Welcome back to another Weekly Balance post! One of my favourite parts of my week is sitting down to write this. Let’s have a look back at the past seven days in my life and what I’ve learnt from it.
What went on in my doctor life…
I think that, while the COVID-19 pandemic continues, I’m going to leave out this section of The Weekly Balance for now. I can’t share the specifics of my day to day work – its not appropriate for many reasons, but confidentiality is the main one. I would also guess that many of you, like me, enjoy taking time to switch off from all things pandemic, and I hope these weekly posts might help with that a little. I hope you guys can understand that, and thank you! I am continuing to share COVID-19 update posts on my Instagram at least once per week – you can check those out here.
What I’m thinking about…
With all of the discussion about the ‘new normal’ way we are living our lives during the pandemic, I’ve been thinking about how there are certainly some ways in which I live my life that I am glad are different. That might sound a bit strange – of course I’d rather we didn’t have to battle a global pandemic in the first place – so I’ll elaborate.
Recently I asked my followers on Instagram to tell me something positive that they have taken or learnt from the pandemic. There were MANY responses, but very similar themes. For example, lots of people were grateful for having the pace of life slowed down, and the pressure to do, to be busy, eased. Others were grateful to have more time with their children, with working from home eliminating the time commuting and traffic usually took from their day. People were grateful for time to do things they previously felt they didn’t have time for, but enjoyed, like reading, or getting some movement into their day.
Personally, I think I’ve learnt that it’s more than okay to slow down, to go at your own pace, and that while productivity certainly has a place, it’s okay to have so-called ‘unproductive’ days too, where you just chill out – with family, with friends, with a book, with Netflix, etc. There is a pressure, which social media only adds to, to keep up with the seemingly fast and productive pace at which everyone else lives their lives. However, we need to first of all remember that social media is a highlight reel, and second, remember that we are all working through our own stories and journey. They say don’t judge a book by it’s cover, and similarly we shouldn’t judge a person by their Instagram profile. I think the pandemic slowed everyone’s pace down, and for me it has also helped me to re-evaluate and re-prioritise what is really important in life.
What I’m reading…
This week, I finished two books – Followers by Megan Angelo and Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid.
Followers had a really interesting storyline, and was definitely one of the more unusual books I’ve read in a while. It follows two female protagonists in parallel – Orla, whose story is set in 2015 in New York City, and Marlow, whose story is set in 2051, in the Constellation, a community in California where government approved ‘celebrities’ live their lives on camera for the rest of America to see. Orla dreams of being a writer, but is stuck working with a company whose website runs on clickbait articles about celebrity trends and gossip, when she meets Floss, her new roommate and a wannabe influencer. Marlow meanwhile, is the star of the Constellation, with twelve million followers watching her every move in a life entirely scripted to benefit the sales of the drug company, Hysteryl, that she takes everyday to ‘keep her emotions in check’. One day, Marlow discovers a massive secret about her birth, and takes off in a race against time to find the truth with the Constellation network and her followers hot on her heels. The stories of Orla, Floss and Marlow unravel as the book progresses. I really enjoyed reading this – although fiction, it definitely made me reflect on social media, the way it is now and the way it might be as technology evolves over the coming decades. 2051 is not that far away!
Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid is a fiction novel which, set in Philadelphia, also features two female protagonists – Emira Tucker, a twenty-five year old black woman, and Alix Chamberlain, a white married mother of two. Emira, Alix’s babysitter, is trying to figure out what she wants from life, in between her babysitter role, an administrative job as a typist, and fun times with her friends. Alix meanwhile is a busy entrepreneur and blogger with a successful business, having escaped a high school past and break-up that she would rather forget. It seems as though she has it all and is used to things working out that way for her – a book deal just signed, a husband who works in television, two beautiful little girls and a large house in the suburbs. One night, after an incident at Alix’s house, she calls Emira, who is out celebrating a friend’s birthday, for an emergency babysitter request, to take her two year old daughter, Briar, out of the house for a couple of hours while she and her husband deal with the incident. Emira takes Briar to the local grocery store, where a security guard mistakenly assumes Emira has kidnapped Briar. This night sparks a chain reaction of events that run over the course of the book, throughout which Alix tries to befriend Emira and make up for the incident, ostensibly full of good intentions but which may not truly be in Emira’s best interests. To add a spark to this smouldering storyline, Emira, during the course of that night at the grocery store, unknowingly discovers someone from Alix’s past – a someone Alix has been unable to forget, for all the wrong reasons.
There were so many themes in this book and I think it would be a great book club choice. Race, inequality and inequity, the idea of being a ‘grown-up’, family, love and unrequited love, insecurity and loyalty were the themes which stood out the most to me, and there are so many talking points in the book that would make for a great discussion.
As always, let me know what you’re reading in the comments below! My next book is Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
What I’m listening to…
This week I have just started a new book on Audible – Untamed by Glennon Doyle. I have listened to quite a few interviews with Glennon on various podcast episodes (Oprah and Brené Brown have both interviewed her), and I’ve also heard great things about her book so I’m looking forward to getting into listening to it.
What I’m watching…
I’ve nearly finished The Last Dance on Netflix, the docu-series about the Michael Jordan era of the Chicago Bulls, and with one episode to go, I can honestly say I have loved the series. It is a fascinating and impressive watch, and as a basketball fan, I found it so interesting to see the backstory of the players and Jordan himself. Definitely one to check out!
Recipe of the Week
The recipe I’m loving this week is my Smoky Baked Beans – a quick and easy recipe to whip up, and it goes great with roasted sweet potato or just on toast either! You can find the recipe here.
And that’s a wrap for this week gang! If you want to get in touch, you can find me @theirishbalance on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. I hope you have a lovely week ahead folks – remember, stay informed with the advice from your local health authority, stay safe, wash your hands, keep your distance and be kind!
Ciara 🙂 x