Trying to look at life through a lens of gratitude

Sun 5 – Sat 11 July 2020

Do not get set in your ways of doing and thinking

One of the key things in life to not do this. It is so easy to live a life based on routine which can also stretch to our minds. I don’t think of myself as a negative person (deadpan – yes) but I have been told that I can be that.

My reluctance around gratitude

I’ve been thinking over the last week about the importance of gratitude. When I was more religious, this often came up as a topic. My reluctance to fully absorb it is partly political in that I think it can be a means to keep people subjugated and happy with their fate.

I have absolutely no doubt that people should always strive for better. This is not just about money but is also about opportunity, freedom, and fairness. There are always people worse off than you but there are also people better off and often they don’t deserve it. But such commitment to justice should not blind us to the good things we have in life.

So what should I have gratitude for?

  • That despite living under such a crap government and Brexit coming, I don’t live in Hong Kong, Beijing ,or Moscow
  • That I’m not rich but I have enough money to keep myself fed and a roof over my head – others have neither
  • That I have good friends and a loving family who I can turn to in a crisis
  • That I’ve lived a rich and rewarding life – yeah people have fucked me over but I’ve learnt and revenge is always fun πŸ™‚
  • That the future is out there and still mine to grab

Health and Efficiency

I have gratitude for the fact that my physical and mental health holds up. I’ve been through a breakdown and addiction; think I know how to avoid or cope with that again. And I haven’t had a heart attack, stroke or cancer yet – pretty sure it will be one of those that kills me off eventually.

My gym is not reopening πŸ™

dumbells in the gym

The big, sad news last week was that despite the government OK, my gym won’t be reopening at the end of July. Unfortunately it is too small and the adaptations necessary would not be feasible. πŸ™ So I must continue with the challenge of how to replace the space it leaves in my life. It’s lucky I like solving problems.

Jog-run

Jog-run

My new normal 5K jog-run every Sun morning – something I have gratitude for. I enjoy it though I do wonder how I used to do a 10K; that feels too much of stretch now particularly with no gym. Really pleasing that for the 4th week in a row, I reduced the time it took me to complete the 5K. Times and weight details here.

HIV check-in

Wed last week was when I was due to visit hospital to get my 6 monthly bloods done and collect 6 months’ worth of new meds. But cancelled – of course. Instead I had a video catch-up which was a comedy of errors primarily as the nurse didn’t know what she was doing – reinforcing all the worst things you’ve heard about tech and the NHS. But eventually sorted so that my meds will be posted and I go in for bloods in Sept.

Chiropody

funny feet

Gratitude because I was able to treat myself last week by going to the chiropodist. I don’t treat my poor feet very well, they take a real beating daily. So I love getting them treated. I always think it’s a false economy to not look after your teeth or feet properly and not get them checked out at regular times.

Sleep

Gratitude that I don’t have problems going off to sleep. Generally, I sleep through the night. And I love the indulgence of daytime naps. This is particularly true at weekends. Indeed, I had a 3 hour nap on Saturday. But I am still having the problem of not being able to stay up past about 10.30 or 11. And waking up really early – couple of mornings it’s been around 5am. πŸ™

Books and Reading

The Forward collection

Continued reading, and finished, this collection of short stories especially created for Amazon all about the future by a group of contemporary authors.

  • ‘You Have Arrived at Your Destination’ by Amor Towles The author of the very enjoyable novel, ‘A Gentleman in Moscow’. This story reflects on the scary drift of genetically engineered babies.
  • ‘The Last Conversation’ by Paul Tremblay A brilliant horror writer and this story has a Frankenstein type theme based on human cloning.
  • ‘Randomize’ by Andy Weir The final story in the collection, this one by the author of the scientific realism novel, ‘The Martian’. A slightly run of the mill story but infected with quantum computing which I don’t totally understand

My next reading books

Parthenon

Meanwhile, I have started a ‘proper’ book, a nice piece of historical fiction set in ancient Greece – ‘The New Achilles’ by Christian Cameron. Not a classic but well written escapism. And great to read and get relaxed just before I go to sleep. But I have also started another new collection of short stories specially written for Amazon. This time they are based around the theme of climate change and I doubt they are going to be optimistic.

