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…
Our move to Level 5 this week in Ireland. For those outside of Ireland, Level 5 refers to the highest level of restrictions that have been introduced for the next 6 weeks, because of the current trends for and high levels of community transmission of COVID-19. I know the announcement has been a tough one to swallow for many people, for many reasons. We’ve been through so much this year already, and to face into another 6 weeks of staying home and limiting our social contacts, especially in the run up to Christmas, well… it’s not ideal. To say the least.
My approach to the next six weeks are going to be about taking things one day at a time, one week at a time. Focusing on the little joys in life, the little things that bring me a sense of balance. Connecting with family and friends (albeit mostly online for now), reading, writing, movement, fresh air, making the most of the Autumn vibes. The small pleasures in life that make us smile will be a bit different for everyone, but they are something that can give us a bit of structure and stability over the next few weeks, especially when the world continues in the uncertainty of the present pandemic.
What I’m reading…
This week I finished Ghosts by Dolly Alderton, her debut novel. I loved Dolly’s memoir Everything I Know About Love, and was so intrigued to read Ghosts. The book is told through the eyes of protagonist Nina Dean, a woman in her early thirties who is recently out of a long-term relationship, living in London, working as a food writer. Newly single, she decides to start using a dating app for the first time, and quickly meets Max who, after the first few whirlwind weeks of dates, ghosts her, vanishing without a trace. Outside of her love life, Nina is trying to navigate evolving friendships and her relationship with her parents – in particular her father, a retired school principal who is struggling with dementia.
I really enjoyed this book. Ghosting is a truly awful experience, and I thought this book captured it so well – the highs of a new relationship, followed by the crushing low of the sudden and unexplained absence of the person Nina was most excited about. I also thought the book and Nina’s story accurately articulated the challenges of maintaining female friendships as the backdrop of life changes and diverges – a topic Dolly discussed in depth in her memoir from her own experience. Lastly, the emotional ache and pain of caring for a family member with dementia was a really well captured element of the story – as someone who has a close family member with severe dementia, I thought this book described the burden on the person and their family (who are often informal carers) really well, especially the loss of the person you used to know as the disease progresses, and the tiny moments of joy when they manage to shine through the decline.
As always, let me know what you’re reading in the comments below! My current read is The Most Fun We Ever Had, by Claire Lombardo.
What I’m listening to…
This week I finished Home Stretch by Graham Norton, an audiobook I listened to on Audible, and I absolutely LOVED it. It is a story about a young man named Conor Hayes, from a small village in Cork, whose life is changed forever the day he is involved in a car crash with 5 other friends from his village. Of the 6, 3 are killed, and 3 survive, Conor included. Blamed as the driver of the vehicle, he is sent away from home in shame, to Liverpool to begin a different life. Initially set in the 1980s, this book follows mostly follows Conor’s life and is told through his eyes, but also has chapters told through the narrative of his sister Ellen, and later on, his nephew Finbarr. As he leaves Ireland, Conor is also struggling with his sexuality, knowing he is gay but unable to share this with his family, because of the shame and stigma regarding this at the time in Ireland. Later on, in England and then New York, he is able to develop a new identity for himself, but never truly able to escape the past he has buried deep inside.
This book was absolutely fantastic. Graham Norton is a very engaging and fun narrator, and I couldn’t turn the audiobook off. I will definitely be reading more of his books!
My new audiobook is Green Lights by Matthew McConaughey, his memoir, and I can’t wait to start it!
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!