Out of my Comfort Zone

Another ‘morning’ journalling inspired post…

How have you stretched your comfort zone in the past month (even slightly)? 

What did you learn from this experience? 

Well I guess I stretched my comfort zone by returning ‘home’ to Southampton for 2 weeks.

It’s funny, they say ‘home is where the heart is’ and at the moment my home isn’t in Southampton. I love my job, I find it very rewarding but at the moment in this covid world my job is not so rewarding…it’s the face-to-face interactions I live for in my job. It is seeing those questioning faces of the youngsters that fuels me.

I’ve been reading Scarlett Thomas’s World Quake novels (thoroughly recommend by the way). In those awesome books, specifically the second one, Effy (the heroine) almost runs out of her life force and gets a terrible affliction known as the Yearning. I think this is a good metaphor for how I feel now.

I feel low on life force at the moment; so going back to my ‘home’ in Southampton, my flat, with no garden, where I live alone… it has depleted my life force instead of topping it up.

The distraction of cooking my own food, decorating the spare room, doing my own laundry was not enough to calm my racing mind.

Anxiety stirred in me while I was there, my thoughts run a mock.

Even though I tried to meet with friends in the evenings there was two whole days where I didn’t speak to anyone in real life other than the dentist. I cycled to the common to sit in the sun and read a book but I was truly restless.

Somehow (well because of the global pandemic) my ‘home’ no longer feels like a home. It makes me feel restless and pointless. The pointless feelings are the most worrying; as that when I know depression is looming.

So after 2 weeks there I made the decision to come back to Wales to be with my parents and doggie siblings. I packed up my car last Friday and drove back.

Today it’s the following Saturday, and it’s terribly rainy weather (much worse than when I was in Southampton might I add) but I just went for a run on the beach and I’m now reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelley in the window seat, surrounded by dogs.

I feel so much calmer here and my mind is not racing so much.

Environment is so important, as I’ve learned from James Smith’s daily emails (again, thoroughly recommend you subscribe to these!)

I don’t yearn for the ‘old normal’ before Covid but I don’t yearn for this ‘new normal’ either… I think it’s impossible to do so to be honest. How can you yearn for a future that is totally unknown?

I am proud that I did get out of my lockdown comfort zone and return to my life in England. I am proud that I stayed there for two weeks on my own. But I am also proud that I was able to acknowledge that staying there any longer might have significantly impacted my mental health.

For now my home is where my heart is, in Wales, with my family; by the sea.

The Next Steps

Another journal prompt inspired post…

What’s the next step you’ve been thinking about taking, for far too long?

Hmmm, this is a toughy…

I have lots of next steps I think I should be taking…but for me it’s hard to disentangle whether they come from ME…

Do I actually, truly want to do these next steps or are they are something that other people/society dictates that I should want…

Because I am female and 35 and been in the same job for 9 years, have a small flat…

maybe I should be wanting kids and a promotion and a bigger house

but, I’m not entirely sure about this…I don’t think I want any of that if I am honest with myself.

For me I guess the problem is I know pretty well now what I don’t want in life…I just don’t know what I do want.

What do I want? ergh.

and like Matt Haig says the act of wanting something you don’t have just shows there is a void.

But is there really a void?

Maybe not, I don’t feel like there is a void in my life…so maybe that truly does mean I don’t WANT any of those things.

Am I lesser human being because I don’t wan’t those things?

I don’t think so. But it still doesn’t help me with what I do want.

Hmmmmm…

If I am truly happy with where I am now in life then maybe the next step is just to try to grow and improve in small ways…and take small steps

to keep on learning and be positive

But Vex King says you always have a goal to work toward.

but I really struggle with ‘thinking big’ or long term.

So I guess my next steps will indeed just have to mini steps.

