When September comes…

September is always a strange month when it comes to blogging. Typically, this is a period of time when I struggle to reaquaint myself with the practice of writing and reflecting after taking the summer off.

2020 is no different, yet more than ever this space feels so alien, to the point I have questioned whether I’ll ever really get back into the swing of it.

Of course this summer, given the draining months leading up to the end of term, I needed the headspace and down time to switch off from the laptop at home, given the working from home since March situ.

The girls and work have been plenty to keep me busy, enjoying a happy balance of family time and having returned to my three day working week after months of juggling split hours and home schooling. We were, frankly, exhausted and ready to enjoy our summer.

A fresh start

September for us, like many others meant a fresh start and a new routine. The girls are settling well back into school life and our childminder has picked up where she left off doing the school run, albeit seeing a great deal less of our kids given our lack of commuting time.

There are some odd adjustments to school life, but generally I feel reassured and happy that the kids are safe, and where they should be. I have never appreciated teachers and education so much! Having my first taste of personal space on my days off again has been a bit of a tonic too.

Working from home

I’m at a crossroads with working from home – on one hand I have appreciated the added flexibility, but undoubtedly I miss the hustle and bustle of a busy office and friendly faces. Socially, I know my energy is lifted through bouncing off others, but practically, it makes sense to stay put for now.

Having floated the idea of returning to site one day a week, we’ll have to see how the Autumn pans out. In a strange way, working from home feels a comfortable space now and going into site one day in August required some serious reverse engineering of the technology!

Harvest season

September traditionally is the bounty month at the allotment and this year is no different. All that free time in lockdown, when allotmenteering happily counted as ‘daily exercise’ meant that the groundwork was well and truly laid for a brilliant year.

We have certainly had some failures and successes, but the positives definitely outweighed the disasters (round cucumbers?). We grew our first ever peppers, cauliflowers and the brussels and leeks are looking on top form… and all grown from seed in our Aldi mini greenhouse which is a first for us.

Travel

2020 should have been a big year for us as we planned to travel to Jersey and Iceland, both trips being cancelled as a result of the pandemic.

Refunds due in the bank, we splurged on a hot tub which kept us entertained throughout lockdown and beyond and booked a week on the coast of Kent as a family getaway that felt both safe and familiar.

Our week in Thanet was everything we needed, given the cicumstances. The weather was okay, not great, and the facilities weren’t overrun as a result. Restaurants and pubs were however tricky to find availability, and our trip into Margate was a lesson in how not to forget to pre book.

We returned to the Kent coast for a second weekend camping, which was… memorable! Epic wind and rain almost blew us away but we lived to tell the tale and made some brilliant memories in the meantime.

Mental health

In all honesty, I kidded myself that I was surviving in 2020. Life seemed to get tougher with each passing month despite believing it would all feel better when we could just get to…[the next milestone].

By the end of the summer my anxiety had crept back in to my day to day life and I recognised some of the ugly symptoms being more and more present as an unwanted guest in my home.

There is no doubt that the 24/7 intensity of this year, the home schooling, the isolation of working from home, the cancellation of much anticipated plans all took it’s toll on me.

Without too much hesitation, having talked it through with DMT, I decided to get back on my medication for a period of time. A low dose to get myself back on track, not spiral further into problems as we approach the Autumn months. And i’m fine with that.

Reflecting on the summer

Now the summer is almost over, it’s just bonkers to look back and think the summer has been and gone.

We made the best of the situation, meeting with friends and family outdoors and trying to see people while we could, within the guidelines.

As a family, we continued to channel the spontaneity this spring brought us, but life started to get back in the way for sure. Having to Pre book everything also has that effect.

We may not have ventured beyond Kent this year, but we have truly made the best of exploring new corners of our home county. Places we never knew existed seem to be around every corner and some of my favourite memories of this year will undoubtedly be the simplest of things – getting out in the fresh air with the kids, often at times we all just needed to escape the four walls and mix up the monotony of the day.

Looking forward

In light of this weeks news, some of the dates that had started populating our calendar have been scrubbed back off. I have totally mixed feelings on the #RuleOfSix ; partly pissed that another spanner is in the works of normality, and also relieved to see action being taken to protect the schools staying open and the safety of people we love.

After a hugely busy summer, I’m not afraid of cancelling some social plans. Those times will come round again. I just really hope that everyone gets behind the measures to protect those who need our support. The alternative is unimaginable. We may be filled with dread with what lockdown means, but we have survived it once, we know we can pull together to do what needs to be done.

Who knows what the coming days or weeks will bring. We’ll just keep focused on one day or week at a time; trying to undo the inevitable screen addictions of 2020 and get the kids to sleep at a semi decent hour.

Some things never change.

x MMT

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