Adjusting to Motherhood

I wrote about my start to living an eco-baby life a couple of months ago. It is still going really well, and I am continuing to pick up tips and tricks and apply them in my own way, as I adjust to my newfound role as a mother.

The journey of motherhood is one that never ends. Having someone that all of a sudden depends on you to survive can be a lot of pressure, and a lot to get used to. The feed, sleep, play cycle can get very repetitive and leave you with little time for anything else.

I was recently made aware of the term “Matrescence”, the developmental transition to motherhood; the idea of a mother being born. This thoughtful article by Lauren Hughes, a Child Health Nurse, explains the term is used to describe the emotional, physical, mental, social and psychological process a woman goes through when she becomes a mother. Lauren describes it as a “change that launches us into a new phase of life with an evolved and expanded sense of who we are.”

There is a lot going on in a mother’s life before, during and after pregnancy and so much to adapt to, as well as new concepts and rituals. Unfortunately a somewhat negative term that is commonly used as an excuse for apparent vagueness is “baby brain”, when the mother (or father) has a lot going on, and may be unable to find the words for adult conversation, or make questionable decisions.

Baby brain is a stereotype that new parents (including me) fall victim to. When I’m having a conversation and can’t find the words, it must be baby brain. When I forget to shut the front door behind me, it must be baby brain.

Stereotypes aside, a lot of mums might struggle with their new identity, or be confused and unsure where their old self has gone, as the term Matrescence acknowledges. There are books and other resources that focus on this topic in an effort to normalise it which can help us to recognise that people adapt in different ways, whether rational or not.

Right now I think it’s ever important to make time each day to do something for myself, even if it is for only 10 or 15 minutes. Time is so precious when you have a little one on your hands, and so much of it is spent helping them grow. Your priorities may have changed but you are still the same person.

As I watch my baby boy drifting in and out of sleep, I know that I wouldn’t change a thing. Seeing his eyes light up and his gummy grin as I read him a story, sing him a song or turn on his mobile is simply delightful. Life has certainly changed, and I am embracing everything that comes with this amazing adventure, while remembering to continue to do the things I enjoyed doing before, in smaller doses. Not because I have lost my sense of self but because I am not my main focus anymore.

A brighter future

This month has just been one of those months, you know? Where you feel like you have no time for anything and are constantly exhausted, no matter how many hours of sleep you get each night. Despite my apparent lack of time, there were a few things that caught my attention.

Cruising in the wrong direction

I recently read about the crazy amount of damage the cruise industry has on our planet. Seems obvious that these vessels carrying thousands of people with seemingly endless options for food and entertainment contribute overwhelmingly to carbon emissions but it still came as a bit of a shock to read about.

I can’t find the exact article now, but I even read that going out to the deck of one of these ships has the same affect as being on a busy, polluted city street! Which makes it all the more confusing that people actually go on these kinds of trips for a relaxing break to ‘get away from it all’.

This got me thinking about what future holidaying might look like.

I am hoping far less cruises will be available, and realistically as the world recovers from a pandemic, I doubt the industry will be coming back to popularity the way it was before.

There tend to be 2 types of people when it comes to cruises; the cruise devotees and the people who would not be caught dead on a cruise ship. But it isn’t often you hear of the environmentally conscious…

And with a leader like ours, I guess this makes sense.

Leadership woes

At the recent Biden Climate Summit, while many committed to a new global emissions target of a reduction in 50-52% by 2030, PM Scott Morrison explained that Australia is aiming for a mere 26-28% reduction in this time.

Why can’t we commit to matching the targets of other countries? Is it fear of failure? Surely an attempt at doing the right thing is better than having a comparatively low target? Give us something to strive towards!

Holidaying local

As many Australians are encouraged to holiday here this year, a campaign brought on by the late 2019 early 2020 bushfires, we can only imagine the reduction in global emissions encouraged, with frivolous Australian travellers being restricted.

Don’t get me wrong, I certainly am excited to travel again both within Australia (we have some trips planned already!) and one day internationally again but I also have something a bit bigger coming my way that might make travelling… interesting.

Next month our family of three (me, my husband and our dog) will become four! We are super excited!

