Day 31 – Wednesday 15th April
Today I pondered the fact that whilst I might be stuck at home, my engagement with others has gone through the roof. Whether video conferences, phone calls, letters, text messages or Facebook I am in contact with more people from my past and present than ever before. So much so that this week I had to take a break and implement some control strategies.
Let’s start with the phone calls. I FaceTime or Whats App call my family every other day. This is good and I will continue to do so as it helps to ground me. They are the most important people in my life after all. I usually do these calls in the morning as this time works best for certain members of my family. On the mornings in between I would speak with friends and colleagues. Initially this was to check that everyone was alright and of course we all needed talk about this crazy situation we found ourselves in.
The great thing about these phone calls is that I can pace round the apartment whilst talking and get some exercise in. Pacing without a distraction is boring, these calls help me get my step count up to something reasonable (thank you everyone). It gets me up and out of bed in the morning and between this, the sunbathing meditation sessions and the dreaded burpees my morning routine is established. Problem is this means I have to do my work in the afternoon post lunch. This is my sleepy dopey time when my brain pretty much switches off.
Fortunately the phone calls to friends have calmed down a bit. We are still in contact but not as frequently as we’re all more adjusted to our new reality. Some of my friends have been ill and whilst it’s important to be there for them they also need time to rest, so much of our communication is done via text messages that they can respond to in their own time. This has meant that I’m able to limit my chats to every other morning and actually get some work done on the mornings in between.
Then there are all of the evening events. Four nights of the week I have video conference socials. Two of these are for the Costa Women Madrid social group that I host. I originally set these socials up so members could chat and unburden themselves as we all coped with the major change in our lives and the fear of living in Spain’s Coronavirus hub. However many of our members are still working from home and now have the additional workload of managing their children’s education. Prior to the lockdown I organised one to two meet ups a month and this worked fine for their busy schedules. Two online socials a week is probably excessive and I’m thinking of reducing it to one a week.
Another video conference is for my old university friends who I have recently got back in touch with when one of our crowd died unexpectedly (of other causes pre the whole Corona crises). We hadn’t seen each other for 10 years and were talking of having another reunion in the summer. It was difficult to set dates with our varied and hectic lives. Now of course we’re more available and acutely aware that our time here is limited, so weekly conference call were started. It is wonderful to be back in regular contact with such good friends. It’s as if no time has passed and we’ve fallen straight back into the comfortable friendships of old. Such a blessing!
The last video social is with my regular drinking crowd. God forbid we should miss out on our nights at the bar because we’re stuck at home. I’m a social drinker. Drinking on my own just isn’t the same, so I’ve gathered my fellow drinkers around me and taken it online. You’ve got to love modern technology. Cheers everyone!
Then there are the virtual wine tastings. These take the form of a webinar, so you don’t have to get dressed for them. Interaction is via the comments box. I could do several wine tastings a week, but my liver wouldn’t hack it. There is no rule that says you must be drinking wine whilst watching these webinars, but what would be the point if you don’t have a glass of wine in hand? So I try to limit these to two a week.
Finally there are the various other groups that exist in Madrid that I have occasionally joined for an evening event. Madrid Bloggers Network, CMXConnect and International Women in Business to name a few. All of these have online events usually geared around learning something. The Costa Women Group nationwide also does regular online events. I could do something everyday but again I try to limit this to one a week or it’s information overload. Besides it’s nice to have one or two evenings free to get in some serious TV binge watching.
That leaves my afternoons to fill up. This is when I make my escape to the supermarket or pharmacy, on the odd day that I’m allowed, and do my daily stair climbing. Part of the afternoon is sucked up by the time consuming chore of cooking and then there’s the house cleaning. It’s incredible how quickly the place needs cleaning again when you’re in it all the time. I dread to think what it’s like when you’ve got kids running around as well. Certainly you wouldn’t be able to slot in the obligatory siesta (I am in Spain after all) when I retire to my bed to do some reading.
The afternoon is also when I write this blog which has had some unexpected benefits. Quite a number of old friends from previous jobs and from school have been back in contact with me after reading my blog. It’s very heart warming to be remembered and to re engage with old friends. There’s just one problem. These days there are so many ways to get in contact with some: email, Whats App, Facebook Messenger, Facebook posts, Skype etc. It seems I have all of these methods on my phone and different people have contacted me via each of them. Also many of my friends are in other countries several hours ahead or behind Spain in time. I’m starting to lose track, so sometimes it takes me a while to respond because I forget where the message is and whether they would be awake right now.
That’s old age for you, but keep the messages coming folks because I love each and every one of them and the fact that you have all been part of my life in some way. I may live by myself, but I am not alone and never have been.