The Month That Was

October 2021 Reflections

October Reflections

Hello November! The month of NaNoWriMo, the penultimate month of the year, sniffing summer that is almost here. But before we jump into November, it’d be remiss to not reflect on the month that was October. The month we got our freedoms back after the end of the seemingly endless lockdown. Here’s a bit of a wrap up to help me remember the good, the not-so-good, and the mundane.

What I wrote in October 2021

I started the month well and managed to finish a draft of one short story and start another which seemed to go longer than a short story. Then I hit a wall thanks to stress from work and in the last week particularly, struggled to wake up for my morning writing routine.

What I read in October 2021

Reading was slow again this month but filled with decent enough reads. I finished 7 books this month. Standouts were Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty, Dark as Last Night by Tony Birch, Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri and In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado. The Family Tree by Sairish Hussain was a good read as was At Night all blood is black by David Diop. Finally, Sunset by Jessie Cave was a miss despite the rave reviews.

On the blog in October 2021

It was relatively quiet on the blog apart from my weekly gratitude posts. I did however write poetry {if you can call it that} about my existential crisis or life after lockdown and about ‘freedom’ day.

What I listened to in October 2021

There was no new music this month for me as I stayed with the tried and tested post-rock and post-metal. Sleepmakeswaves, Explosions in the Sky, Russian Circles all kept me company. I started listening to two new podcasts – Daily Stoic Coffee break and Work Life. The latter is by Adam Grant, an organisational psychologist and the guy who wrote about languishing during lockdowns. They’re both good so far. Of course, I still listen to So You Want to be a Writer.

What I watched in October 2021

Despite getting our freedoms this month, I found time to watch streaming shows. Partly because I was exhausted and couldn’t focus on much else, and partly because it was a way to wind down after work. I’ve been watching Law and Order: SVU on Prime and also watched Nine Perfect Strangers. I remember how I really didn’t like the book and the show confirmed that. I’ve been trying to watch The Mindy Project in short bursts

Health in October 2021

Oh health. October has not been good for both my mental or physical health. I’ve spent this last weekend being sick with a vomiting bug and having a very bad headache. My allergies have been on and off too this month with head colds. And I’ve been tired. So very tired. I think all of this is connected to feeling burnt out from work and really stressed about the future in terms of my career and what I want to do. My anxiety has spiralled out of control and in my last psych session, I was advised to not make any decisions right now due to my anxious brain. And because I’ve been so tired and burnt out, I’ve struggled to manage my anxiety as I usually would.

Life in October 2021

October started off well. With the first week still in lockdown, I enjoyed my long weekend traipsing around my 5 km radius and having a lot of beach time. Once out of lockdown, I hit the gym with enthusiasm, sat down in my local cafe for coffee and breakfast, went to the pub and ventured further than my 5 km. I caught up with friends I hadn’t seen in ages, either on hikes or at their places. We wandered through the city streets, browsed bookstores, made plans and had things to look forward to. But it came with the anxiety of learning to live with Covid, of fearing what was out there and of feeling this unsaid pressure of life being back on and needing to play catch up as opposed to staying stagnant. All in all, October was a rollercoaster of emotions.

Highlight of October 2021

Being out of lockdown and seeing my friends and doing my little things again.

Lowlight of October 2021

My mental and physical health woes.

Lessons from October 2021

I am trying to remind myself to slow down, that there is no deadline, to do what matters and in fact, to think about what matters than just trying to compare myself to everyone else. I learnt that somewhere along the way, I have learnt this sense of urgency to do things, to skip the hard bits and get to the good stuff. But also, just how much an anxious workplace can influence my own anxiety. I don’t know the answers. All I know is I need to trust the process and make decisions that aren’t based on anxiety but rather, on what matters to me.

So yes, October still ends with anxiety and frustration at being sick. November isn’t going to miraculously change it but maybe, it’s a kick to think about this stuff more deeply.

How was October for you? Do share!

***Linking with Denyse for Life this week***

Featured image by Kindel Media from Pexels

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  • Debbie+Harris
    1 November 2021 at 11:10 am

    WA bit of a roller coaster month for you Sanch but it’s great to reflect on what you did and how you did it. You are always honest in these posts and I wish you well for November. #lifethisweek
    Debbie+Harris recently posted…It’s all about #BOLD-toberMy Profile

  • Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid
    1 November 2021 at 12:37 pm

    I think Mercury must be in retrograde or something because I know October was crapola for lots of people. I too have “enjoyed” the rollercoaster that was October – the highs and the low lows. I hope November is a month to remember for all the right reasons. Go gently, I know you will get there x

  • Deborah Cook
    1 November 2021 at 2:39 pm

    I’m sorry October was a mixed (mostly bad) month for you Sanch. I realise (from experience) when work / professional / purpose-related stuff is unclear it can impact on everything – well that’s certainly the case for me. Not only do you spend far too much time thinking about it and the decisions you need to make, but you start second-guessing yourself on other things as well.

    I’m glad you’re able to do more now you’re out of lockdown and hope everything else is able to resolve itself. xx
    Deborah Cook recently posted…Life lately – October 2021My Profile

  • Denyse Whelan
    4 November 2021 at 4:08 pm

    What a month. I don’t think if was that great for many of us, however I have been keeping a caring eye on you my friend and know it’s been pretty crook. I am glad your psych told you to let things lie for a bit decision wise. I think end of lockdown was a bag of mixed emotions for me too and many. I went back out there gently and not in a rush at all.
    It’s been great to have your blog post linked up for the week on Life This Week.
    Thank you so much. I look forward to seeing you next Monday too. The optional prompt is Sharing Your Snaps (photos).
    And a big thank you for showing your appreciation for guest blogger, Mr Whelan, in 2021.
    Take care, Denyse.
    Denyse Whelan recently posted…Young. 44/51. #LifeThisWeek. Mr W. Happiness Myth. 124/2021.My Profile

  • Christine
    4 November 2021 at 5:34 pm

    It’s great to be out and about, isn’t it? Hopefully you better soon so you can make the most of it. Christine