I head back to work tomorrow after three weeks of mandated sick leave to recover from a chest infection (or possibly whooping cough, or I ever get the blood test results), so it may be a strange time to reflect on reasons to be cheerful but here goes.
1. Listening to music with headphones
Mostly I listen to music from the radio, in the background while I do something else at home. Or if I do listen with headphones it’s while doing other things, like exercising at the gym. But damn, taking time to just listen to music with headphones is good. You know, when you really listen?
2. Old songs
I’m at the age where I listen more to old music than new music. And that’s ok. Even songs I might have mocked in my youth I now have a new appreciation for and enjoy listening to. And that’s ok.
3. Ironing handkerchiefs
I don’t own handkerchiefs but my husband does. I won’t iron any of his other clothes but hankies I will. There’s a nice rhythm to ironing them. First you get all the creases out and then you iron it as precisely as you can in thirds, twice. This is how my mother taught me. In fact, it must have been my Dad’s hankies on which I cut my ironing teeth. And that’s probably why I find it so soothing now.
4. Sitting and quietly reading
I’ve been sick, I’ve been instructed to rest and recover. Going for long walks or even actively gardening is out of the question (both active movement and the bent over position of weeding trigger coughing fits) so I am left with sitting and reading. When I’m healthy, I often don’t give myself adequate time for quiet activity like sitting and reading. On weekends I feel panicked, I need to be active and get everything done that I don’t have time for during the week. Taking time to just be quiet and relax with a good book is so nice!
5. Mental headspace
Without work taking up so much of my thinking time, I have had time to let the mental chatter in my head quiet down. I can’t say I have reached any major conclusions, but I have concluded that I was giving too much priority to work at the expense of my physical and mental health. And that has to change. I have many priorities in my life and I need to make space for all of them. Work needs to move down the list. Health, after the past few weeks, is moving to the top.
6. The Ben Aaranovitch “Peter Grant” novels
I’ve read five of the series in the past weeks. They may not be high literature but they are entertaining and I’ve enjoyed them. I’m very annoyed that in the house we have #7 but not #6, which is why I’ve stopped at #5. Husband needs to get on the case and get me #6.