How to deal with a difficult week

Mon 22 – Sun 28 Nov 2021

We are definitely in that ‘run-up to Christmas’ intense period. When we are all trying to get everything done and tied up before the holiday period starts. So that made in part for a difficult week last week. But there was also some devastating news with the death of our friend Stephen. And several of my own health issues bubbled up.

So how do you deal with a difficult week? I think it’s the same answer as to the question ‘How do you eat an elephant?’ The answer is slowly and piece by piece. Though why would anybody want to eat an elephant!? That’s how to deal with difficult situations: face them, get your head down, get through. And you have to assume that things will get better.

Friends and Family

Stephen

I had written in my previous blog, read it here, about how our old friend Stephen (and he was particularly Dave’s old mate) was desperately ill in hospital. Terribly sad news that he died last Monday. Puts into perspective when I talk about a difficult week that some people have devastating weeks. Like Stephen’s long-term partner. Makes you realise you need to enjoy life as much as you can for as long as you can.

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”

Dr Seuss

The value of acts of kindness

Dave was in regular contact with Stephen’s partner to make sure he didn’t feel alone and without help or support. We all need that in difficult times. Me and Dave met him on Saturday lunchtime along with another old friend at the restaurant him and Stephen regularly ate at. A very nice meal despite the restaurant being very busy. And a delightful touch that the restaurant owner refused to let us pay for the meal. Never forget how acts of kindness, no matter how small, can make a difficult week much better.

If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit

Old colleagues – Chris and Irene

More personal friend catch-ups last week. Wed afternoon it was great to have a too-short online chat with my old mate Chris who works at Nominet. One of the nicest people I know and lovely to be able to share our experiences of what is happening in the Tech for Good sphere.

Then I was supposed to meet my old colleague Irene face-to-face on Thurs afternoon. We had to cancel because of her work pressures. Totally understandable and hopefully we will catch-up next week.

Family

My difficult week was helped by family though they can also ground you down if you let them. I regularly swap between mum and Dave as they respectively do my head in LOL. Dave did indeed give me the space I required particularly to deal with work stuff as well as support when I needed it. But he was also busy supporting Patrick and dealing with health news from his mum.

Meanwhile I spent plenty of time with my mum. Though often when I am with her, I am working. She is in the front room or laying down in her bedroom whilst I am engrossed in my room. But I think she just likes knowing I am around. And I try not to let her wind me up if I am already feeling wound up already. She means well but, hey, parents…

Retirement

Health and Efficiency

INR – Groundhog Day

Back for another blood-clotting check on Tues and a difficult week in that things still aren’t in range. My blood has a propensity to form clots still so another change in the meds and back again next week to see if things are better.

Physio appointment – a new hope?

Had my long awaited appointment with the physio about my knee. Low expectations as laid out in my previous blog. But it went surprisingly well. Physio did an examination pushing my knee back too far at one point and causing me to shout out. No x-ray or scan but a referral to a gym session with another physio to create a range of knee strengthening exercises.

My hope is that this could be the thing that pushes me back to the gym. I am actually waiting for my old gym to do its New Year reduced annual membership. Though I am worried that we could be heading for another lockdown and so a wasted membership.

My teeth are falling out

What made it a difficult week was also the advent of one of all of our nightmares. I was eating a sweet (a liquorice allsort so nothing hard). And a big part of one of my back teeth fell out. I can feel a big jagged edge and hole. Feels like it’s massive but I know it’s not.

Thankfully not painful but I’m off to the dentist to see what can be repaired. Though not sure I will do anything if it’s too expensive and painful. I will just learn to live with my latest and newest imperfection.

How I feel after a difficult week

Weight – tbd

My general advice to myself and you = when you are having a difficult week then go easy on yourself. I want to lose weight but it takes effort and commitment from many angles. With all the crap that came at me last week, I haven’t had the ability to focus. Some days my eating has been good. And some days it’s been awful. I haven’t had the ability to make real progress in losing weight and I am not giving myself a hard time about it. Hopefully next week will be better.

My suit just about fits

I basically have one suit that comes out for funerals, weddings, baptisms, and in-person job interviews. So not worn for about 2 years and I tried it on ready for Stephen’s funeral next week. The trousers just about do up! Basically I am going to have to keep the jacket done up, breath in, and hope nothing splits. The alternative is to try and lose half a stone in 5 days which probably ain’t going to happen.

Tech for Good

The (good) intensity of work

On top of Stephen’s death and various health problems, my difficult week last week was also based on being very busy at work. Good busy in that we still have our big delivery project ongoing and going well. Plus we finished off another discovery project and began prep work for a new one starting on Monday.

I am genuinely impressed by the commitment and hard work of my colleagues (and I hope they feel a bit the same about me). I think the fact I am getting older simply means working hard takes more out of me than when I was younger. Part-time but 3 very intense days.