Saying that, I like to think that I’ll be able to maintain the once a month posting frequency I have upheld over the past year for my blog but in all truth, I am yet to know exactly what’s coming for me. Maybe I will find time but maybe this is unlikely for the first 3 months or so.

So if you don’t hear from me until the second half of the year, don’t fret! Just understand that I am most likely experiencing sleep withdrawals and enjoying time with my new bub, perhaps while sipping coffee and pondering about the world…

I’ll be in touch 🙂

Making room for the bigger things

If you’ve ever given much thought to ‘Life’s big decisions’ and our possible thought processes behind them, you will realise that they consume a lot of time and energy and often leave us feeling blurgh.

Whether it’s buying a house, deciding to have a baby, embarking on a new career or breaking free of contact with someone who you no longer feel very close to, the level of extremeness for each of these decisions differs greatly from person to person, and this article from the Conversation AU looks into possible reasons for this, and also looks into reasons behind regret.

Sometimes even the smallest decisions are difficult. Maybe you ordered something online and it wasn’t quite what you had hoped for when you received it? Do you send it back or adjust whatever you had planned to use it for to suit accordingly? If there are free returns, this can be an easy choice, but what if there aren’t or if you only have a limited time to make a choice?

Whether we realise it or not, these small life decisions can have a big impact on us and take up a lot of space in our minds.

I have heard of many situations of people trying to limit the number of decisions they make each day, which is an interesting idea in itself. Take Mark Zuckerberg for example; he wears the same outfit every day so that he doesn’t have to think about what he should wear each morning. Seems a bit strange, but upon further thought it actually makes a lot of sense!

By clearing out the clutter, there is more room remaining for the bigger things, like running a social media empire, right Zuck?

Weighing it up

For all decisions contemplated, there is always another way to go about it. A lot of the time that option is to keep doing things the way they are done, which is what people often choose. This option is comfortable, easy, and unless there is something more to look forward to with the other, why not just keep doing things the way they are?

To me, this is not an option. I like to decide by weighing up the pro’s and con’s by making a list; you should try it – forming a range of points for each side really helps to analyse the situation. When something is taking up a lot of head space, and it is difficult to focus on anything else because the answer is not immediately clear, the ‘List’ comes in very handy.

Big life decisions also come with lessons learned. Now in my early thirties, I have made my fair share of these, but I am aware that there are still plenty more to come.

Supporting a movement

Decisions also come with supporting movements and choosing what to stand behind. What do you want to invest your time believing?

Earlier this month (March 8) was International Women’s Day, a day where the achievements of women are recognised and celebrated. Since entering the corporate workforce in 2013, I have noticed as this day has become more widely celebrated each year, which can only be a good thing. As inequalities continue to exist, we have to appreciate and strive towards more activism in this space, which is precisely what this day acknowledges.

An appropriate level of rush

Last week I made the decision to venture into the city for the first time in a year. It was a big deal for me, which after so long at home I was quite excited by. Not because I was desperate to get back to the office but because I missed the morning commute, the food, the faces and experiencing something different every day. As you know, I have been enjoying my new routine, spending a whole lot more time at home with my husband and my dog. I sat on the early morning train watching passers-by and reflecting on how much things had changed in this past year. I also thought of the city rush I was about to experience, although I was expecting it to be much quieter than when I had last been there. I was keen to experience the city as it ‘wakes up‘, with less urgency and a slower pace.

For old times’ sake, I really wanted to have a true Melbourne style day; I wanted to get a nice coffee in a café down an alleyway, eat a bagel for lunch and window shop, then return to my desk to admire the view of the city, which is exactly what I did. I don’t know when or how often I’ll go back in, but now that I have done it, it doesn’t seem like such a big deal. Don’t get me wrong, I think there needs to be a balance and that organisations have (or should have) learned a great deal from the pandemic. If an employer doesn’t see that their staff can be both happy and productive at home, I don’t know what they have learned, or what decisions they have been making over the past few months.

It’s been a busier time for me than usual, not that I have minded. I still think it’s very important to take it easy and enjoy life at the slower pace many of us have grown used to, but every now and then a level of rush can be invigorating. However, we must recognise that there is a decision there, and we need to figure out what levels of rush we want in our lives. This can be done by reflecting on the long-term impacts which although may not be immediate, are ultimately worth considering.

