Reset time for the next half-year

Reset time calendar

Reset time in my calendar usually takes place at the beginning of January. This year, however, did not go according to plan. The tragic death of my daughter, Anne, on 27 December 2020 threw any plans I may have had for 2021 into disarray.

Grief and mourning take their toll. Unrelenting, they extort enormous energy from those who suffer loss. Disbelief and denial, anger, bargaining, questioning and depression follow each other in rapid succession. They repeat themselves over and over as a person tries to come to terms with a major loss. They leave exhaustion and lethargy in their wake.

The final stage in the grieving process, acceptance, comes slowly and quietly, but no clear markers appear to say, ‘The pain is over‘. Fortunately, a sharp COVID-19-induced lockdown this week helped me to rethink my situation.

You can read more about the stages of grief here and here.

Is this really reset time?

Six months may be far to early for me to say that my mourning and grief have ended. I cannot yet imagine what that will be like. But for now I need to reassess my life and begin to live differently. That sounds like some sort of plan, a reset.

What do I hope for for the next six months?

I’ll be satisfied if I make a little progress towards a normal (for me) life. Then, I’d have more energy. Plans and lists would again be part of my life because I function best with structure. I’d spend less time drifting through my days, less time putting things off.

In other years I made plans and published them on my blog at the beginning of the year. Here’s the one I wrote at the beginning of 2020. And this one in 2019. They were both about fun activities.

For the rest of this year, my plans will be more sedate and simple, but will still take me a few steps forward..

Modest plans for the rest of 2021

Below a list of activities for my next six months.

  • Create a sensible to-do list which is also achievable in a reasonable time. This will include tasks such as clean the oven door and wash the curtains.
  • Do regular exercise to reverse the physical toll of the past six months. This includes strength training at a Strength for Life gym in Subiaco, walking with my Nordic sticks and swimming three kilometres a week.
  • Write morning pages every day and take artist’s dates as advised by Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way and many other books.
  • Read more about, and play with, writing creative non-fiction.
  • Enter one writing competition.
  • Go out for dinner, to the movies and the theatre.
  • Read one book per week and review one a month.

Join this challenge

For many people, 2021 seems little better than 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic first struck. Maybe this would be a good time to reset your own thinking for the rest of the year. I’d love to hear your plans. You can leave a comment below so we can enjoy your ideas.

Maureen-Helen

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26 Comments

  1. Hi Maureen-Helen,

    I came across your book reviews a few months ago and have been following ever since.

    Your list for the coming months sounds great. It has inspired me to make one for myself!

    Wishing you all the strength and looking forward to reading your future posts.

    All the best,

    Milly (from England)

    1. Hi, Milly. Thank you for your comment, your kind remarks and good wishes. I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog, as you can understand. I’m glad you are planning to make your own list. I’d love to read what you decide to do for the next six months. Where in England do you live?
      Warm wishes
      Maureen-Helen

  2. My list with regard to my beautiful friend:

    1. ensure we meet up for coffee at least once a month
    2. join my beautiful friend at a movie of choice
    3. never forget how beautiful a friend she is
    4. don’t forget to tell her how much I always look forward to her blogs
    5. etc. etc. etc.
    Tthank you beautiful friend

    1. My dear friend, Elizabeth. Thank you for such a beautiful response to my blog. I cried when I read it. My other response? Yes! Love you. Maureen

  3. My first goal is to make this account so I can comment on your blog rather than just on your facebook. Something I’ve been meaning to do for years. Guess I can check that one off.

    I’m going to start making more plans to go out and enjoy my life. Starting with booking some fun things for when James is home and rescheduling my trip to Karijini.

    I think I should start going to the beach to write my shift notes at least once a fortnight. I did so last week and for the first time in 6 months. I found it once again to be peaceful and calming. (Taking note of the need for Baby steps)

    Organise my pantry which feel into total disarray this year with me deciding managing to shop was enough and throwing things in willy nilly!

    Last but certainly not least. I will cancel all of my Friday shifts so I can catch up with those I love. Starting with you of course once this lockdown ends.

    1. Dear Renee. First of all, thank you for sorting out your account so you can comment on my blog. It’s good to hear from you.
      I love your list! Well done to get it organised so quickly. They don’t really sound like baby steps to me, more like a determined makeover. I especially enjoyed the last item – I really miss you now you are working so much. Maureen xxx

      1. Your welcome, I’ve always been good with lists, I wonder where I get that from haha. Work really has been consuming lately, I think I really need to take that step back and go see the ones I love. Xxx

  4. Maureen, Your thoughts and words are valued by so many. We understand the efforts, the dedicated to produce your blog. Thank you. Hugs. Joy

    1. Dear Joy, thank you for your kind comments and hugs. I hope you are well a and productive again. Mxx

  5. Maureen, I do not know what happened with your daughter . . .I can only imagine the heartbreak. I am cheering you on. I admire your resolve. Your steps are so positive and sensible. I am on a mission to live as simply as I can and to improve my mind and heart. Heres’ to both of us planning on healing and peace. love Michele

