New Life

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I’m taking a day off making headers. In fact, with the exception of the extended Gym session I’ll be involved in as you read this, the whole of today is being remade to fit a particular plan. Last night I looked down at my stomach and realised that the change is now inescapable. It may have taken months to get to the point where I can see this part of my body shrinking, but there is now no doubt. If I continue the pace of exercise started this week? My goal is close.

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I took yesterday off because after 4 days at 12k, I was fucked. Once upon a time all that number would have symbolised was 12,000 leisurely, non effort-filled steps. Not any more. I pushed myself REALLY hard this week, and every step in those totals is either sweat filled or includes lifting weights. Today I want that 12k to become 14k, despite the rain, but the reality is that I’ll make to and from the Gym count as my total and then do extra steps on top. I’ll also do a morning session tomorrow to try and incentivise my husband to do the same, as Christmas is coming.

The desire to push is coming not from the need to feel that there’s effort being made, but to help build on the strength I now exist within. It also has been reflected in the amount of work I’ve managed to achieve in the week, and the progress in other things that would not have happened without the physical toughness. This is the evolution of strength that is extending not simply into the stuff I lift, but the things I write. Last week’s output is some of the best I feel that has been written for a long time. The connection I felt was significant between mind and body is finally beginning to bear fruit.

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This week, I’m adding increasing amounts of running to my workout. Weights are increasing again and I have the beginnings of a second pull up hidden within me, just waiting to break out. Once I can do a number in sequence I’ll ask my PT to film it so it can be enshrined as proof, once and for all, that progress at this age isn’t just possible, it is viable. Next year is already being planned. There will be many new things to do.

I really hope that everything I want to do might now become a reality.

Stupid White People

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TECHNICALLY the book I’m referring to in today’s title is entitled ‘Stupid White Men’ but after last night’s episode post Gym, plus some other online tomfoolery? All will become clear.

This week, I’ve watched people doing stuff they thought nobody else would notice. It’s happened on social media, in the real world and even in my own house. Not thinking when there’s nobody else around means you’ll only end up hurting yourself, in the end. Doing it in public? Quite a different thing. The level of arrogance and selfishness this week I’ve watched exhibited by people who, in many cases, should know fucking better than this, has been staggering.

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From today’s Guardian.

You can’t tell other people to treat you nicely when you already punched them in the face, Mr Politician. You don’t dismiss other people’s comments over cultural appropriation with a clearly-undisguised arrogance. You most certainly do not cover your own arse with thinly-veiled excuses and a well-paid lawyer anymore. There’s a fucking World of Respect missing around these parts of late and it is really beginning to separate those people who want a decent, well-represented future and those who are just thinking with their genitalia.

It isn’t just men either, but for the sake of the current feeding frenzy in the media, white blokes (in the main) get to be the Bad Guys. I’m really sorry to the large raft of decent men out there as a result. I’m fairly confident I know who these people are in my own sphere, but who I can now trust outside of that is now hugely in flux. Entertainers, sportsmen, media celebrities… anybody who didn’t really do a decent job of being a human being up until this point is potentially about to get swept away in a tide of quite right and proper backlash. If you treat people without respect, especially in the spotlight? There’s no longer anywhere to hide.

However, all of my issues this week have been with stupid white women, hence the ‘people’ referred to in the title. Women who can’t see past their own basic desires. Women whose notion of respect is minimal at best… and the list goes on. Oh, and I utterly count myself as stupid here, because I did something utterly wankstainy this week and will be paying the price for quite some time. The wider point here, that to make society better overall is not just one group of people’s responsibility. Pointing fingers at each other and having someone to blame is all well and good, but what happens afterwards?

How do we as human beings stop this cycle of stupidity happening once and for all?

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30 years ago, the Kings Cross Tube Fire killed 31 people when a lit match ignited a wooden escalator. Because of this horrific event, over the last three decades attitudes to smoking in public have radically altered. Fire safety protocols have changed, the Underground is now full of people trained to deal with emergencies and wooden escalators are all but a memory. Yet smoking still kills thousands of people who don’t ever light a cigarette and tobacco companies remain a massive force in developing countries… and nobody seems to worry about what vaping may do long-term to their health because nobody’s had enough time to do a study.