Are we in a world that change can fix?

My post from last month came at a time when I felt so relaxed and ready to take on 2021, so today I wanted to focus on some more pressing issues.

Acknowledging the impact

Like the bushfires that very recently swept across Perth suburbs in Western Australia. Almost 100 homes were lost as well as a huge amount of wildlife. This is all too familiar with us residents in the east, as we were reminded of the devastation of the Victoria/NSW fires not so long ago. With recent findings revealing that logging increases bush flammability for up to 30 years, and that it is 7 times more likely for the canopy of a forest that has been logged to burn, we have to wonder, what is being done to counter this? We can not simply hope that things will change, and that Australia’s environmental future will somehow be spared, we have to act on it; we have to actually do something about it.

Protecting biodiversity

Which brings me to this article from The Conversation AU, ‘To fix Australia’s environment laws, wildlife experts call for these 4 changes – all are crucial’. The post looks at steps that need to be taken to reverse Australia’s current track record of protecting biodiversity, including:

  1. Setting standards
  2. Greater government accountability
  3. Decent funding; and
  4. Increase ecological knowledge.

It is an interesting article and I encourage you to have a read but for now I want to reflect on the last point, the need to increase ecological knowledge, again coming back to my point of adapting to changes occurring around us, rather than hoping. The article suggests expert committees are a requirement in increasing ecological knowledge and really learning about our threatened species and ecological communities so that we can fully invest in forming active recovery plans. We should be paying more attention to this issue, as it affects the environment in which we exist, yet for the majority of the population, contemplating such an issue is just too hard. Why worry about these complex issues when the immediate future is at stake?

In Melbourne right now

Right now here in Melbourne, we are 4 days in to a 5 day lockdown. This is the first time Victoria has tried such a short lockdown in an effort to combat a recent COVID outbreak, and we are all waiting to see if it has paid off so that we can return to the lives we were getting so used to again.

As I said last month, I think this year will be a huge case of trial and error. Even though the vaccine/s are in the process of being rolled out across the country as we speak, it does not mean it is going to abruptly come to an end. It felt strange yet familiar as we suddenly plunged into lockdown at 12pm on Friday night, all plans for the weekend out the window. Which is why this year at least; our plans need to remain as flexible as they can. Certainty is not something we can be sure of, so we need to adapt and whatever we do, we can’t forget the lessons learned in 2020.

Hope is a funny thing. Once we get a glimpse of it, it can be very hard to turn our focus to anything else, but we need to remember that we are still a world that change can fix to some extent. Whether it’s our health or the environment or something else altogether, we need to be able to properly identify the challenges around us; often times, the situation we have put ourselves in. We all have the ability to improve and invest in making a difference to future outcomes, both health and environment related, so let’s make an effort to properly understand what’s going on around us.

Blissful thinking

Almost one month in to 2021, and not much has changed. Australia was fortunate to have been in a pretty good place with managing the COVID situation across multiple states towards the end of last year, and as we entered 2021, things were much the same, with border closures and restrictions in place depending on the area you lived. It almost came as a shock that on New Year’s Eve my husband and I were required to wear masks when we went out to dinner but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do, and we understand the importance of these kinds of mandates. After all, it was not so long ago that we were in a more challenging time, similar to what much of the world is still experiencing right now.

The year ahead

With desperate hopes for an effective vaccine and a fast rollout, the world is in limbo. It amazes me how adamant some people are to get on with their daily lives, as if nothing is happening, lining up immediately behind one another to purchase a coffee or cramming into the grocery aisle.

People everywhere are wondering; when will things go back to being how they were? Or maybe they have already come to terms with the fact that nothing will ever be the same, and they don’t care, or just don’t want to think about it. I could say something about ignorance and bliss right here, but I’ll leave that for you to decide.

As I said last year, I think it will be a very long time before anything is back to the way it was pre pandemic and as common as it may be to say it now, many of us are getting used to the new normal. We have just about had one whole year to become accustomed to the situation, so there is no excuse, right? Sadly, this concept of normality applies to climate change too; it seems that anything we don’t have a practical solution for falls into this category.

