The first few weeks of commuting have been hard. The work days have started almost an hour earlier than I am used to. Luckily, as an early bird getting up is not the problem, it is more that sometimes the end of the day can feel very far away. To start with I walked to the main Geelong station, but have since discovered that South Geelong is closer. In the morning I always get a seat on this service as it starts from the yards, rather than coming through from Waurn Ponds. The afternoons from Southern Cross are usually fine if you are there waiting when the train pulls in.
Ripples of disruption became apparent as I was about to buy my second monthly pass. The V-Line customer service officer advised me that the line was going to be closed for three weeks in the run up to Easter and perhaps I would like to reconsider my purchase. I walked away with a weekly pass and a half-baked plan to combine some ferry trips with more working from home. As it turns out this couldn’t have been timelier.
A week later, as measures to stem the spread of coronavirus are increased, my workplace recommended that where possible we work from home. And I for one am delighted, not just to be missing the chaos of altered transport arrangements, but as an introvert this plays to my strength. Not only does this reduce my commute to under a minute but I also get to read, write and think uninterrupted in a quiet environment – absolute bliss! My brain is already working better in the peace and warmth of my kitchen table.
Adjusting to another change is requiring me to dig a bit deeper. I have been reading about the value of creating different zones for work and life activities. I don’t have enough rooms to be able to dedicate one to work, so instead am allocating different functions to pieces of furniture. For instance, the arm chair will be for work, and the couch for life. As a result, I expect the armchair to become encircled in piles of reports, papers and notes and the couch to acquire a selection of knitting and felting projects.
However, I do still need to leave the house – for mental and physical health. It has been suggested that a walk at the beginning and end of each day also helps to create some separation between work and home. So, in the morning I have been hoofing down to the waterfront to take photos of the sunrise, and in the evening ambling around the neighbourhood getting to know the streets and maybe even walking past my future home.
Making the best of this new world is still going to take some time – and some trial and error. If this goes on for months rather than weeks, who knows where we could be come spring. My hope is that we can find the inner strength to cope with the challenges and that maybe this socially sanctioned quiet time will enable us to slow down a little and reconnect with ourselves and those around us.