In your own home, personal freedoms allow you to conduct yourself as you wish… unless you step foot on the Internet, and then everything changes. Except some people quite clearly cannot distinguish where their personal freedom ends and common decency begins. Social media is just making this worse, to the point where it is becoming abundantly apparent certain individuals truly believe their private outlook is what should be the public norm, despite the massive damage such attitudes could have to those who are genuinely vulnerable or susceptible. History will teach us important lessons if we stop and allow it to do so, but the truly innocent around us may already be blighted by bad decision making or stupidity because… well, if nobody’s died, what’s the issue?

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Society’s downfall is everybody’s responsibility to shoulder. Yes, even the people at the bottom of the pile could technically be considered culpable, but you’d have a hard time in my mind apportioning anything but the minimum of blame to any human being who looks at another and, regardless of skin colour, ethnicity or wealth, treats them as an equal. What we do now as human beings is look for blame: it was that actor, that politician, that sportswoman who caused the problem. 

Perhaps the time is fast approaching where the reaction to such events is not indignation, but action from EVERYBODY. Teach each other, learn from these mistakes, find ways in your own communities and workplaces to stop such things happening. Don’t smile and laugh when someone attacks someone else or simply ignore what you saw. Make choices based on what takes place, discuss these with other people and then approach the people concerned with your issues. Most importantly, if you don’t feel that the person will be responsive or even listen to your argument, warn others of their behaviour, and stop taking snide potshots at them via subtweets on Social media.

If we all try harder, shit might actually start changing and stay that way.

Today

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Look, I don’t want to jinx this, but this week’s going remarkably well. The whole ‘upping the step count’ thing’s moving amazingly to plan, there’s gonna be two sessions of PT instead of one, and it’s only taken me until Wednesday to sort about 80% of the To Do list. I keep looking over my shoulder, expecting summat rubbish to transpire, but it has as yet failed to materialise. I know what is driving the push to get stuff done, however, the reminder from various quarters this week that we are only visitors to this existence. Each day needs to be lived well, and with a passion.

That is certainly how things are coming to pass this week.

Also, this week I have given my daughter something that, a decade ago, probably wouldn’t have existed. I’ll be chaperoning her and a friend to see Dan and Phil, Internet superstars, on their 2018 World Tour. If the levels of squee in this house yesterday were any indicator, I’m going to need to invest in earplugs for the night. Fortunately, this is taking place at my favourite London venue, the Eventim Apollo, where I’ve seen both Elbow and Kate Bush… at least it’ll be familiar surroundings. Maybe I can watch some videos before I go, so I don’t look like an utter n00b when I get there…

Right, just enough time to get another load of laundry on before I have to walk to the Gym :D

Get Off

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Normally, I’d be writing this at 9am but today, I needed to do NaNoWriMo Novel. It was that desperate, as a MAJOR epiphany over plot hit at 6.30 am and there was a rush to get kids off to school, so I could return and write what needed to be written. I’ve exceeded 30k too, which is an important point in proceedings, with the next 10k very well plotted. It should be plain sailing this week, with the plan to have finished the goal in plenty of time before the 30th deadline so I can fit the extra words in.

What this does mean however is that I have no brain for anything else, so if you were after smart and funny insights, come back later. I could really use a cuppa.

Look Up

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Lying awake at 5.30 am this morning, a lot was running through a mind that was desperate for sleep, but simply wasn’t capable. I know why this was, that when I take a Rest Day now my body doesn’t know what to do with itself. Yesterday, however, was a hugely productive session of writing, planning and organisation. It was worth the time at the desk but reminded me that I need to be making better use of the moments when that’s what is supposed to be happening. This morning, therefore, even though I’m tired, it is the opportunity to start getting ahead.

I should take the time to acknowledge my ability more often.