    1. Dear Michele, thank you for your comment and for your good wishes. My 55 year old daughter took her own life two days after Christmas. She had suffered from bi-polar disorder for many years, and life had dealt harshly with her physically and emotionally. She is at peace after many years of suffering, although I, and the rest of her family and many friends, still miss and mourn her death, I am grateful that her pain has ceased.
      I love your resolve to live simply and to improve your mind and heart. Thank you for your good wishes, your kindness and love. It is Love that sustains and helps me to take baby steps. Maureen xx

        1. Thanks, Michele. Not sure about the running! But brisk walking in the future will be good. Thank you for your prayers and kind wishes. Mx

  6. I love your sense of self Maureen. I am not a lover of lists, however I am a planner of travel , and it has been hard to plan anything this past year, not knowing if and when we can reliably travel without fear of quarantine or lockdown. However, I am going to go ahead and jot down a few ‘maybe’ plans (a kind of list?) and hope for the best. Life must move on. We must too.

    1. Good luck with your ‘kind of list,’ Rachel. Good on you, too, to plan ahead for future travel in spite of the uncertainties of these times. We must, indeed, move on, and live our lives as fully as we can. I think that’s what my lists are about, really. Enjoy your travel, especially in your caravan. There is so much to see and do in Western Australia, even if that is a small target for now. Mxx

  7. Maureen, you are so positive and full of life, I wish I was more like you.

    Covid has played Havoc with my life. The last time I saw any of my friends was on 12th March 2020 which was just a week before we were officially told to stay at home.

    One group met up last September but with the infections beginning to rise again I declined the invitation. Another invitation arrived at the beginning of May but this time I had a date with the new car.

    We’re still not fully out of lockdown over here but even so I almost daren’t make plans because I never know how I’m going to feel on the day. I had thought my good days had begun to outweigh the bad ones, but I was mistaken.

    The good days are wonderful, I feel normal again and full of vitality, a day or so later the joints are aching, nausea is just about held at bay and I’m exhausted all over again.

    Long Covid is different from any other illness, it has an aura about it. A friend in Scotland hit the nail on the head when she said Morning sickness is like no other sickness, you cannot mistake it, this is Long Covid. I likened it to the aura of migraine. You know when it’s about to hit you.

    So, I’d like to feel well again and make plans to see my friends more often. And take a bus tour.

    My mum used to belong to a ladies group at church and every few weeks they had a coach tour. I used to think it was an old person’s outing, but now I like the idea of a day touring the countryside and seeing villages I’ve never passed through And having more opportunities to take photographs as we travel.

    1. Dear Sue,

      I had no idea you are still feeling so wretched after your COVID-19 illness. Your blog posts give little indication of your health. I pray that you will soon recover enough to enjoy consistently the things you plan and look forward to. I can’t imagine how I would feel if I could no longer see my friends. We have been so well treated and protected in Western Australia. There have been 1048 cases altogether since the beginning, and nine deaths, all from cruise ships that came here soon after the outbreak of the pandemic. People complain (often bitterly) about the four lockdowns we have experienced. The first was a novelty, and four or five weeks duration. The others have been for three or four days to give the contract tracing team enough time to test and quarantine the cases in the community. I quite like the short breaks from normal life. I regroup and reset my life with John who is not well.

      A friend invited John and me to go with her Probus Group (a group for retired people) a few years ago. The trips are day trips, and good fun. We go regularly now, and spend the day being pampered. The trips are to places within 150 kms of Perth, so not to arduous. I’ve learned a lot about our area and enjoyed new friends each time. The last was two years ago, but there is another planned for September. A longer trip, three days to a week, further afield appeals enormously.

      Here’s hoping you can soon take advantage of a bus trip or some trips. Love, Maureen

      1. Thank you for your kind concern, Maureen.

        Yesterday, Victoria was contacted at her school because the study of Long Covid has been extended to include the effects of Long Covid on children. We are usually led to believe that children are rarely affected by Covid.

        It was an interesting choice because her school is typical leafy lane, mostly professional families and the infections have been low. A comparison perhaps.

        Victoria had a chat with the person and it seems there are growing concerns about the long term effects of Covid on some of us and the length of time it is taking to recover.

        By coincidence, my grandson Max (Victoria’s son) who has just ended his quarantine was randomly asked to take part in another Covid study. He swabs daily, the swabs are collected and taken to the lab to be studied.

        Another grandson is due to come out of isolation in a couple of days. He has mainly stayed in his bedroom, leaving his room only if masked, with washed hands and at a distance from the others. Yesterday Louisa tested all the other children apart from the baby and they all tested negative.

        I would love to hear what the study has revealed; I remain puzzled as to why I can feel so well for a few days and then be hit again in such a debilitating way.

        Thank you so much, Maureen.

