Half of 2020

Happy 1st of July, everyone! Wait. What? July? No. It can’t be July. Can it? Can we really be halfway through the year?

Alas… we can be, and we are!!

It’s hard to believe that it’s July already. But, at the same time, it’s hard to believe that it is only July. It’s just been such a crazy year. Not just because of the COVID19 pandemic that has brought much of the world to a halt, but because my own life has taken some weird little turns over these past six months.

I don’t normally do a mid-point reflection for a year, but 2020 is not a normal year. Not for me, and not for the world! So, a reflection now seemed in order, which I’ll do with a short monthly summary. Here goes:

January was a “normal” month. I was working (happily) and was actively job-seeking as my post-doc contract with the University of Dundee was coming to an end in February. I did some running (not much, but that’s normal for January) and began working on some of my 2020 confidence goals.

February was a bit of a rollercoaster. I was thrilled to have been invited to interview for a 2-year post-doc at the University of Aberdeen the day before my birthday but less thrilled to have been told I was unsuccessful a few days later. I was also excited to have run a (very well received) workshop for my job at Edinburgh Napier University but less thrilled when my website went offline. (As of this point, the site is still down, and I am using a temporary blog. I hope to be back soon.)

March is when the rollercoaster really got wild! I finished working at the University of Dundee on 29 February, so planned a short holiday to Cambridge in early March to meet up with a friend who was in town for a conference. It was a chance to unwind from leaving one job, mourn the rejection from another, and reset my soul for the hopes of a new opportunity. Whilst I was in Cambridge, the UK began talking about tacking the COVID19 pandemic head-on, and by the time I got home, I put myself in lockdown (just before the government’s orders).

The next day, I got a call back from Aberdeen saying they wanted to hire me after all. (Yes, I know that probably means I wasn’t the first choice, but I am OK with that – especially in the current environment!) So, all of a sudden March went from a desperate fear for my future to the joys of starting a new job.

April is where things really started to get interesting. Not that the COVID19 pandemic isn’t an interesting phenomenon by itself, but by April the global situation started to get surreal. But for me, my experience seemed out-of-touch. I was isolating at my cottage and doing my best to keep busy with a bit of COVID-related crafting (such as masks and stuffed viruses). But I also experienced the heartbreak of not being able to visit my husband’s grave on the anniversary of his death. Until then, I was always comforted knowing that his ashes were split between “our” plot in my hometown and his parents’ plot in his hometown. That should have meant that no matter which place I chose to live, he would always be nearby for me to visit. Until now… (But as I’ve said before, Paul lives in my heart so wherever I am, so is he.)

May felt quite positive to start. The weather was improving. I was settling into my new job. And I was really increasing my mileage with a plan to run my first half-marathon by the end of the month. But then, on a 12-mile run, I pulled my hamstring. And for the rest of May, I struggled to run more than 3 miles without a twingey leg – but I did manage 7 miles the last weekend which was nice.

June brought several happy things. The month began with some good run times for my 5- and 7-mile courses. It also marked my first visit with a friend since lockdown, by way of a socially distanced walk around the estate. By mid-June, I was marking three months of (near) isolation, yet as the month went on, I started enjoying a couple more socially distanced walks with friends.

Yes, by June I found myself in a pretty resigned position where I accepted that this will likely be my life through the end of the year. But I managed some more COVID-related crafting (including proxy hugs!) and I ramped up my running to just over 70 miles for the month. I also passed my halfway mark for my goal of 4,000,000 steps for the year, so I am on track for that, which is nice.

But I was also getting used to having all my groceries delivered and I even got to attend my twice-annual nephrology appointment over the phone. That also meant that a few days earlier I was at the local GP’s office to have blood taken, marking my first time in another building since going into isolation in March. It was a strange experience as I felt slightly anxious, but it was quick and painless so that helped.

As I write it out (albeit in a very brief overview form) it seems like the (half) year has been a lot more active than it really has been. But it’s nice to see all the things I have done, as it has helped me to dwell less on the things I haven’t done (and that I probably won’t be able to do).

Over the course of July, I will be reconsidering my 2020 goals. Or, rather, the objectives I have set to meet my primary goal of working towards becoming stronger and more confident. I will share those updates later this month so that I have a digital record for when my mind eventually gives way to old age. Until then, I will just keep running… and running… and running… and hiding from the virus!

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