March has been quite a month.
This is the first post of my new monthly series, in which I’ll share five of my favourite things. They may be books, articles, podcasts, plays, or whatever else I’ve been enjoying.
I’ve spent the past couple of weeks studying, seeing family and friends, watching festive TV, reading and resting. Imagine me covered in highlighter marks and mince pie crumbs if you like.
Here’s what I’ve been creating and enjoying this month. In January I’ll be starting a new monthly series featuring a selection of my favourite things in more depth.
In this age of email overload, it may seem odd – even ridiculous – to invite more updates to your inbox.
But carefully picked newsletters deliver convenient and curated writing, podcasts and articles that you might not otherwise find. I’ve discovered that I prefer subscribing to scrolling through Twitter.
October brought grey skies that turned pink at dinner time. Crunching leaves. Meals shared with family.
It meant catching up with friends over mugs of tea after too many months, and smiling at thoughtful cards. Enjoying the scent of candles and the sweetness of the last bite of birthday cake. Anticipating what’s next.
If Richard Curtis adapted my experience of this month into a romantic comedy, it could be called One Wedding and a Funeral. It would feature plenty of love, laughter and tears, without puffy dresses or patterned waistcoats.
September has brought another milestone – going back to school. I recently started the second year of my MA. This looks set to be the last autumn I spend balancing professional work and academic work (and blogging and…). I’m keen to get stuck in and appreciate the experience. Please remind me of that when I’m in the library two hours from home and it’s dark outside.
“Things are both fine and not. Beginnings and endings are happening side by side. Life is messy and important and joyous and heartbreaking.”
These words from Meg Fee sum up August for me. This month, grey days stretched into sunny evenings with people I love. I worked, rested, then became ill and played less than I would have liked to. I visited the Peak District with work friends, appreciating slow, shared meals and a break from screens.
July seems to have passed quickly, thanks to travelling, working and packing to move out next month. I’ve been chipping away at larger projects and stepping away from my laptop more often during evenings and weekends. I’m feeling focused and content.
The summer break from MA classes and essays has given me more time for personal reading. I’m enjoying Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work & In Life, One Conversation at a Time. If you’re put off by the seemingly corporate title, I recommend giving it a chance. Susan Scott’s book contains reflective exercises for defining what your version of success looks like. It offers useful tools for holding necessary, thoughtful conversations with partners, managers and other key people.