It is the 30th of April 2020 and I feel like a naughty school girl frantically trying to complete my homework the night before it is due. Yesterday I left my parents property for the first time in 35 days, or 840 hours, or 50400 minutes. You’d think, locked down in the very definition of the “middle of nowhere”, with only my immediate blood relatives for company, I would have found plenty of time to write something worth submitting to the annals of the internet. I have all but failed.
Perhaps, if I had spent the time I squandered writing a todo list of all the things I was going “to do” in lockdown (specifically including writing more) actually writing more this situation might be different. Hindsight is 20-20. Normally, my rule is if you don’t have something to say, why write? If inspiration is raining down from above and you don’t have a burning desire to express yourself, why bother to force people to read your drivel? Nobody really cares anyway. Write for “you”.
However, if I compare this thought process to say the reasons why I run. I start to see the flaws. If I only ran when I felt a burning desire to run I probably would not run very far, very often. I ran almost 60km with nearly 4000m in circles on the farm a couple of weeks into this ordeal. I cannot say I felt inspired that morning. I felt tired. I had a wee pity party round the first lap. There were tears. I could not really justify to myself why I was running aside from I had said I would.
But then, some time into the second lap the magic happened. My brain stopped turning in endless circles, the chattering monkeys that can just be so loud became silent, I found the clarity I seek. It felt good, real good. And while, I know it is probably just some combination of cortisol, adrenaline, and endorphins. I like it, and I like to know I can find nirvana on the other side of purgatory.
So why force myself to write without a purpose, I guess, in the hope I stumble across something gathering dust on the top corner shelf of my brain that suddenly makes some part of this weird ride around a flaming ball of gas make slightly more sense. Hillary Barry has told me on at least 12369 different occasions we are in “unprecedented times” surely a writer of any gumption has something to say about this. However, what I’ve found in continual groundhog day my thoughts are also stuck in repetitive loops and I have spent 50400 minutes too many with my introspective, introverted self recently. She does not need any more air time.
One of my favourite, but incredibly narcissistic, things I have learnt during lockdown is the definition of felicity. I always knew that felicity meant “intense happiness” and is normally used in Jane Austin novels to describe the want or wish for “domestic happiness” – unwittingly ironic. However, a friend pointed out recently that it has a second definition “the ability to find appropriate expression for one’s thoughts”.
Right now, at 9.58pm on the 30/04/2020 I feel like my felicity is failing me. But as I hoped to capture this “unprecedented” time in history perhaps the best summary I have is that – It is a time I know could be much worse. A time I know could be much better. A time in which days of the week were irrelevant and only the yellowing of the leaves told us the season. A time in which I wrote a million different stories in my head but failed to get them to print. A time in which we all thought we were going to learn a new language but scrolled on Instagram instead. And a time when that was all totally okay.
This blog is turning out to be like taking myself out for a run around the block even when I don’t feel like it. I know once I’ve released this to the ether I’ll feel that little glimmer of relief and satisfaction. A release of an internal pressure valve. A tick on the to do list. While it may feel awkward and clumsy and pointless – this is Felicity, really writing for felicity, to find felicity! And just for that, I think I will let myself pass this assignment.