Each week I take a walk and reflect on whatever comes to mind in this personal blog. Today I head to a misty sea at dusk and peer into the unknown nature of work after Covid on our new Podcast.
It’s been so wet and misty this week, I’ve barely seen where I’ve been walking. Between that and the extra footfall of pandemic walkers, the paths are more like slip ‘n’ slides. I’ve felt bored with my usual routes and even Nature feels a little dull, except for the promise of Spring in the odd tiny white bloom on wind-bent bushes and little patches of snowdrops in the muddy woods. Monday was Imbolc, the start of Spring in the Celtic wheel of the year, but it’s just a hint at this stage. Matching my energy levels and everyone’s lockdown-fatigue, February feels bland, more in touch with the long, dragging Winter at our backs than the fresh breeze of brighter times in our face. There’s not much to do but wait for things to improve, and do what we can in a limited situation.
We go like lovers to replace
the empty space,
Repeat our dreams to someone new
(Scott Walker, It’s Raining Today)
But in the end, every obstacle is an opportunity, so I sought out new routes over the hill I’ve been walking for 20 years, and managed to find less frequented paths and new vistas and even once managed to get a bit lost in the fog with my friend and his dogs. It felt quite exciting to get lost in a place I know so well, and reminded me what a difference a new perspective can bring.
For my Midweek Ramble I went night-walking through town with my husband. I don’t like shopping so usually avoid the centre of Brighton but at night it’s fun to window shop and the beach – which is as packed as the hills with lockdown escapees during the day – returns to its nice Winter emptiness. On these misty days, the sea is calm and still and unnaturally quiet. We were itching to swim. Many people swim year-round here but I usually only manage April to October. This time of year the sea is at its coldest but even in the Summer months it’s pretty brisk. Those of us who go in, though, all agree that you never feel more alive than when you come out. Every cell in your body is tingling and your skin feels like it sparkles.
Clients, colleagues and friends have all been commenting on how difficult they are finding things at the moment. It’s been a long, long year of adapting to every challenge, constantly reinventing our ways of living and working and carrying the burden of ever-increasing stress levels in our bodies. Perhaps we all need a dip in a cold sea to shake off the Winter blues and turn towards the year ahead!
I had an interesting conversation with Communications Strategist, Anna Cappellini, for The GenerativeWork Podcast, about what aspects of the changed work reality we are likely to keep once we are able to return to normal work routines. Has the last year democratised our work structures and even helped to build the potential for more collective ways of working? Anna was particularly aware of how informal work has become and we explored the pros and cons of a possible return to formality, something she partly welcomes. And somehow she outed me for wearing socks and Birkenstocks, even though she could only see my Zoom-ready top half – how did she know?! Given that I also managed to fall down the stairs this week when my Birkenstock caught in my flared trousers, I think a return to more formal footwear might be a safer option. Life is no doubt giving me the message that my hippie lockdown workwear is dangerously out of date!
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Listen: It’s Raining Today (Scott Walker)