Time to refresh

This year brings no change to my working situation; I’m still at home, which I am happy about. But it is not easy making plans for the year ahead. Of course, we can stay at home as we did last year, and I am a bit of a homebody so wouldn’t mind this too much, or we can plan to get things done on the weekend, falling victim to our pre-pandemic lifestyles. It’s like a trap; we are so used to being all go, go, go, when the best thing we can do right now is stay put.

I have been thinking and reading a lot on the topic of wellness lately, which the more I think about it, the more I realise it is something that resonates with me. I want to take the time to learn yoga and meditation; to learn how to properly switch my mind off. I have just started using natural oils on my skin and am absolutely loving them. By ensuring my meals remain healthy throughout the day (breakfast of bircher muesli/granola is my all-time fave), and fitting in plenty of exercise, this is working well for me. Maybe that is what I should continue to focus on this year; health and wellness as a way of helping me to relax and unwind.

Change is refreshing, and with so much happening around us every day, now is a good time to take time to focus on what really makes us happy. Take the plunge and do something you’ve always wanted to; It doesn’t have to be a drastic commitment or promise; maybe a simple change of heart or new perspective on something is all that is required.

So go on, have a think about what you could do for yourself that will also have a positive impact on the people and/or environment around you and make it happen.

An appetite for action

This year has certainly been unlike any other year like I have never experienced before, for a number of reasons that affected so many people. Starting late 2019, was the heat and the bushfires that much of Australia experienced. I remember packing up and leaving the beach house in a hurry just before New Year’s, once the power shut off and our dog struggled in the heat. On the drive back to Melbourne we listened to the news on the radio, with warnings for Melbournians to evacuate if they were in close proximity to a fire, and to take care and watch with caution if they were in a surrounding area.

I will never forget heading to work in the CBD in early January to a city I had never experienced, with a haze of smoke and dusty skies. It was a constant reminder of what was happening all around us, as Australia truly begun to understand the impacts of climate change.

But part of me wonders, do we actually know? Do we really understand the causes, the problems, and the lasting effects? Spending time at my Dad’s property in February definitely got me thinking about our relationship with nature, and how important every aspect of our ecosystem is in cultivating growth and change around us.

The COVID situation

After a quick trip to Tasmania in February to enjoy all the region has to offer (quite literally) and attend a friend’s wedding, we were back in Melbourne with a trip to New Zealand planned for early March. As we heard the news of ‘coronavirus’ breaking out in countries far away, we were unaware of the significant threat it posed, or that we would soon be experiencing one of the harshest lockdowns in history.

We made it to New Zealand without a hiccup and stayed informed of the news as we travelled around the North island for ten days. We had a wonderful holiday; packed with rainforest walks/runs, waterfalls, sailing the Bay of Islands and indulging in some incredible food and wine. We visited the town of Taupo, where we were amazed at the size of the lake; we had never seen one so big, only on American TV shows. We experienced the stench of Rotorua and marvelled at the sulphuric springs as they boiled away, letting off steam.

We heard coronavirus warnings on the radio as we drove from town to town and were impressed with the speed at which the country was informing the public. We doubted that Australia would have such precautions in place this early on. We had just finished a tour of the Waitomo glow worm caves, one of the most incredible things I had ever seen, when things really started spiralling out of control around the world. It was our second last night in New Zealand, and while we were having an amazing time away, we were looking forward to getting back to a familiar place, as chaos unfolded around us.

We made it back within a few days of the mandatory quarantine being enforced for people who had been out of the country. Not that we went anywhere or did anything when we returned anyway; we found ourselves working from home and not leaving for many other reasons at all, other than to shop for food and to exercise.

The state of being

I have shared my thoughts and feelings throughout the year, and some of my posts may have been slightly repetitive, which only emphasises the state of being for 2020.

While I write of cities, of the bush, of time spent travelling earlier this year, I reflect on these major events and wonder what the next year, even the next 10-20 years will bring. It seems that this way of living has already become ‘business as usual’.

