2020, Covid, And Lots Of Love

Kvarner Bay. Taken a short drive from my home.

I’ve been thinking, once again, of discontinuing this blog. I simply think that blogging – unless it’s for business – is an outdated method of communication, demonstrated in the responses I’ve been getting to my latest entries. We used to have conversations, 5-10 people responding, and now two out of three entries are without comments. I’m not really interested in a monologue.

For now, I’ll still write occasionally, but I’m disabling comments altogether. And in the meantime, I’m looking at other tools. I’ve been thinking of building up my YouTube channel, which so far has almost zero subscribers because I’ve been actively hiding it: It’s where I’m uploading the weekly “missions” for my Coaching business, and I wanted people to go to my website rather than YouTube. But I might change this, and also mix in personal vlogs or at least life updates that relate to my business. I’m all about passions and purpose, after all, so it fits right in.

It’ll take time to build, if indeed YouTube is the medium I’ll be going forward with, so for now I’ll still post here. Today I just want to give you a quick update on what’s been going on, followed by a little 2020 year review, because not everything has been awful this past year – far from it, in fact.

So what’s happened? Covid is running rampant in Croatia and elsewhere and I’ve been isolated. I still caught it, well, after all even masks and distancing are no guarantee, although they lower the risk significantly. I don’t want to go on about it too much, I had a “mild” case and yet it was fucking scary, not knowing if I would take a turn for the worse. Even as it was, it was awful. I was exhausted, my chest hurt, I was coughing and wheezing, and in the night I’d wake up with a racing heart and a weird, panicky fear. I’ve never gone through anything like this before and never want to again. Uuuuugh. Now I only hope I’m not among the 30% who end up with a long-term condition after this. It’s early days, I’ve only been declared cured this week, but so far I feel fine. Tired still, but well otherwise.

On Tuesday, there was a massive earthquake in central Croatia. Even here, 140 km away, the house shook. Near the epicenter, two towns have been badly damaged with many people losing everything. To top it all off, for the past few days there have been constant milder quakes as well as torrential rain and violent, scary thunderstorms. It’s a bit like the apocalypse there right now, and I’d ask you, if you can spare a few quid, to donate to the Croatian Red Cross using the narrative 770, which will go directly to the people affected by the earthquake. Click here.

Being me, I’ve been thinking a lot, and it’s impossible to describe it all to you. I’ve made some drastic changes, moving away from living online and spending too much time on social media. Other than photos, I post very little on Facebook these days, and even my business page has gone quiet. Instagram and Pinterest I keep up for Wild Spirits Coaching, but that’s it. I’m also planning a program – probably a course – on simplyfing life, downsizing without “doing without”, living a slower, more fulfilled, rich life full of passions, love, and connection, basically what I’ve been in the process of building for myself. I’ve learned so much along the way and I’m nowhere near done.

Still from a video on Wild Spirits Coaching. December 2020.

Funnily enough, in other ways I spend more time online right now. Years ago when I was stuck in a depression and isolating myself from friends, gaming was one way to keep in touch with actual humans. I made friends in those years that I’m still close to, and yes, some of them are “only” online, but many of them I’ve meanwhile met in “meatspace” as well. They’re beautiful people.

My point is that back then, it saved me from becoming a hermit altogether, and now I’m in a situation where I must remain isolated for the sake of my health, so I’m consciously using gaming as a way of socialising again. I’m playing World of Warcraft with a group of amazing humans, some of whom I’ve known for 8-10 years now. There’s a lot I love about this game, for example that it’s such an equaliser. I’m friends with people aged 15-65; in fact, the guild mate I chat to most at the moment, is 17. We’re equally fanatic about the class we play and discuss the game endlessly, laugh at silly things and help each other out with game objectives.

Here’s an example of what I mean by socialising: New Year’s Eve was basically cancelled around here, and I knew I’d be at home, alone, and didn’t expect much. The way it turned out was, I was online with some people from my guild, we went on voice chat and had a dance party in-game. I got to say “Happy New Year” to half a dozen people in person (well, over voice comms) and ended up feeling all warm and fuzzy. It was actually a great New Year’s Eve! How’s that for safe partying?

I just hope you’re all as safe and are finding ways to enjoy these strange times as well.

As for my “big decision” (on where I’m going to live in the future), I’m postponing that. I haven’t had a chance to properly live in Croatia yet, after all. What I have seen is incredible, and I have found so much love and friendship here already that it humbles me. At the same time, like I said in a previous entry, I’m so homesick it isn’t even funny. If anyone had told me when I moved away, that a year later I still wouldn’t have come back to visit, then I wouldn’t have left in the first place.

Logh Conn, Co Mayo. Winter Solstice morning 2019.

Anyway: 2020.

  • I won’t write much about the pandemic, which was obviously the shitty thing that happened on so many levels. What affected me the most is how many people don’t give a toss about others and see any minor inconvenience to themselves as unnacceptable, even if it protects others. I love humans and tend to believe the best of them, and seeing this kind of attitude – even from some people I thought I knew – simply hurts.
  • There was death even outside of Covid. My dad died in October, and whilst that was expected and happened in the most beautiful, natural way, it’s still the loss of my father. And then there was Brendan’s freak accident in June, and I still can’t believe I won’t get to exchange witticisms and puns and movie quotes with him ever again. Six months later I’m still miles away from coming to terms with his loss, to be honest. He shouldn’t have died. He was far too young.
  • On the plus side, there was Croatia – the little I’ve seen of it so far – and the wonderful people I’ve met here. Croatians are funny, passionate, intelligent, loyal, and unbelievably helpful to others. I feel very much at home here. The country itself is jaw-droppingly gorgeous. Summer was like paradise.
  • I also got to spend five magical weeks in Vienna in February and early March, before the lockdown cut off the fun. It was my dream life, realised. I had such a great time and got to see some concerts when it was still possible, the highlight being Martha Argerich, of course. And on the way to Vienna, there was my birthday present to myself, two days in London, where I got to hug Penny and went to see Evgeny Kissin play Beethoven, which was so good I don’t have words for it, just awe.
  • Last but definitely not least, I got to celebrate my 50th in style with a dozen friends and family from five countries (four of whom were from my World of Warcraft guild, by the way!). I’m inifinitely grateful that I got to hug people I love when it was still safe to hug them, and for these four days with them, sightseeing, going out, drinking, dancing, ice-skating, and basically being tourists in the best possible way, in the most beautiful city in the world. This has made up for a lot of shit that followed later in the year.

Now it’s 2021 and like I said, I consciously place an emphasis on my “online life” right now until I and the majority of people are vaccinated. I hope this’ll happen at some point this year, so I can go travelling, hugging, breathing in people I love again and make up for the long deprivation of touch and anything sensual. Also, talking in person. Holy shit, how I miss just sitting somewhere with a friend and having a good old chat putting the world to rights.

It’ll happen again and can’t happen soon enough, as far as I’m concerned.

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