Happy New Year 2021 png
Australia, blogging

Social Distancing in Australia

So much for social distancing, I thought. Notwithstanding our relative safety here in Australia, we are still in the midst of a global pandemic.

Photo by Yaroslav Danylchenko on Pexels.com

We’re allowed to attend social events again and in my state in Australia, we’re even permitted to sing, (something not all states, are allowed to do as yet).

How fortunate are we? Believe me, I do not take this for granted.

Apart from providing our contact details at all venues, society here has, by and large resumed to B.C. levels, [i.e. – before Covid]. Just in time for all that Christmas and New Year’s Eve revelry.

Until now, people were still hesitant to get close to one another. Would social distancing and clean hygiene practices be ditched for the sake of socializing and enjoyment in 2020, now a vaccine was on the horizon?

Being one of the unlucky ones with a respiratory system prone to serious illness, I was more than happy to continue to ‘elbow pump’ people, in the greeting that Covid made fashionable, until the ends of time. Hugging friends had become a thing of the past for me.

The 2020 pandemic, as well as my recent retirement, has meant that I’ve escaped the annual torture of suffering with each year’s strain of ‘Influenza’, as well as various bugs and infections that are an occupational hazard of working, as I did, with young children. 2020 was, for me, far healthier than previous years.

In fact, I’ve not seen a Doctor all year. Yay for me!

Fast forward to this year’s New Years Eve. Much of Australian society is back to normal, except for bans on large gatherings, as in city fireworks displays. *[Mind you, I still can’t fathom why Cricket and football matches in stadiums are exempt from this ban. Is there an invisible force field that protects sports spectators from the pandemic?]

cricket match

My plan for celebrating 2020 NYE at the Home by the Sea, involved attending a Karaoke Dinner at a local restaurant, with around 8 of my neighbours and friends. Dutifully, all of us scanned in our particulars, using the QR code on the table, upon arrival, for the purposes of contact tracing should anyone come down with the dreaded ‘Corona’ virus. We then looked forward to an evening of singing, good food and company. And it was indeed a fun night.

Yet, my heart did skip a beat as the waiter removed our individual plates after the first course, stating that the rest of the seven courses, would be served from disposable paper boats. Therefore, we should hang on to our cutlery, for the duration of the evening. Share plates of cheese and crackers and dessert had my hygiene radar twerking mildly, as did my wonderment at our used knives and forks scattered ominously across the table between courses.

Was I being a little paranoid about germs?

Singing into the Karaoke microphone, shared with 30 or so other drunken folk, was not encouraging for hygiene either. I couldn’t find a disinfectant wipe for the mic, anywhere on site, although there was plenty of hand sanitiser at the bar, which was well utilised. After my allotted drink or two, I relaxed, as did many others and begun to really enjoy the evening.

Abba, Shania Twain, Queen and Pink tunes were an absolute hoot to sing and really got everyone joining in with gusto. It was as if the floodgates of pent-up social energy had opened, energy they’d been harbouring for much of 2020.

Around Midnight, whilst our table was chinking glasses at a socially approved distance, a recent acquaintance I knew sitting at an adjacent table walked straight over to me, hugged me and without any warning landed a big sloppy, slightly drunken kiss, on my cheek.

“Eek! What if she has Covid?” was my very first thought.

To say the kiss felt strange, was an understatement. Something quite natural a year ago, now felt like a personal violation!

To put this into context, I haven’t kissed anyone other the ‘Moth‘, since the pandemic began! The legacy of Covid means I’ve not even kissed my elderly parents and now, this felt so – weird and wrong! Quickly noticing my shell-shocked response, the lady did offer a swift and heartfelt apology. But the damage was already done. A day later, I had my head perched over the toilet bowl/bucket, throwing up. The usual New Year’s Eve ‘Gastro’ Virus had found me. For many years, it appears regular as clockwork, in that first week of January after the New Year’s Eve parties. Was it the kiss, the unsanitised microphone, or just coincidence? Surely not the alcohol?

The silver lining, I could say was this 24 hour ‘wog,’ helped me lose some of those extra pounds I’d gained over Christmas. However, the dynamics of physical contact with friends has now completely changed in society.

Now recovered and back at the keyboard, I pondered the events as they unfolded. More worrying for me than getting a mild case of ‘gastro,’ was that folks are so quick to abandon safe hygiene practices and social distancing in the name of fun.

