The starting line of 2018 seems far behind. Though I tend to work around the academic calendar, the shift from December to January still neatly bookends the past 365 days.
“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.
I’m thrilled to be publishing this interview with Natasha Lipman, blogger, podcast host and freelance writer / website designer / social media manager. Natasha suffers from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, Histamine Intolerance and ME. She regularly shares insights into life and work with chronic illnesses.
Molly: I started following your blog in 2014/15, when it was still called Nutritiously Natasha. What first led you to writing about your experiences online?
This week I spoke to the interesting and admirable Rosie Tressler, CEO of Student Minds. We chatted about work, leadership, mental health and self-care. I hope you enjoy the interview.
Molly: For any readers who aren’t familiar with the organisation, what is Student Minds?
Rosie: Student Minds is the UK’s student mental health charity. We work to empower students and members of the university community to look after their own mental health, support others and create change. In the years to come, we are hoping to create a thriving higher education community.
I recently mentioned that publishing certain blog posts makes me feel vulnerable. This is one of them. I tiptoed around this idea for a while and decided that it’s part of an important conversation that I want to contribute to.
So, imagine gaining weight. Not a few pounds, but a few stone. How does that make you feel?
We’ve almost arrived at the end of January – a month marked for millions by disappointment, fear and anger, as a certain someone began a certain job that he is certainly not prepared for.
Personally, this month has involved beginning a new term at work and university, adapting to a different schedule, prioritising self-care and supporting others. I’ve been quietly joyful about aspects of my own life while also occasionally overwhelmed by world events.
Here are some of the things I’ve been thinking about, reading, listening to and watching during the first weeks of 2017.
In early 2016 I began a journal entry with these words from Cheryl Strayed:
‘I’ll never know, and neither will you, of the life you don’t choose. We’ll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn’t carry us. There’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore.’
When we decide on something, we inevitably decide against something else. The choices we make open up certain pathways and lead us away from others. I like the quote above because it reminds me to acknowledge other possibilities, but focus on the opportunities and people that currently fill my life.