Once a month I have a work-sponsored retreat day. This is not a "day-off" but an opportunity to reflect on work and come up with insights for improvement. Yesterday I also discovered three other methods for healing sorrow.
As usual on retreat day, I went to 8 AM Mass and spoke to a priest about work for an hour. At Mass I palpably felt my mood lift, in part because I need feel no guilt or worry about the number of stories to be written. I could just read something that wasn't news.
After chatting with my priest, I went to Edinburgh Central Library to read Newspaper Journalism: A Practical Introduction. As this was published in 2005, it is somewhat out of date. However, most of it is still relevant. It reminded me, too, that thousands of people do the same job I do, only usually better qualified.
At noon I met a friend for lunch at Brew Lab. One of the owners of Brew Lab knows my name, which is very gratifying, especially now that I don't go there every week. My friend brought me eggs from her hens, a wonderful treat. Afterwards we went to a good bookshop, and browsed the Classics.
When my friend had made her purchases, we said goodbye near the George IV Bridge. She went to the Grassmarket, where her car was parked, and I went to Edinburgh University to continue reading Newspaper Journalism and wait for Language Tandem at 3. It is "Europe Week" at the Uni, and so there are various multicultural and multilingual events.
Unfortunately, I did not understand that one had to find a language partner in advance, so when I turned up in the correct room, I discovered that there were no Polish or Italian speakers. Thus, I continued to read Newspaper Journalism and discovered that British journalists are all supposed to know shorthand.
Seeing it was 4 PM, I walked back to Central Library and asked for a book on Pitman New Era shorthand. It was so entrancing, I took out a notebook and began to learn the first "outlines" (phonetic codes) right away. It's such a brilliant tool, I don't know why I didn't think of this before.
At 5 PM, I was in Tiger Lily's cocktail bar, which may seem weird for a retreat day, but I had arranged to meet a friend who is a very busy primary school teacher, and when we do meet, this is usually where we go. We had a good long chat, and I had two cocktails whereas she stuck to lemonade, and then we did a bit of window gazing along fashionable George Street on our way towards the train station.
When I got home at 8 PM, I felt that I had had a thoroughly splendid and profitable day. The methods for healing sorrow were public prayer (which stops private prayer from becoming self-absorbed), pals and Pitman--which is to say, something new and useful to learn.