I’ll list my intentions for a year from today below:

Next steps to take by 1st July 2021

  1. Finish Creative writing course and start to write first fiction novel.
  2. Complete an Olympic distance triathlon and train with the Triathlon club as soon as I can 😛
  3. Keep up my Spanish learning – at least an hour a week.
  4. Save money for future travel adventures (hopefully more South America/Spanish speaking countries).
  5. Get drafted for a B Team Roller Derby Game.
  6. Don’t buy any more books; read the many hundreds I already have!
  7. Be open to a romantic relationship and try not to be cynical about love and put up defences to such things.

There’s a tremendous amount to risk to playing it safe.

so, another morning journalling attempt…

Over the past month, what have your actions been silently saying about your priorities?

Well we are in lockdown so the past month I have had a lot of my actions enforced upon me by the law!

But, I guess my actions have shown I do have new priorities indeed…

I’m just going to list some of the changes/new priorities here ‘cos I am a scientist and ADHD and deal better with listing things haha, also it’s really bloody hot today and I am having trouble putting my thoughts in order:

  1. I’ve realised for me EXERCISE of some kind every day is very important for my mind and body. I have to do it to stay sane and happy. Even if it is just 2km on the rower or 4 laps of the field next to my parents house. I’m trying to just go running without being super dedicated to a certain distance. I’ve found when I am just running for the love of running and being grateful for what my body can do I actually go further and faster than when I put the pressure of distance on myself. I also get less injures.
  2. READING. Omg so chill time with a book and noise cancelling headphones has been so important. It’s amazing to escape and it forces me to not look at my phone so much which is always a good thing. I now recognise I need to make time to read everyday, even if its an audiobook (which is possibly cheating). It’s so healing and reading really does take you to new places and allow you to live different lives…and travel…omg I miss travelling :./!
  3. SHOPPING. I’ve realised all the things I actually need (toiletries, books, stationary -not food lol) I can buy online and I can buy them from local/small businesses. I don’t need to go to big shopping centers; where I will undoubtedly get stressed and anxious about all the people and overwhelmed by all the items and end up wasting my money on shit I don’t need. AND you can put adblockers on your browser so that’s amazing if you are like me and easily led by ads…and we don’t yet have the technology to block me from seeing end of aisle offers; it’s all too much.
  4. LEARNING a language…I’m still really enjoying taking time each day to do my Spanish learning, even if it’s just a quick Duolingo lesson on my phone. This is something totally different to my work so hopefully it keeps my brain going and expands my mind. Also, it’s nice for me to think that when we can actually travel I can go to a Spanish speaking country and talk to the locals innit. Hola!
  5. I’ve prioritised time OUTSIDE on my own in the NATURE too; I guess lockdown has made me realise how important this is…

I’ll finish this post with this quote I just stole from one of James Smith‘s daily emails…(I thoroughly recommend you subscribe to them!)

Anyway his email today was about being happy and not striving for a life that doesn’t actually make you happy just because you think that’s what you should be doing; and I really needed to hear that today.

Realize that sleeping on a futon when you’re 30 is not the worst thing. You know what’s worse, sleeping in a king bed next to a wife you’re not really in love with but for some reason you married, and you got a couple kids, and you got a job you hate. You’ll be laying there fantasizing about sleeping on a futon. There’s no risk when you go after a dream. There’s a tremendous amount to risk to playing it safe.

Bill Burr
Oh to be at a festival right now!

What’s something you’ve let go that once meant the world to you?

And, what’s something you love today that you never even knew you needed in your life?

This is another morning journalling attempt.

It’s a Saturday, week who knows of Lockdown. Here in Wales we still aren’t supposed to go more than 5 miles from your home.

I’ve had to force myself to have a rest day because I keep getting calf injuries from too much HIIT workouts (specifically squat jumps and burpees) and then trying to compete with people who run faster than me on Strava.

I think with my ADHD (undiagnosed) I always want to be on the go and doing stuff. Even writing this blog post right now is a compromise…I was supposed to be just sat here having an analogue day. No screens at all…(kindle doesn’t count!) but here I am anyway…

I just finished reading Superior by Angela Saini (I have first edition signed copy from where she did a book launch as part of the ‘Why not a Doc’ podcast at the RI) and then I started reading Girl, Women, Other by Bernardine Evaristo on my Kindle (reading it in a book club, with one other friend lol).