As far as the pandemic goes, we are not out of the woods in Australia, yet.

How quickly people forget.

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blogging, Mental Health, Motivational, Philosophy

A New Year and Dealing with Intense Emotions

Happy New Year 2021 png

Christmas time may be a source of stress or joy. Compounding those yuletide stresses, the Covid pandemic continues to rage, so there was little cause for joy in many parts of the world.

Marlene inspired me to think of the year’s outcomes in terms of ‘gifts,’ some good and of course, some bad. We’d do well to focus on the better aspects for our own well-being. So, what if any, positives can be noted?

Photo by Ryutaro Tsukata on Pexels.com

Lessons from the Pandemic

Whether we like the lessons or not:

  • This awful year has taught us patience and more appreciation for things at home.
  • This dreadful year has been a godsend for parts of the environment and animal world.
  • The pandemic afforded us time to develop or re-discover DIY home projects.
  • This deadly virus has potentially increased family tensions but has given extra time with loved ones. I will take as a blessing option, thanks.
  • Rates of family violence and alcohol consumption rose, yet levels of air pollution diminished due to fewer vehicles on the roads. The night sky was/is full of stars hitherto unseen in cities, as air quality improved.
  • Peak hour traffic congestion eased and commuter accidents lessened.
  • Workplaces were forced to become more flexible, benefitting those caring for someone, at home.
  • Money from saved travel and workplace costs, (uniforms, ancillary items, office durables and rentals), could instead be spent on other items that bring joy.
  • Extroverts suffered from social isolation but many introverts thrived.

..some Australian online [alcohol], retailers have reported 50% to 500% increases in sales compared to the same period in 2019.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7300689/#dar13092-bib-0018
Photo by Harrison Haines on Pexels.com

Negative Impacts of the Pandemic

This pandemic has uncovered a festering mal-contentment at the interplay between politics and society and offered diametrically opposed opportunities and grief.

Unemployment rose sharply and many lost businesses, their livelihood, or their lives. In some places, political decisions and divisiveness led to civil unrest. Financial ruin became rampant. Mental health nosedived.

For each one of us, the impacts may be very individual. With no short term end to Covid in sight, the heightened emotions the pandemic brings, remain uncomfortable and difficult for many folks to manage.

How do we deal with those difficult emotions?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Dealing with Difficult Emotions

Write Down Your Thoughts

Sometimes it can be cathartic to transfer those strong emotions into written words. Blogging can be great therapy.

female writing

Slow Down and See Each Moment

Ironically, the pandemic has made me feel grateful.

Grateful for things I DO have and it ensured I did slow down and appreciate the individual moments that pass by.

Grateful for our country’s relative safety bubble.

We can be grateful for modern science working hard to solve the virus riddle.

Grateful that I have not been touched by financial ruin, separation or Covid itself.

Grateful that even though my workinglife ended prematurely, I now have time to enjoy retirement activities with the Moth.

Grateful that I have daily incidental conversation with the adult children who came home due to financial reasons.

Grateful that I can let unimportant things slide.

Grateful to have the awareness I am so much more than just my emotions/feelings.

Grateful that emotions and feelings change as the world moves and changes. Everything must change for, just like bad weather, nothing ever lasts.

2021 Mantra

In this New Year of 2021:

If I feel sad, I will sit with that feeling of sadness.

If I feel loss, hurt or rejected, I will accept that feeling, not deny or think that I ‘shouldn’t,’ feel that way.

If I feel frustrated or inadequate, I will sit with that until the feeling passes. I won’t feel tormented that these emotions are wrong or bad, but rather let them ‘slide.’

Let it slide.

Not quite the same ‘sliding,’ as the lyrics of the song suggest, but the personal reminder is contained in that catchy melody; the melody that is today’s earworm.

“Let it Slide.

Happy New Year

Community, Mental Health, Motivational, Philosophy

Happy New Lucky Year

Last year, early in 2019, I decided I was going to have a lucky year.

It was a kind of experiment.

Viking stave Church
Balestrand

I have never really believed very much in positive thinking. All that standing in front of a mirror and saying positive things to yourself, can’t necessarily make thing happen. If things are to happen, I believe you have to find a way to make them so. Or fate, itself, intervenes.

