Month: <span>April 2020</span>

I have a long rambling post drafted that I can’t seem to finish, mostly because it’s long and rambling and has no real focus, very much a stream of consciousness style waffling which, rightly, hasn’t been shared with the world.

That post is mostly me trying to capture my thoughts as we enter week whatever of lockdown, it ranges from anger and bemusement at how the government have handled it (the UK government that is, Scotland’s officials seem to be doing a better job of at the very least sounding competent), to stoic acceptance, to the admittance of utter terrifying fear.

But enough of that for now, what I’d like to do instead is reflect on the good things that have come out of this current situation, acknowledge them and see which I might be able to take with me once life approaches whatever the new normal will be.

Part of this is related to the aims I set out at the start of the year and I’ll readily admit that I’ve been subconsciously leaning on these as a way to cope, but given they are things I’ve been aiming to do anyway I’m calling that a win!

There are a few things that have become more of a routine, one of which is reading before I sleep, something I used to do a long time ago but as the wonders of the internet crept into our devices and social media promised endless scrolling, so my consumption of well written and well-considered content has dropped. I’d also like to find more time to read longer articles (the type I current link to if you know where to look) and can see a time they will be part of my weekend routine, something to try out next weekend I think.

Cycling to work is another. We live not far from the River Clyde, and my office isn’t far from it either so there is a nice flat route to work which takes about 20 mins to cycle (I know because I’ve tested the route already). The bus takes about 25-30 mins and will still be an option some days but I’m going to do my best to switch to cycling to work. Easy to say in a week that’s been wall to wall sunshine, but with some wet weather gear I should be fine, and we have showers in the office and secure bike storage so really the question is, what’s been stopping me before now?

I’ve also been writing in my journal most days, and even added in specific entries centred around Gratitude. If I take only one thing out of all this madness, it’s to stop now and then and remind myself of how lucky I am and all the many things I’m grateful for each day.

The other night I watched the documentary Minimalism. It’s a few years old now and most of the spiel I’ve heard and read, even if indirectly, yet I think it was a timely viewing to remind myself that my recent splurges have been driven by a need to sate my boredom and that I’d be better off being better at being bored. So add that one to the list, spend more time being bored and being ok with that. My thinking for this will be to try and further limit my screen time on my phone, it’s the go-to ‘boredom cure’ and so if I can curb that craving then I think that’s a good step forward.

Of course, I’m not naive enough to think all this will just fall into place, but then I think we’ve still got a few months yet of figuring out what the new normal looks like. That said, I know that part of me is a little bit anxious about how these post lockdown days will play out, so having things to focus on is part of a coping mechanism, it’s just that I’d like the mechanism to be a positive one.

And perhaps that’s really what I’m trying to do, trying to find a way to make some sense of the world we live in today and use it as a catalyst for change, use it to bring out more of the me I’ve discovered over the past few weeks.

I’ve learnt that I’m even happier in my own company than I realised. I’ve realised that I miss my family and friends and need to make more of an effort to see them than I have, more of an effort to keep in touch. I’ve noticed that the quiet that has settled over our streets is something I need to seek out more and more, in whatever way I can.

And I’ve realised just how very lucky I am to be where I am right now.

Yes, there are things I want to improve upon but I’m slowly learning to make peace with those and to let them change in their own time.

It’d be easier to dictate a prescriptive view of how I want my life to be in the coming months, yet I think the biggest lesson I’m taking from all of this is just how quickly life can change and how powerless I can be in the midst of all that. Yet if I take each day as it comes, good ones and bad ones, and just let them be whatever they are, just let myself feel whatever I feel within those moments of those days, that’s all I need to do.

Yes, it’s a good step to look ahead and think of positive things to take from times like these, but maybe I’d be better off doing more of what I’ve learned to do simply because I’ve been forced to learn it. Maybe the other side of this, for me at least, is to keep on being present today, and let the future take care of itself.

Life

Rumour has it that, a few years back, a young man was brutally killed and a few days later came back to life.

There’s something about a big rock being rolled about too, hence why all over the country people are over-spending and over-indulging in chocolate eggs. Ohh and there is a magical bunny but I’m not sure if it produces the eggs (in some magical twist of nature) or just hides them, either way seems a bit of an odd time.

Then there’s the not inconsequential global pandemic that has rendered each day the same as the last. What day is today anyway?

This isn’t an anti-religion rant, far from it, anything that can ease the minds of people at the moment is very much a good thing.

And I’ve absolutely no doubt that the reason it seems like more people are celebrating today/this weekend is because I’m spending more time on social media, plus kids love chocolate and why not spoil them a bit, right?

It does seem to be becoming almost Christmas like though, in the gifts and the spoiling and the… now I’m not (any longer) a religious person but I thought this was a celebration of rebirth? But I guess as I don’t have kids, and I don’t celebrate Easter I’ll just mind my own beeswax.

It’s just that it’s Easter Sunday, it’s not even 9:30am and I’ve already done my task for the day – fit the wind deflectors on the car, the ones I bought about six months ago – and this is where my brain went next.

Coming up next on lockdown blogging, why bother pairing your socks, just wear odd ones I mean who really cares anyway!

Anyway, enough of this, I’ve got a Gingerbread Easter egg Kit to open. If you DO celebrate, have a wonderful day, and if, like me you don’t celebrate Easter well you have a wonderful day too.

