The Diary: Week 1 of 2021

Besma takes a selfie in a shop mirror. Photo is in black and white.

For a brief moment, 2021 felt peaceful. The time away from work and endless social media scrolling had done me a world of good. But, as we end the first working week, we’ve already seen more shocking news; namely, a huge rise in covid patients, another lockdown, and a violent siege on the US capitol building.

So, I’m writing for some much-needed offloading. Writing has always been a form of meditation for me. I feel productive after a long period of time in the state of ‘flow’, which comes to me when I sit down to write, and even more so when I sit down to write what’s going on in my thoughts.

This year I’m not setting myself any intentions. That’s the main gist of this post. For the last few years, I set myself resolutions, which I prefer to call intentions, but it just doesn’t seem right now. Life is much more unpredictable than I ever remember it. It was that same foggy, fuzzy-minded feeling that really struck me in Lockdown 1.

I grew up in a regimented household. Wake up at 7am. School by 9am. Home for 4pm. Dinner at 7pm. Bed at 9pm. As the eldest child, I was subject to this timetable for much longer than my siblings, and I didn’t fight it. If anything, the long sleeps and structure did me good.

My mum is a creature of habit. To that end, we children would have to arrange sleepovers at least a week in advance. Saturdays were reserved for one activity only. We had the best attendance in our respective school years.

So, it’s no surprise that while I enjoyed going beyond the usual boundaries of structured ‘activities’ and waking hours in University, I still lived by my calendar. And to this day, my calendar leads my work.

When Lockdown 1 arrived, and events started dropping out my calendar, that level of unpredictability felt especially claustrophobic. The variety in my days was put on hold, replaced by a rinse-and-repeat work-from-home schedule. My social life was cancelled. And do people even care about sustainability in a pandemic? I asked myself.

Yet, an empty calendar is barely a hardship. Despite losing a few clients, and getting stuck between two tenancies paying double rent, things worked out. I’ve been lucky. Even compared to friends and family members, I’m doing ok. But the one thing that may unite us is the difficulty in dealing with the mental strain of this pandemic, and the seemingly relentless stream of doomsday events.

Normally a new year feels like a new, clean slate. But instead, this year it’s simply felt like the brief period of calm in the eye of the storm, and now we’re back out into the thick of it again.

So, this week I’m writing this post instead of a focused guide or a brand deep-dive. It’s helped me to offload and find capacity to bring more patience and tolerance into a time when money is tight and the days are short. And also allowed me to see that I can take something of a break for my mental health and that’d be ok.

Across this week I’ve also been bookmarking posts that give me hope. Here’s a few you may wish to scroll through:

And honestly, I think that’s what will get us through. Hope. Let’s hope for better. And let’s not put it into boxes. Just let the pure, unadulterated hope flow. B x

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