All We Have is the Future – Lockdown, week 7

Sun 3 – Sat 9 May 2020

Particularly through my own difficulties with mental health, I have learnt that the best thing you can do in hard times is to look to the future. I am a naturally pessimistic person but without hope and belief there is no point in carrying on.

Don’t dwell in the past

I have learnt that the past is something we can learn from. But a place we must move on from quickly and somewhere we must not dwell. What is gone is gone. What has been may give us some temporary inspiration but the worst of times has nothing to offer apart from draining energy for the present.

Living in the present isn’t the answer

However, I don’t totally go with ‘living in the present’. That doesn’t work if things are shit like as at the present time with the Coronavirus crisis. Clearly, there are people having a far worse time. But also every silver lining has a cloud and there are many better off. Always ask why someone has more power and money than you.

The future is bright…

The future - next exit

For me, it is far better to look at the future, considering it as bright and hopeful as we can. This is what drives me forward; that despite my natural pessimism, things will get better. It’s like the old joke – what’s the difference between a pessimist and an optimist? Nothing, one just has a much better time than the other. πŸ™‚

…but you have to fight for it

But that doesn’t mean I’m a happy clappy hippy (never trust a hippy said the Sex Pistols and they were right – look at sixties hippies who became the baby boomers and shafted us). The future has to be fought for. And there are days when my pessimism overtakes my belief in hope. There really are plenty of people out there who want to exploit people and care only about themselves. Believe in the future but be prepared to fight for it.

Work Life Balance

Time-off to breathe

Finally followed my own guidance last week and took some time off work. Had all day Wednesday off as well as the bank holiday on Friday. Absolutely vital to pace myself from work especially during lockdown where work and home life merge. Two days of just focusing on personal stuff. Highly recommended.

My great team

Steve Jobs quotation

I am genuinely lucky to have such interesting people to work with. They are enthusiastic and knowledgeable; they want to get on and make things happen. However, creative and diverse people working together inevitably breeds tensions and heated discussions but that’s what successful working is about. It’s still better than working with people who don’t care.

But I feel old sometimes

In a world of work that idolises youth, agility, and energy – it’s not always easy being an older person in the workplace. Perhaps when we draw on our experiences that may feel like an energy dampener. But that can also be incredibly valuable. It is crazy and wasteful to keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again – it would be irresponsible to stand aside and just let that happen.

Health and Efficiency

Jog-run

Jog-run

Managed to get out early morning twice last week – possible via good weather. All times can be seen here. 4.5 km last Sun and 5 km on Wed. Both decent pace per km though nothing spectacular. Really pleased I did these but had lower back ache following the 5K on Wed. πŸ™

Everyday exercise (including laundry)

I am making a concerted effort to get out each day for a walk. Though I don’t bother on jog-run days. Sometimes the walk is around St James Park and / or Green Park though that can be quite busy and not good for social distancing. So on days like that, it’s normally a walk around Pimlico.

Exercise with a purpose on Tues as we took the first service wash to the local laundrette. We had found out on another walk that it is open with our favourite laundry lady still working there. She actually reckons she’s quite bored. Then another purposeful walk to collect it on Thurs. Dave is seriously considering getting a washing machine in the future after lockdown is over.

Sleep and weight

Beautiful afternoon snooze on Wed afternoon as part of my day-off. I love afternoon sleeps particularly as they feel so wonderfully self-indulgent. In normal life, who can normally have a decent lunch break and a nap afterwards?

I’ve started paying more attention to what I eat. This combined with exercise does feel like it’s starting to impact. I’m definitely not losing weight on a mind-boggling scale. But I think I am gently stabilising and getting into a downward trend. Bit like the Covid daily death rate…

Books and Reading

‘The Heavens’ by Sandra Newman

sunny sky with bits of cloud

A lauded contemporary novel released by one of my favourite publishers, Granta. They do innovative writing – this book definitely fits. The story of a love affair in which a woman travels back in time when she sleeps. But as she does so the future she returns to is changed. A good but not easy read.

Velvet Page book club

I had so many good intentions to join this on Thurs. But following an intense few days at work, I just need my evenings to myself to chill. Plus I hadn’t read the book. So I skipped it but I have real intentions to read the book for June and join in. If any of my fellow book club members are reading this blog, big apologies for not making the last two meetings. πŸ™

Personal Devlopment

Not as good as the previous week but still some movement forwards. Forward, forward, always forward to the future.

  • Language learning apps usage continues though never as much as I would like
  • Been taking advantage of online video to help my language learning as well as programming stuff from Free Code Camp
  • β€˜Introduction to Computer Science’ edX course continues, I’m onto the actual programming part which needs focus
  • Joined a good webinar about what makes a strong funding foundation. Only an hour long which was just right – some of these online events do go on for too long.
  • Emails have stayed under control with my willingness to use the delete button if there are too many πŸ™‚
  • Still active on social media. Indeed, I wish I could be more active but again it’s all about time.

Family and Friends

Mum and bingo

The usual twice daily phone check-in with mum continues. She remains well and safely isolated. But I am looking forward to the future when I can go and see her plus stay over for a long period of time in my own room surrounded by my beloved books. Mum talks about having a hug and I have to tell her that probably won’t be possible. πŸ™

Prizes

Fri evening and we had family bingo. My brother, his kids, his partner and her family, and mum all joined in by phone and What’s App. We had been sent bingo cards via the post though they took a while to arrive. Thus this was the first time we were able to join the weekly session.

Rob and Dom

Continued my policy of trying to keep in touch with friends during the lockdown. Amusingly, me and my mate Rob in Hove kept missing each other on the phone and end up just leaving messages. However, we finally caught up on Sat evening and he is fine. And I did have a phone catch-up with my old mate Dom on Wed who is also doing OK. I don’t know anybody directly who has suffered from getting the virus though I do know two relatives of friends who have died as a result of it. πŸ™

Art and Culture

My big fat failure last week. Nothing achieved in this area (apart from reading) particularly no catching up with any movies. This is a weak area for me and it should be so easy to make gains. The key thing is simple lack of time.

The Week Ahead

  • Two more days off next week – Mon and Fri πŸ™‚
  • Remaining 3 work days will be busy (the flip side of time-off πŸ™ ) especially around budget setting
  • Will definitely continue doing my jog-runs twice each week – that’s probably the right amount to get sufficient resting time in-between
  • Reading a nice collection of ghost stories – I do like a bit of horror
  • Hopefully a bit more focus on personal development than last week – it’s all about the future πŸ™‚
  • Twice daily check-ins with mum and family bingo on Fri plus keeping in touch with friends
  • Must, must, must start to put more focus on art and culture

And Finally…

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