Musings On The ‘New Normal’

Well my last post was on the 20th December so it’s about time the stranded boat was moved on into the shallows a little! Like many of you I’m waiting for my vaccine, which for some reason is delayed in my region for the over 50s. But the time will come, and I’ve sorted through any doubts I’ve had from alternative theories, which have been weaving like a spider’s web through social media sites, podcasts, and interviews – stretching far and wide across the globe, to cloud clear vision with warnings of the ‘dangers’ from the vaccine and of mass vaccination. It has spread so much confusion and conflict for many, but as for me, I’m ready for the jag (as they say here in Scotland after the prickly jaggy thistle), because we all have to pull together on this. So bring it on!

My life in the new normal has being composed of being stuck at the computer a good deal, learning new skills but not actually getting very far in my various endeavours. I have however had a good result from popping a range of watercolours and drawings on ebay as clearance, with prices to match, and I can’t tell you how satisfying it’s been to see some old friends go off to new homes. (If you fancy a look it’s here .Who thought someone would want my rather unusual subject of a shortened stem of Protea sugarbush flower on tinted cream paper?  So it’s been a pleasure packing these paintings up and taking them to the post office.

To counterbalance the technical stuff I’ve tackled our garden, tidying it up with lots of pruning so fresh new growth can push through to impress upon us the resilience of nature, and we can relish that good vibration of new beginnings now. That addictive feelings of forward momentum which we get from spring sunshine and blue skies, while the heat of the sun sinks into our bones. There are, as always, a few plant casualties due to some late frosts, so I’m thinking of what to replace them with, ever aware that gardens are always ebbing and flowing in a state of flux – another one of mother nature’s spiritual lessons for us take on board. I wrote a post a long while back now on how gardening is so good for the soul. You might like to take a look here if you missed it first time around, and it’s certainly even more relevant during both lockdown life and the new normal. 

As for relationships, my hubby and I have been pretty suited to lockdown life together, doing our own thing in different spaces, but being around for each other. But like many of us, I’ve not been able to visit my family across the border, and this feels really pressing now, as I’m sure it is for many. It’s like a winking electrical charging light which you’re watching from sideways on. You’re waiting for it to stop winking and stay on full, announcing to you  – NOW, you can GO DO! But of course it’s not like this at all. It’s a murky stuttering light varying according to the latest statistics, the latest projections from scientists and politicians, while holiday companies cheerfully advertise their offers for abroad, so book up now!, sending out the crazy message that by the summer we’ll all be vaccinated and be ready for the off, while for many of us just crossing the border would be enough. I’m really wishing the message could actually be – no holidays overseas until we know far more about the science of the virus and all its permutations. It’s so obvious, that it barely even needs posing.

 In any event, lockdown life here for me has been very much a fixed range of activities: working on the computer; mulling over the plot of my current WIP so I can continue writing it and do justice to what has been set up; exercising in the fields or short rides on my bike now the sun has been showing its face, painting; reading; crochet; shopping (boy, am I sick of Tescos and Asda), going for a weekly walk with my visually disabled friend, and of course chatting on whatsapp or zoom with a few friends. And even though the restrictions will be easing soon at the end of April, I can’t see my life changing that much in the foreseeable future, apart from relishing visiting my family regularly and helping my sister move into her new home. In fact, I wonder if lockdown life has made some of us more particular, more honest with ourselves perhaps, over how we actually want to live our lives. Covid times may well have encouraged us to reflect on what’s truly important to us, while the tragedies that have occurred bring these concerns into sharper focus. Because even though it feels like we’ve been standing still for a year, we’re all one year older, and that brings change in itself. It will be interesting what we do with our changes when we are allowed more freedom.

One feature of lockdown life has been, for many of us, more time spent on social media. More ‘friends’ to follow , more interest groups to join, more Youtube channels or podcasts to listen to, more free training workshops to sign up for, which can typically last for a couple of hours a day for four days or more – learn, learn, learn. Why wouldn’t you want to? It’s free! It’s been intense at times for me, because I have wanted to learn more with regard to both writing and painting, specifically related to marketing which isn’t my strong point to say the least. So I’ve been learning, absorbing, and sometimes finding it exhausting. But I was surprised to discover a friend of mine has been ‘suffering’ from the same kind of overload as me, with the same reactions. She reported feeling overwhelmed by all the information coming at her which she had encouraged, like me, to come her way. We agreed that you get stuck with having to go through it all. And then when you’re done, there is more. And then more. And you stare. And you despair. And then you have to select what to take notice of and what to dismiss and delete. But what if you delete that golden nugget of vital information, that transformational wonder which you could really work with – what then? 

You end up feeling like this:

Weary of it all, weary of your own compulsions. So time for being selective, I think! I’m going to bring that on too :>)

But I’ll end with some painting progressions  for something purely visual for you. The final painting from where I left off in the past post, entitled Mediterranean Calm, and a wee still life ‘Ceramic pot with Seedheads’.

Mediterranean Calm, three stages, including final, 50 by 50cm

Ceramic Pot With Seedheads, 20 by 20cm canvas

I’ve been missing my blogging and it’s been a pleasure to write this post. Do let me know how you are in your part of the world and if you have any learning curves or tips to share for living in the new normal. I’ll be hopping over to catch up with you in the next few days. Stay safe and well :>)

Posted in On Life, On Painting, On social media, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments