Day Twenty-two


Sea and Fifeshire Rock

After my morning routine, the radio keeps me company while I do the housework. I'm intrigued to hear a resilience researcher, Dr Lucy Hone, talking to Kathryn Ryan. I miss a lot of what she's saying as I ponder what a great job being a resilience researcher would be.

I have two professions which I greatly admire and consider near misses for my own working life: researcher and foreign correspondent. I missed out on research skills because I was persuaded at 16, due to a timetable clash and in spite of a high School Cert mark, that I didn't really love maths and would much prefer history. That meant that when I was doing my psychology degree, statistics were a real challenge for me, in spite of clever instruction booklets from the tutors. Those doing arts degrees with psychology joked that the grade we got for stats was C for Charity, a pass to allow us to continue with the degree. (To be fair, I did enjoy history and still do. More on that later.)

Journalism might have been a good fit for my writing skills but my psych degree required two stage Three Psychology papers so I didn't have English as a second major. I remember the pang I felt when one of our group was accepted for Journalism School, but I consoled myself that I wasn't really brave enough to be as confronting and strong as it would take. I did, many years later, get my daughter into Journalism School but that's another story!

As I vacuum under the furniture I marvel that in my twenties it was unthinkable to add another year's study in order to do what I wanted. At that age a year seemed forever. And my career as a psychologist has been a privilege and probably well-suited to my personality. I don't regret it.

That's affirmed by meeting a former client on my walk today. We chat at a distance and she says that taking time out these past few weeks has been really enjoyable. She says her headaches have disappeared and there are some things she hopes to continue when she returns to work, such as relaxing more and using the car less. A lot of people are saying that, I hope they can keep some of the slowing down and the calmness. And of course, I acknowledge for many relaxing and lightening the load just isn't their current experience.

I enjoy seeing other people while I'm out walking, especially the families. It often seems to fall to the fathers to take children out for a bike ride and I give them a smile. Not that it's all sweetness and light. Recently when I was running round the field I noticed a man with a phone and a boy about 8 with a ball. The man was intent on his phone while the boy shot goals by himself but clearly he wanted to engage the man. He dribbled the ball close and the man, barely looking up, booted it back at him so hard it knocked the boy down. Not everyone is enjoying lockdown.

The 1pm briefing brings good news and with it some confusion. All going well, we should move to Level 3 next week which will involve a partial return to school among other things. The main point I noted is that swimming and surfing will be permitted. Well, never mind the surfing, I'll get my wetsuit out again when the time comes, and even though the weather has cooled, dipping my hand in the water at the yacht club ramp tells me the sea is not bad. I look forward to trying it.

There's a flurry of 'yes, buts' in the media as different occupations ponder the new possibilities. Some of it sounds like a failure of imagination, surely the problems can be solved, but again, I have an easy role, the complexities won't bother me. Clearly, no haircuts will be had yet a while but as long as I can tuck the straggly bits under my swim cap, I'll be fine.