So here I am; perhaps these great writers have inspired me. I want to be like them; to write.

And at least if I’m here on the sofa on the laptop, as opposed to in the dinning room, which is the designated work space, then it’s ok.

I’m trying to think of things I’ve let go of…to adhere to the rules and point of the journal prompt heading for this blog post.

The truth is I have trouble letting go, in general. Haha.

My ex who broke my heart; I’ve mostly let that go, but probably not fully if I am honest with myself. I have let go of the anger though; I think I forgive him and I know I am better off. So, I guess in a sense I have let go of the life I thought I would have with him. It still bloody hurts some times, but I think that’s just the betrayal and the shock and fact I was so wrong about him. It hurts a lot less and I think about it in a much more fleeting and less consumed way than I used to, even compared to like 6 months ago. So that’s very positive.

I guess I have fully grieved for that life and I do genuinely feel excited about what this ‘new life’ has to hold.

So that’s the first part of the journal prompt done!

The something I love that I didn’t expect to love has to be my parents dogs!

Bili, Milo and Stella.

I wasn’t brought up with pets because of my asthma and my parents (especially my Mam) for most of my life has actively disliked dogs and their owners sometimes lol.

But then it all changed when she started to look after my sister in law’s dog. She used to cry when he would go back home. She did a full 180 on dogs…and now my parents have 3!

Bili was the first; he’s a Cavachon. I truly love him (and he is my favourite) …I didn’t realise I could love a dog so much, but I do.

When I had that bad break up which happened just before Christmas. When I came home to my parents he started sleeping in my bed instead of in with them. And he even slept next to me in the bed with head on the pillow like a little human. He cwtched into me as I cried. It was like he knew how much I needed him…

Now I consider him to be one of my bestest friends. As cheesy as that is.

Dogs. They give you unconditional love. And it’s impossible not to love how they react when you come through the door. Their excitement at seeing you.

How they force you to relax by snuggling up beside you and going to sleep on the sofa.

How they roll over in front of your when you are walking about the house and want a belly rub.

How they put their ball on the floor in front of you and look up with those loving eyes. And you have to throw the ball.

They have truly thawed my icy heart lol.

I really love them and they have made this whole lockdown thing berable.

These dogs have honestly been better than therapy for me.

I just wish I could take them back to England with me. But then I could not give them such an amazing life…

So, What time is the Space X launch tonight?

Who knows?

No idea to be honest.

I’m so confused. This morning I was on local radio (for a whole 5 minutes, yes check me out!) talking about the rescheduled launch of the first crewed Space X launch from the Kennedy Space Centre in the USA.

I of course looked up when it would actually be happening today. Some reputable news outlets said we can see it at 722pm UK time but others say 822pm.

After using an Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) {not to be confused with Eastern Standard Time} to British Standard Time (BST) {not to be confused with Greenwich Mean Team(GMT)} calculator online… I concluded that the bloody launch could be watched on TV in the UK at 822pm!!

and that is the time that I wrote down in my notes and I was prepared to say this time 822pm on the radio when asked….

& then the radio presenter, she said (to all those 10 listeners :)) that today’s launch was at 622pm … I didn’t correct her because I doubted myself in that moment, despite my extensive research of at least 5 articles… so yes now I am soooooo confused about when this launch is hopefully happening?

Good job I never got to my dream of being an astronaut it seems. Because this kind of thing is definitely something an astronaut should be able to do; to easily calculate between different time zones. Seems important huh? So why is everyone getting it so wrong..? and on the International Space Station(ISS) they use Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) …so yes, I got not chance of being an astronaut. Luckily for me I am already self named astrosadie ( a lot of astronauts also put ‘astro’ in front of their names, I started this fashion though; probably) .

To conclude, the launch *maybe* will happen some point this evening.

Anyway, timezone confusion aside I did learn quite a lot of cool facts about this ‘first crewed launch since 2011’ so I’ll write them here. This is so my extensive research notes, made by me in order to sound like an ‘expert’, do not go to waste ( I didn’t get to say most of this on air…for the 10 listeners of the local radio.)

