Today I'm giving zero fucks about... taking a break.
I bet you thought you'd never see a fifty percent expletive email subject in your inbox again, did you? I don't blame you. It's been over a year of no Zero Fucks (the newsletter; I hope you've all been giving zero in your daily lives), and, if I'm honest, I didn't think it would ever be back again either.
When people asked me if I might bring it back one day, I'd say "Oh, yeah, perhaps I could." Except, I was almost certain I was lying (sorry). Something had changed, not least a stressful, full-time job working for a co-founders that turned out to be bat shit crazy. More so, however, I simply didn't want to write and broadcast it to an audience anymore. The thought actually made me feel a little nauseous. It felt self-involved and I simply didn't want to let people in and invite so much attention to my thoughts. I've started a few side projects in my time and this was yet another to add to the list of "started but did not finish". And, yes, I did feel a little guilty.
I didn't know it was a break but, now I'm here, it seems that is what I've taken.
I think we're all taking a break of some kind or another at the moment. We're not doing half as much as we used to (apart from Zoom calls; my god, their business model is eating up this pandemic). We've stopped doing the majority of things that characterised our lives and have replaced them all with painting-by-numbers, embroidery and cooking elaborate meals (using my own life as a case study). Our cookie-cutter like days are monotonous and under-stimulating (ooh, maybe I'll make cookies). My identity has gone out the window, as my day looks more or less the same as your day and your retired Dad's day and it's fucking bullshit. I did get Coronavirus, though. I wish I could say that makes my experience unique, but, sadly, quite the opposite is true.
I've spoken to friends, and this relentless, never-ending, hamster-wheel-of-a-life has brought up some similar feelings that I felt when I cast my beloved Zero Fucks, and you guys, aside (sorry, love ya long time). Guilt is a big one, as is feeling that you're not achieving enough or feeling useless or purposeless. It's a break of enormous proportions, but the problem is we have no idea when it will end. We're used to breaks, but society has taught us to feel they should be a reward or for "when you really need one" i.e. when it is deserved. They should certainly be time boxed. I like to keep telling myself it could all be over tomorrow. In response, people like to tell me I'm a fucking idiot.
This idea of taking un-elected time out that really, for most of us, serves no purpose and has not been "earned" is an unsettling one. But we are more than the "shit that we do". Personally, I've picked up what my upbringing has taught me is a very bad habit: napping (even if I disagree with my childhood indoctrination). That doesn't make me a napper, it's just really working for me right now. If there's anything that my break of an undefined length from writing this newsletter has taught me is that things can start and stop and may never start again. I don't mean if our normal lives will ever return because, honestly, if it doesn't I'll become a nun just for the sense of community (being single, there are elements of my life that far too closely resemble a nun's right now so the transition will probably be seamless). However, life as we knew it will return. It may be the same, it may be slightly different given all of us have realised that face-to-face socialising is wholly unnecessary and I'll never get on the tube at the weekend ever again. But it will be back and we'll love it.
However, in the meantime, a break is more than okay. It's sunny, get yourself an ice cream from the local shop (while supporting your small, local businesses), and enjoy the peace before the next fucking ridiculous gift that 2020 has for us comes along. But we'll get through that one together, too.
See you soon (no timescales for me this time - I'll write this thing when I bloody well want, and no I don't have the excuse of a busy life).
p.s. pandemics are for starting and stopping things. If now's not the time for newsletter reading for you (I promise to try not to write about the "situation" but I couldn't pretend it's not happening for this first one), hit unsubscribe and I won't even mind.
p.p.s. Happy birthday Olivia, darling.
Like what you've just read Pass this on to someone who gives so few fucks that they'll shout at people for not keeping a 2m distance. I've never respected those people more.