What is the direction of life now?

Sun 14 – Sat 20 June 2020

I’ve stopped noting which week we are in regarding lockdown as that is basically over. We have moved into the space between lockdown and new normal. And as we try to navigate, so it feels like a good point to take stock of where I am; the impact of the pandemic on life now and in the future.

I’m particularly thinking in terms of life now, what have we lost and how do we replace it? And what have we learnt? It is clear that we are not at the end of the Covid-19 journey yet. Life is going to be different going forward and there is so much risk still of future outbreaks (look at Beijing and Germany) particularly bad in winter if combined with a flu outbreak, bad weather, and no deal Brexit.

Health and Efficiency

Bye bye gym

One of the big aspects for me of life now is that the gym was a big part of my ‘old life’ and is now gone. I know there is talk of reopening gyms at the start of July but is it really going to be safe? I’m particularly thinking of catching anything and passing it to mum when I see her. But that means I’ve probably got to give up any idea of having a nice body and, quite simply, I just enjoyed going to the gym and being there. 🙁

Jog-run

man busy jogging

A decent jog-run last Sun. I had considered running to 30 mins but decided to go for distance. So a 5K that took a good enough time of under 33 mins – approx 6 and a half mins per km. I would like to do at least 2 jog-runs per week (partly to replace the gym) but my current life now makes that impossible with busy work commitments and concerns about aggravating injuries.

Walking, weight and yoga

I’ve always liked walking and now I try to have a daily walk (it often becomes the highlight of the day) as well as at least a couple of very long ones during the week. My target is minimum of 10,000 steps per day. But it ain’t gonna help lose weight unless I control my eating and that isn’t happening yet. 🙁

I’m still hovering around 13 stone 7.5 pounds. Things in my old life are gone like skipping breakfast and dealing with that by being distracted attending the gym. And there won’t be any yoga classes soon. Life now has some yoga moves incorporated into my general pottering about but I miss the camaraderie and discipline of a good class. 🙁

INR

Bleeding finger

Life now is still very much that my health care must be maintained. In July, I’m due my half yearly HIV blood tests and meds renewal – not sure how it’s going to happen. Did have to get my INR (blood clotting level) rechecked last week as it was too high a fortnight ago. Still too high so altered level of meds and back again in another fortnight.

Ear problems – what did you say?

Another health problem needing to be dealt with is that my ears are feeling blocked up. It’s an ongoing problem, every 6 months I have to pay for them to be suctioned clean. I can feel they are at that time – blocked, itchy and sore. Turns out as a medical service, even in life now, this service is still available. I need to get it done to improve my quality of life.

Psoriasis

Don’t want my blog (or indeed life now) just to be a string of health problems but… My psoriasis is currently really unpredictable. Sometimes it is almost not there and other times it is itchy, red, and even bloody. And at the moment, it is in the latter. Over the years I have tried to work out what makes it worse and I just don’t know what it is. 🙁

Books and Reading

Reading is a constant between life as it was pre-Covid and life now. But I expected I would have had more time to read but that has not happened particularly due to the increased working that has come from working from home WFH – as discussed in last week’s blog.

‘Under the Pendulum Sun’ by Jeannette Ng

Last week I finally managed to finish reading this contemporary fantasy book. And it was a bit of a treat. A great example of where good literature takes people out of their normal lives and creates amazing characters. Very imaginatively, it is the story of a brother and sister who travel to the land of fairies (the Fae) as missionaries. This arises from the discovery of the Fae realm by the Victorians at the same time in the nineteenth century as they ‘discovered’ and explored the rest of the world.

Fairy land

Wonderful to step into the author’s imagination. And the Fae themselves are sinister other-worldly creatures. Plus there is a dark theme of incest woven into the story. I didn’t understand all of it but I feel like I’ve been engulfed into a totally different world that I regret having to leave. 🙂

Other books – severed heads and 80s New York

Still reading a book about severed heads. I’ve also started the book for the next Velvet Page book club, ‘The House of Impossible Beauties’ by Joseph Cassara. It comes over as a deep story of young black and hispanic LGBT people growing up in New York in the 80s but, of course, pathos is coming in the shape of AIDS.

