Trying to find light in dark times

Mon 18 – Sun 24 Jan 2021

No doubt about it, these are dark times we are going through. Nothing on the jobs front yet and 1000+ people still dying each day. Who could have thought I would be writing that sentence this time last year? 🙁 But we have to try to find light to get through this. Indeed, this is a nice article I would recommend having a read of: ‘21 Reasons to Hope in 2021‘.

Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and Amanda Gorman

Two big pieces of light for me last week. First, the inauguration of Joe Biden. The personification of new hope for the future. I absolutely loved the poetry reading from Amanda Gorman – we are the light, we make the light. I am sure there will be ‘bumps in the road’ during the Biden / Harris presidency. But let’s rejoice that Trump’s corrupt, inept, and neo-fascistic administration is gone. 🙂 But not pretend that it could never happen again…

There is always light

Mum’s had her first vaccine dose

This was the second big piece of light. I went with mum on Sunday. Dave’s mum has already had hers; it was him who gave mum and me a lift there and back to the vaccination centre. This was great as it was heavily snowing on the day and I was terrified mum was going to slip. A bit of waiting around, sometimes in the open air. But, overall, pretty easy taking about 30 minutes from arrival to departure. Bit like being on a human conveyor belt. 🙂

Personal Development

Been doing my normal personal development – developing ourselves is one of the lights and opportunities during this period of our lives. My usual language learning focusing especially on basic Russian and Greek plus developing my better grip on Spanish and German. And been dipping into doing exercises on Free Code Camp to get better at dealing with tech. Recapped on HTML and CSS, now doing Applied Visual Design. 🙂


Linked up personal development with my love of art and culture by watching the Spanish language film ‘Biutiful’, featuring the wonderful actor Javier Bardem. The movie is the story of a dying criminal who is able to see the dead. And he’s trying to get things in order for once he’s gone. Heavy and grim but leaves a good impression. Think I may have seen it in the cinema at some point years ago but no harm at all in seeing it anew.

Had my first contact with the Job Centre last week as part of my attempt to get a job. Phone call with a nice lady but who made it very clear they want me to get a new job asap. They also gave me a referral to an agency to discuss the support I might get for going into self-employment.

Seen some interesting jobs. But I need to work out if they are 100% the direction I want to go in. There’s no point in getting a job I am not going to stay in. Though it’s clearly really tough and competitive out there. 🙁

It is better to light a candle than criticise the darkness

Old Quaker saying

Health and Efficiency:

No jog-runs 🙁

A light during the three lockdowns has been going for my jog-runs. But last week, for the first time in several months, I didn’t do any. 🙁 Basically I am having ongoing problems with my knees and God knows when I am going to be able to get them seen to. The cold and wet weather doesn’t help.

After my nice slow jog-run the previous Sunday, my right knee was really hurting the next day. Weird because it was a really slow one and all felt fine on the Sunday itself. So based on the slow running message of not going too far, too fast, too soon (see last week’s blog here) – the week just gone, I took a break to rest my ‘injury’. Depressing because I enjoy my jog-runs but you have to do what you have to do and nothing lasts forever.

Health and Efficiency:

Still managed to lose weight 🙂

man weighing himself

Another bit of light last week was that despite my knee, no slow runs, and only one long walk on Sunday – I still managed to shave my weight a wee bit (details here). Simply due to reducing my calorie intake. Weighing myself midweek made me realise I needed to cut back especially in the evenings.

Art and Culture:


Bio-hazard symbol

Another unanticipated bit of light in the darkness has been my delving into online art and culture. Last week discovered this post-apocalyptic classic BBC 1970s programme. I’ve been catching up with the first series – three were made in total.

Amazingly prescient about a plague affecting the whole world and how the survivors cope. Obviously the level of fatalities under Covid is not on the scale envisaged in the programme. But it does indicate how fragile our way of living is.

The climate crisis to come

And we’ve still got climate change on the horizon. Some lights coming towards you in a tunnel are not the end of the tunnel but those on the front of a speeding train. 🙁

Death anxiety and climate change

Books and Reading:

‘My Sister, the Serial Killer’

One of the lights in my life definitely comes from reading. Only one book completed last week which I started on Monday. ‘My Sister’ is an enjoyable novel from Oyinkan Braithwaite that does what it says on the tin. Family abuse and sibling rivalry leads one sister to cover for another who kills her lovers and doesn’t show much remorse for it. Also a fascinating glimpse of everyday life in Lagos.

Still also reading ‘The Massacre of Mankind’ on my kindle. Tis definitely better than I initially thought. 🙂



One of the key things in my previous blog was the news that my mate Philip (Phyllis) in Andalucia is isolating with Covid. Had our regular weekly catch-up and there is light with his illness. He seems to be coping OK, with symptoms not too bad though he does have the dreaded dry cough. The big problem for him is being confined indoors for so long – he’s a social animal.


Catching up with old colleagues

More catching up last week. Another bit of light to get through these days. Good to know they are OK. And good to keep alive my networks. Caught up with Claire who was in my old team at Comic. She is doing fine having moved into her new house and getting a dog.

Then, out of the blue, I was contacted via LinkedIn by Lee. We worked together several years ago on a young people’s mental health app – an initiative that was ahead of its time. He was in Liverpool and now in New York. Real ‘Wow!’ Hopefully we’ll be having a zoom catch-up soon.

Two blue hands shaking

Also good to have a check-in with my old boss. Contacted her to say ‘Happy Birthday’ on LinkedIn. Hopefully we’ll have a longer and better catch-up once her current role is finished. Ideally when we can also meet together. 🙂


Frugal Living and offloading

One way in which I am being the light (see Amanda Gorman’s quotation above), is by trying to live more simply. So I am trying to consume less (relatively easy at the moment) and I am trying to downsize. The latter is quite liberating in that I am offloading stuff – selling it online and making a little bit of money. I’ve spoken in previous blogs of how I quite enjoy selling. 🙂

This offloading fits in with my thinking that as you get older in life, it is good to lose stuff. Because you won’t use it and someone else might, because it’s good to travel light, and because it’s courteous to sort out your own shit not leaving it for someone else once you are gone.

Social media ban finished Trump

The Week Ahead

  • Need to decide about if applying for some vacancies would be wasting my time and theirs. Also call to come with the agency to discuss self-employment.
  • Going to try a slow jog-run and see how my knee feels. Plan is at least one next week and cut back the distance to just 3km. Plus a couple of long walks.
  • Catch-ups with old colleague Dilhani (and Lee?) as well as Phyllis
  • Attending a webinar on Moving to Spain post-Brexit
  • More watching of ‘Survivors’ and hopefully another foreign language movie
  • Continue with my language learning and tech skills development
  • Definitely like to get through at least another book next week
  • Weight – happy if I can just stay the same. If I say that and then lose then that makes me really happy. 🙂
  • Flogging stuff online to get money and dispose of some of the clutter (shit?) I have accrued through my life
  • Looking forward very much to watching the next installment of the brilliant new Channel 4 programme ‘It’s A Sin’ on Fri. Watching it old skool each week on TV (rather than instantly as a box set online) so there is something to look forward to each Friday night. 🙂

And Finally…

Trump gone, Johnson next

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.