Welcome to the latest post of The Weekly Balance. Let’s have a look back at the past seven days in my life and what I’ve learnt from it.
What I’m thinking about…
The here and now. So much of last year was characterised by uncertainty. We made plans for 2020, and a global pandemic hit. We tried to plan around it – that didn’t work. We accepted it, looking forward to a new year ahead. And then… further increases in transmission of COVID-19 arrived (in Ireland the UK, and quite a lot of Europe anyway) over Christmas and into 2021. That ‘New Year, new start’ vibe we were hoping for? More like ‘New Year, stop start.’
I find when I start to think too far into the future in my own head, I get a bit stressed about the uncertainty of this year as well. It’s fair to say that the world as we know it is changed for the forseeable future due to SARS-CoV-2, and many of us are feeling more than fed up at the extended lockdown which we have spent our year so far in (in Ireland in any case). Personally, focusing on the here and now, the day and moments I’m living, are helping my mental health. Being present, taking it one day at a time. Give that perspective a try – it might help you too.
What I’m reading…
This week, I finished Olive Kitteridge, and oh my gosh I just loved this book. It is a really wonderful read, in the most unexpected way. When I started it, I definitely found it took me the first few chapters to get into it, but Olive Kitteridge grows on you for sure. Set is Crosby, a small town in Maine, USA, this book is the story of a fierce, hard-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside woman called Olive Kitteridge. A woman who everyone knows and who knows everyone, who can’t be missed and doesn’t miss a trick. The book takes the perspective of various different residents of Crosby, but all feature Olive in some way and bring her story into theirs. Her husband, her son, their neighbours, friends – all woven into a really beautiful and engaging portrait of small-town America, and the power of family, friendship, love and loyalty.
I’ll be honest – initially, I didn’t know what to make of Olive. Was she mean? Angry all the time? Even likeable? But that’s the gem of the book – Olive’s character comes to the fore with each person’s story, and you get to see all of her sides and shades. I think you can’t help but like her, probably most because she is simply human – flawed, loves, is loved, makes mistakes and finds her way. I’ve got the sequel to this book lined up (Olive, Again is the title) and I’m very excited to read it soon.
As always, let me know what you’re reading in the comments below! I’m currently reading Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones.
What I’m listening to…
This week there were a few podcast episodes I really enjoyed actually. I’ve listed the top three below for you guys:
How I Built This: This week, I listened to my first episode of this podcast, which I’ve been meaning to for quite a while now. The episode I checked out was with creator of Spanx Sara Blakely, an impressive woman to say the least! It’s a fascinating 30 minute deep dive into how she built her company, and it’s incredible to hear how she became so successful from the very start.
Train Happy: Another week, another episode of this awesome podcast, one of my absolute favourites, hosted by Tally Rye. This week’s episode is a chat about the principles of Intuitive Movement, a framework that Tally has created, and it’s a really well-timed episode too for the new year.
Unlocking Us: This week’s Unlocking Us conversation is Brené Brown with author, former NFL football player, and Fox Sports analyst Emmanuel Acho about his new book ‘Uncomfortable Conversations With A Black Man’, which I will absolutely be adding to my book list. It’s a insightful and educational discussion about race, racism, white privilege and so much more.
What I’m watching…
It’s a Sin. I’ve heard so much about this Channel 4 show which follows a group of friends in the early 1980s in London, who become affected by HIV/AIDS. I’ve just started the first episode and already know this show is going to be an amazing watch and a heart-breaker too.
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 regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay safe, wash your hands, wear a mask, keep your distance and be kind!