Life

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I’ve tried many times to build a routine, and it’s usually been about improving my health. You know the type of thing, the grand plans to become a ‘morning person’ and rise at 6am to go to the gym before work. Part of my aims for this year had me pondering such things and I figured once I got past my knee, then foot, issues I’d see what I could do. I had purpose, I was determined and I was going to become a morning person come hell or high water!

Then it was March and the world changed.

I now have a different routine, a routine that involves not going out much at all and when I do being very wary of where people are, how far away they’ll be if we continue on the same trajectories. A routine that involves waking up, having breakfast, checking to see if there is any work to do today (most days there hasn’t been but it’s picking up again thankfully). A routine that involves writing in my journal and meditating every day. A routine that involves pushing myself to do a little exercise even if it’s only 10 minutes or so each day. A routine that is still evolving but feels like it’s now just the way things are.

Which is, less face it, about all we can do at the moment.

One new part of my routine is to take regular breaks – for those of a MacOS persuasion I can highly recommend TimeOut (currently free!) – and during those I find myself counting my many blessings.

I’m also trying to stay off social media and not reading much of the news if I can help it. The latter is largely about the coronavirus, the former veers from coronavirus facts (some times) to the usual silly nonsense which helps ease some tensions. I find I’m better off reading a book, playing on my PlayStation, or spending 20 mins playing the piano.

Like many I did go into this lockdown period with a sense of determination, I would use this time productively! Oh yes, I had grand plans but I quickly realised that all I was really doing was distracting myself from the situation, not a bad thing in and of itself, but putting pressure on myself to achieve things and remain productive was likely to end up stressing me out more when, inevitably, I started to fall short.

I have kept myself busy but I’ve deliberately not planned what I’ll do in any order. Some days I’ll sit and watch TV, others I’ll maybe potter around our home and tidy up, do some chores, and of course we have two dogs who are loving all the extra attention (and who are in for a shock in a few weeks time!). And yes, I am doing a little exercise. I’m trying to stretch more to counter the fact I’m more sedentary at the moment – this is my starting point – I have a little dumb bell routine made up that I’m doing every day or so, and I cycled into Glasgow city centre the other day, round George Square which was utterly deserted, it’s all so very eerie.

It’s probably also telling that my focus and energy to write anything here has gone missing, although I have started to revisit that long dormant novel so maybe the words are all being used up there.

I can’t really venture out to shops – I’m ‘mid-risk’ as I have high blood pressure, plus a bad chest infection a few years ago gives me the fear of getting anything worse – but thankfully my partner is able to go out, face-mask firmly in place, to get supplies. She’s even volunteered to help out some local people who can’t manage out.

But the biggest part of the routine we seem to have fallen into is to talk and laugh, often. It’s a wonderful way to cope.

We will all come out of this period different people. Some will be better, some will be worse, and the longer it goes on the bigger the change it will be, and I just hope everyone is staying safe and being kind to themselves, in whatever form that may take.

As for me, well I’m still not a morning person and that’s ok, and if I’ve learned anything from all of this is that I never will be.

And that’s ok.

Life

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Safe to say that March will be memorable for one thing and one thing only. Coronavirus and lockdown. It’s meant adjusting routines, and whilst I’m working the hours are dropping. We remain in good spirits though and if nothing else it’s given me time to crack on with some other things, including a revisit of my long neglected novel.

It also means I’ve newly invested interest – I’ve got an alarm set and everything – in Ken Bruce on Radio 2 and his Popmaster quiz.

Watched

  • I Am Mother – dystopian sci-fi, cleverly layered, and well worth a watch. The story of the first child born in a post-infectious world (ohhh how timely!).
  • Apollo 11 – Using digital remastered footage, this documentary covers the time from blast off to re-entry, and is a stunning testament to the moon landings. Gripping and vivid, I cannot recommend this enough.
  • Various episodes of nonsense TV – Friends, Brooklyn 99, The New Girl – purely as a coping mechanism.

Read

  • Things I Learned From Falling by Claire Nelson – A true story, which makes it all the more remarkable, this book set deeper in my brain than I expected, tackling so much of our modern habits and attitudes alongside the brutal life and death experience of the author who, whilst hiking alone, falls and breaks her pelvis. Already considering re-reading it.
  • How to be a Footballer by Peter Crouch – an amiable saunter through some tales from behind the scenes. Self-effacing and funny, Crouch comes across as genuinely likeable amidst the sea of posing pretentiousness that is the modern day footballer.
  • The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides – a twisting tale of a murder, the accused remaining mute, until it all starts to unravel. File under ‘beach read’ (or maybe ‘lockdown read’?) as it’s a page turner for sure, with a wonderful twist or to keeping you on your toes.
  • Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid – Written magazine interview style, this is the story of a flamed-haired singer and her integration to an already established band. Set in the 70s, it’s a brilliant, lurid run through sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll and may, or may not, have been inspired by Fleetwood Mac.

Listened

  • Gigaton by Pearl Jam – A new album by a favourite artist is always exciting, alas Pearl Jam continue to veer too wildly from their grunge roots to a middle-ground of bland AOR stylings. Some good songs on there but lacklustre for the most part.
  • City of Love by Deacon Blue – A new album by a favourite Scottish artist is always exciting, and this is a wonderful ode to the Deacon Blue of the past. I think this one will get a fair amount of airtime in the coming weeks.

Wrote

  • Chocolate Raisins – written because we laughed so much when I realised what I’d done, because it’s true, and because right now these silly moments are much needed.

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