So since 2011 NASA have been paying the Russian space agency aka Roscosmos to send their astronauts to the ISS. There is usually a crew of between 6-10 astronauts on the ISS at any one time and the split between the two agencies is about half, with the occasional smattering of astronauts from Japan and China, and the European Space Agency (ESA) who sent Tim Peake, the first British astronaut to go to the ISS (Helen Sharman was the first British astronaut to go into space, but she went to Mir space station; and she was also the first woman to go to Mir. Go Helen!).

Yay Britain is still in Europe when it comes to space agencies woooo!

So all the ‘fuss’ about this launch is because this is the first time America/NASA has sent humans to the ISS since 2011. And it’s the first time a commercial company i.e. not the government, a business that is out to make a profit has sent people to the ISS.

Now Space X (Elon Musk’s company) and Boeing both won contracts with NASA to ‘help’ them. So both these commercial companies are now at the stage where they have tested their rockets and crew capsules with cargo and they seem to work. This is cool; and NASA has successfully performed delegation of the highest order (I wish I was able to delegate this well lol, perhaps this is why I am neither a manager or an astronaut, but yes, as usual, I digress).

So yes, SpaceX is going first with their Dragon Crew capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket.

Now I am Welsh and my favourite number is 9. So when I read these names I was already ‘on board’ with this launch. I am not going to lie.

This is all pretty damn cool. And then when you watch the test videos of the Falcon 9 just casually flying back to a small ‘helipad’ floating in the Atlantic off the coast of Florida. I mean wow, this is really cool! It’s a reusable rocket that you can ‘remote control’ AND it doesn’t just get discarded in the ocean!

So yes, only 2 astronauts will fly on the Dragon today; only 2 are going because it’s less risky with 2 as opposed to 4? And of course this is the first time they are going to be able to test it out with an actual human crew.

This isn’t the first time the Dragon has been crewed though actually…it has previously had mannequins in it. One of these mannequins was called Ripley after Ellen Ripley of the Alien films and the other was called Starman, after the David Bowie song. Say what you like about Elon Musk but he is quite good at naming things (in my opinion)!

If today all goes well the Dragon has the capacity to take up to 7 passengers. So I assume that in the future some of these passengers may indeed not be astronauts who have trained for literally their whole lives but very rich people who can afford to buy a ticket to space. Eventually NASA plans to send astronauts (I assume the trained ones, not random rich people) to the Moon again. This will happen in 2024 (one of these people will *hopefully* be a woman and then she will be the first woman on the Moon! That’s cool.) and then they will go to Mars by the mid 2030s.

Now I got my Dad to quiz me yesterday on what questions I might get asked on the radio…his first one was ‘how long will it take them to get to the space station?’ thankfully I was able to impress and shock him with my ‘space expert’ knowledge…

So I say ‘It only takes 10 mins for them to get into orbit!’

My Dad is like ‘WHAT?NO? surely not? TEN MINUTES!’

so I’m like ‘yes, it is 330km up to it but they are going really fast Dad, they are literally sat on a rocket going at 28,324 kmph (or 17,600mph)’.

{I didn’t know that actual speed value at the time but I knew it was bloody fast, because I am an expert of course.}

Now cos I am a geek as well as a ‘space expert’ I had to do the maths on this one to check this 10minutes value I found online was correct.

So speed = distance divided by time and therefore the time to get there is the distance divided by the speed, so time = 330/28,324 =0.012 of an hour = 500 seconds = 8.3333333333 minutes (so ok about 10 minutes!)… {those 8 years of studying Astrophysics have not been in vain! I rejoice}.

So then my Dad is like ‘that means they will be in the space station with the other astronauts straight away’…

and I am like ‘No, it will actually take like 19 hours or something before they dock and get into the ISS!’

and he is like ‘What? that’s like when women try to park!’…

at this point, I of course gave my Dad a very annoyed look…

so knowing that it isn’t a good idea to mess with your daughter who has the book ‘Difficult Women: 11 feminist fights’ on her lap … he of course quickly back tracks from his sexist remark.

