Learning to accept limitations in life

Mon 16 – Sun 22 Nov 2020

Second full week of lockdown 2.0. Another week and a half to go. We’ve all accepted limitations that this has put on us. Easier than last time in that we know when it ends. But we are bored and frustrated now, longing for things to return to some sort of normal.

The great news is that a range of successful vaccines looks inevitable. So about another 6 months to go before substantial roll-out is achieved and life can be more like it used to be. But in the meantime there are still about 500 people a day dying in the UK alone and we just have to get on with the limitations to our existence. Others have dealt with far worse than this and come through it.

Dealing with life's limitations

Health and Efficiency

Health is the big area in which I am having to learn with limitations. In particular, my ongoing knee problems stopping me doing the level of exercise I want to do which in turn affects my fitness. It is depressing how our body declines with age but we have to accept this. 🙁

Injuries (dodgy knees)

One of the hardest things I have had to deal with is the loss of my gym. It still won’t be back even when the current lockdown ends. Hopefully it will open again once the roll-out of the vaccine begins. Meanwhile I have tried to do more jog-runs which I enjoy. But I am finding limitations and that is frustrating me enormously.

I did some jog-runs last week and a couple of long walks. Outcome was that my old right knee problem felt more aggravated by the weekend. 🙁 Physical limitations are going to come more and more to the fore as I get older. I have to learn to accept my body is ageing but it’s hard – I want to be able to do all the things I have done.

Think I will have to get my knee problems checked out properly with the GP. I suspect it will need a hospital referral and with the current backlog caused by the pandemic, means I will probably be waiting ages. 🙁

Jog-runs constrained

Jog-run

Managed two jog-runs last week. Had planned for three. But, as explained above, by the weekend I had to accept the limitations caused by my knee and simply rest.

First jog-run was on Monday. A bit worried about rain but avoided it. Did a slow 3 km – pace of 6 and a half minutes per km (‘fast’ would be 6 mins per km). Treated myself to a bath afterwards – part of my new tactic to see if I could stop my knee from feeling too aggravated.

Then the second one on Wednesday. Only 48 hours since the previous jog-run (I would love to be able to run every other day) and it felt good at the time so ended up doing 3.33 km. Probably should have recognised my limitations and not pushed the distance. 🙁

Walks and weight

Didn’t repeat my mistake of the previous week by doing a very long walk on just one day. Rather did a longish walk on Thursday and then on Friday as I wouldn’t be running. But by Saturday, my right knee was hurting. Strange that long walks seem to aggravate my knee more than or just as much as short jog-runs. 🙁

So a week of exercise limitations by the time I got to the weekend because of injuries. I know by looking at the measurements on my gadget watch that the amount of calories used in exercise is actually quite small. The difference comes from simply eating less. Managed that reasonably well last week (hooray!) and kept my weight steady at 13 stones, 8 & a half pounds. Details on weight and jog-run times can be found here.

INR

Apart from my knee problems, I also continue to learn to live with the limitations that come my chronic health issues. Back again to the GP to check my blood clotting levels; in range – hooray! 🙂 But because it’s only just back into range, I’m required to re-attend to get it tested in a fortnight. 🙁

Art and Culture

Finally got down to enveloping myself in some art and culture. Partly to escape from my depression around coming to terms with my health and fitness limitations. A surprising commonality came up around ‘time’ which made me think but not always in a good way.

Dr Who: ‘The Space Museum’

sixties doctor who logo

Regular readers will know I have a huge soft spot for Dr Who. It was a big part of growing up. I often listen to modern Big Finish adventures as I am walking. But last week also caught up with an adventure from the era of the first Doctor – William Hartnell. I watched ‘The Space Museum’ from 1965.

To our eyes it looks basic but it would have been cutting edge in its day. Amazing how they got round limitations of budget and no CGI. What is most interesting is the story which is about time being fluid so that it can be changed and nothing being fixed. Indeed, it sets the very thought-provoking context of how you can attempt to change an outcome without knowing what you are doing will lead to that outcome? Great fun. 🙂

Film: ‘End of the Century’

LGBT rainbow flag

Caught up with this recent gay film via BFI player. It’s beautifully concise at just under 90 mins. The story of two gay men having a holiday fling. Set in Barcelona, it reminds me of the laid back Mediterranean lifestyle I love. And it’s helping improve my Spanish.

Turns out that this isn’t the first time they have met. It’s an intriguing idea – I certainly can’t remember everybody I met 20 years ago. Though parts of the story are stretched. A t-shirt plays a key role. There is absolutely no way one of my t-shirts from 20 years ago would fit me now. 🙂

There was a surprising link to the Dr Who story in that the film reflects on what might have been. I can get really depressed when I dwell on this sort of thing – what if…? But ‘what ifs’ are pointless and destructive as there is no guarantee we aren’t living the best possible life now.

