Day 100 – Reflections on Lock-Down

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Today is ‘Day 100 – Reflection on Lock-Down’ of my daily blog and 100 ‘full’ days of lock-down!  A day that I have been waiting for since Day 65, because today is the day I decided to let you all know – the Blog Community (Brayshaw, MJ, 2020) – the future of the blog.  Thinking back to the early days of lock-down it has been a roller-coaster of a ride writing this everyday!

In this blog, not only do we have all the regular features – ‘Readers Corner’, ‘It Made Me Smile’ and ‘The Twenty-Five Day Push-Up Challenge’, we also have Fi’s Video Corner!  And of course the ‘Big Announcement’ more about that later!  I hope you enjoy this momentous blog 🙂

If you don’t look at anything else, watch Fi’s Video Corner – it is awesome 🙂



As some of you will know, every year I try to set myself a Life Challenge to do for one year.  Long enough to make it a challenge, but not so long that it feels like it is forever.  I’ve been doing these for quite a few years now, not always successfully lasting for the whole year, but still really interesting.

Many years ago I read that Gandhi used to set himself challenges in life, which I really liked and so kind of trying to follow that, but not sure which came first the challenges or reading about Gandhi?!

I find that the daily grind of life can get to me and before I know it another year has zoomed by and I’m not sure where it has gone or what I have achieved.  I’ve found that by doing a yearly challenge, that I find that I don’t feel like I have “wasted” another year.  The years, when my challenge has not been so successful, I find that by about November time, I’m thinking “I can’t believe that’s another year nearly over already”. 

So it is clear that the challenge is good for me.

It was back in 2010 that I decided to not drink alcohol for a year, as a challenge to myself.  It was hard, especially in the summer, but I really enjoyed the challenge, the conversations I had with people about it along the way and exploring why so many people do drink alcohol.  I learnt, a few things:

  • Firstly, it was important to educate my friends that we could all still have a good time (even if it was just me and one other person) when I was not drinking and they were.  That was a hard one – but it worked.
  • Secondly, if you go out with friends from the start, you can go with the energy and mood and have a great time, even if you are not drinking and they all are.  BUT if you join a group of friends who have been drinking already, it’s really hard to get into the vibe.  I guess, that’s why people arriving late always try to “catch up” with folk drinking a few drinks really quickly.
  • Thirdly, a “hangover” is probably more to do with sleep deprivation than the actual alcohol.  Often people go out at the end of a stressful and long week of work and stay out until maybe 3am or 4am in the morning.  When really they should be going to bed by 11pm!  I experienced what I thought was a “hangover” even when I was not drinking, due to sleep deprivation.
  • Fourthly, that part at the end of the night, when everyone is stalling to leave – chatting, etc…that can go on for up to 45 minutes, is really BORING if you are sober!  It used to really frustrate me when not drinking.

I now go out with the intention not to drink alcohol, but if in the moment, I think “yes I will have a drink”, I will have one.  Whereas before the challenge, I would go out with the intention to drink, when on a rare occasion I would start with a soft drink.  In fact, I generally didn’t go out unless I was going to drink alcohol!

 

A few years later, I was talking to someone who said, what we really need to help local communities grow is that everyone shopped in local stores, rather than supermarkets.  I really liked this idea, but wondered if it was really possible.  This led me to try and only buy food (and drink) (and a few other things) from Independent Stores – and so my annual ‘One Year Life Challenge‘ was born!  A year without….

If the shop had more than two stores, I classed it as a chain-store, so did not shop there.  That was a challenge, especially trying to find lunch in the city centre of Edinburgh, when most are large chain stores!  Apart from four times, I succeeded for the whole year!  I enjoyed it so much I continued for another 10 months, until I started slipping back to going to supermarkets.

Supermarkets are so much more easy and convenient.  Independent stores usually shut about 6pm, you have to travel between them to buy all you need and they are more expensive!  But I developed relationships with lots of shop keepers, that you would never do in a supermarket.  And felt that I was support the local community.

