Reflecting on life, blogging and writing on International Bloggers’ Day

At the beginning of 2021 I picked the word ‘Focus’ for my word of the year. At first I kept reminding myself to focus on one thing at a time and to keep my goals in sight. Recently I realised I had forgotten about the word, but am finding that I am developing new habits. One is to eat less in an attempt to lose a little weight and help my hip and knee joints!

I am also trying to spend less time on my computer. A writing friend, Deborah Jenkins, blogged about whether life interferes with writing or writing with life. I had perhaps reached a stage during lockdown where life was put on hold, while I wrote!

Now with lockdown having eased somewhat I am doing more outside the home. There is less temptation to go online, although there is always my phone…

I have also set myself some goals in the house and garden, which will take time away from writing, but may also provide some new ideas.

The reason I missed two weekend posts on this blog was a lack of prompts. I am aware that there were more important things in Linda Kruschke’s life than setting poetry challenges. Her return to blogging resulted in a more personal poem from me.

Meanwhile there is a poetry competition I wish to enter this month. I have been working on my entries for it. I also entered a limerick competition for the Evesham Festival of Words.

The A to Z Road Trip, which I signed up for, is another project I have been neglecting. Perhaps I need to add it specifically to my to-do list. Does anyone else forget to look at their to-do lists? I make mine at times when I know I have a lot to do and at other times when I am uncertain what to do. They give me some motivation, but then I stop looking at them.

I have been enjoying working with writing friends on posts for their blog tours to promote new books.

One of my new habits is to read less. While Goodreads is encouraging everyone to read more, I have decided that I need to be more active with gardening, spring-cleaning and to read less. You may have noticed that my latest bookish posts have included a single book rather than several. I have a backlog of books to write about, though.

With arthritis affecting my thumbs I have taken a break from knitting. My sewing projects have been more masks. Even when they stop being essential, there are probably times when they will be useful in the future. I find that they help prevent my hay fever, but I cannot always wear my specs with a mask. Fortunately I can see reasonably well without them, but if it is sunny I need the light-sensitive lenses, which are also helpful for hay fever and protect my eyes.

Then there is email correspondence with friends to keep up with. While people have not been mixing socially this has been particularly important.

It is seven months since I have been more than five or six miles from home. Our walks have all been done without travelling to a starting point by car or train.

There is still uncertainty in the UK about when it will be ‘safe’ to reduce the measures put in place to prevent the spread of Covid. It makes scheduling in-person meetings for any purpose difficult. An announcement from the UK government is expected the day this post will be published.

I continue to spend time in Bible reading and prayer every morning in my quiet time before breakfast. I also try to find time to play the piano, mainly playing worship songs or classical music.

In a few weeks time I’ll have been blogging for 9 years. Blogging, and particularly reading other people’s blogs, has taught me a great deal. I have learned more history and geography, more about life in other countries, found new books to read and made new online friends, some of whom I met in person before 2020. Then there are the allocated days for so many causes!

I was alerted via Twitter to International Bloggers’ Day by an A to Z Challenge participant, Narayana Rao.

The bloggers I have mentioned in this post are in the UK, the US and India – international bloggers!

Going round in small circles

Have you ever heard the expression going round in circles or going round in small circles?  I have even heard going round in ever decreasing circles.  This makes me wonder whether they are concentric or whether a spiral is being described inaccurately.

After that detour into the English language, allow me to lead you to the thoughts I really want to express.

Life is complex in the western world.  Adults have to look after themselves and any dependents, unable to take care of themselves.  Then there are jobs to be done inside or away from the home (assuming they are fortunate enough to have one).  Fitting essential tasks into the time available is a daily challenge for many people, especially those balancing the demands of a busy home and work.

Then there is retirement.  Many people have to manage all their time without any regular appointments for the first time for as long as they can remember.  This may be particularly difficult for those whose jobs involved doing everything to a routine or timetable.  They wake up in the morning and have nowhere they are expected to be at a particular time.  Adjustments are required.

Freedom to do exactly as we like is something that many of us believed as youngsters to be an ideal situation.  In retirement it can be a challenge for some.

Oban with McCaig's Tower

Oban with McCaig’s Tower – a circular structure

So where do the circles I mentioned at the beginning fit in?

I find that there are certain tasks, which have to be done to preserve a level of cleanliness and nutrition.  Then there are pastimes (such as puzzles, which are supposed to help maintain mental capacity) and exercise (in the form of walks in the open air, for example) creative activities (such as knitting, sewing, writing, making music or art) and groups (joined to pursue an interest and for socialising).  At times I feel as though I am repeating the same activities over and over again, while there may be other things, which I should be doing and am neglecting.  It is easy to ignore tasks, which need doing to do something easier or more enjoyable.  Even within an activity it is possible to concentrate on the easy parts and ignore a project or work in progress, which is really more important to us.  So I continue to produce blog posts, which hardly anyone notices, while the book I intend to knock into shape and publish remains half-forgotten.  This is partly because there are aspects of the process, which are difficult and new to me and partly because blogging has become a habit.  I am still interested in it.  To break out of my usual patterns of behaviour and do something new will require some effort and determination.  I need to examine where I am going round in small circles and see how I can change unhelpful patterns of behaviour.

How about you?