TV as an art form

Art and culture shouldn’t always be deep and serious. Indeed, the pandemic and redundancy have made me a fan not of trash TV but of stuff that still isn’t too highbrow. I know it’s a generational thing to watch ‘normal’ TV rather than just consuming stuff online and on-demand as I want. But that’s the way I consume my TV.

Apart from the usual evening soaps, my current favourites are:

  • Escape to the Chateau
  • Place in the Sun
  • Come Dine with Me
  • Four in a Bed
  • Doctors
  • Dickinson’s Real Deal
  • Bargain Hunt
  • Homes under the Hammer

It’s quite loaded to Channel 4 and daytime TV, perhaps that’s a reflection of me finding stuff to do during the day post-redundancy. Though I am enjoying some more trashy evening stuff such as I’m a Celebrity, Strictly, First Dates, and Naked Attraction.

‘Berlin 1945’

Ruins

One programme I did find on BBC 4 that I would highly recommend is ‘Berlin 1945’ – three episodes covering the fall of Berlin. Contemporary film overlaid by the voiced diaries of various people. Not just German civilians but also invading combatants and forced foreign labour. Can be watched here on i-player.

Certainly makes me mindful of whatever limitations I am dealing with in my life, people have (and are) dealing with far worse. And yet they survive.

Film: ‘Brief Encounter’

Another bit of black and white escapism. Me and Dave watched this classic on Saturday afternoon. The wonderful story of the limitations of love. Britain in the post-war period and the social constraints of two married people who fall in love. They don’t take the chance to escape – the correct decision….?

Family and Friends

Mum

She’s OK but things have become a little tense. She is really pissed off with lockdown. I’m of the view that it’s a pain but we are being asked to do very little to try and avoid people dying (don’t get me started on Christmas…). I completely appreciate the limitations but we have to go through it for the greater good.

She’s also had an upsetting ‘official’ letter. Came at the weekend just when you can’t talk to anybody to sort it. I will deal with it for her but in the meanwhile she is upset. 🙁

Friends

Obvious limitations in meeting friends because of lockdown. However, I am getting round it by making contact via tech.

Vaneeta (Wholegrain Digital)

Delighted last week that I made contact with an old friend – Vaneeta. She runs a WordPress development and design agency, Wholegrain Digital. They did the website for The Bromley Trust run by my old colleague Laura partly based on my recommendation. 🙂 I met Vaneeta at a WP group I went to many years ago. Nice to be in contact with an old friend and I would highly recommend Wholegrain Digital.

Dilhani and Joe (Working with Joe)

Also delighted that I have set up 2 catch-ups with friends for the near future. Firstly, I am having a video call with my old job-share Dilhani next week. Secondly, Monday week I am zooming with my old digital expert friend Joe Roberson. Again, if you need a tech freelancer then please have a look at his site Working with Joe.

Books and Reading

‘The Man in the Picture’ by Susan Hill (a nice little horror story)

Spirit

Some pure escapism last week to get away from dealing with life’s limitations. Susan Hill is probably most famous for ‘The Woman in Black’. She is an excellent writer of horror books. Quite gothic and dripping with dark Victoriana even when placed in a modern setting.

This is a short book. Indeed, it probably could be read in one sitting. It’s the sinister story of a painting that haunts people and foretells gloom. There’s a story of a spurned lover behind it all. Old-fashioned creepy literary horror rather than shock and awe horror of most modern movies. It definitely leaves you thinking. Recommended.

My current reading books

Two books on the go:

  • ‘Jews Queers German’ by Martin Duberman. A historical novel about the gay men who were linked to the Kaiser.
  • ‘Damascus’ by Christos Tsiolkas. A fictionalised life of St Paul.

Personal Development

I think we are all realising a way to try to get through lockdown and the pandemic generally, is by trying to develop new skills. But we are also dealing with the normal limitations of life so we should not feel bad if we aren’t achieving as much as others seem to be doing.

Languages: useful German words for the pandemic

My main development area continues to be languages. I am still doing my daily learning with Duolingo. I am up to 114 consecutive days of usage. 🙂 Missed one day this week on Drops that’s improving my German. The focus on that at the moment is body parts and words related to the pandemic such as die Gesichtsmaske (face mask), die Behandlung (treatment), and die Ubertragung (transmission). 🙂

The Week Ahead

  • Got to sort out some official stuff for mum so, hopefully, she can stop worrying
  • A catch up with Dilhani and also my mate Phyllis in Spain
  • Will definitely finish the Tsiolkas book – it’s very good and move onto something new
  • Going to plough on with my language learning as that makes me feel good 🙂
  • Walks to start the week and some short jog-runs as we head towards the weekend. Gotta work round the limitations caused by my knee problems otherwise it is going to get me down.
  • Dave’s got to travel away for work despite the pandemic 🙁
  • Carry on using art and culture to escape from the limitations of everyday life

And Finally…

Life goes wrong sometimes

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