I was chatting to blogger Marlene, about fate and destiny, and she was telling me how her daughter just “decided” one day that henceforth, she would have good luck. Marlene told me how she was most surprised when it unfolded that thinking her way to good luck did actually work for her daughter.

Now I have to admit that I was sceptical that I could make good luck happen, by simply convincing myself and believing it could happen. But I was intrigued by Marlene’s testimony.

black and white photography

Luck Through Positive Thinking

I decided to give this concept of deciding one could experience good luck by believing it, a test run for a month, and see what happened. Even though I knew it was an experiment, I was determined to believe, for the sake of the experiement, that luck was going to come my way. I was still pretty sceptical, thinking it was just a fun thing to do, and chances of it working were pretty slim. But I did try.

Surprisingly, several spells of good fortune came my way that month. Money back from very unexpected places and things began working out for the better. There were financial and logistical windfalls that caused me to report back to Marlene that the experiment actually did seem to be working.

happy smile-beach

Yet I remained unconvinced that good fortune would continue. Nevertheless, I continued with the experiment, reporting back again to Marlene in our discussions via our blogs. My good luck continued for another two months. 12 months on, it seems that it has turned out to be a very fortunate year indeed.

Not only did I have a heap of lucky breaks during the construction of my new house build, there were various other instances too. Just one example is losing my wallet in a shopping centre, one day. For me, that is one of my worst nightmares. I thought there was almost no chance of finding it again as I had no idea where I had dropped it. But then I chided myself, saying under my breath that, of course, I would find it, for it was my “lucky year.”

Can you believe that I did find that wallet, under a rack of clothes in a clothes shop I had stepped into, for less than a minute, about 20 minutes before. When searching for it, I walked into the clothes shop and began asking the shop assistant if anyone had handed in a wallet in the past 30 minutes or so. She shook her head – “No, no, sorry,” she said.

I turned to leave and for some reason walked over the left of the store and looked down on the floor under the clothes racks. There I found the wallet lying on the ground, under some long dresses. The shop assistant had not even noticed it for what must have been 30 minutes or so. What are the chances, I thought? Everything inside was intact.

Lucky.

There were many other instances, both minor and major so that by the end of the year, even my husband, the M.o.t.h., (man of the house), was responding to a potential problem saying, “It will all be okay, it is our lucky year!” I had convinced an all – time negative sceptic, as well!

It may be visualization, pure coincidence, or the lofty belief that someone was watching over me, but it doesn’t really matter. To me, the experiment worked.

Template credit: Canva

So, I wonder what should I decide 2020 to be?

Have you ever had tried something similar?

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Happy New Year

Community

Photography Challenge

Is your photographic ‘Self’ lamenting the demise of the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge? Are you perhaps looking to share your creativity and photographic skills with other bloggers?” Itching to get snapping great shots again?

Former Daily Post W P Challenge Photo

Friendly Friday Photo Challenge

Starting January 11th, Something to Ponder About will be hosting a new Weekly Photo Challenge, with photo and travel blogger, Snow, from the blog: The Snow Melts Somewhere.

The new Photo challenge is going to be about community and interacting with other bloggers, sharing everyday things from our world. You don’t need to be a pro to participate, either. Mobile, Point and shoot or SLR photography formats are all perfectly acceptable. Your blog doesn’t even have to be about photography, in order to participate.

Snow will kick off the challenge with the first prompt, on her blog, on Friday, January 11th, and then Something to Ponder About, a.k.a me, Amanda, will post a prompt on alternate Fridays, thereafter.

Why Fridays? Because we have decide to call the challenge: ‘Friendly Friday!’ Woo hoo!

How to Join the Friendly Friday Photo Challenge

  • We’ll come up with a suggested theme each Friday, and post a photo that we think fits. After that, you post photographs based on your own interpretation of the theme, and publish them in a new Blog post.
  • Write as little or as much, as you wish, to accompany your photos.
  • To make it easy for the host bloggers and others to find you, title your post “Friendly Friday Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)
  • Post a comment at the Host’s Friendly Friday blog post that includes the link to your Friendly Friday blog post,  the one that you published on your blog. [ N.B. please ensure it is a link to the actual post, not just a link to your blog itself.
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All of you are invited to join in! So spread the word!


That’s it. I can’t wait to see what you all come up with! Let’s have some fun!


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Amanda @ Something to Ponder About