Personal Musings on Being ‘In It for The Long Haul, Long Distant Runners and Groundhog Day’

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Posted by: Sue Atkins

 

It all feels a bit like Groundhog Day to me at the moment. I’m usually ebullient, enthusiastic and bouncy – naturally – as I am lucky to be a half glass full type of person.

I knew I’d find the nights drawing in difficult. The change of season into darker days and longer nights so I took up painting by numbers as a new hobby to engross my mind and to release my creativity in other ways than just writing.

I actually enjoyed the lockdown as I embraced the circumstances, as my son and his girlfriend came to stay for a few weeks and ended up staying 5 months. We cooked together, did Pilates and Kick Boxing (my son’s girlfriend!) weeded, planted & nurtured the garden and each other and walked our 3 dogs on copious long walks across the Surrey countryside.

We adapted.

We all found space to work, live and laugh together. We got into’ Life on Mars, ‘The Sewing Bee’ and binged watched Netflix.

We washed our hands, kept our distance when we ventured out after the lockdown and wore our masks.

We did all the right things as governments around the world struggled to handle this unprecedented time.

We lost faith in politicians, grieved with enormous horror the killing of George Floyd and stood outside to clap the NHS.

We turned off the News and the daily updates as it became depressing, particularly as we felt so helpless in the bigger pictures of our lives, and I focused on what we could do in the day to day to stay happy, healthy and connected.

I felt gratitude towards the neighbour who did my 92-year-old father -in- laws shopping and delivered his daily paper as he cared for my mother in law with advanced Alzheimer’s Disease.

I observed, with enormous sadness and anger, as Trump’s America divides and implodes in polarisation and chaos and irresponsible deaths.

So, now I watch as the UK slides even more into division & acrimony, after our long, drawn out and badly handled battle with Brexit, the North / South divide and as Manchester braces itself for Tier 3 of Lockdown2. It won’t be long before we’re not only battling Covid19 but each other. Friendships will be lost, civil unrest will raise its ugly head while families, children & the elderly struggle with their mental health and survival.

It’s a challenging time to be alive.

I entered a new birthday decade in July and it’s hard not to feel that life as I knew it has slipped silently away as I’m more aware of my mortality than I used to be.

I’ve never been a long-distance runner but I found myself googling ‘How to Develop a Long Distance Runner’s Mindset’ as I found myself pondering how they stay motivated on such a long run; what they think about & how they stay positive.

I googled ‘In It for The Long Haul’ and the dictionary defined it as being determined to continue with something until it is finished successfully.

I’m trying to make sense of the next phase of this pandemic. I certainly know that I have to be phlegmatic, patient, kind to myself, as well as others, and reach deep within.

I’m not suggesting painting by numbers is your go to panacea ? but while I’m staying in the moment, planning only for the day ahead, having small things to look forward to and adjusting my goals for my work, and pondering what’s actually important in life – I’m adjusting to the importance of staying connected, making sure that I remember that I’m capable and competent, and tapping into the warm feeling that I count in my family as I stay courageous in adversity.

Whether you’re weary, angry, tired or scared it’s important that we find constructive ways to express any frustration or anger isn’t it?

How are you coping with lockdown 2.0?

 

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