The country went into lockdown on March 23rd meaning we’re firmly into week 10 of not going to the pub, university being online, and standing 2m apart with masks on at the grocery store (that is one of the few terms I picked up when I lived in Canada and still can’t seem to drop from my vocabulary) .
Thankfully our Prime Minister gave us really clear instructions for the weeks and months ahead. (N.B: to clarify for any non-British readers, this sentence is comes caked in a thick layer of sarcasm).
It’s been 16 days since I stopped drinking alcohol – anyone who knows me well knows that this is generally a habit I adopt around important deadlines or exams (which I happen to have in 19 and 22 days – not that I am counting).
I hate working from home. I loathe staring at a screen for long hours – I much preferred my job working at starbucks standing on my feet all day and being able to talk to customers than I ever did my more ‘professional’ but far more mundane office job. It troubles me how my eyes are sore and my back hurts and my head aches at the end of the day. Our university (which I shall refrain from naming) has been incredibly unreasonable and unsupportive during this global pandemic, failing to communicate effectively and changing the goalposts whenever they deemit necesary (just this week they’ve changed how the marks of our streamlined 2-years-crammed-into-1 course will be examined, despite these examinations being a matter of days away at this point).
The worst part about it is that it’s totally taken over my life- I feel like all I ever talk about is exams and medicine and these stupid acronyms that dominate my thinking. I used to be a person who was interested in music, who read books, who liked to cook and bake and write and play, who had time for her friends because she valued her friendships.
Now I just feel two dimensional.
Whilst I look around and see others having more time to invest in friendships – even if this is over [insert preferred online video platform] – and to persue creative ambitions, here am I stuck rote learning about dural venous sinuses and the hypothalmic-pituary-gonadal axis.
For some reason I fear that leaving it there just makes me seem frustrated, bitter and angry (which although totally justified feelings only makes for a very dreary reading of this blog). In an attempt to try and counteract the rather bleak landscape that has been the last few months I started an Instagram account called 1yearofthankful which is just a way of being disciplined in finding something to be thankful for everyday – because there is always something to be thankful for. Here are some things (that haven’t yet made it to the ‘gram, but are true and important nontheless):
1. I have wonderful friends. Many of whom I’ve moved away from to do this course, sometimes making that choice even tougher. Some live ‘up north’, others in Sweden, Canada, Australia and beyond – which is ever so frustrating at times, but I wouldn’t be seeing them anyway in lockdown, so I guess that makes that simpler!
2. I’ve had the privilege of living abroad. This has not only blessed me with the aforementioned wonderful friendships, but those times have enriched me as a person. Living in a different country is somehow so different from travelling, and though I love both there’s something about having a whole handful of places that you can call ‘home’.
3. I was given access to a wonderful education – whether that be my family moving house to get into the catchment are of a comprehensive school that allowed me to have the healthy experience of a mixed sex school, without the inevitable pressure that the grammar school would’ve placed on me, or whether its the fact that the UK system allows you to borrow fees for university so that you don’t have to come from a rich family or rob the bank to be able to attend. I was able to do a bachelors and a masters whilst working alongside, but still making time to enjoy societies and sports. And, for some reason, I’m back at it again. (I still always get a kick from starting a sentence with ‘and’ because that education definitely taught me that starting a sentence with a conjuction was not grammatically correct!)
4. I have a body that is healthy. Yes, there are a couple of ailments that I’d not expected to have at this age, but I am able to play sport and do exercises and walk freely, and these points I frequently forget about until I am in ill-health, so for that I am very grateful.
I could go on, but the more I get into it there could be in excess of 10,000 reasons for my heart to find, so i’ll wrap it up with this last one:
5. I have wonderful parents, they are great friends to me. They have showed with transparency an amazing marriage – one that is not easy but it worth fighting for every day. They encourage me often, pray for me frequently, love and care for the people that I do (and the ones I don’t!), and are supportive of me no matter what direction my decisions take me in; I know that this makes them a very rare kind of species.