He goes ‘I know, you can twist it around, say on the radio, “typical man, he can get there quick but it takes him ages to park…!”

Anyway I didn’t get an opportunity to comment live on the radio about the time it will take the male astronauts to ‘park’ the ISS in orbit (which is why I am writing it here)…

but an additional interesting fact about all this docking business is that even after the Dragon attaches itself to the space station it will be another 2 hours before the crew that are there open the actual air lock doors and let the 2 NASA astronauts in.

That does seem kind of mean; but I am sure there is a very valid reason for it, like humans needing oxygen or some other small issue haha.

So yeah, if you have seen photos of their new suits you probably,like me, went ‘oooh, they are snazzy’. And theres a good reason for that, they were actually designed by the Hollywood costume designer who worked on Captain America (can’t comment; haven’t seen any of these films) and the Batman V Superman film (omg this movie was terrible, I honestly think I could have written a better plot; even with all my going off on tangents! But Ben Affleck was good in it, Henry Cavill was ok.)…

but yes these new, snazzy suits which make the astronauts look a lot less ‘orange is the new black’ are NOT suitable for spacewalks. They will only be used while riding in the Dragon capsule. The Boeing team have their own space suits too for their crews. I haven’t done much research on these so I don’t know if they have been designed by someone who works in movies but I can tell you they are a nice shade of blue.

The SpaceX suits are named the ‘Starman’ suits by the way, and like I explained earlier this is because that was the name of the Bowie inspired mannequin who I assume was the first wearer in actual Space.

Also, fun fact the helmets of the Starman suits were 3D printed… which means if the file is online (it should be cos Elon doesn’t really need the money) and you have a 3D printer you could print your very own helmet for all your space faring/covid avoiding needs!

So yes, assuming the Dragon crew do launch today at 622pm/722pm/822pm UK time they will be visible from the South of England with the NAKED eye (maybe!)

As they chase down the ISS for those 19 or so hours they will be orbiting the Earth … now the Dragon capsule is much much smaller than the ISS itself so it will be very very faint. And when it first passes over in view from South England it will be 9ish so still too light to see, but at 10.15pm (pretty sure this time is right as it’s from Heavensabove ) you MIGHT be able to see it with your EYES.

What is the one reality you need to come to peace with?

Well, lockdown has been great for this. It’s been a great leveller. This reality; it’s really something actually.

REALITY CHECK x 10.

Hmm, I guess I’ve realised I don’t actually need all those things I thought I needed.

I don’t need more; I already have everything I need.

(I realise that I am speaking from a place of privilege here; I have a nice roof over my head and a garden and I’m in this lovely bubble here in the South Wales Valleys where neither me or my parents have to go out and see people. We can do all our work out of the confines of this dinning room).

But, yeah, as long as you have your health, and your family are ok and you can contact them and your friends. That’s really all you need.

I’ve realised too, that I really didn’t appreciate how special it was to be near actual people and have actual face to face interactions in reality. IRL!

My aspirations and ambitions for the future have actually shifted as a result of this experience though.

I don’t feel in a rush to get back to my old life.

Of course I wan’t to go out to meals with my friends and play roller derby and go swimming with the triathlon club… but knowing I can’t go back into schools and interact with young people in real life means I am really quite content with this work from Wales life (again I realise I am very lucky and privileged here!).

But, with regards to life ambitions. I’ve never been someone who had a 5 year plan. I was never someone with a 6 month plan either to be honest. I only ever strived to have some travelling adventure in the diary to look forward to and that was enough for me to be content…so it does feel really weird that my calendar literally has no future travel plans in it. I can’t even put in a date for when I go back to England…

I’ve always been a ‘live in the moment’ type of person, which I think maybe makes this whole situation a bit easier for me. For example, I’ve never really aspired to get promoted in work, or to have more responsibility; some people might say that’s because I am a woman and we aren’t confident in our own abilities and we hold ourselves back where a man wouldn’t.

