day herding teenagers..
- get out of bed,
- have a shower,
- eat your breakfast,
- do some schoolwork/study,
- make and eat lunch (and stop snacking!)
Strangely, didn't need to remind them when to stop study for the day..
Luckily, I have a beautiful group of friends and colleagues who checked in on me every day, letting me rant about all of the above, and reminding me of the light at the end of the
tunnel week - negative tests!
We got there - we made it - very glad we don't have to start all over again*, as the rest of us were able to stay well. But it was so insightful to see that as introverted as I am, I need my community to be able to focus and do my best work.
And the Extroverted Husbands week? Interestingly, he shut himself away in our home office and just got stuff done. But by the end of the week, he was already ironing his shirts and shining his shoes, to get back into the corporate office this week.
Our poor little dog must have been so confused when we all ran out this morning - but I bet she has the best day today - if ever there was an introverted dog, it's ours, and I'm sure that as lovely as it would have been to have us all around last week, it will be blissfully quiet without us today.
In conclusion, my new plan is to take a week off while school and work are on, and stay at home. I'd still like to experience the solitude of my home sanctuary!
I can be Alice in One-derland 🤭🥰
*Amusingly, although it was not at all funny at the time, a mere two weeks later, we had a rinse and repeat scenario with the other sibling - another week in quarantine. Neither of us adults have been struck down yet, which is both good and bad in different ways.. watch this space!