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’

Those times where you forget to post on Instagram

At 11pm last night I picked up my phone after my good friend left my flat. We have just spent a day just like it was the 90s; it was great.

She came and ‘called for me’ and we went on a bike ride in the forest, then we sat on the sofa watching TV and drinking tea. Then we ate dinner on our laps and watched more TV while constantly talking over it and having to rewind it constantly and then we sat on the floor and played Labyrinth (a board game from the 90s).

And suddenly it was 11pm, and it was time for her to go home.

And I realised when she left that the whole time I didn’t feel the need to post on Instagram. I did take a photo of us at the half way point of the bike ride and I sent it to my Mam, but that’s just so she knew I was outside getting some ‘fresh air’ because of the Covid-19.

It was such a good day. Maybe quite a ‘simple’ day. If you read that first paragraph again It doesn’t seem that special; not really. But I think when you are genuinely ‘having fun’ and totally living in the moment you don’t actually want to waste time posting about it…

I feel so lucky that I was a teenager in the 90s before social media to be honest.

Being a teenager really sucks as it is, and to be honest I was anxious and moody enough without having to worry about social media…the ‘World Wide Web’ and MTV only really started to get popular when I was 17, so I got to experience the excitement of it all, like making your MySpace profile look ‘so cool’ by learning a bit of html, but mainly this was all for my own benefit. I can’t ever remember obsessing about other people looking at my MySpace and what they might think of my teenage life, or the pink anime gif and stars I had chosen for my page.

For us, back then, before the Internet, it was relatively easy to live in the moment, and to have genuine shared experiences with another person. I think it was maybe easier to know them, not just the best bits of them they want to present to the world.

It was simpler times in my opnion, and don’t get me wrong when I got my dial up modem working I can remember totally losing my mind with the fact I was having an instantaneous conversation with someone in the United States, in real time! on MSN messenger…I literally spent hours waiting for him to pop up online, he wasn’t even that interesting, or at least the only thing interesting I can remember about him was that he lived in Chicago, and I was in Wales, and we was able to chat and then stuff I would say to him, he would see it straight away, imagine it, an instant penpal! OMFG!

Soon, I was on the PC in the dinning room long after my Mam had gone to bed, when she no longer needed the phone…I would be up till gone 2am most night writing pages on my yahoo! Geocities website like everyone else; well maybe not like everyone else, because I was so dedicated to writing pages and pages of ‘inspirational quotes’ on my website that I ended up getting sty’s on my eye where I didn’t blink enough in front of the screen.

Don’t get me wrong the internet is cool AF.

But yeah, make sure you take notice of those days. Those days where you genuinely had so much fun, just hanging out with another person and you didn’t actually have ‘time’ to post on social media. The truth, I think you will find, is that you did actually have the time to post, you just didn’t want to because …you was just having too much fun chatting and being alive, you were just being in that moment and time just flew away, but in a good way.

You weren’t bothered about making anyone else jealous, or showing off about what a good time you was having, because you was just genuinely having a good time.

(I am aware that writing this blog post about this amazing day might be construed as me needing to post, or show off about how awesome it was, and kinda totally contradicting the whole message; but ye…I don’t care. )