Tuesday, 29 December 2020

Be careful what you wish for...

I feel that 2020 may be all my fault.  One year ago today I wrote this blog about how 2019 had gotten away from me and how my wish was to spend more time at home in 2020.  Boy, did that wish come true.  After a couple of mini adventures in January, February and March, everything screeched to a rather dramatic halt.  I dug out my old work handbag the other day and found my final train ticket in there, dated 12th March 2020 - for someone who used to rack up intergalactic mileage on the trains every year, this has been quite a change of pace.

The mini adventures

Before lockdown hit work took me to Dublin and Littlehampton

Cliff walk near Bray (Dublin)


As usual, I tagged on some extra time for exploring, which was all very lovely, but still rather at odds with my plan to spend more time at home.

In March, the week before lockdown, we finally got away together in Delores for a week in Clitheroe - it really is a lovely spot and well worth exploring - the sculpture trails alone make it worth the trip.

Sculpture Trail - Clitheroe
Lessons from lockdown

Since March we've barely left Cumbria - we took one trip to Wolverhampton to see my elderly mum during the lockdown reprise over the summer, and a couple of trips to Morecambe for some flat walks after I stuffed my leg in July.  Have I missed all the travelling?  Not one single bit of it.  I have had zero lonely nights in hotels, zero unapetising train picnics, loads more sleep and have spent tons more time with Steve (which I have absolutely loved and I'm hoping he's enjoyed it too! 😁 )

Not that this year has been easy - far from it - we lost our entire income and were firmly in the group that qualified for zero government support - but I'm a stubborn old mule and by working incredibly hard together (another big plus, we have dug deep and worked our collective socks off together this year) we are still here.  As with any tough journey, lessons have been learned along the way, so I thought I'd share the things we've learned during 2020 in case they are of help to anyone else.

  • Focus on "can" not "can't" - I keep banging on about this, but it is absolutely at the heart of everything we do.  There have been an enormous amount of "can'ts" in 2020, but there have been plenty of "cans" too.
  • Ask for help.  Honestly we would not be here if it weren't for each other and the support of family and friends. In April, May and June we had absolutely nothing and I was utterly humbled by the way our friends stepped up to offer help and support, They even sent gin!
  • Learn new things.  We have learned countless new tech platforms this year as we completely reinvented our business.  There were some very long weekends, lots of tears of frustration and several entertaining mishaps - like the time I pressed the wrong button and kicked every single delegate out of a training session mid way through.  Ooops!  We survived though!
  • Set firm boundaries between home and work - if you work from home, that's not always easy, but try changing clothes at the end of the day, going for a 'fake commute walk' before you start and after you finish, hide your work stuff away when you're not using it, and avoid saying "Just this one more email" - it will still be there when you log on tomorrow.
  • Be nice to yourself - we have all had a crap year and we're all feeling pretty fraught just now, so ease up and quit beating yourself up for not living up to your impossibly high standards.  I've always hated the expression 'guilty pleasure' - just take time out to indulge in what you love, whether that's The Times crossword or bingewatching the every episode of Friends.
  • Accept change.  This is a toughie, but things won't magically 'go back to normal' - we've all been changed by this.  One of my favourite quotes on change comes from the "Way of the Peaceful Warrior" by Dan Millman: "The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new."
Of course I've also learned to enjoy flat walks, thanks to my slow healing leg, and have enjoyed watching the seasons change on my many (many!) walks along Grange prom.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us this year by buying books, sending gin and/ or buying us a virtual coffee - we really do appreciate it!  Here's hoping 2021 is a little less eventful - and I hope your new year is a peaceful and happy one.

DON'T FORGET - we still have all our books for sale right here - perfect for a virual escape or for planning your next Cumbrian adventure!