Yes, it’s been a while. And I realise that my thousands of Serendipidy followers — I know you wish — have been concerned. “Has she got COVID? Is she still there?  We miss you,” I hear you cry.  Ok so I might be hyperbolising a bit.  But I am ok. Still here. No COVID. Just that groundhog day is not very interesting. I wonder why with my busy diverse lifestyle. But come April 24th when I get my second vaccination willy-nilly I am coming out!

You know that thing when you say that’s a coincidence, I was just about to……. well really is it a coincidence or is it something else.  It happens so much in my life that I am reluctant to believe in the randomness of it.  Synchronicity is why I called my blog Serendipidy (Serendipity was not available) that and because I just love the word.   I am not a particularly airy-fairy kind of person but I do believe that the mysterious life long relationship that we have with natural phenomena has all kinds effects on what we do, how we think and what we feel. The events which happen to us are not by strict cause and effect but because there is acausal relationship between the inside and the outside, a sort of cross talk between mind and matter.

Synchronicity - Wikipedia

I am not alone Dr. Jung believed in a underlying kind of ‘field’ affecting a whole different level of experience. I have vague memories of reading his book in psychology class which focused on Synchronicity.

I wonder what Jung would have made of my experience this week.   One of my sons had asked me for some photographs of him with Tod so I delved into my huge box of photographs in search of the said pics.  In so doing I found a photograph of an old friend I had not seen for 40 years. He was also the close friend of another friend so I sent her the pic with a message “look who I just found.”  Neither of us have seen this man or spoken to him for 40 years. Today I received a phone call.

“Its Sally thank you for the photo you sent me.  It’s very odd though.”

“Why” I replied.

“Well about 2 hours after you sent me the photo, I got a phone call from a friend in Cornwall who told me that this other friend (the one whose pic I had sent – no names for obvious reasons) was in hospital as he had just tried to kill himself.”

Random –   Or is it?  more like synchronicity – something urging me to find the pic. If my son had not asked me for the photos, I would not have found the pic of my old friend, I would not have sent it to Sally so did that somehow influence this person in Cornwall to call her? Who knows? But you have to admit it is very odd.

I have had many many experiences like this but perhaps the most bizarre occurred when my brother was dying in hospital and I camped out in his hospital bedroom. In that week before he passed, I began receiving emails from and/or about people who had passed many years before. Including one from the editor of Woman’s Own which said “Thank you for sending us the idea for a feature on living with my mother who has dementia we would like to commission you to write it.” My mother had been dead for 8 years then. But the most bizarre was a message from my friend Kate who died 3 years previously giving me directions to our joint close friend Penny’s funeral.  Even Tod who was a huge cynic had goose pimples.  The emails were in a loop and kept coming until my brother died, and then they all stopped. So, what was that about?

This whole photo experience has propelled me along a path that is long overdue. Collating and organizing the photos that go back nearly 5 generations.

Two enormous boxes. Great great grandparents, long lost cousins, numerous holidays snaps, way too many naked baby pics, weddings, barmitzvas, parties, 135 school photos and then they abruptly stop as digital takes over.  When I am no longer here my children will be looking at some of these pics and saying “who are all these people?” So, I see it as my responsibility to name them – well as many as possible. Although the naked baby pics all do look a lot alike!  

Top 25 Family Quotes and Sayings | Quotes about photography, Family quotes,  Memories quotes

“Let’s be careful out there”


I am not going to lie woke up this morning feeling a bit gutted when I heard the news that the vaccine, I only had last week might not work. Suddenly summer freedom seemed a long way off.  Will I ever get a hug again? I know a bit dramatic but honestly, I have tried hard to remain positive throughout but today – well I think it is going to have to be a duvet day.

It did though get me thinking about freedom and what it means.   And I dug out my old philosophy books and looked at Jean Paul Sartre who back in the day was one of my heroes. Of course, I have now forgotten everything he said.

Image result for jean paul sartre

But he had an interesting take on freedom, and I wonder what he would be pronouncing about today’s situation.  On life during World War 2 he said – and obviously, I am not equating the trials of living under Nazi occupation with living with the scourge of COVID-19. ‘Never were we freer than under the German occupation.’  He believed that it is only when we are physically stopped from acting that we fully realise the true extent and nature of our freedom. If he is right and with my glass half full hat on – see I am trying – the pandemic is an opportunity to relearn what it means to be free.

Right now, we are free just ‘to be.’ So, has the pandemic liberated many of us?  We no longer have to make so many decisions about how we live our life, who we should meet up with, who we have not seen for a while, places we have not been, restaurants we haven’t visited, concerts we haven’t attended and so on. 

I have begun to reflect on how many things I did just because they were there. How perhaps I was going along with what others wanted me to do or expected me to do. We all live in a fast -paced consumer society with endless options and truly little of what we or maybe I did was because of a considered decision.  Maybe doing exactly what we want but without too much thought is not a very valuable freedom.  

Today apart – as I have had a bit of a dip –   lockdown has not been that tough for me.  There is much less I have missed than I thought. Undoubtedly, I have missed my partner, but he died before COVID19 and the contact with my children, but I have enjoyed the peace, the lack of social pressure and ‘have tos’.

Sartre wrote that ‘Total responsibility in total solitude – is this not the very definition of our liberty?’   Of course, he was talking about 1941 when life was vastly different. Because then choices were literally about life and death. Resistance fighters found themselves thinking ‘Rather death than …’   We are not in that situation, but death is maybe a bit more prominent in our lives right now, and it does remind us to take seriously the choices we make, about our work, our relationships, and our lifestyles.

The BBC has a new property programme A Simple Life – focusing on families that want to up and leave the city for a quieter life.  I have just watched it from under my duvet. The pandemic is focusing us more on our life choices. It has made us realise that maybe we   are living a life that we never freely chose but just drifted into. There is now almost a new urgency that unless we make a change – this is going to be our lot until we die. 

Certainly, I have drifted. If I talk to 16-year-old Roma, the non-conformist, the questioner, the one that argued and fought for what she thought was right, she would not be that impressed.  I had so many ideals and passions but somehow, I allowed myself to become consumed by the desires and thoughts of others and came to falsely believe that money and materialism offered me security. So, I bought into that life. I had houses, cars, jobs, private education for my children etc etc.  But now, in true Sartre mode – I am rethinking it all.

I am waking up to perhaps a new kind of freedom. The challenge for me and I think for society is how we now respond.  Can we recover and make a post epidemic life richer and more worthwhile?  Looking at the leadership around the world I am not that confident.

The pandemic has given me the time to think and ponder about my life and my future. And remembering my now favourite  poem “We have two lives and the second one begins when you realise you only have one,” I need to get my ducks in a row  so I am ready to dance when  I can finally experience the outside world again.

Image result for cartoon pondering life

So, when I get out from under my duvet — thank you Judy I am writing this blog while still in bed on the new laptop which you bought for me – – I will endeavour to put this new positivity into practice. 

In the meantime, I leave you with one final Sartre quote:

“Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.”

“Let’s be careful out there”