So one on my new favourite past times is composting! Yes, wriggly, red, earthworms and rich, aromatic dirt under the fingernails kind!

If you’re in self-isolation or simply lock-down during Sydney’s COVID-19 June-July-August period of 2021, well I suggest keeping your mental sanity by taking up an old hobby or joining a new one! Getting the kids onto it as well would make for a great bonding, grounding, and connecting experience as what better than to share them what you’re passionate about. Sitting in front of a wide-screen playing games is okay for the fingers and mind but getting them physically involved with something like arts and crafts, gardening, making paper planes is a whole new level of kinaesthetic and mind stimulant.

I used that last word on purpose, because I see many in our suburbs today using stimulants, young and old alike. Caffeine in our cola, tea and coffee, sugar in our biscuits, processed, packaged, eat-on-the-go foods available 24/7 in aisle 3, and Tik Tok interludes between what next to watch on Netflix, Prime and Disney+. For all the first-world luxuries, it does make us a littleee weaker in spirit I believe. I’ve been in self-isolation for one week now (need to get my next COVID test too actually), and I certainly do feel softer for all the mordern-day conveniences. Sure it’s also built up mental fortitude not to go crazy in a small 1-bedroom apartment. Sure i’ve got 3kg dumbbells. and Sure I’ve got Woolworths home delivery. But I do also feel disconnected from life beyond these four walls, the social interactions, the work, the customers, the hitting the pavement walking feeling. I’m softer mentally.

So when I do something like composting, I pay my respect to the natural cycles of life: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Repeat. Right now I’m typing this on my laptop and not much else is happening in my life. It’s a mini-winter of my work life. It happens to also be winter of the seasons here in temperate Greater Sydney. Which means when I look out the window I see trees without leaves. It’s also lock-down so it’s a social winter without friends or family or strangers next door. Some of my friends are struggling for real – they’re single and ready to mingle. Not happening Karen. My business finances are also in a winter….I’m relying on much needed government grants to keep cash-flowing the overheads like staff and suppliers and rent. I know we’ll come out of it, but for the meantime you just have to hang on and have faith. The seasons come and go like clockwork every three months – that’s not a long time! Some of you may be going through relationship winters…perhaps unfortunately you might be going through a break-out or separation. My parents went through that ten years ago and boy did that drag on for years. Messy. But stay strong. Cliche but keep your head up.

Before you know, it’s spring, and my lettuce seedlings that I got courtesy of Woolworths will hopefully have bloomed into edible, lush, green leaves. Same for my Latin-named flowers. And by then hopefully I would have planted my potatoes too!

Apart from gardening, I’m also reading a lot lot more. I’m doing some research on COVID-19, the virus, it’s origins, the vaccines, the global response. Hopefully i’ll write a book on it too if I get round to it.

For now, stay strong. xoxo Vien