Zoom tires us out

Everything is accentuated by the ubiquity of being on zoom. I think this makes a difficult week for all of us very often. We save time by not commuting. But the trade-off seems to be lots of video meetings because they are easy to do and staring at the screen really does tire my eyes. I’m still not feeling comfortable going into the office on a regular basis. So perhaps an answer is to have phone calls more – old skool but could be the answer.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.”

Nelson Mandela

Personal Development

Limited language progress but not beating myself up

A difficult week in that a number of things came at me from different directions. I tried to keep the constancy of Duolingo each day but it wasn’t totally successful. Like losing weight, I’m not going to make things better by giving myself a hard time. Focus is on things getting better in the future.

Laying off the knee exercises

Physio was cool about me only doing my knee exercises intermittently particularly as they don’t really challenge my knee. Thus the gym sessions to start putting it through real stress to help it get stronger. Meanwhile, I am sure I will still do the exercises intermittently. At least I know they are there and what to do.

No coding progress

Nothing at all on practising coding. This is not good news. But, again, it was a difficult week so there was a real reason why I didn’t do the practice not simply cos I’m a lazy bastard. And, again, I am sure I will go back to it when I am able. Thus must not give myself a hard time or guilt trip.

Cup of coffee

Sustainability

Good things continue

Didn’t give an update on this in my previous blog cos nothing out of the ordinary to report about. But one of the cures for a difficult week is to focus on things you enjoy even if they are quite mundane. And I love trying to think how I can live a minimal and sustainable lifestyle that helps the environment.

So lots of normal stuff. Walk and enjoy the open air (even when it is cold), visit the charity shops, tend to my indoor and outdoor plants. Dave has a new brown bird that regularly visits his balcony.

Screw eBay’s prejudice

My plan to get rid of stuff by selling online has temporarily been thwarted again by eBay’s homophobia. Basically DVDs with gay themes are classed as ‘Adult Restricted Material’ leading to a temporary ban on selling. The latest DVD I have been penalised for trying to sell is a certificate 15 so can in no way be ARM. But there is no way to appeal their decision. Presume it’s a homophobic algorithm but that is based on and backed up by human bias.

Fuck Black Friday

Meanwhile, Black Friday happened last week. When you are trying to to help save the planet, it’s a difficult week when you are besieged by emails and messages trying to flog you stuff. As bad as Christmas in that it is an entrapment to buy shit you don’t need so supporting capitalism and destroying the planet. It is revolutionary now to buy secondhand (and so support the circular economy) and not buy at all.

over consuming

Books and Reading

‘Embers’ by Sandor Marai

Only one book completed last week. Suppose that shows what a difficult week it was in that I was too busy to do the reading I love. This book was written in 1942 and the original was in Hungarian. Quite short but very intense. It is the meeting of two old friends at the end of their lives to discuss whether one had an affair with the wife of the other one. I could see a queer theme in terms of jealousy based on someone having a wife when they had previously been ‘friends’ that verged on lovers.

What am I reading: Chinese sci-fi and Dr Who

Meanwhile I am still reading ‘Broken Stars’, the collection of Chinese sci-fi edited by Ken Liu. Just finished a great story by Baoshu where people live in the same time as us but history is going backwards. Plus I’ve got another Big Finish collection of Dr Who related short stories on the go. Entitled ‘Short Trips: 2040’, these are all stories featuring the Doctor visiting Earth in the year 2040. Dr Who always gets me through difficult times.

various cybermen

Art and Culture

I’m A Celebrity

Not much to report. Apart from my enjoyment of trash TV. In particular, soaps and I’m A Celebrity (weather permitting). The latter is particularly silly, trashy, OTT, and predictable but still great fun. Total escapism and sometimes that is what you need to get through a difficult week. Like Squid Game did recently.

The Week Ahead

  • Stephen’s funeral farewell and the important thing will be to support his partner and friends (plus fingers crossed for my suit)
  • Bereavement Leave granted at work for Stephen’s funeral but I am going to have to work hard on my paid and non-paid days to make sure we get everything done before the Christmas period starts – basically w/c 20th Dec onwards
  • Weight – never give up giving up. Perhaps I will be able to take control of things better.
  • In health terms, the week ahead is going to be a difficult week again in that it’s busy: Covid booster, INR, physio gym session.
  • Theoretically I am meeting my old colleague Irene on Thurs afternoon. Changed from last week and hopefully it will take place though this might not happen due to illness/tiredness, weather, Covid, or the demands of paid work.
  • Going to carry on having fun watching I’m A Celebrity particularly the silly tensions that arise within the group from being in such an insular environment
  • Carry on with the Chinese sci-fi and Dr Who story collections plus start a new fiction book
  • Aim to get back to regular personal development and some art & culture beyond the TV
  • Be nice to get off the eBay naughty step next weekend
  • Fingers crossed that QPR’s new good run continues…

And Finally…

Colonial mentality

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