Patience and spirituality to be relearned plus a burden shared

Mon 16 – Sun 22 May 2022

My previous blog was about constantly feeling tired (read it here) and last week was no exception. But I just need to live with this and see where things go. Perhaps I simply require more patience in my life. Indeed, as my old mate Phyllis pointed out – of course you’re tired, it’s because you’re old.

Last week, I was reminded of a blog I wrote in January entitled ‘Hang around. Let fate do the work’ – read it here. What I meant was that you should sometimes simply let life roll out and see what happens rather than constantly trying to make things happen or even make decisions.

Modern life is fast paced thanks in large part to the internet and 24/7 living: constant demand for news and uniqueness. But that also means things are quickly forgotten. I have always said, if you can last out 5 days of negative news about yourself then you will survive as people’s attention will have moved onto something else. Explains why we have ended up with such dreadful people in the public sphere.

Such fast paced and public living means that we are all caught up in doing things and making decisions. But often there isn’t a decision to be made. Or it is wiser just to let things progress and see where they end up. I definitely need to put more patience into my life. Things will unfold and what will be will be.

The future - next exit

Health and Efficiency

As you get older so you need to have patience to deal with the way your body and health changes. Obviously some people are lucky, keeping good health till much later in life. But ill health will come to us all in some form during our lives.

Managing chronic health issues

Sometimes I lack patience with my range of chronic illnesses. I can totally understand why people can go crazy and drop out of the checking / testing / meds renewal system. Totally irresponsible but horrible to think that your life is just going to be a constant merry-go-round that never ends.

INR – blood clotting

I have to get my INR checked regularly to ensure my blood is not clotting nor that I am at risk of internal bleeding. You can shift to a self-regulating anti-coagulant which I’ve nagged about for years. Currently it needs to be agreed by the hospital cardiology team who I’ve never had anything to do with…

I put off getting my INR done until I had run out of warfarin. Ordered a renewal but knew I couldn’t get the meds without the overdue INR being done. The person who does it at my GP surgery accommodated me at a time that suited which I really appreciated. Result was just OK but still acceptable so no need to test again for 8 weeks.

warfarin tablets

Inherited problems like arthritis and leg ulcers

I have written before about my knee problems which look like they are caused by osteoarthritis. Mum suffers from arthritis which is particularly bad in her wrist. I am pretty sure I am developing arthritis in my hands. My fingers and joints hurt for no reason.

Some things run in families and you have to learn to live with that. I suspect the problems others in my family have had with ulcerated legs is what is developing with me. And other family members have my same problem of developing spontaneous blood clots. Funny how everything is connected.

blood clot in a blood vessel

Ear problems

Another ongoing problem I have is my ears blocking with wax and getting infected. Not a massive problem in itself but really annoying as my hearing slowly deteriorates. This particularly reared in my teens when I regularly started getting ear infections and needing my ears syringed. Now the NHS doesn’t do syringing so there is no option but to pay privately to have the wax suctioned out. Bit like paying for my annual pre-paid prescription certificate – the unfair financial penalty on long-term health problems.

Mental health

My depression is like a demon that hangs around to taunt me. It tells me I’m a failure and that the future is something to worry about. It really kicked in midweek such that I had to take a day off work – see below.

This is classically where I need to have patience. Of course, I’ve made mistakes in the past but we all have and that is what living is about. The future will come and I have done the best I can to prepare for it so there is no point in being fearful. Plus who knows what the future holds?

Gym

Great to get two gym sessions in last week on my two non work days. It’s classic how exercise can improve your mood. I never feel low when I am in the gym particularly when I am on my own and can just use whatever machines or weights I want to. That is why I go mid morning on a weekday.

30 gym sessions since the start of 2022 = £16.50 per session.

Walking for health

One of the ways I dealt with my low in midweek was by going for a very long walk. To the point of being completely worn out. That helped; I realised I needed to stop feeling bad and just see what rolls-out. I write below on the path I am on to rediscover spirituality in my life. And walking is very spiritual for me. It is purposeful, healthy, and clears my head. The world would be a lot better place if we all walked more.

walking feet

Weight

Absolutely no good shift in my weight. But as I have said previously, weight loss takes effort and focus – I am not in the right space for that yet. Part of the problem with trying to lose weight (and looking for the beneficial effects of exercise) is that we need to have patience. And the world we live in is not designed for that.

The immediate pleasure of eating and drinking outweighs the benefits of the long and slow process of losing weight no matter how much we desire a thinner and more desirable body. Evenings are worse for me – I can quite happily stuff my face as a way with dealing with the day gone.

Monkeypox

How could I ignore the latest, big health scare? Patience needed to see if it does boom but things look concerning. Fatality rate of 1% which is the same as Covid I think. It’s spreading and the worry must be that it takes a hold before we get into lots of close contact events for the summer like concerts and festivals.

One of the most frustrating things is it may have become a sexually transmitted disease and could be used to discriminate against gay men. Appears to be currently infecting lots of young gay and bisexual men. There’s a theory that it’s the generation that came after the routine vaccination for smallpox ended (1971). But it also feels a bit like when HIV arrived, giving an excuse to all the puritans to condemn and judge gay men having sex – until, of course, it is firmly established in the general population.

Work Life Balance / Tech for Good

My first sick day in a year

I have an incredibly high work ethic and very rarely take sick leave. Indeed, I can look back on numerous times in my life when I have carried on working despite being seriously ill. It’s that stupid thing about believing I am indispensable and the work I am doing is more important than anything else.

