Just like my previous mind cleanup this one encompasses two months. While my motivation to fuse January and February was that I felt I hadn’t collected enough mind clutter after the first month of the year had passed, I can not say the same about March and April.
I would have loved to not write about the C-word… but a mind cleanup can’t be a real cleanup if it tiptoes around the elephant in the room…
Working at a company that relies mostly on people’s travel plans, the situation has been in my face every day for many weeks now.
I started an overview document on the COVID-19 epidemic somewhere around the end of February. It was meant for internal use only and looked very similar to the briefing I had made a few months before to put the Australian bushfires into perspective. I had previously done the same for Typhoon Ursula/Phanfone in the Philippines and the social unrest in South America.
We were getting some questions from backbackers and digital nomads in Asia but everything seemed under control, as far as our work was concerned.
The first case was confirmed in the Netherlands on the 27th of February. On the 11th of March it was declared a pandemic. The next day was my last day at work before a week long holiday to Ireland.
I checked up with my oldest brother, T, (who works in the medical sector) if it was OK for me to go on with the trip I had planned long ago; he said it should be fine, if we didn’t mingle with large groups of people and washed our hands often.
I double checked with my second brother, D, if he was still OK with my plans to come visit him in Ireland. He was. My boyfriend and I had already decided to go by ferry which proved to be the best choice for so many reasons:
- No stressy airport queues and waiting areas.
- It was just the two of us in the car to the ferry, just the two of us in the ferry cabin, just the two of us from the ferry to my brother’s home. So very little chance of contamination!
- As we came by car I could take some larger gifts a long, such as a reasonably sized painting my dad had made of my newborn niece.
- Smaller ecological footprint than air travel (which was the original motivation to choose this means of transportation)
During our stay in Ireland, Saint Patrick’s day celebrations were cancelled, which was probably the first moment the Irish realized the severity of the situation.
A few days later we received word that all non-essential human movement was now prohibited in France. We were assured our trip home would not be a problem. We did decide to cancel our initial plan to follow the “cute windy roads” home and just stuck to the boring (but efficient) toll roads back.
During the week that we had been in Ireland everything had changed. My workplace was now closed and everyone was working form home. The clean cut and standardized information document I had started on a few weeks earlier had exploded into a monstrous behemoth with chapters and themed infobundles and newsflashes and hour-by-hour updates… It was pretty insane.
The first moment I realized April had made its entrance was when I started seeing A to Z blog posts appear. At that point, I realized I was too late, too unprepared and too exhausted to catch up. I also decided that I could do the challenge on my own at any moment in the year, if I wanted to. Instead of stressing myself out with the obligation of having to write and post one blog a day I could even spread it out a bit more, if I wanted to.
That way, every month would consist of a mind cleanup (or every other month), one lifetip and an Alphabet inspired post. Being able to publish a minimum of three posts a month sounds like a satisfying idea (and it’s close to one a week, which would be ideal).
A category that I never have trouble writing about, is the music category. Songs that featured in some way in March and April were the following ones:
Flowers is not a new song of Ms Arie’s, but it is new in my life. Her songs always make the world look a little bit more beautiful and this one is no exception.
What triggered me to re-listen this next song from the 1995 Disney rendition of Pocahontas, I don’t know. Its effect actually caught me off guard and I couldn’t hold back a tear or two when I took in the words. It was as if I had never really listened to it. Every sentence in it hit home at that moment and it moved me deeply.
Another song that felt quite prophetic, albeit in a completely different category was the new Nothing but Thieves song “Is everybody going crazy”:
When I saw that my favorite Dutch hip hop artist Typhoon had finally released a new song I couldn’t help but smile. The lyrics are in Dutch but the title of the song translates to “Everything is blessed” and I guess that is just something we need to focus on sometimes.
Another song that put a big goofy smile to my face was a song called “Think About Things”. I first heard it on Spotify and wanted to share it with my brother, as the lyrics reminded me of the mental conversation I had with my one year old niece in Ireland a few weeks earlier.
When I looked it up on YouTube I … needed some time to process everything that was going on in the video.
When I read the comments I realized the awesomely, awkwardly tall viking of a man was actually the artist that would have performed at the Eurovision Song Festival as the entree for Iceland, had it not been cancelled.
Seriously… Tell me you watched that video and didn’t crack a smile… It can’t be done. You’re welcome.