My place to write, photograph, create, and share freely.

Today marks the start of a new month. The summer has flown by so far. In less than three weeks I will be back in the classroom and doing my best to help my students cope with the anxiety they will most certainly be feeling at the return to school. There is a lot of consternation about the government's “Roadmap” for returning to school as little to no thought appears to have been given to the safety of the people inside the schools. If we are not allowed to spend a few minutes on a bus without wearing a face mask, then surely we should be wearing face masks for the six hours out of every day that we will be in work – possibly working with groups of students for nine classes a day, a rotating timetable meaning that our students change classes after every 40 minutes. How is this safe for us to do? Why don't we matter?

Before the teacher-bashing begins, let me be absolutely clear. I want to go back to work. I want to see my kids, to teach them, to help them, to get back to some form of normality. But not if that comes with such a big price. Going back to work may now mean that I will not be able to see my grandparents, or friends and family who are in a high risk category – and all of this because we are being expected to return to schools “as normal” without appropriate measures for the use of face coverings.

I digress though...

Let's stay in the here and now and get back to what I had originally intended to write about. August, a new month, a fresh start.

Throughout the past few months, I've sat back and taken my life into consideration. I've come to realise more so than ever before, that it is the little things that matter the most. Don't get me wrong, I've always believed this, but I feel that the lockdown has served to highlight this point even further for me. Getting out in nature and taking care of my mental health are high on my priority list and I intend to make this the month where I finally start to honor that need that I have within me to get outdoors more and do more to make myself happy. Sometimes this is much easier said than done. We can tell ourselves that we will do these things and perhaps plan to go somewhere really pretty for a walk, only to find that we get ridiculously lazy and decide to stay on the couch instead, or get lost doing chores that really could wait until another time. For now, I am setting the intention to do something new or fun each week and really be mindful of what I am doing. The aim of the game is to be in the moment, to be mindful, and to enjoy the life that I am curating for myself.

August also marks my five year anniversary with my SO. I turn 32 this month. I want to really soak up this last month of my summer holidays and have a really beautiful time – before the shit hits the fan and we're back in a world of high pressure, a high stress environment where I feel gut-wrenching worry almost every day and find sleep an impossibility. I need to make this a month on finding more tools to switch off, to relax, and to detach. I would love for this to be the academic year where I let work be work, and not worry constantly about my job. I would love if this year, I was able to gain some perspective and allow myself to detach from work and live a wonderful life where the working week does not impact my stress levels, where I can leave my work-worries in work, and live a beautiful life outside the doors of the building. Maybe this pandemic will have taught me some perspective, maybe I will have learned to focus on what really matters – I work to live, not live to work.

Until next time, C x

It's a dreary day in Ireland today.

It's a dreary day in Ireland today. As the rain falls heavy in July, I am reminded to stop and see the beauty in the world around me. Sometimes, I think that rainy days are the Universe's way of saying “girl, take a time out”. It allows us to read for the day and indulge in another world completely; to lie on the couch in comfy clothes and watch TV; it gives us the beautiful scent of “rain on the ground that was warm before and is wet now”... you know that smell... there must be a name for it but I don't know what it is. Rain can give us permission to press the pause button on life, on busy-ness, on feeling under pressure to go places and do things when really, your soul needs a break.

During lockdown, as Covid-19 swept the globe, I felt nothing less than heightened tension and internal deflation. I worked from home. It sucked out my soul and crushed every ounce of creativity that I had left. I moved house. My waistline widened. My lust for life went awry. Don't get me wrong, I love life; the 'global pandemic' thing just made me look at life differently. So I stopped and took stock. What is my purpose here? What kind of life do I want to live? What is important to me? What am I willing to take on? What am I willing to give up?

Thinking about these questions made me look at the way our world has evolved. Whilst new technologies and advancements are beneficial in so many ways, there's no denying that life in the 21st century is hard. Apple's 'Screen Time' kindly let me know that I was spending upwards of four hours a day on my phone.... my phone!!! And I know that I certainly do not want to live life through a phone! For me, social media promotes self comparison, fear, anxiety, and has made me feel worthless at the best of times. And so, I deleted everything. All I had left was a twitter account for work. Seems pretty simple, right? It's not though. I've got this innate drive to write, to photograph, to create, and to share. So, how do I do that in a way that is worth something to me. I don't want another Insta account, another failed Wordpress blog, another creative endeavour that eventually gets lost because of the pressure to constantly push and promote content... I need to do something where I don't feel burdened, but where I have the freedom to post, to create, and to share what matters to me – whether anyone cares about it or not.

Fast forward to the present day; I was sitting the couch this morning, with Netflix playing mindlessly in the background, and decided to google “blogging not social media”, and came up. So I'm going to give this a go. How it will work, I don't know. Will it last, I don't know. Will it make any difference to me and how I live my life creatively, I don't know.

All I know for sure is that I need to do something that unleashes the creativity inside me. In order to do this honestly, I need to do this anonymously. For now. As an anxious person I need the mask to be brave. I often feel like I was born to write and create – I just don't know what I was born to write about! I've decided to just start writing and see where it leads me. I can guarantee you though, that it will most certainly involve a mix of books I'm reading; thoughts about our changing world; photos that make me happy, and venting about things that don't. As I embark on this new journey I hope to find the outlet I so clearly yearn. I don't know what lies ahead but may the odds be ever in my favour.