The truth is I am confident that I could work at a higher grade, but I don’t want to. I did a PhD, not because I really wanted to, just because I didn’t know what else I should do. I was told that because I got a first it was the natural next step. I never stopped to think about the extreme effect four years of PhD would have on my mental health. I don’t regret my PhD but I wouldn’t recommend it to a friend lol.

For me trying to get promoted and have more responsibility it’s not worth the stress. I’m so grateful for my PhD because without it I wouldn’t have been able to have this job; this job that I love. But I still find this whole ‘Dr’ thing embarrassing. I don’t feel like I deserve it and I don’t like using it, again I realise this embarrasment and awkwardness surrounding my title might because I am woman, or maybe it is just my personality. But I don’t want people to see I am a ‘Dr’ and feel like I am trying to say I am better than them, or smarter than them. I am just stubborn, that’s the only reason I have a PhD. But I digress, the stress, the responsibility of working ‘at a higher level’ it’s just not worth it for the effect it will have on my mental health; I’m cool with this level :P.

Life is short and I have enough money to be happy; besides I am getting anxious now just at the thought of having more meetings about stuff, even if they are virtual lol.

I like to just get on and do the stuff, I actually really like doing the thing.

The real problem for me is being forced to make a plan, to sit down and think and not just throw myself in, head long. I need constant supervision, to stop me going off on tangents (probably the ADHD). I like doing all the things, but I have to be careful as I do get easily overwhelmed and then it gets so bad I can’t do ANYTHING…

But, If you too are a ‘grafter’ that’s nothing to be ashamed of. In the end, we can’t all be high level managers, someone has to actually DO the things!

Society says that at 35 I should have a husband, and kids and a mortgage; that after 10 years in a job I should be promoted and be line managing someone, and have more responsibilities. The reality is that I am currently single and back living with my parents…society would perhaps say I am failing…but I dunno, I don’t think I am, and that’s all that matters.

And anyway, the reality is we are in a pandemic and people are dying. Those people didn’t get a choice. I still have a choice about how I want to live, so I will make the most of it.

I will make the most of my reality, of this moment, of this life; while I still can.

Final thoughts on this reality

Don’t let society dictate your timeline.

Decide what you want your reality to be. Make peace with it.

The only expectations you have to live up to are your own.

(Can you tell I have just been watching series 1 of After Life ? :D)

What do you appreciate most about your life right now?

So I haven’t written this blog or done a morning journalling task for a while. What can I say? Lockdown life is distracting. I have actually taken up bullet journalling though, so I am doing some form of journalling and creating, which I am sure is helping keep me sane.

To answer the question from the Day 4 of journalling prompts above… I am very very appreciative of being alive and being free to live my life how I wish. We are in the middle of a pandemic, but even on working days I have the freedom to structure each day as a chose. I am with family (even if we do bicker a lot lol) and I appreciate them and this roof over my head and the company of these beautiful doggies, who show unconditional love and are constantly hilarious.

It’s what week 7 or 8? of lockdown … and the message here in Wales is still very much ‘Stay Home’ …which I am glad of because ‘Stay Alert’; like you may as well not bother with a message at all. hmmmm. I do appreciative many more things…

I think I will do a Matt Haig inspired list of what I appreciate most right now (P.s. I thoroughly recommend you read his books, specifically ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’, ‘Notes from a Nervous Planet’ and ‘The Humans’ – the message of these books has been so useful to me during lockdown in order to cope with the anxiety of it all and to really get some perspective- I plan on reading them all again over the next few days!):