Library visit

Immense gratitude that libraries have reopened. πŸ™‚ Down there on Tuesday to return a load of books I read during lockdown. And to collect a couple of new ones. Went with Dave who was impatient to get out. πŸ™ Safety protocols in place including things more spaced out and strict controls on numbers in and out. πŸ™‚

Personal Development

100 day challenge – language learning

Gratitude that I have found intellectual challenge through my commitment to language learning. Effectively I am doing a 100 day challenge without setting out to do that. A 100 day challenge is whenever you commit to learning by doing something each day for 100 concurrent days.

I have done a daily Duolingo session for nearly 30 days running now. πŸ™‚ In the future, this challenge way of learning could be extended to several other things. Though I suppose I am already doing a 100 day challenge around exercise with my commitment to a daily walk (or jog-run).

Deleting the past

I am finding some real pleasure in going through emails and files to delete old stuff. There is a big danger that we keep stuff which just becomes baggage – both in the real and online worlds. It’s especially amusing how we keep ‘important’ things ‘just in case’ when we’ve kept them for 5 years and never referred to them in all that time! I am definitely feeling the gratitude that comes from letting go of the past in its various forms.

Tech for Good – supporting people with disabilities

woman using mobile - this could be me doing a 100 day challenge

Great to take part in shortlisting on Monday for the new ‘Explore’ (Tech For Good) programme. It was fascinating to consider how tech can be used more effectively to support people with disabilities so they can have a better quality of life.

Some really great proposals and many having to rethink how they deliver due to Covid. One of the key things to note is that this is a very wide and diverse community with many sectors. For instance, this includes people using wheelchairs, visual impairment, hearing impairment, and learning disabilities amongst many others.

Tech – another potential 100 day challenge?

Going forward on a personal level, I want to develop my tech skills as part of a new 100 day challenge. This probably means focusing on coding which I don’t find easy. Though this will have to wait for when I have more free time.

Friends and Family

My work colleagues are my friends

Rather than thinking of work colleagues and friends as separate things, I consider them the same. And I’m so grateful for my work colleagues even when they irritate me because I’m sure I do the same to them. πŸ™‚ So good to have time with work colleagues last week on zoom and slack to talk to each other. Gratitude from me that we are there to support each other through difficult times and hard situations. πŸ™‚

Mum

Me and Dave have gratitude that we both still have our mums still around even though they drive us mad! πŸ™‚ I’m sure that is the point of parents as they get older LOL. Dave’s is great in that she is always finding new ways to spend his inheritance!

Saw my mum last week and stayed over a couple of nights. I think we are at the stage where that is allowed – has everyone else lost the track on what is permissible post-lockdown? But when I am with her, we still try to keep social distancing within the flat and we’re still doing elbow bumps rather than hugs. πŸ™

I combined my time with mum also working from home. Does mean I often have to shut myself in my bedroom and I try not to get ratty with her even when things aren’t going well. A nice few days including using her washing machine to clean my trainers! I still went for walk in the park everyday. And I had the benefit of the long walk there and back to see her; still not keen to use public transport.

Art and Culture

Nothing to report here, no achievements. πŸ™ Definitely another area where I could set another 100 day challenge in the future.

But during lockdown I have discovered the delightfully bitter and sharp cultural commentary of everyday life by Cold War Steve. If you don’t know about his pictures then look him up and treat yourself. πŸ™‚

The Week Ahead

  • Gonna keep trying to hold gratitude for the life I have and optimism for the future despite those in control. What goes around, comes around and nothing lasts forever.
  • Must continue with my unintended 100 day challenge and log into Duolingo every day to improve my language skills
  • My 5K jog-run on Sunday morning, will I reduce the time again?
  • Seeing mum and spending time staying with her
  • Back to the GP on Thurs to have my INR done yet again so to check my blood is not clotting too much or too little
  • Will carry on reading my escapist historical fiction and the new collection of short stories
  • Delete, delete, delete those old emails and files – leave the past behind πŸ™‚
  • Must, must, must get some more art and culture into my life πŸ™‚

And Finally…

And another treat from Cold War Steve

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