Every second counts

What are you doing this weekend? I question we have always asked others as we run towards Friday night in anticipation of some fun with friends, catch up time with family, and rest and recuperation from the norm that has gone before us in the week that is just closing.

Of course, for the last few months the standard reply has been “not a lot” as we face the year that has been 2020. Doesn’t it feel like Groundhog Day? Well, I’d like to present the argument for making sure every second counts. Yes, the last blog was just one great big grump. Sorry. I’m still looking for my spine (you’ll need to read the last blog – ‘It’s 4am soon and the cats are yawning’. Yes, I know. A bizarre title but those who have joined me on these blogs know I reference songs and song titles a lot).

Anyway, the grumpiness (in the blogs) has moved on and I’m looking at ways of remembering what is important.

In the right here, right now, the importance of focusing on the good stuff has never been more important. It’s a global crisis the likes of which many have never experienced. I know it’s not a world war – in the military sense. But we are fighting an unknown and it feels like our only weapons are ourselves.

I’ve said my piece previously on the way the U.K. government is dealing with this and won’t labour the point. All we ever ask for is honesty, consistency, and an understanding of how mixed messages impact on the population.

From a global perspective, it looks like the people in power are dealing differently nation by nation. From the sublime (New Zealand) to the ridiculous (take a bow Mr Trump, but hold onto your hair as you tip forwards). All I know is these scary times when we need to stick together, take the necessary precautions to help slow and slow the spread of this horrible virus and then look to a better future.

I look forward to a day when you go on-line to read the news only for your spirits to be drowned by another negative headline. I appreciate that what is being reported (in the quality media outlets) is what is being said. However, as we reel from the announcement that another – 4 weeks – lockdown is due to start, I read the headline ‘English lockdown may last beyond 02 December’. Now, I accept those are the words of Michael Gove. A man who makes the most obnoxious person seem likeable. A man who has as much apparent emotional intelligence as a robot. Hopefully, I’ve made my point. He’s not on my Christmas card list and hasn’t been since he completely wrecked the Education system in England- for teachers and students alike.

I worry, however, about the impact on the mental health and well-being of millions of people who have had enough. I worry that the governments, globally, have lost sight that people are struggling and need an understanding that the fight is not just the coronavirus, it’s mental health. It’s loneliness. It’s poverty. It’s finance. It’s an increase in domestic abuse. It’s an increase in alcohol consumption.

So, I ask all governments to open up their eyes to the wider issues we have here. Please!

However, as I opened with, we need to make sure every second counts. That we focus on understanding every second is precious. It may feel like every day is like Groundhog Day but then I would argue we get chance to enjoy the repeated day and days better than the previous day and days.

During the first lockdown, I walked around the same park something in excess of 50 times and every time I saw something new to enjoy. Something different to appreciate. At this point, I apologise to my friends on Facebook as they had to endure day after day of pictures of flowers, trees, water, the sky and so on. But it really was wonderful to revel in the beauty around me.

I’m grateful for all of the pictures I have taken and stored because I spend hour after hour enjoying the memories. Enjoying what ever that moment was that was captured, as it was a moment that truly mattered.

Lockdown presents a chance to do something new. I’ve discovered an interest in baking. It’s different and it’s a distraction. It’s a making those seconds count.

And, of course, I enjoy writing. I still want to do a book. Something for kindle and good old fashioned paper – with a spine. Whether it gets finished, who knows. I’ve got 4 book ideas part started, and already saved for another time. Many thousands of words. There’s ideas aplenty and one day I’ll sit down and complete something. It has to be meaningful as I’ve seen some real nonsense recently. All ego fuelled and not with the reader in mind.

It really feels like the way to get through these difficult times is to focus on those things that are good in our lives. Focus on being loved and loving others. Focus on those times we’ve had or, are having. Ben and I decided to set out on the Couch to 5K challenge a few weeks ago. In part, to gain some level of fitness. Also, in part, to fill in for those times when we aren’t able to go to watch the Leeds Rhinos or attend another concert. It’s making those seconds count. It’s brilliant and I look forward to reporting our achievement in a later blog.

In essence, I guess it’s a call to arms – following my last blast of grumpiness. Let’s focus on what we have and what we can do. Let’s get through this better and stronger. Let’s believe we can do it, because we will. Look on the bright side, we’re not Michael Gove. Let’s be grateful for that.

Take care of yourself and all of those around you. For now,

Jon

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