  1. Being alive 🙂
  2. Being with my family and not alone in lockdown.
  3. Having my own room, with a well stocked book shelf and comfy bed.
  4. Cups of tea and decaf coffee with oat milk.
  5. Unconditional love from my 3 doggo siblings.
  6. Reading more. Right now I am reading ‘The Confessions of Frannie Langton’ by Sara Collins which is also really good (a quote from this book is below).
  7. Having a garden and being able to sit in it, especially when the Sun is shinning.
  8. Looking at the sky.
  9. This dining room, and dinning room table. A separate space to do my working from home and my bullet journalling.
  10. Working internet so I can zoom with my friends, write this blog, google facts and do my Spanish lessons on Teams.
  11. A whole conservatory to do fitness workouts in, decked with weights and a rowing machine. Specifically enjoying the ‘Les Mills On Demand workouts’… I’ve even tried the ballet inspired one and the boxing one is good for those days when I am in ‘a right mood’; so much to chose from.
  12. Being able to just put on my trainers and go running (I’ve been able to do this 3 times a week through lockdown but my friend in Italy was only allowed out for the first time yesterday to go for a run :/).
  13. The fact I can actually do my job from home and that I now actually have time to do the data analysis and read the evaluation forms from past events. This has been heart warming. Especially the comments from children regarding what they have learned in the planetarium shows. I often don’t get time to actually look back or celebrate the work I do; so it’s great that this situation has given me the chance to take a moment and assess and be proud of my work and not be rushing to the next event.
  14. The freedom to dream about future adventures and have hope. To be in a situation where I have the choice to decide which bits of ‘this life’ I want to keep when life goes back to ‘normal’, and which bits I do not.

I’ll finish this post with a quote I just read in my book. It felt very apt and really hit home to me. It’s a quote which shows how powerful reading is; how it can allow you to live another life to the one you are currently experiencing. It really can take you anywhere in the world and make you into anyone. You can travel in books, even if you cannot travel in real life. Reading books can be something you do to survive and this message seems very relevant in these ‘strange’ times:

‘Books were my companions’…’I am grateful I could learn something, no matter how I came to do so. It was a way to know that lives could change, that they could be filled with adventures. There were times I pretended I was a lady in a novel or a romance myself. It might sounds foolish. But it made me feel part of a world that otherwise I could never belong to.’

Sara Collins from ‘The Confessions of Frannie Langton’

What is truly worth focusing on today?

This a tough one, I find it very hard to focus just in general. So easily distracted, I am.

But actually working from home in my parents dining room (with my Dad working on the same table as me) has been ok!

I would even go as far as saying I am actually more focused here than in my office in work.

Because I have no commute to my ‘office’ I literally get up out of bed and get straight into my workout gear (I usually go for a run or do a workout in my lunch break), go downstairs and check my emails in the ‘office/dining room’ with my morning coffee.

With my coffee I flag any emails that need to be addressed, write some ToDo’s for the day in my notebook (from tomorrow it will hopefully be a new snazzy Bullet Journal – I’ll do a post at some point about my attempt to bullet journal in the future).

Then I go into the kitchen and make my porridge and then I eat that in the living room while watching the news (I can only handle a few minutes of the new in the morning if I am honest) and then I am good to go. I start work straight after that.

I take a lot more breaks here in lockdown but the actual work itself is done in less time, I think because I am able to be more focused.

I really struggle to work from home back in England because I have a small flat so the ‘office’ is in the living room, which means I can see the TV and all sorts of other cool stuff I can be doing instead of work, right there in my eye-line. Here in Wales all I can see is this screen, this table and the window to the outside.

Another reason I am able to focus better now is because just before the lockdown I invested in some noise cancelling headphones. These were a great investment, thoroughly recommend especially, if like me, you suspect you are ADHD. Also, my parents (especially my Mam) they watch the news A LOT, like every hour! So I am so grateful for the headphones because I can tune the news out, which is definitely a plus for my mental health right now.

For work, I can also just tune out and do 25 min blocks using the headphones by using the ‘Forest’ app which is really good, because after you use the app for long enough they actually plant an actual tree…

I have also signed up to ‘Brain.fm’ which is a similar app but with a different calming/focused music each time. This focusing music in combination with the noise cancelling headphones has meant that I am actually able to be actually really focused and productive here in Wales. Yay.

Also, I find having 2 or 3 things that I am trying to achieve in one day is actually better for me than just having 1 thing to do. The problem for me and my (ADHD?) brain is that I get bored of a task so quickly, especially if it is monotonous data entry or analysis, so if I can do a 25 minute burst while listening to the Forest app and then have a little break and then come back and sit down and do something else for another 25 mins then that makes all this admin stuff a lot more manageable.

