This is my Now page, inspired by nownownow.com. I use it as a place to share what projects I’m working on, where my priorities currently lie, and how things are going in general. I last updated it on Friday 14 July 2023.
First the heavy stuff, which has occupied much of my time over the last few weeks but which I don’t want to spend too long dwelling on here. My dad died last month, following a long illness that ended with a rapid decline. We had a complicated relationship, so I’ve felt a lot of complicated emotions, but have been grateful for the support I’ve received during this time (as well as for his organised nature, which meant there was relatively little ‘sadmin’ to worry about). Ultimately I’ve been trying to prioritise my own wellbeing, though the memories that have emerged as a result of this bereavement have made that challenging at times.
I initially had two weeks off work, one of which was spent at my mum’s home, and the other at my own. During these two weeks I cried a few times, slept a lot and didn’t do much else, including leaving the house. I probably would have spent the next couple of weeks in the same way if I hadn’t had a trip to New York booked and paid for.
Which is to say, I went straight from a fortnight of sleeping all the time to the city that never sleeps. Great idea, right?
I did actually end up having a lovely time, starting with a few days in New York City with my best friend. As well as hanging out with her, highlights included taking a food tour of Chinatown and Little Italy, visiting the New York Public Library and seeing a Yankees game. There is still so much more I want to do in NYC, but we packed a lot into just three days.
I also spent a few days upstate in Saratoga Springs, where I attended the 30th Anniversary X-Files Fan Fest. This essentially meant constantly being asked why I was in town and getting the response “you came all this way… for that?” Of course, I told people about the NYC portion of the trip, but Fan Fest (and the associated X-Files Preservation Collection) was certainly the original motivation for using my long-standing air travel voucher from a trip planned for April 2020. I will write something longer to coincide with the actual 30th anniversary of the show, which has meant a lot to me over the past couple of decades, but suffice to say for now that I had an amazing time, met some great people, and absolutely do not regret this nerdiest of pilgrimages. I also made myself a skirt to wear to the show, which was the first garment I’ve ever made from scratch – and it didn’t fall apart, hooray!
While in Saratoga Springs I also visited the state park, including swimming in two public pools and sampling a number of the springs that made the place into a top health resort. Having some time to myself really helped, particularly after the hustle and bustle of New York and the lovely but intense Fan Fest experience. While I enjoy travelling with others, I love the feeling of doing whatever I want as the moment strikes me. Pardon the youthspeak, but travelling alone just hits different.
Work-wise, I’m nine months into my not-so-new job and it seems to be going okay. I’m grateful that I was immediately given special leave following my dad’s death and told to take as much as I needed, despite having the holiday booked only a couple of weeks later. I’m even more grateful that during this time I didn’t need to worry about work at all, because I knew my colleagues would be able to keep things going in my absence. Having said that, I’m champing at the bit to be back in a routine again.
Other than that:
- I’m still doing therapy, but as my therapist is taking a well-deserved break in August I’ll be considering in September whether I feel the need to continue and, if so, with what frequency.
- I’ve registered for the final module of my MSc, which the OU calls the ‘project module’ but is essentially the thesis. With my job situation now much more stable, I’m confident I’ll finish it this time and have my degree completed by the end of 2024.
- I completed another improv course, this time improvised singing, which I enjoyed but which made me realise that singing is what I really want to focus on. I’ve signed up for a local choir beginning in September so I hope this will help improve my skills and confidence.
- I’ve developed a new talk for the Science Museum, and have another in the pipeline that is an adaptation of an old talk for a new format. It’s so much fun to research and write these talks, though hard to resist going down a rabbit hole of cool science facts and stories!
- I attended an information meeting for volunteering with the NSPCC, speaking to school children about abuse. I missed the application deadline while on holiday, but am reliably informed the next round will open soon. I’ve wanted to do this sort of volunteering for a long time as I feel it would have made a huge difference to me as a child experiencing abuse, so I hope I can make it work with my job and studies.
- I haven’t been working out much, as I’ve just not had the energy since my dad’s death. I did a lot of walking in New York, but it’s definitely time to get back into more regular exercise, including outdoor swimming.
- To end on a positive note, I completed my A-Z round-the-world reading challenge in March, meaning the whole challenge took me about two years to complete. I wasn’t aiming for speed, but I’m glad I finally finished it. Again, I want to write something longer, but I found it really useful for better understanding my reading preferences and getting out of my comfort zone. Since then I’ve been reading whatever I feel like, but continuing as far as possible to avoid buying new books. I say “as far as possible”, because I couldn’t quite resist a signed copy of William B. Davis’s (AKA the Cigarette Smoking Man) latest book when I met him in person at Fan Fest…