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Gratitude can sometimes be found when you least expect it


When I sat down to plan the content for this edition of the newsletter, the line next to my column was left with a dash beside it and a blank, white space.  Sadly, nothing unusual in that!

When I came back to it the following week, I found my mind pondering what diary writers are currently filling their daily blank, white spaces with.  Assuming, that is, they do not fall into the category of those who have learnt three languages, completed four daily online exercise classes and become expert embroiderers all in the course of our periods of lockdown!

With hindsight, keeping a diary would have created an interesting record to reflect on, and even share with future generations, when these current times are but a distant memory.  More flippantly, it might have helped remind me what day of the week it is now there is precious little to differentiate one day with another.

Instead, however, writing yet another birthday card to one of my nieces and nephews who I haven’t seen for far too long, made me wonder how they will look back upon their teenage birthdays spent in lockdown.  The thought of them not being able to mix freely with their friends in person and go somewhere to celebrate is a sad one.

This line of thought led me to consider what it would have been like if this pandemic had happened when I was a teenager.  Easy to say but I think it would have been an even more solitary experience.  I remember the look of horror on my kids’ faces when they got their first mobile phones and asked,
How did you keep in touch with your friends when you were young?
Well, we had to plan ahead and make arrangements about when you’d see your friends next when you said cheerio to them.
But what if your plans changed?”
I’d probably have to run up to where we said we’d meet and tell them I couldn’t or, if it was a good enough reason, risk them not falling out with me for not turning up.  If I had their house number, I might have been allowed to use the landline phone.

Inadvertently, I realised I had come up with my 3 things to be grateful for that day,

  1. At least I have been lucky enough to keep in touch with friends and family throughout all this via the various digital methods available today – Christmas present opening by video call was surprisingly okay and even had the benefit of creating less mess within my house!
  2. As my nieces and nephews have grown up with screen communication, they are totally at ease with it and hopefully it has provided a social lifeline for them during periods of lockdown.
  3. Remembering using the landline as a teenager jiggered a memory of my mother. Her dulcet tones and well-rehearsed, “Is that you on the phone again? You can talk to your friends for as long as you want when you start paying the bill.” was ringing in my ears as though it were yesterday!


This column appeared in our Winter 2020/21 newsletter, if you would like future editions of our quarterly workplace wellbeing newsletter sent directly to your inbox, you can sign up here.

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