This year has been a rollercoaster. At the time of writing, today would’ve been the 5-year anniversary of the last relationship I was in. Unfortunately, that came to an end in January, when this coronavirus was a potential rather than an actuality. What followed, was as this coronavirus news spread, was a period of self-discovery, accepting the dissolution, living with each other still and navigating the weird world of rental contract breakages. We were tied into the flat we shared until April and with neither of us wanting to have drastic change overnight, we agreed to stay put until closer to the last date of the tenancy.
A slow goodbye is the best way I can describe the last few months. Getting used to each other distancing themselves and doing what they need to do while at the same time still being around each other, allowed us both to be aware of the eventuality of what was occurring. I hope we remain on good terms, as friends, for as long as we both exist.
The moving was a problem, I had to find a new place and was able to get locked into a rental contract a few hours before Boris Johnson announced the lockdown in late March in the UK. The deal was sealed; I was moving during this coronavirus lockdown. The full story of this, is an entirely different blogpost in and of itself.
After two tetchy altercations with the police during my move, firstly with the man in a van, and secondly when having the end of tenancy clean done at the flat, I have now spent a few weeks living in my new place. This list below is not fully comprehensive but I have done all of them, some better than others. I hope someone finds comfort and relates from this situation.
Things Not to Do – a Guide to losing your mind as quickly as possible
- Dwell on everything
So the breakup means you’re now alone for the first time in a long time and you’re living alone again. What’s the first thing you shouldn’t do as soon as you unpack? You know it isn’t wise to dwell on everything good and bad in your recently broken relationship and yet, it’s what you do. Feel free to grieve, you’ve not been hiding it well anyway, but at least you can stop when you like. Oh wait, no, here we are, it’s 4am on your second night and you’re still not able to sleep on this new mattress. The browsing isn’t doing it, your eyes are looking puffy from insomnia. Yes, insomnia has returned, I guess this is the sign of going through it. Remember all the times you weren’t fully present with her; you won’t have the opportunity to even try not to be now. Welcome to the rest of your life, the world is in a state of shock and lockdown, at least you can blend in behind closed doors while brooding like Edward Pattinson for 20 hours a day.
- Drink yourself into oblivion
Transferring the alcohol collection from your previous home to your new place presents you with the best opportunity to allow it to age. Better idea – go to the shop and stock up on booze that you can drink. About 12 bottles of Guinness and a bottle of Courvoisier should do it to start. Yes, that’s it, convince yourself that this will last a month of lockdown, you’re simply stocking up like what everyone else in the country seems to be doing, that’s it, convince yourself you’re handling this very well. Look at that, 3 days later, you stink like the wrong end of the cognac bottle and look like you’ve been punched by Tyson Fury. Kill your liver, numb the pain and go from there. Smart.
- Pick up NEW bad habits
Takeaway once or twice a week is fine, why not do it daily? Can you afford it? Who cares? We’re in quarantine, support businesses still in operation, convince yourself you’re a good citizen by doing this, watch your energy levels drop and your waist line expand like the idea we’re going to come out of this coronavirus crisis later rather than sooner. A cigar every other month or so is fine, how about we smoke 2-3 daily and really see if we can get hooked on nicotine, or if that addiction bypassed your genes. (Thankfully, I can say after seeing how my new bossman at the local off-license inadvertently knew my cigar order after a few days, I have stopped this habit truly forming)
Things to do instead – a Guide to bettering self in the time of crisis
- Embrace your new area (shout out to social distancing)
Instead of becoming glued to the idea of your new four walls surrounding you, explore the new area. You picked up a new flat right by a park, which at the time of writing, is still open. Make sure you keep the distance. Get back in touch with the idea of community while also ensuring that you don’t get physically close enough to anyone where you can shake hands, hug, kiss or even know what they smell like. Considering you used to get the Central line daily to go to work, realise this is more of a blessing than a curse.
- Find a routine (apart from drinking!)
It’s very easy for you to fall into a pattern of drinking, especially with no one monitoring you, so let’s find ways to not do that instead. You are one of the many people who are currently able to work from home. Make sure you wake up at the same time everyday, find a new recipe to try for dinner, mum is always asking if you’re eating when she checks in, and ensure that you stick to the plans you make internally. Shower by lunch, remember brushing your teeth is still mandatory and if you have to go outside to shop due to the tedious nature of how much you buy for yourself and consume as a male adult living alone, wear jeans man! The tracksuit bottoms and shorts are for your eyes and your flat’s viewing only. Always buy double the amount of snacks and remember to not eat those two bags of peanuts in one sitting. Your face will make you regret it.
- Remember what makes you happy
Realise that the whole country isn’t coping well. Find solace in that. Everyone is shocked and a lot of people are dying. Lives are being dramatically changed. With all this change going on and with no ending light appearing anytime soon, take advantage of how long healing takes. Embrace finding yourself again and truly establish what makes you happy. Writing, a habit you have tried not to embrace in fear of being seen as an idiot, makes you happy. As much as you may try and avoid it. Write a blogpost about how you’re coping or even attempt a short story (remember those). When was the last time you did some boxing/running? You used to enjoy these. Get lost in a good book, watch a new TV show while continuing to think about ways to grow. A break up is a chance to rediscover you, as your identity isn’t affected by someone you love. Finding that balance again where you can grow and mend, almost simultaneously, should take up your time. Pray. Get back in touch with your soul and maybe, try and mend relationships with people you’ve hurt and pushed away. Deal with your self-destructive habits, try and get therapy but realise truly, that you are enough. Listen to Stoic quotes on YouTube to ‘fortify’ yourself from the world. Quote Nietzsche to empower your self-transformation. Remember what music does to your senses. Remember what tutoring does to your soul when you hear your tutee recite to you what you’ve taught them. Remember to breathe and appreciate that we are all on our own journeys and laugh at the fickleness of it all, rather than dread it. Rest too, when required, as emotions are volatile things at times likes this. One day, when this pandemic is hopefully a distant memory, you can look back with pride at how you transformed from the terrible person you once were to the person you will be then. Until then, all you have is today. Here’s a guide to getting through your emotions in the midst of the pandemic. Here’s to being a better human, person and man and reclaiming your sense of self in a wild world. Never be ashamed of your story. Now is the time to be as authentic as you possibly can and remember to never be ashamed of loving someone, even to the point of expiration.
Until next time
I would like to say Bojack Horseman is a great TV show to watch if you’re going through any form of change. I’ve recently binged it and don’t think I’d have appreciated it if I watched it any other time than now.