Here in Victoria, Australia, we have been doing so well at keeping cases down, but as we begin to let international travellers back in, I can only wonder what will happen after the last debacle, and with what’s going on in New South Wales at the moment, who knows. Of course, I am hoping for the best, for a level of control, for strong leadership and guidelines that will mean that we don’t find ourselves to a similar situation that we were in earlier this year in 2021, for both the pandemic and the environment, although things are not looking great.

But there are signs of respite, such as this beautiful story of a thought to be extinct pygmy possum being recently found on Kangaroo Island after bushfires destroyed much of the island last summer.

As America comes to terms with the idea of a new president in Biden, someone that has climate change well and truly on his agenda, we can only hope too that Australia has a plan, because if things keep going the way they are, it doesn’t seem that we will be able to enjoy our country for much longer. Every summer will be the same; fires, loss of and significant damage to wildlife and an enormous volunteer effort to manage the situation. As David Attenborough would say, this is just not a sustainable way of living; we need to drastically change our approach before it is too late.

This year has shown that when given strong leadership, we as a community can do it, we can get out of almost anything, or at least turn things around. So, let’s make 2021 a year of learning, reflection and action on anything that is within our control.

Have a safe and happy Christmas break everyone and see you next year!

Embracing our communities

It seems like the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has given the most liveable cities list a miss this year.

In saying that, however, last month a headline of sorts got my attention. While it seems as though this year we may be going without a final list of most liveable cities, but instead Time Out have released a list of best neighbourhoods, including some very well-known areas of a particular city have been ranked to compensate.

Upon further research I learned that it wasn’t the first year this list had been published, just the first year I was alerted to it.

I find it difficult to pinpoint many of these neighbourhoods outside of Australia. Much of the time while travelling, I do not give a lot of thought to the area I am in, but remember things like landmarks and street names and get so caught up in where I am that I forget to take notice of the neighbourhood name. I am confident enough to say that out of the top 30, I have visited only 4, when I have been to many of the cities these areas are located in! It is highly likely that I have been to a few more, without realising it, which only goes to show that maybe I should pay more attention while travelling. Though I do have to say, getting caught up in the moment is a great way to discover new places too. Retracing your steps to find on return trips is even better; it’s often quite a challenge, which is all part of the fun of it!

Determining factors

Earlier this month I stumbled across another similar list, this time of ‘The best cities in the world’ with populations of more than one million. This list ranks cities based on 6 metrics including Place, Product, Programming, People, Prosperity and Promotion. There were 5 Australian cities featured in the list, which makes me happy to be living here right now, and generally all the time (except when I am longing for an overseas getaway).

Similar to this blog post from last year, and also earlier this year when I looked at the need to redefine liveability in 2020, I wanted to look at some of the determining factors for these kinds of lists. Ranking factors for the World’s coolest neighbourhoods list include neighbourliness and how communities come together in times of crisis. Both of these have truly been tested in 2020, and while this post isn’t intended to point out the countries who have done really well in that aspect, I think strong, yet empathetic leadership plays a huge part.

People and community

These newly discovered lists are much more modern, which is what I was talking about in my post last year. I suggested that we needed an acknowledgement of the people who make a community what it is, and an appreciation of its differences.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us how to better live together, and share common spaces. It has taught us to find new ways to interact by embracing digital technologies that were already at our fingertips. Online meetings, online shopping, online food orders, you name it, you can do it with a device that fits comfortably in the palm of your hand.

I disagree that this has contributed to a fragmented society or a disconnected community. Experiencing something as challenging as we have done this year has not been an easy feat, and as stated in CNN travel magazine, it really is “cool to be kind”, and the community you are in plays a big part in that.

Consuming energy

I must admit that lately I have been thinking a lot about our carbon footprint and the energy consumed around the world during COVID, including the increase in technology consumption largely due to these new ways of connecting and more time spent at home. While pollution may have reduced somewhat, we are still relying on an instantaneous connection across all of our devices, which we use to work, entertain, shop and buy food pretty much all day every day. I am interested in hearing your thoughts on this, and plan on covering the topic on a deeper level in next month’s blog post by looking into how the energy consumption in 2020 compares with the year prior.

