Reflect, learn, move-on: the lesson for Easter 2021

Mon 29 March – Sun 4 April 2021

Why I love Easter

For me, it signifies winter is over (in theory if not in temperature) and we can look forward to longer, brighter, warmer days. Spiritually I find a lot of comfort in the concept of resurrection, renewal, and rebirth. Doesn’t matter where you’ve been, what matters is where you are going. And I always treat it as a time to reflect. But not just to dwell in the past – to learn from this, discard what it unnecessary, and progress towards the future. Ultimately, the future is all we have.

Learning from past Easter blogs

As part of my reflection, I looked back on the blogs I did for Easter 2020 and 2019. They can be found respectively here and here. If you want to see the truth in the saying ‘We make plans and God laughs at them’, then please do have a read and consider where we are now. Very illustrative as to how we cannot predict the future but we can roll with the punches. πŸ™‚

Hare at Romeo and Romeo Berlin

Reflecting on the past

So I can reflect that in 2019 I was starting my sabbatical and in 2020 I had just been acting up for a week as Director of Grants at Comic Relief. And 4 months later I was made redundant. πŸ™ What to take from that? I would suggest that the future is never settled and everything is expendable.

Good news coming?

I think my serious new job search that really started at the beginning of January is on the point of bearing fruit! 4 months – not bad. Hopefully more definite details in the very near future i.e. once a contract is signed. Exciting πŸ™‚

If you can’t give feedback then do you really care?

Meanwhile, I was really pissed off to get a rejection after an interview. Not because I really wanted the job. But because of the lack of the complete lack of feedback. You get to final interview and then get an email saying ‘On this occasion you have been unsuccessful. We wish you well in your future job search.’ What use is that in trying to find a job? At least if someone gets to the final phase then let them know why they failed so they can properly reflect, learn, and move-on. This did happen after another interview a couple of weeks ago and I am left with good feelings about that organisation.

Employers should make the effort to sell themselves

Another learning I have taken from my job search was beautifully contextualised in a post I read last week. The author talked about the way some recruitment processes are basically using the applicants with innumerable exercises whilst making no effort to sell the job or the organisation. I have been fortunate to be dealing with one organisation that really does feel like it wants to sell me the post and the company. But I can totally empathise with the sentiment in the article. So many companies and organisations seem to feel there is no need to either cultivate applicant interest nor help their job search.

What I have learnt

I can reflect and be clear that in the future I will be much more willing to hold out the hand of friendship and sell a job at interview. And I will ensure people unsuccessful at interview get decent feedback.

‘What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?’

George Eliot

Personal Development

Languages

Managed to do more language learning on the apps last week than the previous one. But still not as much I would like to achieve. However, my 2019 Easter blog was entitled ‘Missed opportunities in personal development?’ And in 2020, personal development was crowded out by my very busy week at work. So perhaps some things never change. πŸ™‚

Tech

Still doing my exercises on Free Code Camp. Also had to do a total reboot on my Chromebook. Something was affecting it so that some websites wouldn’t download. It’s actually a healthy exercise to occasionally do a delete of everything and start again. Makes us not fall into lazy ways and helps us to look at things anew.

Tech for Good London meet-up

Really good to join this virtual meeting (how else?) on Wed night. A good reflective exercise on what has worked well and not so well regarding tech and Covid. Plus consideration of the shape of the future. Only problem for me was participating from mum’s place. For some reason (and I have tried to resolve it), my Chromebook and her WiFi don’t work well together – seems fine at Dave’s. I can see and hear perfectly but when I input/speak, it comes across poorly. Very frustrating when your tech doesn’t work and you are taking part in a tech meeting. Sod’s law I suppose. πŸ™

Not making progress on the computer

Sustainability

Very worth reflecting that this didn’t feature in my 2020 Easter blog but in 2019 I referenced the Extinction Rebellion action and the lessened traffic on the streets it achieved. I’ve always cared passionately about the environment and the climate crisis. But it has risen to greater prominence for me to comment on as part of the general re-connection with nature we all experienced during the lockdowns.

Selling secondhand and offloading

I am finding such joy in selling things I own online, letting go, and living with reduced stuff (do we really need to own anything these days?). Ultimately you can’t take it with you so why carry it around in the meantime? Especially if you haven’t used, read, watched or listened to it in ages. Though obviously I am please others are still looking for the experience of owning and appreciating secondhand stuff. πŸ™‚

A useful mantra from 2019

  • REDUCE (your consumption)
  • REUSE (as much as you can)
  • RECYCLE (if that is an option)
  • REFUSE (if you don’t need it)

Worth noting that I posted the above on social media and a friend suggested adding REPAIR which seems eminently sensible. πŸ™‚

Words explaining the link between design and waste

Plants

The plants are looking a lot better with the good weather. Indeed, Tuesday in particular was glorious with so many people just enjoying being out in the open. But then the cold came back at the weekend. Not enough to kill off the plants on the balcony but enough to slow their blooming. Still, looking forward to the plants thriving and growing now Spring is coming. πŸ™‚

Birds

Interestingly I mentioned about the re-connection with nature in my 2020 blog. And I mentioned the birds that were coming to Dave’s balcony that gave us immense joy. And they still do. πŸ™‚ Pretty sure it’s not the same blue tits as before and now we also have a robin. Dave loves putting food and water out for them, and it is a joy to watch them though they are very cautious and fly off if we go near.

