I can’t say I like this year much more than last year so far. All the shitty stuff that was with us last year did not disappear with the clocks chiming midnight on 31 December. In fact some things are getting worse – Covid, the political situation in the USA, my weight. Ok, maybe it’s unfair to put my weight in with things that have a global impact, but it’s the one thing that is in my control, and it’s the one thing I have failed to control. More on this later.
Covid–19. I only hear the covid-19 mortality statistics every few weeks but when I do they have jumped by 10,000. 10,000 more families who have lost loved ones. The UK death toll is now up to 80,000. For comparison, this is double the amount of deaths in Germany where they have proper leadership who have taken prompt action against the virus instead of the crazy circus of moronity the UK has as a government. Jonathan Pie voices my frustrations so much better and in more fruity language than I could.
My home town in Australia has gone into lockdown as the aggressive UK variant has escaped there. A three day lockdown was announced at short notice. On a Friday. But that still meant everyone had time to hit the shops and then head out on the freeway to the coast for the weekend. Is it really so difficult to be locked down for three days? (Says the woman at the beginning of a seven week lockdown, her third in the last 12 months). Don’t these people realise that by leaving the lockdown zone, they are potentially spreading the virus to other population centres? And that those centres will have to lock down next week as a result? Stop it people! Stop being so selfish!
And selfish as this might seem, this past year I have been really grateful for not having children. People used to bug me about not having children (“You don’t know what you’re missing” etc.) But when you’re in the grip of a global pandemic and in repeated episodes of lockdown where schools are closed and you have to home school while also doing your own job from home in less than optimal circumstances, I am happy to not have children. Does that make me sound selfish? Maybe. But there are probably loads of parents who wish they had time to be a little bit selfish right as they try to juggle their own work and making sure their children spend even more time in front of a screen with online lessons (assuming their household has enough tech for all the children) and don’t start a screaming fight with each other during work video calls. Parents, I do feel for you and what you’re going through – especially single parents who are complete heroes for carrying on without anyone to fall back on when they get tired or sick or fed up. But at the same time I am glad I only have responsibility for myself and Husband and our cat right now.
Work This week was my first week back at work for the year. I’m trying to take it slowly this year, set myself three priority things I need to get done each day and go for it. If I get additional things done, I make a note of that at the end of the day so I can feel some sense of satisfaction. I’m determined to keep the sense of panic away from my work desk this year and focus on having a sense of achievement instead.
Healthy eating. My first week of healthy eating went well. According to the food tracking app I’m using, I’m managing to bust my 5-a-day portions which is great news. However I’m finding it strange what counts and what doesn’t count as a portion. One dish I made this week had lentils and beans in it. I added the beans to the app – no movement, doesn’t count as a vegetable. But I added the lentils and yes, that counts as a vegetable.
Although after watching the webinar, Why Almost Everything We’ve Been Told About Food is Wrong, I’m not sure what to believe any more. The idea that doctors have no training in nutrition and diet (“they know more about scurvy”) and are just spouting ideas that they’ve read in magazines or sayings that have sprung from popular culture or are findings from studies sponsored by major industry corporations. My main takeaways from this were: everyone’s body chemistry is different so no diet will work for everyone the same way; and a lot of your body health comes from the bacteria in your gut, gut health drives everything else. It was actually quite a disheartening talk because all the stuff he said was wrong was all the stuff my doctor told me to do and all the stuff I have been doing.
And worse, after a week of counting my calories and my fruit and veg portions, I weigh myself on Saturday only to find… I have actually put in weight. How is that even possible? Husband meanwhile has lost 2.5kg. And he’s been eating biscuits all week. I am really disheartened now. But I will persist and hope for better results next week.
Maybe it’s my lack of exercise? Instead of running this week I tried pilates one morning and my stomach muscles felt it for the next two days. I think that’s a good thing? I have also been taking mini breaks during the working day, taking 5 mins here and there to put in some music and pick up my handweights and jump about. Not only does this get my heart rate up, but it also helps me to warm up on these cold winter days.
31 Days of Questions. I found out this week that Niall Breslin, he of the Wake Up/Wind Down podcasts, has been doing a 31 days of questions during the Wake Ups for January. Thirty one questions, one a day, starting with questions looking at your values. I only found out on day 5 or something, so I’ve been journaling answers to the questions 2 days at a time this week to catch up. The Wind Downs this month are about teaching mindfulness practices. At least I think they are. I start listening, Niall tells me to focus on my breathing, and then I wake up some hours later with my headphones still on my head.
Shoes. One of the questions I should be asking myself is Why do you think you need new shoes? You’re not going anywhere! Yes I know I’m not, but when Lulu Hun came up on one of my social media feeds, I was gripped by shoe envy and the desire to buy new shoes. Lulu Hun says they specialise in vintage inspired shoes, which I love, probably because I watched too many movies set in the 1950 at an impressionable age. I also recommend Ruby Shoo and Poetic Licence for slightly wacky vintage inspired shoes. Like the pair below that are in a drawer in my office. I did pop up and see them when it was possible to go in and work in the office, but I didn’t bring them home because I don’t have anywhere to wear them right now.
Of course, January is sale time and all these beautiful shoes are on sale so maybe I should buy some against those future occasions where I could go out again. Or back to the office. It’s strange that I am happy to dress conservatively at work but I love a crazy shoe. Perhaps I’m only letting the real me show from the ankle down?
Good news story. I don’t follow football/soccer at all, but a story from this world dropped into my consciousness this week. Local Liverpool team Marine have drawn Premiership side Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup. The FA Cup is a tournament where all English clubs – be they premiership, fully professional or part-time – go into a draw to play each other. It’s a way for small clubs to get some income boost and attention, and there can be some upsets with small clubs beating the top teams. Marine is a small club whose players all have regular jobs in addition to playing for the club. Their ground holds 3000 people. Tottenham’s new stadium holds 62,000, and their top players are paid hundreds of thousands of pounds a week. Marine players get £100-£300. This game represents the biggest difference in rankings between two clubs in all the history of the FA Cup (Tottenham 4th, Marine 165th). A real minnows vs. giants story.
The weather this week has been freezing, and Marine’s training ground was closed because the pitch was frozen. Because of the national Covid lockdown, all the gyms are closed so they had nowhere to train, until the big Premiership clubs in Liverpool, Liverpool and Everton, offered their fellow Liverpudlian team access to their training grounds as well as access to their video analysis of Tottenham, giving this little local team access to the resources of a premiership side.
No matter the actual result of the game, this little club has already won – hearts and miss at least, because who isn’t going to go out and root for the little guy? Even though the game will be played to an empty ground (Covid restrictions are in place), Marine have set up a ‘virtual’ ticket scheme, with one ticket holder getting the chance to manage the side in a pre season friendly game. Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho said that he has bought a ticket, despite his promise to treat Marine with respect by beating them.