 

The next year, I decided to try a year without dairy.  My girlfriend (at the time) was a vegan, so I had started to live a vegan life with her anyway and she had told me many a time about the dangers of consuming dairy.  This was really fun.  I discovered pizzas without cheese!  Sooo tasty – I highly recommend.  I also lost so much weight – realising that I ate so many cakes, croissant, etc…which all had dairy in them!

That same year, I also rotated monthly being a vegetarian – 1 month I was, the next month I wasn’t.  I had heard that Debra Meaden, did this and really helped give her body a rest from all the meat.

I think the next year, I didn’t do a challenge at all.  I can’t quite remember.

But the year after that, I tried to never say “No”.  If anyone asked me to do something, I had to say “Yes”.  A good idea, but it didn’t last – impossible to keep going – I quit middle of February!

Last year, I decided to be a vegan for the year.  I had continued dairy free life from the earlier year and a lot of my vegetarian diet had continued, so this felt like the next natural step.  Wow – that was really hard.  Having to check everything and I found myself getting lazy and being really unhealthy with my eating.  I stuck with it until November, before I finally caved in.  It was round about September, that it started to slip.

When I stopped, I realised there was this constant pressure inside me, to maintain vegan, which came from the question whenever eating out on whether it was vegan or not!

Whenever I talked to people about my yearly challenge, they say I should write a book about it – or write a blog about it.  I always vowed to do a blog, but it never happened.

So as I planned this years challenge back in Autumn 2019, I vowed to write a regular blog.  With the rapid rise in awareness of how unhelpful plastic is for the planet, I decided to try a year without plastic.  Not just trying to live without plastic, but also to educate myself as well and write about it so others could learn.  I planned to interview people who worked in this area, learn and share!  I bought the domain name – A Year Without Plastic – and started to build a blog website.

It was when I was in the shower, that I looked at everything on the shelf and I realised that our whole lives is plastic!  So much of what we own is made of plastic!  I talked to some friends and changed the focus of the challenge to A Year Without Single Use Plastic.  Still quite a challenge.  But I now had a website with a different website address, but decided to leave it.

I managed to write a few blogs at the start of the year, check them out – http://www.ayearwithoutplastic.co.uk/blog

As lock-down arrived, it all went out the window and I was left without a challenge for another year 🙁

But then I thought – maybe I could make this blog my yearly challenge?!

So that is what I am going to do.

 

THE BIG ANNOUNCEMENT

I am going to continue to write this blog, reflecting on the changes in life in lock-down for 365 Days!  Until 23rd March 2021.

The reason I waited to announce this today, Day 100, is it feels that at least I have broken the back of the blog!  Only 265 days to go, rather 300 days to go, if I had announced it on Day 65, when I first decided 😉

I’m not good at keep surprises quiet, so has been a hard 35 days!



Despite not going to bed until 2am last night and so not getting so much sleep before morning Chi Gong, I surprisingly have lots of energy right now at 11.30pm!  After an intense day of work today, I went for a 8km run – super fast, round Arthur’s Seat (clockwise).  Honey the Dog was struggling to keep up with my pace!

I was well impressed with my time.  The App I use, gives me an update of my time (and split time) every kilometre.  Two of the kilometre’s I ran were under 6 minutes and three of the kilometre’s were under 7 minutes, that’s the fastest I have run since lock-down started !  You have to remember there’s quite a lot of hills as well.

I made this video of my run:

 

Just after making the video, Danny appeared on his bike!

He said he was cycling round hoping he may bump into me.  So he posed for another photo.

He was very impressed with my running gear, saying it was a good colour coordination.

I must say, I look a bit bulky – but actually my inside pocket is always full of things – EpiPen, flat keys, bluetooth speaker case and Honey’s Poo Bags!

Danny cycled alongside me and I ran with him, he said I was going faster than the speed he would usually cycle!

It was great to have a pace maker to keep me going.

Thanks Danny 🙂

 

 

Fi’s Video Corner

We are in for a real treat with Fi’s Video Corner today!  Usually this section of the blog is on a Tuesday, but Fi wanted to make it Wednesday to fit with Day 100.

