Before I become a complete narcissist I’d like to just remember all the people that have lost their lives this year to Covid19 and other conditions. In particular, those that I knew fondly;

Remembering

Joan Morgans – Nanny Joan

Nayland Frost

Graham Derrick

Terry Williams

Gone but never forgotten. 

Some Highlights

January- February

January started reasonably well. 

The last 2 years haven’t started well.

At the start of 2017, I was developing arthritis but didn’t know and in extreme pain.

At the start of 2018, I was waiting for my second child to be born, still in pain because my meds were not working. 

In comparison, this year was exponentially better than in previous years.

I started to do a bit of blogging and focussed on my masters for a bit which was good. For once I wasn’t online trying to make money or working with clients. It was refreshing.

I started reading loads of books. If I wasn’t reading them I was listening to books through Audible when I drove to work or when out walking. I’ve written about some of my reading in previous posts.

This continued through to February which was awesome because things usually go pear-shaped by the end of Jan.

March

Then came March when I started to struggle. 

There was a real risk that the pandemic was knocking on our doors and it got me like many others twitchy. 

Mind you at first I was thinking that they were exaggerating the severity of it but then the more I read the more I thought FUCK this is bad! 

Anyway, I started reading fewer books and more news. Started doing less proactive things and more reactive things like catching up with uni work that I had fallen behind on and watching even more news.

Then news came that because of the medication that I take I would be Shielding for the foreseeable future. 

At first, I thought, ‘great, working from home is going to be awesome’. 

Then I realised, I can’t really do work from home, my job is clinically based. So instead of being sent home with nothing to do for months on end while the rest of the NHS pulls together, I pushed for a redeployment position within Public Health Wales that I could do from home.

Luckily, a position came up and I was redeployed to the comms team helping to manage the social media accounts.  Mainly replying to comments and direct messages on the PHW Facebook and Twitter accounts. 

Anyone who knows me knows that this was right up my street. I’m into Digital Marketing as a hobby and almost went full time into SEO back in 2018 before I developed RA. Whilst this was Social Media, I still felt that I had a lot to offer. 

April- August (The Lost Months)

April to the middle of August was the epitome of Groundhog day

For those that don’t know, I wasn’t able to leave my house for 2-3 months to protect me from the virus. 

Bearing in mind my wife is a nurse so Covid could have quite easily met me at my front door if my wife wasn’t so diligent with her hand hygiene etc (as she should be of course).

Because we weren’t allowed anybody to look after the kids for us, Jess and I had had to work alternative work schedules. We were like passing ships.

When I worked, she had the kids.

When she worked, I had the kids.

When we were both off. She had to do the shopping or other errands outside of the house. 

Eventually, I was able to go for walks which were most welcome.

August- November: The back to work months

August, I had my date to go back to work. Meh. 

I went back on the 16th August fully prepared to go back into clinical duties but was told that due to my health that I would be office bound for the foreseeable future.

‘Happy days’, I thought.

For so long I’ve been fed up with the monotony of clinical work. The travelling to clinics, the NHS microwaves, the lack of facilities to have a decent lunch without bringing your whole kitchen with you.

Finally, I could get out of it (for a bit longer) because the truth whilst I like seeing the patients and having conversations with some really interesting people, but that ship has sailed for me.

Being back in work was nice. It was nice to have a fridge to store packed lunch, kitchen facilities to make tea and it was nice to be able to get out for walks on lunchtime.

Towards the end of September, I started feeling like I needed a change in my lifestyle. I knew I was fat. proper fat and wanted to do something about it. I talk about this in the blog post.

Turns out, that change I made was for good (for a change).

December (Feeling Normal Again)

Now into the end of December as I start to feel normal again, I can feel my mind turning to things I enjoy doing like, reading, exercising, building out and ranking websites.

I have a few projects already on the go and a few more in the pipeline. It feels good to finally have the motivation to do some of the stuff I enjoy.

What Went Well

Exam Results

I’ve aced all the exams and assignments in university and got a distinction in every single one. My personal favourite was my literature review presentation on Resistance Training with Rheumatoid Arthritis. For a stammerer, this was a big achievement and is something I can extremely proud of.

I also feel justified in doing my MSc in Public Health when I get results like this for really not much work. It just proves that I am good at what I do and passionate about the topic. I just need to be employed in a role where I can utilise these skills now.

Speaking on the Phone

As I alluded to earlier. Since I’ve been back in work, I haven’t been doing my usual job. Rather I’ve been on the phones triaging men before they come to the clinic. It’s a menial job but it’s something that I have enjoyed because of the challenge of speaking on the phone.

I’ve always avoided the phone because of my stammer. This has forced me out of my comfort zone and I think I’ve excelled at it. But don’t just take my word for it, the Public Health Consultant of my screening programme complimented me on my telephone manner before Christmas too :).

I got stuff done around the house.

I’ve gardened, insulated our attic eaves, done our bathroom out, built a workbench, built raised beds, painted. I’ve done plenty in the house this year with plenty more to do.

Lost weight and got fit

I won’t talk about this too much here because I’ve already written about it here.

PositivesNegatives
Found time to grow some Fruit and Vegetables in the gardenFailed 3 job interviews
Lost over 2 stoneWasn’t consistent with my reading
Got distinctions in every university assignmentDidn’t achieve my desire of getting a new job by the end of the year.
Finished my workbenchGarden is a mess.
Spent more time woodworkingDidn’t fix cosmetic issues with the car. 
Renovated bathroom and attic. Lost loved ones.
Ran 5k under 30 mins. Ran 10k under an hour.
The good and bad things that happened this year

What Went Wrong

I failed 3 interviews

Yep, I’m not one to bullshit and big myself up and thus I’m not too good at interviews. The feedback has been reasonable but I feel like it’s going to take a miracle to get a job at a higher level in Public Health Wales. It’s a very middle-class organisation and I’m very much a working-class bloke. I’m perfectly capable of doing more within the organisation but it’s like a closed shop to anyone ‘outside the loop’.

Didn’t get everything I wanted to get done in the house

Whilst I got loads done, there is still loads to do. Like tidying the garden, finishing off the attic, fitting a piece of trim in the bathroom, weatherproofing the shed etc. I’ve even got scratches on my car that I wanted to fix this year but haven’t got round to it

Next year is going to be busy.

Going into 2021. 

It looks like I’ll be back shielding again for a couple of months at the start of 2020. Hopefully, the NHS IT department can get me a laptop to work from home with so I can help with my team.

Hopefully, l can be more consistent in 2021 with my training and nutrition, SEO campaigns, uni work and house work

Here’s to 2021.