Tanya’s Quest 79: 79 ways to say I appreciate you

Here at Launch Online we’re getting stuck into our Quest79 mission: setting ourselves a personal challenge involving the number 79.

When Jaye first set us the challenge she said it was about pushing ourselves, but also reconnecting with and rediscovering the joy in life. Bringing an extra sprinkling of motivation to our working days which are largely spent at home on our laptops.

It was the word reconnecting which got me thinking about reaching out to people I love as part of the challenge. I’ve had, let’s say, a complex relationship with technology since the pandemic hit. I don’t like to be on my device a lot in front of my toddler, and so often miss out on chats while they’re actually happening. When I finally get time to sit and look at my phone it can be overwhelming trying to respond and keep in touch with all the people I want to. When someone asks ‘how are you’ or ‘what’s happening’ I often don’t know what to say (every day is the same!). 

And don’t get me started on getting distracted by my extra chins and uncut hair on video calls.

This would be all well and good if we weren’t totally reliant on our devices to stay in touch with people at the moment – but we are. I saw Quest79 as an opportunity to celebrate my relationships and the amazing circle of people who surround me, even if I can’t be with them right now. So I decided to send 79 voicemails to friends and family by the end of February, sharing a happy memory I have of them.

I will be donating the £79 to a local charity called South London Cares. They operate an amazing buddy system between older and younger neighbours who are feeling isolated.

A lot of people asked if I would be able to find 79 people to contact, which is a fair question! I am from a huge extended family, so it wasn’t too hard for me. In fact, there were some people I didn’t manage to include on the list which made me feel pretty fortunate (if any of you are reading, don’t take it personally! 79 is just a number…).

When I kicked this off on 16 Feb I thought I had loads of time. It was four or five people to contact a day. Then for various illness- and childcare-related reasons time ran away from me… I had some catching up to do! How would it be spending that concentrated time on my device? I actually found it really therapeutic. I didn’t have to stare at the screen to do it. It focused my attention on happy memories and I could talk through them at my own pace. I found myself laughing out loud, smiling fondly, and at one point even crying into the mouthpiece of my phone (sorry not sorry Leyla). 

But the best part of course was reading and hearing people’s reactions. One teacher friend said she stomped back to her desk after a bad morning, picked up her phone, heard my message and ‘just melted’. ‘Thanks for fitting me into the top 80 friends!’ said another friend who we will call Mr Sarcasm. Some have even suggested I think about a career which involves voice recordings – an unexpected, but potentially lucrative, development! 

I completed my voicemail challenge at 8.30pm on 28 February, saving my last voicemail for Jaye, who has been the leader I needed in this difficult reality. Talk about creating a welcoming, motivating and inspiring workplace. 

This isn’t the end of my Quest79 challenge. I’ll be taking part in a team activity with the rest of the Launch folks. Bring it on – if it’s anything like the first leg, it makes getting out of bed and starting work a whole lot easier. 

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