So. Here we are, on the 100th day of this series. What a timespan; what an extraordinary experience to look back on. Though I fear it may not feel quite so extraordinary when looked back on from a more distant future. (Does that make sense? it does to me, but I’m not sure it will be clear to anyone else).
Today is no different from any of the other days since I began this. More rainy than most perhaps. The added treat of a much-anticipated garden visit (though with umbrellas instead of the flasks and cake I’d envisaged when I booked). It is probably no different from many of the days to come.
And yet it does feel to me like something of a milestone. Not least of all because I committed to writing something every single day, and I’ve somehow managed to do so – even on days when writing anything felt like climbing a mountain.
Inevitably I’ve been reflecting on what I’ll take away from this, though of course only time will tell whether what I think I’ve learnt is what I’ve really learnt (or even whether I’ve learnt anything of value at all). True to form, I’ve made some little lists.
What I’ve learnt:
- I enjoy the discipline / routine of writing daily. I hope to continue, which may be daily or may become less frequent, but I will certainly continue writing
- A benefit of regular writing, whether for myself or to share with others, is being able to look back and see what I actually felt or did at the time – which may be quite different from what I think I felt or did
- I enjoy immense privilege (my comparative wealth; my skin colour; my class; my housing situation; my access to food; my access to outside space; my acquired possessions; my education). Most of these did not come easy, but most others are not so fortunate in their lives
- My (albeit limited) personal (plus second-hand through my mum) experience of racism, classism and being poor have left me with a heightened awareness and intolerance of injustice and lies. Not a comfortable place to be in these times, but all the more important in these times
- We’ve shared this storm together, but my boat is quite likely a lot less leaky than your boat. There have been (are) many with no boat at all. I can help some people, but I can’t help everyone. I can do what I can
- I am ‘comfortable in my skin‘, as the French would put it (“Je suis bien dans mon peau“). This too did not come easy, but it has grown as I have matured
- I am comfortable being alone. I tend to enjoy solitude rather than feel lonely. I crave and need some solitude. That too may change, I have no way of knowing
- I already have (more than) enough of pretty much everything. Hence my word for 2020 – it has been fully tested in this period. When I decided on it, I little imagined how relevant it would be
- I’ve learnt who and what are truly important to me. I doubt that can be unlearnt. I’ve missed the simple pleasure of being with a friend and walking and talking.
- I love doing yoga. Doing a session always leaves me feeling better. It’s good for my mental health. I don’t do it often enough
- Walking an average of at least 5 miles a day isn’t a luxury, it’s a must. Keeping my leg healthy isn’t an optional extra. If I were to become ill and not be able to do this, my leg will rapidly deteriorate. When it deteriorates, I am much more susceptible to developing serious infection in the leg, which can lead to more serious consequences. I don’t want to become an unnecessary burden to the health service, nor do I want to risk serious illness. If I were to become ill and in bed for a period of time, continuing to wear the pressure stocking would be at best very difficult and at worst impossible. It is very tight, and not easy to put on. Wearing it is essential to keeping my leg healthy
- I really don’t shop much, and mostly don’t feel the lack. Although, I am missing secondhand shopping – browsing charity shops and vintage/junk stalls is my thing, and I’m looking forward to resuming it. All that stuff other people have sorted out during lockdown to re-home…. I’m in the market for unwanted darning mushrooms and other kit; embroidery threads; cotton fabric; demin jeans. Quite a few things in fact.
What I’ve done:
- I’ve tended my garden and my allotment like never before. On that Voltaire was right. (“Il faut cultiver notre jardin” – Candide).
- I’ve been exceptionally creative with textiles and repurposing – a crochet blanket almost finished; patchwork picnic cloths made and delivered; much mending done; lots of knitting and crocheting items to sell for Bath City Farm; face coverings experimented with and completed (more to come). Old worn sheets reused for patchwork and face coverings backing. Next will be making some bedding for granddaughter’s new/old bed we’ve got for when she eventually stays here.
- I’ve kept up some old habits at home and added some new ones – (even) more cooking from scratch; using up what I already have; keeping a stock of staple foods, medicines and household goods, and topping it up when needed (thanks mum for the teaching); improved attention to cleaning (though I think my m-i-l would still be horrified); repurposing before buying
- I’ve done and enjoyed doing more cooking than usual. Including making fresh pasta (who knew that was so very quick and easy to do! Just for the cost of an egg and a bit of flour); sourdough starter vegan cakes; regular sourdough starter pancakes; regular cakes. Can you see a cake theme emerging here? you’re not wrong
- I’ve written my blog every single day. Go me!
- I’ve stayed in close contact with more people than usual (though some not as much as I’d have liked)
- I’ve caught up with most of a backlog of life admin and farm admin. Still more to do, but then surely that’s a bit like Sisyphus pushing the stone up the hill
- I’ve explored all sorts of places within walking distance of home and found places I never knew were there, places I knew were there but not been to before, and places I’d never before quite appreciated (but now I do)
- I’ve had regular phone calls with my friend in Denmark. We should have seen each other IRL twice this year. Now we speak most weeks. A cup of coffee each, a bit of knitting to do, and it’s almost like being together. Of course it’s not, but it’s the next best thing
What I haven’t done
- Learn a language / brush up a language
- Read almost any books. I read one whole book. I’m still just around a third of the way through the Hilary Mantel trilogy. Long way to go
- Finish the 30 day yoga practice I began almost 100 days ago. Does that tell you something? it does me
- Resume running. Too hot, too busy, too nervous of accidentally injuring myself and ending up needing medical treatment. (Or just too easy to find excuses?)
- Create a perfect garden or allotment or house
- Watch much cultural stuff online or on TV The spirit was willing but the flesh was weak. Too busy most days, too tired most evenings. Does it matter? well no, since you ask. But I enjoyed most of what I watched
- Consistently sleep well. Sometimes I have, sometimes I haven’t. Good when I do, a bit rubbish when I don’t. That’s life
- Brood over what wasn’t possible. So many things we couldn’t do – biggest among them for us was not seeing granddaughter. But what would be the point? I chose to focus on what I could do, and that helped me get through. I’m not saying that would work for everyone, but we’re all different and it has worked for me. I’m well aware that my losses are far smaller than most/many other people’s
So here we are, another day gone by. What did I do with it? Baked another summer fruit cake. Made a batch of kombucha. Some life admin, some farm admin. A farm zoom call (this is a pretty big deal for me, as I hate being in photos or on video – but now to my surprise I now quite like this type of call). A visit to a beautiful garden, after not during the torrential downpours – and very special, with a close friend. I spotted a tiny froglet in my garden, hopping towards the pond. I wrote my personal reflection on the past 100 days.
(You probably don’t need me to tell you this, but the photos below are not of my garden. I do claim the cake and the frog though. The frog is tiny – no bigger than my thumbnail).
Do I know what the next 100 days will bring? of course not. Do I wish I knew? frankly no I don’t. If it’s good I’ll know soon enough, and if (as I fear) it’s not good, I’ll know soon enough. The point is to try to make each day matter. Because it does.
I do however know what the next few days will bring. There’s a birthday coming up later this week and that can only mean surprises. I know what they are, but someone else doesn’t. I have a busy day tomorrow.
Here’s to tomorrow, and the next few tomorrows. See you again then xx