22:34

Thank God for a smooth eventful week in July with better weather!

On Monday I had a restful last day as a twenty something – don’t worry I turned twenty something too, my blog name will remain the same for now! Been feeling a bit lazier recently due to not having any new places to explore, so sometimes I walk around the block a couple of times instead. Last Friday my group of friends and I decided it was my turn to lead the next quiz so I started preparing for the following Friday.

On Tuesday it was my birthday! Had a fairly early start to the day picking up my friend and driving to Craigie’s Farm for fruit picking. There’s something about picking your own produce that is super satisfying! Got lots of cherries, raspberries and strawberries and also picked a mini courgette. All really delicious and worth the money! I dropped off some fruit and shopping to my brother and my sister-in-law and then had lunch outside by Newhaven Harbour. Later on in the evening I took a walk up Blackford Hill to reflect on the day and the past year and was rewarded with beautiful, dramatic skies!

On Wednesday I went for a walk in my local area in the morning, did some more work on my quiz and played tennis after dinner. The evening air was much cooler compared to playing during the day, and we found it started to get darker quicker – summer is fading fast!

On Thursday I went for a cycle using the Just Eat cycles, a short walk around Edinburgh University Kings Building campus, cycled to meet my friend and played tennis. She let me try her hybrid bike and she tried the Just Eat one. She is an avid cyclist and wanted to see how different the city bikes were!

Today I made the most of my free subscription to Just Eat Cycles for the last time and cycled to McEwan Hall. My legs are definitely not built for cycling Рthose hills are tough! I then walked into the city centre to do some shopping (with my mask firmly on) and picked up a few things for my upcoming nieces/nephews. Also bought two items from The Body Shop using my £5 birthday voucher as a little treat for myself. Ended up walking all the way home in the drizzly rain! After our church fellowship, I led my quiz (Powerpoint and everything) and had a catch up with my friends.

All in all, a really lovely week spent doing heart-warming things. Definitely thankful for these past twenty something years and excited for what is to come!

20:49

Something I have been hearing/reading more of recently is the idea of being ‘Zoomed out’ or ‘video call fatigue’. Whatever platform you use to contact friends and family, there is a term to describe the feeling of being sick and tired of endless video calls. Whether you use them for work meetings, friendly catch ups, games and quizzes or even meal companions, the lock down from Covid-19 has us scrambling for human connection through the only means we have.

Prior to lock down the idea of a video call to me was an inconvenience and slightly daunting. What needs to be said so urgently that the other party needs to see my face? Back in late 2019 my brother and sister-in-law revealed to the family their baby scan via video call on Whatsapp – that was probably the last ‘normal’ use of video call. Starting in March my Whatsapp video calls increased, I joined Zoom and Webex, and I used Google Hangouts for maybe the third or fourth time in my life. During lock down a video call may be the only way to see someone who does not live in close proximity to you.

I attend a video call almost every other day. That may be in the form of me calling my parents for a quick catch up, attending a church fellowship, or simply hanging out with friends and family. My mum loves to show me her cooking/baking and the plants she is growing, and my dad likes to show himself eating said baked goods. A group of friends and I have started a weekly quiz/game night with the quiz master rotating through the group. It has become something that we all look forward to and is a chance for us to hang out virtually. I host an online tea time video call once or twice a month with extended family. We get to see how big the children have grown, comment on each other’s baking triumphs, and catch up on work/furlough news.

Though the idea of a video call used to intimidate me a little, it has quickly become the norm and is a valuable asset in this difficult situation with Covid-19. However is there such thing as too many video calls? Those who are working from home may have mandatory meetings every morning to check in, or clients to contact. Family members may video call instead of a standard phone call, increasing the need to be ‘on’ and present. A friend of mine left a video call because her eyes were sore from staring at the screen. My cousin declined a family video call due to being part of a call for 2 consecutive days. There are more and more people saying no to video calls. There are also those who accept a call, don’t turn on their video and put themselves on mute. A friend called those kind of people ‘lurkers’. I am guilty of doing this sometimes as I am often focussing on something else but not wanting to miss anything important.

Whatever the reason for not attending a video call there is no harm in saying no. This notion of presenting our best selves digitally can be tiring and overbearing. In troublesome times we can do our part by being understanding and mindful of others.

21:45

Yesterday I had a heartfelt catch up with one of my friends. We went to a cafe and chatted until the cafe closed. Admittedly it was the first time we’ve socialised outside of church one on one, however we talk quite often over messages. While our conversation topics were light for the most part, she asked me some questions which I found that I had never really considered before. I am particularly private but I felt relief in unburdening some of my inner thoughts and turmoils.

