Progress cannot be achieved without wobbles

Mon 1 – Sun 7 March 2021

Pinch, punch, first day of the month – bagsy no returns. February is over, the wicked witch is dead. However, early March is little different to late Feb. And, indeed, winter is often defined as the 3 months of January, February, and March. Seems fitting to have a week with both progress (looking forward to Spring) and knock-backs (over-hang from Winter).

Knock-backs…

Looking for a new job is very much about knocks and raised hopes – you just have to keep going through it all trying to make progress. Monday was a very bad day. I was supposed to be phoned to be interviewed to get on a support programme for unemployed over 50s – no phonecall and none even later in the week. 🙁

Not making progress on the computer

Plus I was due to hear about if I was being offered an interview – nothing. An email later in the week saying a response would be coming. Finally confirmation on Thursday that I hadn’t got an interview. Strong application but not strong enough. 🙁

Two things I am learning as I look for a new job. First, people really shouldn’t make promises if they can’t keep them. Second, the level of feedback is absolutely crap. I know everyone is busy, etc but how are you supposed to make progress and improve your applications if you’re not getting any real feedback on why your stuff ‘isn’t quite strong enough’?

…and progress

But two boosts – bits of hope and signs of progress. 🙂 First, a second interview on Tuesday went very well and I have received an invitation to a 3rd interview the week after next. 🙂 But it’s the dreaded presentation interview. Zoom and powerpoint, is there anything more depressing? LOL

Second, a good response on another application albeit for a temporary (but interesting) job. Agency should confirm next week if I will be interviewed. 🙂

Personal Development

Languages

I have said before and I will say it again, applying for jobs takes up a phenomenal amount of time. Looking for vacancies, tailoring cover letters, answering questions, and preparing / doing interviews. It crowds out other things.

The big thing it’s hitting is my language learning. I’m simply not making the progress I would like to. 🙁 I’m trying to do some Greek and Russian each day but it’s normal to miss at least one day each week. Ideally I would also be doing some German, Spanish, and Polish on a daily basis (plus some other languages if possible). But it’s more likely I will do just one of those each day at best. 🙁

Tech

Still managing to do some exercises on Free Code Camp about 4 days out of 3. It’s normally my treat while I watch the soaps on TV. But how much real progress I am making in being more proficient around tech, I’m not sure. Did manage to catch-up with some of the sessions at the #BeMoreDigital conference. Again, I wish I had more free time just to sit down and focus but that isn’t always possible. 🙁

Health and Efficiency

Long walks – no jog-runs

walking feet

Another week with no jog-run; lack of time and I’m just not in the mood even though the weather is getting more amenable. Once upon a time I was making such good progress… At some point, I’ve got to re-motivate myself.

On the positive side, my knee may be feeling a bit better though it is always bad on waking up. I am going to have to get it checked out in the future but God knows when. 🙁 My main exercise remains my long, purposeful walks between Dave’s and mum’s in our little support bubble. Good exercise both physically and mentally. My body is working and using calories while my head is in a nice place. 🙂

Weight

Looks like my weight has edged up to 13 stone 5 pounds – again progress reversed. It is amazing how little things can make a big difference. I haven’t skipped breakfast and occasionally I have a bread roll with my lunchtime soup. Altogether several hundred calories added to my weekly diet. And, of course, no jog-run to burn up some more calories. 🙁

Hair and mental health

Generally my mental health is pretty good at the moment. I’m surviving the confidence knock-backs of my job search. And I try to stay optimistic for the future – might as well be, ultimately we are all dead LOL.

What is getting me down is my bloody hair. I have so little of it but it hasn’t been cut since lockdown started. Should have shaved it all off at the start as I did at the beginning of lockdown 1.0. Too late now and some days I look like a clown with it sticking up. 🙁 There is going to be such a bun-fight when the barbers and hairdressers open. Only now am I appreciating how something simple like a haircut can change your mood.

Sustainability

The plants stay waiting for spring to come – light and warmth. Don’t we all want the same? 🙂

Meanwhile I carry on identifying stuff I don’t want and selling it to those who do. This really does feel like progress. The money is not much but it’s better than noting. And there is something really nice about letting go of things in your life. I’m becoming more and more aware that an ongoing mission is to carry as little as possible into the future. 🙂

Art and Culture

‘Rust and bone’

Have been catching up with this brilliant 2012 French film (De rouille et d’os) by Jacques Audiard – details on Wiki here. The story of a dodgy bouncer, his infant son, and a woman who becomes his girlfriend after having her legs amputated. It’s all about disjointed people trying to find sense with each other – true of so many of us in so many ways. And it stars Matthias Schoenaerts who I think is absolutely lovely. 🙂

TV: ‘Drawers off!’

Culture from the Saatchi Gallery

So alongside the new series of ‘Doctors’ and ‘New Life in the Sun’, I have this new guilty favourite on daytime TV. It’s basically 5 amateur artists drawing or painting one another; they take it in turn to be the model each day. It’s re-triggering my desire to make some art. Remember how at the start of lockdown 1.0 I had a plan to make some art each day ? Came to nothing but funny how I don’t interpret my weekly blog as art… 🙁

Books and Reading

Still going with ‘Mexican Gothic’ on my kindle, reading it as I go on my long walks. It’s very good and I am looking forward to finding out the house’s horrible secret as well as what is actually wrong with Catalina. 🙂 And I’m also still reading the book about the life of louche Simon Raven. Lots of stories about cricket and his military service in India. Very much about an England now gone in so many ways – progress thank God! 🙂

‘Stuck rubber baby’ by Howard Cruse

It is easy to knock graphic novels as somehow lesser than ‘normal’ books. Of course, there are rubbish graphic novels just as there are rubbish novels full-stop. Some graphic novels are classics in their own right and this is one of them alongside others like ‘Maus’ and ‘Persepolis’. Good story looking at racism, homophobia and the struggle for civil liberties in the 1960s southern USA. Plus some beautiful art work. Highly recommended – read more about it here on Wiki. 🙂

Don’t forget you can see the progress I am making in my reading by looking at my ‘Books I Have Read’ page.

Family and Friends

Mum

She’s doing OK and, hopefully, with immunity to the virus as it’s been about 5 weeks since she had her jab. 🙂 Progress in that she is going out a little bit more but not as much as she used to. Like me, she’s desperate to get hair done. Had to wait in with her last week for the annual gas check by the Housing Association; 5 hour wait and it took the guy about 5 minutes when he arrived. 🙁

Phyllis

Got to mention him as he was 60 last week! 🙂 We had our usual catch-up and I continue to envy the situation on the Costa Del Sol: cafes and bars till 6.30 plus gyms and hairdressers open. I really can’t wait to go and visit him.

The Week Ahead

  • Must make progress with the prep for my presentation on Mon week. And get on with completing more tailored cover letters for job vacancies.
  • Check-in with my Job Centre Plus support worker on Fri, hopefully she is happy with the progress I am making.
  • Getting my ears suctioned as I can feel they are blocked with wax and it’s affecting my hearing. This is a regular 6 monthly feature of my life these days.
  • Catch-up with Phyllis and an old colleague Peter
  • Have signed up for a webinar on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) on Thurs
  • Need to think about taking some action to keep my weight down. Perhaps I should try to do a slow jog-run next week as well as my long walks.

And Finally…

If you're not careful...

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