Usually in my job I am out in schools or community spaces talking to people, I am a very social person and my job is being a communicator. So normally I avoid this type of daily screen work like the plague/coronavirus, it’s a bit like torture lol. But actually this extra time we have now to do all this admin is good in a way, because now all this ‘boring’ stuff I’ve been putting off, I have no excuse not to do it and it is quite interesting, in manageable chunks at least 🙂

In terms of what I need to truly focus on today… Well, I think for me it is just making sure to be present in the moment.

Just doing one thing at a time. Breaking it down and chunking it!

So if thats data analysis work I will focus on that and close down all the other windows on my computer and just have that document open on my screen. I will move my phone off the table and all the other pieces of paper relating to other tasks will get filed away so they aren’t in my eye-line.

When I go for my run outside later, I will remember to look at the sky and smile at each person I run past at a safe distance. Then later when I am reading in the garden in the Sun or sat on the sofa with the dogs watching TV I will focus on being present and grateful that I am alive and I have a job I love.

What’s one thought that has been getting the best of you lately?

AND How has it been influencing your behaviour?

Ok this is the 2nd journal prompt from the Morning Journaling website- so I thought I would give it a go.

I guess in lockdown here with my parents, what are we like 4 or 5 weeks in?

I’m sleeping in my old room, surrounded by my old fluffy toys and I am 35, so that’s a bit weird I guess.

So yes along those lines I think one of my main thoughts that has been getting the best of me is that I am regressing lol….I am single, back in Wales and perhaps a bit scared that that is going to be it for a long time. I will be single and adrift, without direction or another person to direct my love at.

It’s actually not such a sad thought to me though, it scary but I am not sad, not anymore anyway.

This fear, is also really interesting. Like I don’t necessarily feel like it’s a bad thing.

It’s very cliche to say but I am using this lockdown to actually try enjoy this extra time, where I am literally forced to remain single…I can do whatever I want…I can just take the time to assess what it is I really want.

What do I love about myself?

What I need to go forward?

What do I want my life to look like in the future?

Do I need someone else?

I am still not sure what I want to be honest.

So I just have to keep going with what feels right.

For right now.

There is some fear that this might be it.

But there is also a kind of fire in me about what could happen, it feels like I am on the edge of something and that’s exciting.

What do you need to forgive yourself for ?

Ok, I found another journal prompt website on marcandangel.com and the first one is the title of this post.

It’s about forgiveness. It’s a bit deep and scary this subject, but I guess that is the whole point of this, the act of the journaling; to stir up your thoughts, bring them to the forefront of your mind, make you see them and embrace them.

It forces you to think about the impact these deep, inner thoughts might be having on your wellbeing and your actions going forward.

I think the only thing that comes to mind for me personally is that I need to forgive myself for being so in love with someone, and still not being ‘over it’.

It’s taken me three years to get over the betrayal, and I am still not ‘over it’ and still that feels like too long to just be sad.

I am just so annoyed at myself, I am annoyed that it still feels like the volume has been turned down now, on my whole life.

Why has it taken me longer to ‘get over it’ than the time we was actually together as a couple? That’s mad.

And I do beat myself up about it, and I shouldn’t!

I should forgive myself for loving him so deeply. And forgive him for leaving.

For replacing me.

I think I shouldn’t still think of him; almost everyday, but I do.

I have to accept I may never be over it…I guess I just have to embrace all that I’ve learned from having my heart broken; from trusting someone so completely and then having that destroyed.

Because in the end it changed me into the person I am today. Maybe the problem is I don’t know if I like this person?

I think I miss that other ‘Sadie’.

The Sadie from before. She wasn’t so cynical and jaded. She trusted in people.

She loved with an open heart and so completely.

She was all in.

I don’t think I’ll be all in again. But I have to forgive myself for that.

I miss her.

But I have to forgive myself for changing.

This is what evolution looks like I guess.

Forgive yourself.