Until then, stay healthy, stay kind and stay curious.

Simplicity

Duck by the water

My weekends for the past 6 months have generally consisted of the same 4 things:

  1. Walking the dog,
  2. Exercising with friends and/or family,
  3. Netflix; and
  4. Dining at home.

And I have just about loved every minute of it!

Sure, things were made easier when restrictions were somewhat eased along the way and we were allowed to meet up with friends for a walk who didn’t necessarily live close-by, and I was very grateful for the Premier’s recent announcement regarding opening up, but I have generally been enjoying my time at home.

A breakdown of my last weekend in total lockdown (for now)

Last weekend was a long weekend here in Victoria; we had Friday off due to it being the AFL Grand Final holiday. The Grand Final was played on Saturday evening for the first time ever outside of Melbourne, and to be honest, I don’t know why this isn’t an occurrence every year! There are definite perks to sharing the footy chaos with the other states.

We spent Saturday night at home (where else was there to go?) and cooked up a feast. This included homemade sausage rolls, chicken tenders, potato salad, lots of cheese, bread and biscuits and a few other little bits and pieces. I really enjoy dining out, but this was so nice, and so easy, and we got to enjoy it from the comfort of our own home, so lucky us.

On Sunday I met a good friend for a walk and completed my 10,000 steps by 11am, which was definitely an achievement considering I had not even been for a run! Masks aside, as we strolled into a café to buy a coffee, I felt a sense of normality.

Another way mine and many other households have been spending our time is by watching Netflix. We are constantly finding hidden gems, some of which I have been referred to or heard about, others that we have stumbled across on our own. Our show of the moment is Fargo, an American dark crime series. It’s quite gory, but very entertaining.

My other main weekend activity (which is actually more of a daily feat), is walking the dog, something that my partner and I absolutely love doing. On the weekend we met a dog trainer in the park, who was amazing. She didn’t mind when our large Groodle jumped all over her, and we watched attentively as she eventually convinced him to stop and lay at her feet. We have a few new tricks to try, and we are committed to teaching him, something which we should have done when he was a puppy. In a pre COVID world, it seemed there was so much to do and not enough time, but now we realise that there is actually plenty of time, it just depends what we choose to do with it.

Changes and considerations

Now that restaurants have opened to diners, retail has opened to in-store customers and we are able to visit friends and family two adults a time, it seems our weekends are filling up quickly, but as I have mentioned before, I do not want these newfound ways of spending my weekends to disappear.

I don’t think people should hurry back to their pre COVID lives, without realising that at least one aspect to their life actually may have improved during our extended isolation. I think it’s important to at least take the time to consider how you can really make the most out of your weekends, while making sure you don’t try to take on too much, and remember to factor in time for yourself.

I know I will be taking the time to continue doing less and enjoying more, absorbing as much simplicity as I can.

Redefining liveability in 2020

In 2018 I wrote a blog post about the top 10 most liveable cities in the world according to the Economic Intelligence Unit (EUI) and reasons that I found this list questionable. I referred to the lack of separation between developed and developing cities, and that it seems somewhat biased that one is expected to compete against the other.

The 2019 list fared similar results to the year prior, with the same cities ranked as number 1 and 2 (Austria, Melbourne) according to factors including stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure, which I agree are all very important factors.

But I do wonder how the 2020 list will play out, if it is ever released?

With COVID-19 having affected and still affecting most of the world, should our cities’ responsiveness to deal with a global pandemic also be considered?

The 2020 list

It could be argued that the entire purpose of a city and its liveability should be redefined.

After ranking as number 2 for two consecutive years, how will Melbourne, Australia fare in future lists? No longer the epicentre for work, dining and entertainment with harsh restrictions in place on and off throughout 2020, the city of Melbourne has reportedly been a much quieter place.

Will the 2020 be the year that the prerequisites are adjusted in light of the pandemic?

We are in such a strange time, so many people’s lives have been turned upside down (whether though loss or major disruption) or affected in some other way (weddings cancelled, travel postponed).

Of course, the liveability index won’t take the percentage of people affected by these inconveniences into account, this is well outside of their ranking factors. But it seems that Melbourne is no longer the place that everyone wants to be.

