Note: this was written in the last few weeks and out together through various conversations with friends about this mutual but distinctly different feeling we all have. I have written from my own experience mainly and, I’m sad to say, a lot of this now feels insignificant compared to what has happened in the world in the last 24 hours. I by no mean wish to draw attention away from this and urge you to not feel like that’s what I intended. I only wish for hope and feel solidarity for the people affected by the awful things occurring.
I never anticipated what working in a mortuary would do for me. In so many ways. I was right in one way, that it would be my dream career and teach me invaluable things I had always wanted to explore and learn. However there’s a lot I never anticipated or recognised would happen from the start.
I could write a whole book (and one day I may well do so all going to plan) on the things I’ve discovered about myself and the world since starting this job in 2017 but the one I’d like to explore today is what I call The Pressure. For a select number of you, I hope the song from Encanto plays in the background of your mind while you read this.
I’m referring to the overwhelming pressure I feel to absolutely smash life. To be ‘living my best life’, to be living a life I won’t regret at the end of it all hopefully in the far off future. But that’s it. I also feel this wild pressure that it may not be that far off. It could be any year, month, day or second from now. I might know that it’s coming, I might not. So I need to be present, and enjoying myself, and just having the best damn time I can.
So then where does cleaning my toilet come into that? Where does hoovering? What about running to the shops because we’ve run out of bread because I was too busy trying to do my absolute best at ‘living’. What about how ‘just eat the damn cupcake’ has got me into being nearly three stone heavier than I was before and needing to buy an entire new wardrobe.
The Pressure overwhelms me nearly every day. I’m grateful for the fact it’s something I recognise, I acknowledge and I’m working on lessening. I am aware it’s both a healthy and unhealthy way to exist, and that I need to refine the healthy parts while banishing the unhealthy aspects. After discussing this at work with a colleague, I’m more aware I need to accept that cleaning my toilet is part of living my best damn life because who’s best life involves a dirty toilet. Don’t answer that, it was rhetorical.
When considering everything I think about recently, I ponder if the pandemic has had and is still having an impact upon it. I obviously never expected a pandemic to hit only a few years after starting the job and I never quite realised how awful it would be until I was caught in the middle of the crisis. In a much wider way, living through a pandemic taught me that nothing is certain. Whereas before there were things that once known would almost certainly happen, the pandemic meant things that felt concrete would be ripped away last minute without any consolation. Like long time booked wedding dates for example.
Do I think the pandemic and this feeling has increased The Pressure? Well, in a simple way, yes. Of course it has. As someone who never stopped, who never was on furlough or ever really in lockdown, and who’s routine never really changed, I just became very quickly used to not going out in the evening. Now I have absolutely no desire to go out which is very obvious against my husband’s opposite yearning to socialise as much as possible after having been stuck in a house working from home since February 2020.
The truth is simply that I sometimes use this blog to just air my thoughts in text with the vain idea someone might find them interesting. This whole concept is exactly what has been rolling around in my head this week keeping me awake at night. I know it will all be okay, and even by discussing it with someone else already I feel better about it. The Pressure will always exist in one way or another, I do work in a job which constantly reminds me of my own and others’ mortality. However some days it might be stronger than others. For example on house cleaning days when I can think of a million things I would rather do than clean my toilet.