Hey gang! Another week, another Weekly Balance. 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…
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…
The phrase ‘the only way out is through.’ In Ireland, our COVID-19 case numbers are at all-time highs. Our health service is already struggling to meet current demand. Our National Public Health Emergency Team has recommended we move to more stringent restrictions (so-called ‘Level 5’) – and our government are still reviewing this recommendation, with a decision expected early this week.
It’s a tough time to feel hopeful, cheerful, optimistic. We’ve been through one ‘lockdown’ already – facing into the prospect of another is hard to swallow. But a quote I read today stuck with me – ‘the only way out is through.’ While that might not feel like a comfortable reality for many of us, it is a hard truth that the only way we can make it out of the pandemic is to live through it. Personally, my mantra right now is to take things one day at a time – that’s a pace I can manage. Try it out for yourself – you know you have the moment you’re living through, and the day that’s in it. Focus on that certainty, and repeat.
What I’m reading…
My most recent read was The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne, and oh WOW, was it a page turner. As well as being a total heart-breaker of a book. But bear with me. The Heart’s Invisible Furies follows the life of Cyril Avery, a boy who is born in Dublin after his mother, Catherine Goggin, falls pregnant at the age of 15 in the small village of Goleen, Cork in Ireland, in the 1930s. Cast out of the town by the parish priest, Catherine makes her way to Dublin, trying to establish a new life for herself, giving up Cyril for adoption after he is born. The book then follows Cyril’s life, growing up in Dublin (and beyond) through the ensuing decades, figuring out who he is and navigating his sexuality, in an Ireland clouded by shame, stigma and fear. Central to the book is his friendship with a boy named Julian Woodbead, who he meets at the age of seven and later on at school.
It’s hard to describe this book without major spoilers for those who haven;t read it. I absolutely loved it, but it does break your heart. For me, that was because of the amount of tragedy, cruelty and pain Cyril has to cope with from youth to adulthood. And also because the book paints a socio-cultural backdrop of Ireland through the decades of the latter half of the 20th century, a backdrop that I really found hard to swallow, one that reminded me that although our country has a ways to go yet, it has come very far in a short amount of time. I’m very glad to have grown up in the Ireland of the 21st century. I would 100% recommend this book, but make sure you bring a Kleenex! Saying that, it really does make you laugh too, capturing the unique banter and ‘isms’ of the Irish people to a T.
As always, let me know what you’re reading in the comments below! My current read is Ghosts, the debut novel by Dolly Alderton.
What I’m listening to…
This week I discovered the Waterstones podcast, and I adore it! As you might have guessed, given Waterstones is a book-store chain, this podcast in full of episodes interviewing different authors, with some of my favourites – from Dolly Alderton to Grahama Norton to Elizabeth Day to David Nicholls. The episodes are short, around 30 minutes each, and very engaging and interesting to tune into.
I also started a new audiobook – Home Stretch by Graham Norton, which is his third novel I believe. He is a fantastic narrator on Audible I have to say, and I’m about halfway through the book so far and loving it. I’ll be adding his other two books to my list!
Recipe of the Week
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!