Looking back on 2020, it’s clear that it hasn’t been an average year.
In the past 12 months, I have experienced:
- The global Covid-19 pandemic (as have we all) with its effects, good and bad:
- The shock of the numbers afflicted, the severity and deaths
- Learning to mask up when leaving home
- Washing and sanitising my hands regularly – most hand sanitisers are too harsh on my hands, though 🙁
- Lockdowns and their restrictions on daily life
- Learning exactly where Barnard Castle is
- Dealing with the uncertainty of changing rules (I’m used to coping with unexpected change and disappointment, so that wasn’t too hard on me)
- Remote working from home becoming the norm (also not a big deal for me – been doing that for years)
- Clapping for the NHS and appreciating all they do to keep us healthy
- Captain Tom becoming a fundraising hero – well done, sir!
- Being appreciative of the smaller things, like walks, gardens, and flowers
- Realising how important friends and neighbours are, and close family when you can’t meet in person
- Two house moves
- First in late September
- Then again mid-November (tip: if you have the choice, don’t move in winter)
- Reorienting myself to a new environment, twice
- Coping with Christmas preparations while simultaneously unpacking
- Personal challenges
- Juggling too much client work and trying to keep all the plates spinning
- Managing unexpected demands at work
- Helping my parents with their problems
- Running after impossible dreams
- Family arguments
- My glasses: they are either too tight that they give me a headache, or so loose that they keep falling off 🙁
- Forgetting to put my own health first before I help other people
- Dealing with lawyers and legalese
- Unexpected bills and expenses
- Carrying ‘war wounds’: I have been cut, bruised and scraped more times recently than I’d like to count, and I nearly sprained my ankle on Christmas Eve
- Losing a crown on Christmas Day – of all days!
My physical environment
I have a new living space.
I love it, but from day 1 it has had issues.
Some of them I’ve solved.
These are the ones outstanding. Some of these I am going to need professional help to address:
- My bathroom radiator leaks intermittently
- Two of my kitchen light bulbs have suddenly gone and I don’t know what type of bulb they are to be able to replace them
- Also in the kitchen, I don’t have enough light by my sink, so it’s hard to wash up in the evenings, as I can’t easily see what I’m doing
- My outdoor security lamps need fixed or replaced
- I have new carbon monoxide alarms and a smoke alarm, but I am yet to fit them, and I need to make sure they go in the right locations
- The back gate keeps gets jammed at odd times, and I can’t bolt it properly
- I don’t trust my oven and want to replace my gas cooker with an electric one
- I need a new fuse box to do no. 7, and I probably need one to have a smart meter
- No TV – I have so much viewing to catch up on! (Actually, even on Hogmanay, I think I can do something about this one)
- I have still to hang my pictures, though I now have the tools for the job – thanks to IKEA and B&Q!
- I love my Shark cordless vacuum cleaner as it’s great for getting into small spaces but it doesn’t cover large areas well, so I need a bigger vacuum cleaner as well
- My window blinds are evil and either flop down or keep jamming – give me curtains any day!
- I have a new bathroom mirror and toilet seat but don’t know how to fit them safely
- No proper kitchen bin
- I have a washer/dryer and a dishwasher but they don’t both fit in the kitchen – the dishwasher’s currently parked in my lounge, so I can’t use it
- Can’t figure out how to add water to my new mop: I think it’s faulty and I’ll have to get a replacement
- I don’t have a caddy for my food waste, even though I requested one from the council weeks ago and they’ve had ample opportunity to deliver it
- My doorbell doesn’t work and needs replaced, or needs new batteries
- I have no door knocker either, so I couldn’t hang up my Christmas garland, which is now broken 🙁
Yet strangely, despite all this, I am now at peace with it all.
I seem to have picked up a new skill: I can move through emotional states very quickly. I can be in tears one minute and then quite calm shortly afterwards.
The only things that interrupt this process are not having a quiet space to compose myself, and being stressed by things in my immediate environment (people, noises, mess etc.)
What works best for me, and what doesn’t
|What works well||What doesn’t work so well|
|Trusting my instincts||Over-thinking|
|Doing a job well||Perfectionism|
|Taking my time||Rushing things|
|Imagination and creativity||Being too rigid in my thinking|
|Asking others for help at the right time||Trying to do it all myself|
|Leading a balanced life||Living too much in my head|
|Focusing on what’s important||Allowing myself to be distracted with trivial matters|
|Being childlike||Being the serious adult all the time|
|Self-care||Putting other people’s needs before my own|
|Asking questions||Accepting the world as-is and thinking that I have no power to change it|
|Quiet time to myself||Being always on the go|
|Keeping healthy||Not looking after my health|
|Cooking from scratch||Eating joyless microwave meals night after night|
|Living sustainably||Seeking comfort in too many disposable material things|
|Self-sufficiency||Over-dependence on others|
|Being out in nature||Staying cooped up at home|
|Setting my own boundaries||Giving in to everyone else’s demands|
|Making informed decisions||Being indecisive and living with the status quo|
|Knowing when to quit||Trying too hard|
|Having fun||Working too much|
|Keeping up with friends||Not making time for friends|
|Giving my time and energy to people who don’t value it||Making the best use of my time|
|Self-improvement||Staying the same and not trying anything new|
|Learning from my mistakes||Being too scared to make mistakes|
|Believing in a better future||Feeling things will never change|
|Helping other people when I have the time and energy||Giving too much of myself|
|Staying true to who I am||Trying to please other people|
|Accepting myself||Thinking I am not good enough|
|Being the best version of myself||Waiting for someone else to solve all my problems|
|Making my own choices||Fulfilling society’s expectations|
|Making my own luck||Expecting miracles|
|Trusting I will always have enough||Constantly searching for more|
|Belief in the Divine, whatever form that takes||Believing that life is random and unfair|
Here’s a quote from a blog I found recently which sums this up – I have bolded some of the text that I found the most meaningful:
Walking your own path and embracing the lone wolf side of you means that you finally have freedom. You have the freedom to feel the wind in your hair, the sun on your face, and the earth beneath your feet. Your life is your making. Your destiny is in your hands. Make sure that you get out of your mind and into your body; into your heart, blood, and bones … what are they telling you? Honor the wisdom in your instinctual nature. Honor the wild and raw passion pulsating deep within. Harness this passion and let it guide and motivate you. There is no point walking a path that you do not feel passionate about. Let the wolf within you howl loudly and freely. Remember that YOU are both the traveler and the path all-in-one. The compass you need for your path is always within. Be careful of looking for it outside of yourself. While others may be able to shine a light on your path, ultimately the greatest guiding light is your own Soul.Mateo Sol, How to Embrace Being a Lone Wolf and Walk Your OWN Path
I think that quote boils down to being confident in who you are as a person.
The relationships I have with others will come and go, but the relationship I have with myself is lifelong.
And I’m okay with who I am.
I’m looking forward to the New Year. Bring it on!
Because if I can get through 2020…
2021 should be a walk in the park.