Fi wrote about the video:

 

“This is a montage of a photo a day of lockdown from my phone. Some days I only took one photo or video, and other days I had to choose from the many, many photos I took. All taken on the Isle of Canna between 24th March and 1st July 2020.

Music: Haven – Let Love Take Me Down and Quietly Concerned – All You Know”

 

Thanks Fi this is awesome!  Thanks for all your hard work putting that together.  It feels too good to be in this blog!

It made me smile and laugh lots, maybe it needs to be in ‘It Made Me Smile’ too?!

 



Readers Corner

My mum posted a comment on yesterday’s blog saying:

“You were talking about writing things regularly everyday.  I’ve written a 5 year diary since I was 21 years old.

I write it before I got to the sleep, it’s good for my sleep hygiene.

When we have get together’s with friends I take my diary along and we read what we did in the past

Mum x”

 

Thanks for that mum!  That’s amazing you have written your five-year diary for so long – that’s over 50 years!  It must be lovely to have such a long history of your life.  That beats my blog, by far 😉 x

 

 

It Made Me Smile

Matt made a Facebook comment about yesterday’s blog, that made me smile.  He said:

“Sounds chaotic, Jim about when day 100 is! My mind is spinning already and not even started work! Reminds me of the debate and much gnashing of teeth about when a century starts! The campaign to keep It Made Me Smile will go down in history, “Yes We Can” – I’ll put it in quote marks just in case someone’s said it before! I note you admitted copying parts of the previous day’s blog and NOT putting it in quote marks! I think you should consider your position and whether the blog should continue! Oh you are! Will It Made Me Smile still continue? It’s probably a commercial asset and could be sold off separate from the blog?! 🤣”.

 

Thanks Matt – your comments, make me laugh (and smile)!  ‘It Made Me Smile’ section will clearly continue, as will the blog!

Perhaps you and I could write a separate book ‘365 Days That Made Me Smile in Lock-down’ ??  Alternatively, I am happy to sell the commercial asset of ‘It Made Me Smile‘ to you, if the price is right.  I will get my lawyers onto it 😉

Or will we need to put it to the ‘Blog Community’ (Brayshaw, MJ, 2020) first?

 



Twenty-Five Day Push-Up Challenge

Today I was on a long run and suddenly remembered the push-up challenge.  When I stopped to do it, I had just been running alongside Danny cycling.  I was going to take a break, but then noticed my phone only had 3% battery, so I rushed it, getting the Day wrong (I would never do that with the blog!).

So not only was the 25 push-ups a challenge, but I did them super quick.  I am well impressed that just after push-up 22, you can see sweat dripping off my head 😉 – probably a little disgusting for you to know !!

I then continued with another 2km homeward.

 

 



As I come to the end of today’s blog, it’s a super long one (2644 words)!

I think Fi’s video made it 🙂

The weather has been cold and cloudy today in Edinburgh.

I feel I was a little cheeky writing yesterday’s blog, I was kind of hinting in yesterday’s blog that it was coming to an end when it was not!

I had talked with Matt a few weeks ago asking if he wanted to know my decision, but he said he wanted to wait and hear the announcement with the Blog Community (Brayshaw, MJ, 2020)!  I think that is when he first used the term ‘Blog Community’ (Brayshaw, MJ, 2020)?!

I think it was Helen who first asked me when I was going to end the blog, as she was enjoying it.  This question left me wondering…wondering…when to end the blog, which led me onto thinking – why not make it my yearly challenge.  Thanks Helen x

Its going to be hard, when I start doing other things in the evening.  I certainly, only think I will drink alcohol occasionally until the end, to keep the blog going.  Hopefully, I will manage to do one everyday for the full year.

And of course, I would not just end it, without any notice.  So for all your regular blog readers, you’ve got until 23rd March 2021 to enjoy it, with lots of time to get used to it ending.

Who knows what it will look like by March 2021?

As always, thanks for your continuous support in reading this.

Here’s to another 265 days 🙂

Lots of love.

Jim xx