Wednesday 10 March 2021

11 Things I'm Grateful For This Week

I’ve been experiencing a good deal of stress lately one way or another, and I thought it might help to focus on what’s been going well, and things I am grateful for. This blog post is the result and, yes, it did help.

Creative Focus

Fran and I recently announced we’re working on a new edition of our second book, No One Is Too Far Away: Notes From a Transatlantic Friendship, as the first edition is now out of print. The project has been a useful distraction from other things which have not been going so well. Last week I finished the Kindle conversion of the book and ordered a proof copy of the printed version which came the other day. My friend and fellow blogger Aimee Wilson asked if I was as excited about seeing it as I was with High Tide, Low Tide. I hadn’t really thought about it, but yes, I really was! There’s nothing quite like seeing your book in physical form and holding it in your hands for the first time.


When I’m struggling I tend to pull back from social media, and I have done so recently. That said, I came across two memes this week which resonated with me a great deal. The first reminded me of how good things can be with the right people at your side.

Always notice the people who are happy for your happiness, and sad for your sadness. They’re the ones who deserve special places in your heart.
— Helen Barry

The second is about boundaries and reminded me to pay attention to my needs.

Maybe what you’re holding onto isn’t really about them at all. Maybe it’s about you not wanting to let go of something that’s been around for so long, not wanting to part with a connection that’s been comfortable enough, even if it no longer is. Maybe you’ll find even greater comfort in the letting go, in the belief that you deserve more than they could offer, and more than you together were able to create.
— Scott Stabile

Something to Celebrate

We couldn’t meet in person but I recently had the opportunity to sing happy birthday via video call to one of my dearest friends. I hope she enjoyed it as much as I did when she sang for me on my birthday last year, which was the day lockdown was announced here in England. I still have the audio clip on my phone and it brings a smile to my face any time I play it.

Endings and Beginnings

As you may know I’m a big fan of Traveler’s Notebooks and rarely leave home without one or other (or both) of my TNs. The smaller, passport-size, notebook is my memory journal. This week I completed the current insert and am about to start a new one. End of a chapter. Opening of the next.

Walks Shared

For the past year, local walks have been my only exercise and chance to get out of the house. Fran and I haven’t been able to meet online as much as usual recently, but we adjusted to the challenge and shared video calls on my evening walks instead. I’m grateful that I got to share the sights and sounds of my local neighbourhood with her.

Staying Connected

This is relevant pretty much any time, but with everything that’s been going on I’ve been especially grateful for friends who get me and are invested in the connections we share.

Optimism and Hope

Despite the ongoing vaccination programme and the government’s roadmap for the coming months, I’ve been finding it really hard to feel positive about the near future — or the future in general. One of my favourite hospitality venues, STACK Newcastle, is taking bookings for April when they hope to reopen. Last summer, as we opened up from our first lockdown, I was on the STACK website as soon as it opened, but I’m not feeling it this time. April feels too early, whatever the roadmap might suggest. What does give me hope, and reason to be grateful, is the opportunity to reminisce with friends about times shared in the past, and plan new activities together, be that walks in the park, a garden picnic, or trips away.

Sunny Days

After weeks of cold and wet, we’ve been blessed with milder and drier days, which means I’ve been able to take more walks and go a little further. Last weekend I walked to the Ouseburn stream which I’d not visited for a while. Being out on my own gave me chance to think — and to not think — about what’s been going on recently. That was a blessing. I had my Passport TN with me (of course!) and I enjoyed taking photos of my notebook out “in the wild,” and sharing them afterwards on social media

Like Minds and Hearts

I’m happy and proud to be an active member of several Traveler’s Notebook groups on social media. The TN community is my happy place, where I can meet up with like-minded (and like-hearted) folk whose passion for journaling is shared generously and received warmly by all.

My Vaccination Date

Earlier than anticipated, I received a letter this week inviting me to book an appointment for my covid vaccination. My first jab isn’t for a few weeks, but it’s booked now and is one less thing for me to wonder — or worry — about.

New Opportunities

Completely out of the blue this week I received a twitter message from Bipolar UK, which is the UK’s largest charity for people living with bipolar disorder. The message led to a phone call which I took on my lunchtime walk. I can’t go details just yet but it represents a great opportunity for me, and I am excited to press on with it. At a time when I was feeling stressed out and not very effective at anything, it gave me a real lift.

What are you grateful for this week?


Photo by Jazmin Quaynor on Unsplash


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