On Wednesday I took my first sick day in the year plus I have been in my current job. And it was due to being depressed – having a downer. It is important to treat mental health the same as physical health. That means taking time to heal when both are in a bad way. So I had to take a day out to get my head and emotions back into a good place.

Head in hands

The ongoing search for purpose

Part of my mental health problem is linked to working out where I am heading. I pride myself on being a hard-working, loyal employee and always doing a good job. I don’t know where my career is going but I need to have patience and let things take their course. What I need to do is to think about my options and look at the positives rather than dwell on failures and ‘what ifs?’.

I will be moving to working 2 days per week from June in my current role which ends in December. What I think of as part of my move to ‘semi-retirement’. But I still need to do things to give my life purpose. Perhaps one day I will go back to full-time working (nothing is inevitable and unalterable) but perhaps also I need to find more meaning and fulfilment beyond just paid work.

So pleased my colleague is back = burden shared

A definite highlight of last week was the return of my full-time colleague from sabbatical. Obviously I have coped whilst she’s been away and I think I did bloody well covering both her and my job on a part-time basis. But it is so good to have her back. To be able to share the burden of work, bounce ideas, get her tech perspective, and generally not feel on my own.

Be happy and grateful about nice things

Work works best when it’s collaborative. Don’t buy into the old-fashioned idea of the lone business genius. It doesn’t exist as no person achieves anything without the input of others. Plus through this we create dodgy business ‘heroes’ who can actually be unpleasant and narcissistic individuals who end up believing their own mythology and pontificating on things they really know nothing about.

The woke 'threat'

The new Social Change Lab is coming

Very exciting to start bouncing ideas around with my returned colleague on what shape our Social Change Lab could take this year. Previously we did 3 discoveries and 1 big delivery project. I think there’s a danger that discoveries can be blue sky thinking. It’s what I wrote about previously that pro bono work is like any type of paid work. It will work best when there is a clear problem to be solved and brief on what needs to be done. Within that you can also still be agile.

Couple more weeks to talk it through with various parties and hopefully we will be launching our pro bono / low bono offer for UK-based not-for-profit orgs in June. Pretty sure we’ve already identified several orgs with ideas that could be put into play now.

Colleagues

Family and Friends

The mums are still fine. I spent time with mum as usual though I am often working or one of us is sleeping. And if not, then I am probably on my computer. Dave’s mum is fine though mobility is still limited. Parents are quite tiring as we (and they) get older – we need to show them patience as hopefully one day people will show us patience.

Patrick and Frances

Lovely to meet up with these two friends at Dave’s place on Sunday. I like going out to eat but Dave thought it would be nice to host for a change. So we had them round for tea on a lovely sunny afternoon. Wonderfully civilised and stereotypical of traditional English culture. Good catching up and we are meeting again next Saturday for a meal out.

Books and Reading

I love reading and that is an example of patience in itself. It takes time to get through a book though it is helped when it is an enjoyable read. That was very much the case with the main book read last week.

‘Hall of Mirrors’ by Christopher Fowler

One of my favourite authors and someone who does a brilliant (almost daily) blog which can be read here. Christopher Fowler really is one of my heroes in terms of his literary output which is constant, diverse, and simply brilliantly entertaining. I would recommend all his books and particularly the Bryant and May series.

This novel was the next unread one in the series of the adventures of detectives Arthur Bryant and John May of the Peculiar Crimes Unit. Cleverly, Fowler has made it a prequel set in the late 60s when both men were young and inexperienced. Loved the framing within the swinging sixties and it becomes a wonderful stately home murder mystery.

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”

Groucho Marx

Spirituality and Science

Regular blog readers will know that I have a spiritual side. I used to attend church regularly and have been on several retreats; it’s wonderful how they create a totally different space from your everyday life. Plus my reading often has a spiritual angle. But I am also a big believer in science and its primacy over religion. I suppose I believe in ethical and spiritual science.

I am very disillusioned by religious dogma. Yet I don’t want to end up as some new age person who has a ‘pic n mix’ attitude to faith choosing only the bits they are comfortable with i.e.praying or chanting for a new car.

My commitment to sustainability is very connected to my spirituality. We need to respect the patience of nature and its ability to recycle everything. It’s not always nice but then life can’t just be about having pleasant things happen to us no matter how much we would want that to be.

woman doing tree pose

My spiritual side has particularly been activated recently with the reading of ‘Notes from the Burning Age’ by Claire North. I was slightly dismissive of it as just another post-apocalyptic novel. But it has an underlying theme that connects the threat to nature and man’s sense of superiority with trying to stop a return to the ‘Burning Age’ – the period when mankind destroyed the environment.

I think spirituality is about many things. Having peace with yourself, striving to create a better world, and opposing selfishness as well as caring for the weak and the poor.

The Week Ahead

  • Gonna carry on with my daily Duolingo language learning, trying to promote sustainability, and putting artistic creativity and culture into my life
  • My final 3 day week. Lots of talking with my direct colleague (and other colleagues) about the shape of our new Social Change Lab
  • Two days off – Tues and Thurs. Aim is to get to the gym on both days.
  • Me and Dave are meeting my old mate Emma on Thurs afternoon. She moved with her partner to Tasmania a few years ago and has only just been able to visit the UK to see her family and friends. One day, hopefully, we will be visiting them.
  • Saturday night is dinner with Patrick and Frances again – we’re off to a restaurant that means a lot to all of us
  • Try to keep good mental health and my head in a nice place. Shouldn’t be any medical stuff to deal with – fingers crossed.
  • Will continue to explore my spiritual side. This links so many other aspects of my life like exercise, sustainability, and reading.

And Finally

Guns and anti-abortion

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