Life in Melbourne

During the past 6 months, it has become clear to most Melburnians that we are most comfortable when we live in close proximity to:

  • Nature, parklands or walking tracks
  • A supermarket
  • Healthcare

This year we have finally been pushed to realise the full potential of having many services available to us online. It has been said that the world has jumped forward 10 years so that we can cope with the pandemic and luckily, we can get the majority of what we need this way relatively quickly and easily.

What next?

Whether the aftermath or 2020 means packing up and leaving the state, moving back in or away from parents or staying put when the end of the pandemic is in sight, we will have to wait and see.

There has been a lot of chatter about getting out of Victoria, escaping to a place with the supposed luxury of ‘being free.’

It might seem like a good idea right now, but isn’t the appeal of a big city what drew many of us here in the first place? But now it seems that ever since we started working from home, many of us have re-evaluated our lives and what is important, realising that we can work like this from anywhere.

I have mentioned before that I hope that businesses learn from this, put employees first and find a way for their staff to continue working from home if that is what they want.

So should the 2020 (or 2021) list include cities that have demonstrated a resilience and a capacity to bounce back?

I think so. And will this list include Melbourne? Probably not.

I will be very interested to see if the list is released at some point this year, a year of all kinds of firsts for many of us.

Aeroplanes, accuracy and accomplishment

Promise in the desert

In news last month, the final Qantas 747 aeroplane flew its last flight in Australia, to the Californian desert, to rest amongst other retired planes in a plane graveyard. This event occurred six months ahead of schedule due to the decrease in long haul flights as a result of travel restrictions imposed by COVID-19. On its departure, the plane left a memorable mark, drawing a flying kangaroo in the sky with the path it flew on its way out.

This was a new concept to me; I had never heard of retired aeroplanes being abandoned in the desert before. So, I did some research on ‘airplane graveyards’ and discovered that the Mojave Desert in California is one of many plane graveyards used for this reason because of its dry climate. Apparently, it takes longer for the planes to rust here before their parts are reused or they are melted down – there is promise in the desert.

Wacky weather

In other news, it has been determined that global weather forecasts during the COVID-19 period (so most of 2020), have been ‘less accurate’ due to a reduction in the number of international flights. It turns out that planes help to predict the weather by measuring outside air temperature, humidity, air pressure and wind. This inaccuracy of data is likely to influence the ability of scientists being able to predict extreme weather events and the stability of the electrical grid. I haven’t been taking too much notice of the weather forecast lately, except for occasionally checking the radar for clear skies so that we can walk the dog without being rained on, and the on the spot forecast has been pretty accurate.

Last weekend we were out for a walk, when my husband observed that the weather was similar to a cool day in Taipei, Taiwan. I looked around and saw the light fog and still trees and felt the cool air on my cheeks and agreed, although we have never been to Taipei in Winter. Winter is almost over here in Australia; and being confined to our homes has meant that it has gone by without affecting us too much. We haven’t found ourselves caught in a storm without an umbrella, hurrying home from the train station when it’s dark, or watching the rain fall from up high in our office towers. Instead we have been venturing outside during the day to walk the dog or go for a run, but rather than being restricted by a tight schedule (other than the one whole hour we have to spend outside).

Challenge yourself

As the days (slowly) become longer and the air warmer, everyone in the world is hoping for good news. Scientists have been doing all that they can to bring an end to this catastrophic disease, and although some are saying that there there may never be a vaccine, there will be a way to beat this. In the meantime, we need to absorb the information around us without getting overwhelmed, and stay as healthy as possible, both physically and mentally.

Now is a great time to challenge yourself with a new hobby. I have rekindled my love for baking and taught myself to sew. I have been keeping myself busy on weekends and between these newfound hobbies and spending time outside with the dog, there hasn’t been much time for anything else. I don’t know how I managed to squeeze so much into my weekends before lockdown; but I do know that when this is all over, I’m going to make an effort to slow the hell down.

If we can appreciate the things that are close to us, and challenge ourselves with new ideas we will be much more likely to feel accomplished. It’s in our nature to crave satisfaction and if this can be fulfilled by learning something new, why not put our minds to the test?