Throughout my studies and work life I have always worked the same. Work hard, concentrate, and focus until breaking point. Everything simmers underneath the surface until it eventually spills over. I find that this is a really unhealthy practice. Although I never consciously do it, events always seem to pan out this way. I am slowly learning to confide in others whom I trust, and to release tension in ways that work for me. While these steps may seem little, they have been huge leaps in my working practice. My mind is less heavy and my feelings are more free. Sometimes all you need is a listening ear and someone to enjoy the quiet with.

22:09

Yesterday I pushed myself to see a group of friends who I haven’t seen in a while. These friends are easy to get on with but are much more extroverted than I am – which is why I do not see them that often. As a keen introvert I tend to shy away from large group hang outs and opt for smaller group occasions instead. A larger group can be mentally draining and takes more effort on my part to ‘fit in’.

The initial group of 15 was difficult to get used to. I felt like I was quiet and not really a part of their conversations – like an outsider looking in. However as the night went on and I spoke to people on a one-to-one basis, I felt more relaxed and at ease.

One friend (who I have always connected to a little more) took the time to catch up with me which made the social situation a little less daunting. He also remembered a fact about me which I didn’t even know he knew! I questioned how he knew and he gave the reply, “Everyone knows this about you.” It was such a small and passing comment but it really resonated with me. It was actually a compliment in disguise. It was a reassurance that I was not forgotten despite my absence from frequent social gatherings. It was a detail so small, yet it was comforting to know that people remembered that about me.

As the night went on, the numbers of the group dwindled down and we started to reminisce on memories. I had settled into a safe space with people I was comfortable with, talking about how we had all grown together and come so far. We ended the night around 1am (noticeably later than my usual early bed times) and went our separate ways. I left the gathering with a warm feeling in my heart – I had pushed myself into an uncomfortable situation and prevailed.

Getting out of my comfort zone is a challenge but the biggest obstacle is actually my own thoughts. There is always a ‘what if’ thought. A pessimistic thought that suggests something could go wrong. A daunting task in front of me that I can’t achieve. But what if it goes right? What if I can achieve it? I like to think that I can encourage people but when it comes to myself I struggle. It may not be easy but getting rid of the negative thoughts is the first step to success.

16:45

Yesterday I had the chance to catch up over dinner and dessert with a friend who I lost contact with 7 years ago. While we have seen each other in passing often over those 7 years, there was an unwritten rule that we didn’t talk to each other any more. Though there was never any verbal or written confirmation that we were no longer friends all those years ago, we both felt things had grown cold and we fell out of touch. Last night’s dinner with mutual friends allowed us to reconnect a little and to catch up on the little things. Sometimes all that’s needed is the acknowledgement that things are okay though a former friendship disappeared. It shows growth and development from both parties. What happened in the past becomes irrelevant and people are able to move on.

22:57

I am safely back in my home town in the comforts of my childhood bedroom! The last few days have been manic with travelling, friends and visitors, and family gatherings.

I spent much of my long weekend catching up with people who I do not get to see for the majority of the year. I must have answered the, “So where do you work now?” question at least 15 times. Sometimes I feel like I have lost that connection with my friends and family back at home, however there are also times where it feels like I never left.

I spent Sunday afternoon through till Monday in the lovely city of Cambridge. A friend recently moved out there for work so a group of 10 went out there to visit and chill out. When we get together it reminds me of how much we have all grown, as individuals and together as a group. While some of us have moved away from our home towns, it is reassuring to see everyone growing and developing into self-sufficient adults in their own ways. It is comforting to know that my friends are doing well.

21:31

‘I no longer have the energy for meaningless friendships, forced interactions or unnecessary conversations.’

Joquesse Eugenia

I have learnt, as I grow older, that quantity of friendships means nothing compared to the quality of friendships. A deep rooted friendship will always trump a full room of acquaintances. After school and university the friends that remain will be the true ones, the ones not friends just because of proximity or association, but the ones that want to be.

21:45

Yesterday I travelled up to Aberdeen early in the morning to meet friends up for a catch up. We have been friends for a long time so it was really good to see each other again and to spend the day together.

I feel like I took another step into adulthood as we spent the afternoon in an establishment catching up over drinks. That to me has always inherently been an ‘adult’ thing.

I am thankful for good friends who stay in touch, and good friends who make time to see each other.

23:43

I think I have come to a point in my life in which I know exactly who my friends are and though they be few, they are the only ones I really need. In a society filled with the focus of socialising on the internet and gaining friends on ‘social’ networks, real relationships are lacking. I know who cares about my well-being, who worries when I am stressed, and who will take time out to be with me. I really am thankful for good friends.