        1. Hi, Sue,
          The Covid-19 world you describe is quite foreign to me, and difficult to fully understand. I had hardly heard of ‘long-COVID’ until you wrote about it. It sounds like a dreadful affliction, and my heart goes out to you.
          Our kids in WA don’t seem to get the virus (but not many adults do either). You write about your grandsons being in isolation as if that is somehow ‘normal’. And about Louisa testing the children. I’m unsure if she is testing her own children – something not heard of here.
          Yet some people complain bitterly when we need to go in to short lockdowns because there have been a couple of cases of community spread. The short lockdowns give the contract tracers time to contact all those who have been in contact with the victims of COVID-19 and to stop further spread. We’ve had three in the last year and a half. It is inconvenient to be in a four-day lock-down and it is damaging to businesses and contract workers. But much better than widespread illnesses and death.
          On the other hand, our relative immunity in the country as a whole has made it difficult to obtain vaccinations because the drug companies have preferenced places where the virus is rampant. Only 8% of the population in WA has had two doses (an John and I, in our eighties) are among those. People are free to say they do not want AZ, and will wait for the Pfifer even though that will not be widely available until September or later. The lack of sufficient immunity is a worry!
          These continue to be troubled times. Look after yourself. Mx

          1. Hello Maureen,
            Anyone testing positive must go into isolation for ten days this also includes anyone they have had contact with. Everyone must sign in at restaurants and pubs so that they can be contacted if someone near them tests positive. Most people sign in via an APP on their phones. This makes Track and Trace very easier and quicker.

            High school children have testing kits at home and test twice weekly. All school staff test twice weekly too.
            Children can have Covid without showing symptoms.

            Anyone can order testing kits for use at home. I used one last week. I had a hospital appointment and because I was unwell due to Long Covid, I wanted to be sure so I tested myself before leaving home.

            There are two types of tests. A Lateral Flow test, the results are almost immediate. If negative then there is no doubt of the result, but if positive we must either visit a testing centre for a PCR test or if we have a home kit do it at home. It’s more accurate and the results are returned usually around 36 hours later.

            Victoria is intending to write a guest article about Covid on my blog to talk about us as a family, how it’s affected us and the way it has affected schools. She is the only one in our house who to have remained covid free.

            I’m not sure when she will write it but I’m hoping it will be soon and informative to many people even to those living here.
            Thank you, Maureen, hope this helps xx

            1. Wow! That really is interesting, thank you Sue. As I read this I wondered if I could cut and paste it into an informative article (with your name, of course) that I could paste on Facebook. But if Victoria writes an article so much better because, with your permission I could reblog it and get more readers to your site. Thank you for sharing your experiences with me and my readers.

              We hear with amazement that Boris Johnson is planning soon to lift the restrictions in the UK. It seems like madness until there are less cases xx

            2. I think we have to learn to live with the virus, it’s been eighteen months of restrictions and we cannot continue as we are indefinitely. Is it the right time? I don’t know the answer to that.

              I would have preferred mask wearing to remain mandatory, but I think many people will continue to wear them on public transport and indoors in confined public spaces, well, for the time being anyway.

              I will continue wearing mine simply because it may prevent picking up another illness.

              The main reason for lifting restrictions is because although infections are rising, the death toll has signifcantly reduced.
              The lifting of restictions will coincide with the school holidays and that should also help to reduce the spread.

              By the end of the summer all those willing and over the age of eighteen will have been vaccinated. In September the booster vaccinations along with the usual flu vacinations will begin.

              You are welcome to reblog Victoria’s article, it will be more comprehensive than my rpelies. But do feel free to cut and paste my comments. Thank you, Maureen.

            3. Hi, Sue
              Perhaps you do need to live with the virus, and who knows when it’s the right time to make such difficult decisions. And your vaccination rate is so far ahead that it will probably make a difference to the rates of infection.
              I do not like wearing masks, but of course do so whenever it is mandated, and like the protection it may give me from colds and flu as well as any stray COVID-19 bugs.
              Thanks for permission to reblog Victoria’s article. I look forward to seeing it. xx

  8. As always Maureen, your thoughts and actions inspire us all. Well done to you my dear for working through your loss to find a path on which you can move forward in a positive way, hand in hand with your emotions and feelings that, naturally you will carry with you.

    From up here in Broome, where I have two weeks to rest and recreate with my charge, a dog called Chili, your blog post was a timely prod and I will follow your lead. I think your first goal is one we can all adopt at the outset. I like your inclusion of the word “sensible” in regard to the list. I will keep that in mind as it’s better to plan what is certainly achievable rather than be too ambitious and optimistic.

    I do look forward to catching up with you once I am back in Pert and in the meantime, your Blog post will continue to be enjoyed and remains an inspiration to us all.
    Best and warmest regards to you and yours Maureen
    Tricia

    .

    1. Tricia,
      Broome. What a wonderful place to be with your new charge! Like one of my dreams come true right now.
      Glad you liked my blog about resetting, not that you would have any need to do such a thing. Your life sounds full of adventure and goals. Enjoy them!
      It will be wonderful to see you when you get back, but I hope there’s lots of work for a Flying Squad teacher that will take you on all sorts of wonderful trajectories.
      My life’s plans a la the blog got a severe shaking with our latest shutdown, but it is good to be out and about again. Walked in the rain this morning – a sort of naughty little girl thing to do. But I figured I’ve done it for 80 or so years and haven’t melted yet. Such a good thing to do.
      Be safe. Mx

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