It would be a mistake not to write something about the weirdness of 2020 I think. While you’re living through something and immersed in it it’s difficult to imagine life any other way but life has already taught me that when it changes whatever went before soon fades. This is going to be heavily navel gazing so if you’re not in the mood for that I would suggest cat videos or something instead.
On a completely personal level (because, dear reader, this is my blog, about me) the effects of the pandemic, that is the lockdown and other restrictions, haven’t been a totally bad thing. I learned how exhausting my previous routine had been when it felt like it took nearly a month in full lockdown to recover from. When it got to June/July I was able to go out teaching a couple of days a week, small class sizes, as well as teaching a couple of classes online and that felt much healthier for the introvert in me. Much less ‘stimulating’ than full classes and rushing from place to place so there was space for me to be more present and I noticed a difference in my confidence and inner stability from that. Now we’re out again my working week has changed a lot with different timetable and classes. That’s been a mixed set of emotions, sad that I’m not able right now to go back to teaching the Les Mills classes I love but grateful to have some classes and teaching freestyle is forcing me to realise that people do actually enjoy having me as an instructor they’re not just there for the brand programs. One of the huge positives out of all this is that I’ve been able to invest in doing some courses which was one of my goals for this year but couldn’t see how that was going to work. Happily the one I’m most excited about hasn’t been cancelled because of COVID restrictions.
I know I’ve been incredibly lucky compared to a lot of people. Mainly because I was already ready for change and had things lined up, mentally at least, waiting for space to come in. I had plans to quit certain places but I couldn’t quite see how I would be able to do that and then, boom, it’s done. Not that it’s been easy to live through at all, because of empathy and survivor guilt as well as grief and loss for the things that I’m ok without but that I didn’t get to let go of in my own way. It is easier to quit a job than be fired type thing.
It’s interesting now that 2020 is getting towards the end people are naturally looking forward to the end of an incredibly difficult (shitty) year and looking forward to 2021 hopefully being different. That strange idea that the numbers on the calendar somehow soak up the meaning of the experiences that we’ve had and have yet to come. For me it feels like the stress actually started way back in 2019. I’d finally committed to a yoga teacher training course after thinking about it for a couple of years and although that was a wonderful experience and I’m grateful that I did that course, it meant taking time away from running which always reminds me how much I love it, then comparing that to how I feel about yoga I basically ended up with a case of imposter syndrome which hasn’t totally gone away. After finishing the course I had been hoping that being able to teach yoga would give me the opportunity to still teach classes but be less physically demanding and when that didn’t happen straight away I fell into a bit of a hole of wondering whether the time and money had been worth it. It took longer and didn’t materialise how I’d imagined but at least now, post lockdown, I can say it definitely was worth it.
Towards the end of 2019 my sister suddenly ended up in hospital with an infection that was off the scale (by a factor of 100s). Thankfully that was treated quickly but they discovered tumours in her abdomen that got her moved to the top of the list for surgery which happened in January and again thankfully everything was benign and she fully recovered. That put on hold some ideas I’d had about going away for a while. I decided to stay put until I knew my sister would be ok. Then the pandemic happened which totally cancelled any ideas of going anywhere, and as I’ve said that worked out okay for my work life, but ended up aggravating an ongoing situation with my brother who struggles with substance abuse, alcohol and other things. It’s been a problem for a long time but has flared up worse than ever into fights with my parents this year. It’s been incredibly stressful but at least for the time being he’s not living here so I can get through the day without holding my breath.
My biggest hangover from last year is recovering, or attempting to, from a broken heart. It’s the strangest thing, how what the head knows and what the heart feels can refuse to fall in line with each other. I find I have to keep reminding myself to have self-compassion, that emotions don’t just go away you have to go through. But when I start to think I’m mostly okay there’s more. More grief and more sadness. One of the things my brain does to try and help me cope with things like this is hopeful optimism, ‘maybe there’s a way…’ which inevitably comes back round to the reality of ‘ahh, right. No.’. A tactic that’s worked for me with past romantic dead-ends is starting to look forward and wonder who I’ll meet next but this time that has left me feeling more hopeless as I realised I don’t know anyone else I like quite as much as him. Annoying in certain ways yes (talking at me across a room instead of to me directly, *eyeroll*) but take away all the lust/love stuff, and separate to all that he’s still someone I would willingly spend a lot of time with and want to share what I’m thinking and feeling. That’s a rare thing for me with people in general. Factor in how much of a lone wolf introvert I am, it seems like the odds of me finding another one like that are stacked against me but who knows, miracles do sometimes happen. At least I am now reaching a state where I’m able to be more focused on my present day to day life, rather than obsessing, and look forward to seeing how what I’m working on at the moment will unfold.
So that brings us up to date. The clocks changed back to GMT last weekend, it’s still fairly mild but winter is definitely on it’s way and I’ve just seen on the new that other countries are going back into lockdown. I hope we don’t have to do that again here but it doesn’t seem that the virus is slowing down enough. Apart from missing a party or two that I would normally dread having to go to I’m incredibly lucky that Christmas will be more or less the same as usual. Living with parents does have its occasional perks. Normally by now I think I would be having ideas about plans for next year but that still seems far away and a big black hole. I have looked at Maverick Race’s run calendar, no longer working Saturday mornings has opened that right up for me, but other than that no ideas. I need to get through the next couple of weekends of courses before I can think any further ahead. Learning a new yoga-to-music for one of the gyms I work at then getting started on the Coach in Running Fitness qualification. Need to be more careful this time not to load that with the expectation of it changing my life overnight and just enjoy the process!