I’ve had a rough year. And it’s only July.
Understatement of the century of course. Everyone is having a really tough year.
I’m sure nobody’s plans are working out and a lot of people have worries and concerns and stresses that they can’t really see an end to.
And yeah me too. I won’t bore you with my COVID era sorrows though. I’m sure you have your own.
But in the face of adversity, especially one that seems long and relentless, I feel it’s important at some point to stop for a second and reflect.
I reflected on myself in the face of adversity. I realised that I’ve spent so much time being low and stressed that I’ve forgotten the parts of myself that are important to me.
I think it’s always important to think about the things that make up who you are. And hold onto that.
For instance, I’m usually an avid reader. I LOVE reading. My happy place is literally me and my kindle lost in some corner of the world facing much greater adversities than my current ones and ultimately coming out stronger.
But in the last few months my reading has been woefully low. And forget about studying. I just sit and stare blankly at something for hours on end waiting for something to happen.
I don’t want to lose this part of me. There’s nothing quite like the experience of starting a new book and devouring it and learning something new. In every single book. Each book is a fantastic experience.
Another part of me I had forgotten recently is my imagination. I’ve always felt blessed when I think about my imagination. Growing up I loved thinking up stories and scenarios and events that were weird and wonderful. Castles and dragons, going to Jupiter, seeing the things around me and imagining it to be so much more than it is always brought me great joy. As I grew up I imagined other things, where I would live, what I wanted to see, even how it would be at my best friend’s wedding.
I found during these tough times my thoughts are rarely abstract. They’re stunted and box-like. More robotic like here is another problem today. May as well dwell over how to solve it with what I have. Rather than imagining bigger and better things than this particular inconvenience.
My imagination is the source of my creativity. I can’t lose that. It’s a big part of what makes me, me. I tried to imagine good things. Bright and colourful. They’re quieter than before. As though there was a screen between me and my imagination.
And then there’s music. These days I just listen to music on the way to and from work. And that’s more to keep me awake rather than for my enjoyment. But with the arrival of the new Taylor Swift album, I realised how much I had missed listening to music and actually enjoying what I was listening to and singing along. That’s super important to me.
Passion for work. Since COVID, my work has become so mechanical. The daily frustrations have become twice as annoying and work is extra exhausting. A useless call from a nurse causes a physical reaction in me and brings me down. I barely notice the things I used to. Like how important it is when a patient thanks you for what you’ve done for them or learning something new from a patient’s condition. The other day I fought all day long for a patient to get a scan she needed. And when she finally did, my diagnosis was correct and she received the treatment she needed, and I learnt something new about her condition and the scan she had. I felt satisfied that day. It reminded me why I love what I do so much. I need to hold on to my passion.
Photography. Since being in lockdown, I’ve struggled to take my camera out and capture the world around me. But when I did, I realised how important photography is to me. Especially macro photography, and seeing the little things and making them look amazing.
But perhaps the most important part of me that I don’t wish to lose is being able to appreciate small things and find joy in them. Like a sunset, like watching a TV show from my childhood. Like helping a stranger with something or a stranger helping me with something. Like being able to tell my friends and family how much I love them, doing something to make them smile. Like a perfectly made cup of tea. Like a good conversation. A good joke.
Like a good hug at the right place at the right time when it was really needed.
Life is full of these little moments that can be so significant. They are the ones that you have to hang on to in times of adversity. That’s who I am as a person. Someone who focuses on the little things that make something or someone so amazing to me.
These things are a part of me. And these are the things I need to remember. That will help me get through it all.
Here’s a macro shot of a bee doing what it does best when I finally got my camera out. Little things with significance.