Eilidh lives on the island of Mull and her life has not been a straight line. From training as an architect to working as a tour guide, project manager, tech entrepreneur, and now full-time carer for her elderly father, she embraces challenges and tries to help others reach their goals.
We originally met in her capacity as a business advisor and her brand of ‘business therapy’ was a mixture of support, inspiration, and humour. Her 20 Positives of 2020 sums up who she is and I hope will inspire you as much as they inspired me.
My 20 Positives of 2020 by Eilidh Donaldson
Since starting to tackle my depression in 2011 I’ve been trying to find the good in bad situations. 2020 has proved a real challenge in that respect but as the year drew to a close I posted my 20 positives of 2020 to my Facebook timeline. Negatives would have been super easy but I wanted to end the year by creating a list of moments, experiences, and people who had made the ‘Year from Hell’ a little less hellish.
Having known Alex since the early days of her business it is a real honour to be invited to share my perspectives with the very special Findra Family. Everyone’s list will be different but I hope you enjoy my take on the upside of lockdown.
1. Do something that brings you joy
I discovered painting this year and it has got me through some tough times, bringing colour to dark times.
2. Online learning
I took a friend of a friend’s online art class in June and it sparked the art I showcased in my first positive. We all make plans to learn a language or new skill and often never quite follow through, but this time I did. Why not try to learn a new skill with friends?
3. Dad’s care
My Dad has had ongoing health issues since 2017 and in November he took a turn. Living on a West Coast of Scotland island in a pandemic in Winter made us fear the worst, but he rallied well and we were grateful for the care he got on the mainland and is now back at home.
4. Four legged friends
Anyone who has a pet knows the love they give and joy they bring. It offsets the endless requests to play and the trail of dirt they create. Thank goodness we can still hug them.
I'm no gardener but back in the summer when we were all digging for victory I tried my hand at potatoes. Fun to watch them grow and they tasted great.
6. Apple TV free subscription
These two shows are just what the doctor ordered – Ted Lasso is a show with real heart and Mythic Quest will remind you that for some, there is an ‘I’ in ‘team’. Treat yourself to some laughs for free.
7. Are you ok?
People speaking openly about mental illness and accepting it isn’t a weakness, but can be a blessing and hopefully a legacy of this crappy year. As Captain Sir Tom said, “tomorrow will be better”, an important message for anyone struggling.
8. Och aye the Coo
Community events may have been scaled back or moved online, but on our island there was still a chance to build a scarecrow. A welcome distraction in summer as the lockdown rolled on. ‘Scrappy Coo’ hopefully raised a few smiles. She has survived the gales and so have we.
9. Delivery dudes
We had our share of breakages in 2020 which required speedy replacements and the Posties and couriers saved the day. You asked us to keep our distance – and we did – but know your hard work is appreciated. Our dog also likes the dog biscuits!
Not an obvious one, but making masks gave us purpose early on, bonded the community and helped raise funds. Mine also helped hide the many, many, many chins I’ve added.
11. Mackintosh red apples
Great to see these on the Island this year. Bringing back so many Christmas memories for kids of all ages. The shops and food suppliers on the island kept us fed and the food bank was there for those in need – for which we are all grateful.
They became the symbol of hope and brought a little colour into our lives which popped up in all sorts of places.
13. Big lockdown birthday
As a person who hates their birthday, turning 50 during lockdown meant a very low-key event, which was fab. I also invented the rule that birthdays in 2020 don’t count, so unofficially I’m still 49 – feel free to adopt that rule too!
14. The garden
The ability to get outside was a godsend and the weather in April and May made it a pleasure. Even if the subsequent low water levels from our little burn supply made us nervous about flushing the loo.
15. My space
As a full-time carer for my Dad, the building of the ‘carers bothy’ (fancy name for an extension of the utility room) gave me a much needed corner of the house to call my own. Only been 17 years in the planning, but hard to imagine the house without it now.
16. Creative recycling
I found a lot of joy in collage, making pictures from old newspapers and some glue. Just ripping the paper was much needed therapy at stressful times.
17. Return of the Scimitar
My brother’s car project is back at base after its respray. Still work to do, but expect a premier of its makeover in Spring 2021. It was always Tommy's dream to own a Scimitar and it came true, so keep dreaming folks.
18. Getting stuff done
We all tackled long overdue projects during lockdown, inside and out. However, time spent on these let little jobs build up. For this New Year (instead of resolutions) I’ve created a ‘job jar’ so each day I’ll pull out a crappy task and just do it – like a bad advent calendar. Washing windows, cleaning out under the sink, attacking the exploding hall cupboard here I come!
19. Having your best mate in your corner
If you want anything you are supposed to ask Alexa, but instead I ask Kev. He is selfless, kind and despite a tough year he still cares for others, including me. Mates for 25 years and counting. If you have a ‘Kev’ let them know they are appreciated.
There have been some crackers here on the West Coast, beautiful ends to some terrible days. Tomorrow is another day, another year, so stay positive and take care of each other xxx.
Blooming lovely art class
Loved this class which let me explore my artistic side. Who doesn’t need some colour and fun? No expensive supplies required and 10 bite size tasks you can fit around your life.
Floral Sketchbook Inspirations (Etsy)
MUSIC OF THE WEEK
Although technically from 2019, like many I have had Lewis Capaldi on repeat throughout 2020. That boy has pipes with lyrics to break your heart and make you laugh.
He’s working on album two in 2021, so more of the same I hope from Scotland’s Beyonce.
Lewis Capaldi – Someone You Loved
My happy place – looking up
No street lights mean a clear view of the stars where I am. I like to look up at the night sky and clear my head. Really helps with the scale of my problems when I feel overwhelmed to see how big and beautiful nature is.