The Other Side

Reading time: 4 mins

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.

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