Personal Development

Focus on language learning rather than tech

I am determined that one of the big features of life now will be new emphasis by me on my personal development. I’m particularly focusing on languages as I enjoy that and it’s very useful. I still want to improve my tech skills but I know I have not got a natural bent for that so I need to be realistic about what I can achieve.

Digital Leaders Virtual continued last week but unfortunately I didn’t have time to catch up on any sessions. They are all recorded so perhaps there might still be some time to do so.

Family and Friends

Mum in a mask

Mum remains well. She wants to go out to the shops and get her hair done but I have to point out to her that life now is not as it was. ‘I just want everything to be like before,’ she says. ‘Don’t we all,’ I say. She did have to collect her meds last week. I insisted she wear a mask the whole time she was out of doors. Didn’t like this (‘I can’t breathe in it’) but I pointed out it’s better than being on a ventilator.

Must catch-up more with friends

No real catch-up with friends. This is something I have to build into life now going forward. Perhaps this will only take off once I am working less but will that ever happen?

Work Life Balance

A slightly less frenetic week than before

Be happy about nice things

I always know it’s not too bad a week went I don’t have to work at the weekend to keep on top of things. 🙂 I did have a 1:1 with my boss and I was open about the frustration I expressed in my previous blog that it is almost impossible to work part-time when everyone is WFH.

‘Stick to your hours’

That was my boss’ advice. Not always easy but it did mean that I cancelled attending a meeting on a day where I had already worked my hours. It actually led to the meeting being cancelled because everyone realised it wasn’t necessary. 🙂 I also got a day’s TOIL to use in recognition of the extra hours I had worked the week before. All in all, a decent outcome. 🙂

Actually it was another busy week

Other aspects of last week:

  • Interviewing and selecting a new funding partner to get money out to LGBTQ+ organisations and groups. Really difficult because some great applicants but I was blessed to be working with two of my favourite work colleagues. 🙂
  • The monthly meeting of my team – a great and committed group of people 🙂
  • Training in our new grant management system based on Salesforce. It feels to me like one of those things you learn best by using.
  • A training session on ‘Leading Remote Teams’. Well presented and fast paced. It gave me food for thought rather than easy answers. Key message seems to be it’s all about trust which is totally correct. You don’t motivate people by micro-managing.
  • A workshop on personal financial well-being – part of holistic support by my employer and very welcome with the current situation. Lots of emphasis on the importance of pensions, something you only really appreciate as you get older. 🙁
  • A company- wide presentation and discussion on racism. Perfect to do at this moment in time with the awareness created by Black Lives Matter. A really emotional and powerful event – certainly made me think and be more committed to tackling racial discrimination.

Art and Culture

It’s a means to express yourself

Expressionism

I really want my future to have a lot more art and culture in it. Life now feels weird and limited but everyone can still express themselves. And I think finding a way to express yourself is one of the key roles for art and culture. Again it’s all about time – perhaps there will be more of this in the time to come.

I really can’t wait till the museums and galleries are open again. Strange they are not already as I am sure access could be controlled and it would give people something else to do. Cinemas, theatres, and concerts are much further away I suspect. 🙁

The Week Ahead

  • Taking Mon off as TOIL. Although I need to dip into an important half hour conversation during the day.
  • Several important meetings on Tues and a catch-up with my job-share on Wed as well as the big monthly meeting of the management team
  • Thurs will be spent taking part in the Charity Digital #BeMoreDigital Leadership Day interspersed with work meetings
  • Jog-run on Sun (probably raining with the rest of the week scorching hot) and as much daily walking as possible
  • Get my ears cleaned of wax?
  • Will definitely finish my severed heads book 🙂
  • Focus on language learning and keeping emails in check. Would be good to do some tech learning as well.
  • Enjoying my weekly face-to-face catch-up with mum as well as virtual family bingo on Fri evening. But must catch-up with friends more.
  • And I must do some more art and culture catching up 🙂

And Finally…

People with pitchforks vs people with torches

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