Sprung (11.22)

I started my new job this week. But it was three days in before I went to the office and started to meet my new colleagues. The woman who is helping me settle in brought me flowers, which was lovely and a sign of how happy she is she no longer has to manage a double workload which she’s been doing since January.

My new job is sat physically in the same floor as my old job (but on the other side) , so I expected to bump into people I used to work with. But when people I didn’t even work with directly saw me and said, “Why did you leave us?” and “You will be really missed” I didn’t feel sad, I felt sure I’d made the right decision to move.

But i didn’t have a lot of time to think about things like that. I was too busy trying to take in new information and understand what my new job looks like. My manager and my “buddy” both saying, “You’ll be fine, don’t worry,” was reassuring, but I have a lot to learn.

But I also had a Christmas party to go to! December was not a great time for parties, being in the midst of Omicron, as we were. So my new team opted to defer Christmas, and I just happened to join the team in the week to which it had been deferred. It was a good opportunity to meet a lot of people in a social setting.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the past week telling myself “That’s not who I am now,” and also, “That’s who I am now.” Joining a new team is liberating like that. So long as I keep believing what I’m telling myself I should be OK.

I started reading two books this week:  Oksana Zabuzhko Your Ad Could Go Here: Stories and Viv Groskop The Anna Karenina Fix. One book by a Ukranian author, one by an English author writing about Russian literature. Zabuzhko’s collection of stories is interesting, if hard going in its subject matter at times. Groskop’s book is lighter, although interspersed with reminiscences from her time as a student in newly post-Soviet Russia in the early 90s which are not light. I’ve just read the chapter on Anna Akhmetova. She was a poet who wrote her poetry at time when she was under state supervision. Her husband and son had been arrested. Her house was regularly searched. She wrote poems, had friends memorise them, then she burned the papers. I am in awe of this. To write and create but to not be able to hold on to what you’ve created in a physical form…

Have any readers here read Doctor Zhivago? What were your thoughts? Groskop made it sound interesting. And fun fact – Pasternak is parsnip in English. I also had a take on Tolstoy as Mr Tubby because his surname is very similar to that word in Russian.

On the weekend I woke up at weekday alarm time. Not something I would usually embrace but on both days I felt rested and energisedl, and seeing a blue sky sunshine day outside, on both days I got up early. After a day during the week when we had Sahara sand coating London (as well as other European countries) in fine red dust, I was inspired by the warm weather to clean the windows. It wasn’t even 11am on Saturday and I already cleaned all the downstairs windows. And then we did some inside cleaning, including dusting, including dusting under things, like furniture, where the dust bunnies mutate to become dust rhinos. I usually try to ignore dust. That’s the thing about bright spring sunshine – it shows up all the dust that hides in the corners during the winter.

We also made a jigsaw purge. We have jigsaws stacked up all over the house, and realistically, no matter how much you enjoy doing then, the chance of doing them again is very small. We identified 22 puzzles we didn’t want to keep. Why we felt the need to keep all 22 in the first place I don’t know but they are on their way out. We just need to figure out which way out they are going – swap, sell or donate.

On Sunday I cleaned some more windows and did vacuuming, and tidied my home working space, and then I also mowed the lawn for the first time this year. All this before heading out for a yoga workshop catch up with my “Find your ikigai” crew, which was run by one of my fellow Ikigai-ers who has so fully embraced the changes she now has a side hustle as a yoga teacher.

Spring feels extra special this year. I know we are not all the way through Covid, but somehow, these past days of mild weather, the longer evenings, the changes in the light… it feels better. It feels positive. It feels like coming up for air. Maybe I just love spring, and would feel like this even if we weren’t in The After.

I know there are all kinds of things happening in the world that are causing and will continue to cause issues for people around me. And it’s not that I don’t care – I do. But there is only so much o can do, or influence, or change. So for the next few weeks, while we have mild weather and soft light, I’m just going to let myself enjoy the feeling that spring has sprung.

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