Health and Efficiency

Exercise: 2 years of change

If I reflect my job situation between now and the previous 2 years as very different then this area isn’t too far behind. 2 years ago I was going to my gym reopened after its million pound refit, doing yoga and pilates, and running a 10K each week. In lockdown 1.0 I was trying to cope with no gym and trying to do more jog-runs. Now I don’t know if my gym will ever reopen and I’m not doing any jog-runs largely because my knee is causing me problems. We make plans… πŸ™

Long walks and Weight loss

Main exercise as usual was my long walks done between Dave’s and mum’s in our support bubble. 4 last week which doubled the previous week. πŸ™‚ And I can only reflect that these are one of the principal reasons why my weight is less now than it was then. 2 years ago I was hitting around 14 stone (down from 14 and a half stone!) and a year ago it was 13 and a half stone. Currently it sits in the 13-3 to 13-5 zone. I wonder if it is to do with not having the stress of work?

What I would like to look like

Books and Reading

The Velvet Page Book Club

Logged into the meeting on Thurs evening. The book was Michael Cashman’s autobiography. It’s been getting loads of plaudits but I haven’t actually read it yet. But he was attending the book club and it is always important to have a good turnout when a speaker is there. He is a very good speaker though perhaps a bit nostalgic about the ‘good old days’. Still very entertaining and good to support the book club. He also inspired me with the importance of just writing even if you don’t feel like it. πŸ™‚

‘The World of Simon Raven’ (ed. Howard Watson)

Finished this book last week in order to get it sent off the person who had bought it. Simon Raven was an incredibly prodigious and quite scandalous writer. Some of his stuff I love. But other I find horribly class-based and downright crude. He’s the sort of person who would be shut down now and he was very much of his time – the male and class dominated ‘end of empire’ period. You can read about him here on Wikipedia. An intriguing and entertaining writer but I’m pleased the period he represents is pretty much over now.

‘The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher’ (Hilary Mantel)

Another book I had to finish quickly as it suddenly sold. In its own way, a good discipline as it makes sure I get the reading done. Hilary Mantel is one of my favourite contemporary writers. This is a collection of short stories which are OK but not as satisfying as her novels. These are like snippets and the best one is that with the title of this book – an imaginative and complete short story in its own right. You have to reflect that is was almost certain that this book was given such a controversial title to encourage interest and create noise. πŸ™‚

The importance of reading

Art and Culture

A lot less of an active area than last week with the Flare London LGBTIQ+ film festival to be caught up on before the films’ availability ended. And reflecting on the previous 2 years, as a subject this featured in my blog but I was not doing much around it. On reflection, I would suggest extended lockdown has made it more important in my life.

Classic TV: ‘Survivors’ and ‘Line of Duty’

Have gone back to catching up with the TV after last week’s Flare burst. Caught up on more episodes of ‘Survivors’, the great post-apocalyptic TV series from the Seventies. It’s all about the mundanity of daily existence and trying to recreate ‘normality’. Reminiscent of where we are now but may have come across as a bit dull in pre-pandemic times.

‘Drawers Off’, the new art programme, is finished – hope it comes back. πŸ™‚ Meanwhile, as per the rest of the country, I am entranced with the new series of ‘Line of Duty’. TV drama at its absolute best.

Family and Friends

Yet another thing that didn’t feature in my previous 2 Easter blogs. Seeing family and friends was just a natural part of life that we didn’t really appreciate. And did any of us really think a year later we would still be in lockdown without the return of normality?

Mum and Dave

They are both OK. Mum doesn’t go out much though she makes the occasional trip to the shops. Dave is fine but desperate to get out, do things, and go places – aren’t we all. πŸ™ It’s interesting that we’ve had a few rows over the past few weeks. I think it’s common with being confined together still. Though I do suspect we will all reflect on this period in the future and see some good things such as the chance just to be able to spend time with each other.

Old Friends: Peter and Rob

Two catch-ups last week with a couple of old friends. First, Peter who I met when he was working on a Tech for Good project in Hull that I helped fund. That was HullCoin, a blockchain-based community currency. He’s now working on Citizen Coin based in Bradford, details here. It’s always good to find out what happens to people and how their work develops.

Then my mate Rob phoned me from Hove. He’s still working in social services supporting elderly people to ensure they can stay at home rather than go into hospital. Be great to visit him soon and perhaps stay over for the weekend. He’s also hoping to be able to visit Spain later this year. The one thing we are all craving at the moment is a holiday abroad. πŸ™‚

funny feet

Phyllis

One of my reflections on life is that I am incredibly lucky to have some great friends. One of those is Philip in Andalucia. We had our regular catch-up with neither of us forgetting it like the previous week. He’s really well with gyms, shops, restaurants, and bars all open till 10.30 in Torremolinos plus the beaches. Yep people need to wear masks out in the open but I would accept that for the level of freedom they have. So looking forward to visiting him asap. πŸ™‚

The Week Ahead

  • Really good news: Dave’s mum and my mum are getting their second jabs next week Indeed, I am taking my mum to get it done on Thurs. πŸ™‚
  • Should have big news on a new job πŸ™‚
  • Check in with my Job Centre Plus support worker on Fri – hopefully I can give her a good update
  • Languages and tech learning as usual. Also attending an online seminar about new tech developments on Tues.
  • Catching up with two old colleagues. One of them is Sue who really is one of the nicest and most competent people I worked with in my 11 years at Comic. Be interesting to find out how her new job is going.
  • Some lovely long walks particularly journeying within our support bubble
  • Carry on with my selling online
  • Appreciate the plants and the birds
  • Read my new book about the crazy adventures of Dr Who character Iris Wildthyme and her companion Panda πŸ™‚
  • Watch at least one or two films online πŸ™‚

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