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It is now a bit of a joke that most days I don’t know what’s going on: planning has become as much a part of existence as exercise and writing. If I don’t want to do something, more often than not, it is because there’s a shinier displacement activity giving me a suggestive look from the sidelines. However, without the mundane stuff, I don’t have a quality of life that’s significant. Therefore this week is about biting the bullet and getting some of the boring, mundane shit out of the way. To make this task more appealing, I will be sticking Post It notes in appropriate places to remind me of what needs to be done in this particular area.

Let’s see how attractive I can make the horrendous by this method.

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I managed to get the prototype handmade gift made yesterday and have one of the eight final items completed, and reckon now I have the hang of it the rest is easily doable in November downtime. Then it is simply a case of completing the written portion of affairs: I’ve provisioned Thursday as a writing day for lots of odds and ends, and I’ll make the template needed for these gifts before seeing if I can twist my husband’s arm to help in production. I’ve also gotta go walk a bit further today to see how many extra steps my longer, more convoluted trip to the Gym gives… though on reflection I’ll do a shorter trip there and longer back today as that allows more chance to front-load content.

This whole post is, therefore, a reminder to myself: WORK HARDER, make all the time count as something productive and when you relax, make that matter too. Your time here is short and is not worth wasting on stuff that does not make you happy. Therefore: read more, laugh more and enjoy the simple pleasures of existence for you have no idea how long they will last. Have a good day, and make the most of every second.

Sit Down

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This is new.

I am, this morning, in what is a robust amount of pain. However, there is no alarm or concern within that, because I know full well how my muscles now react when being conditioned. This is why the poking and prodding of physios and masseurs no longer hold fear for me. I am able to distinguish what is bad pain and what is good, and you can absolutely have good pain, people. Today is all about posture, and the fact my lower back is being asked to do things that, in 50 plus years, were never considered normal up until now.

It is, however, also a body’s request to rest, and I will be doing so for the day: not too long at the screen, lots of regular breaks, and much stretching of my lower back to ensure that the strength that’s being built is not ruined by poor posture. This is the biggest revelation of all: my body now will not let me slouch. Once upon a time, I could sit badly and not realise the damage being done, now all of the muscles in my core not only work properly but engage as a unit, there’s no way I can do so without being told as much. That’s a bad pain, and if I’m doing stuff properly, it doesn’t happen.

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Knowing this, and now grasping I want a full day’s rest a week, it is time to up my step count to compensate. I’d like to keep 84k steps a week as my benchmark: that would be 12k a day but as I’m effectively skipping Sundays now it needs to increase to 14k daily. That is easily done however by extending walk to and from the Gym, and better organising myself so that exercise gets done early in the day and not later. Therefore I have planned next week with a bit more care and won’t allow pixels to distract today, simply focussing on getting done everything I need to be to make this happen.

There also has to be a bit of thought given to Christmas, because if everything is going to be made that has to be, I’ll need to get started sooner rather than later…

Firestarter

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Yesterday, I had BIG plans for the day. However, the opportunity arose for an extra session of PT, I had some unexpected cash in my hand and so I went and bought an hour of additional work. Once upon a time that would have been spent on virtual, in-game items, or maybe a new pair of shoes. Yesterday, it brought me a new PB for weightlifting and confidence in body that came as a surprise. I felt different, walking out of the Gym and home: maybe a wee bit taller, but within there was a strength I’ve only experienced a few times in the past.

This was the right path to tread.

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Yesterday evening was similarly gonna be a lot of work, which at 7pm I decided to ignore because my brain simply didn’t possess the mental capacity to cope. Instead, I played for a couple of hours, and treated myself to a dinner I’d wanted to eat for a while but didn’t feel I deserved. This was rubbish. I can eat Macaroni Cheese, bacon and peas, and not feel guilty after working as hard as I have. I can also enjoy myself for a couple of hours without getting feelings of guilt that work is simply not getting done. At just after 9pm, my body told me, in no uncertain terms, we were going to bed now or else we would fall asleep at the desk.

Looking at my Fitbit’s version of events, I understand why that call was the exact right thing to do.

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I woke up this morning, after the first red block of awake (husband coming to bed) and second red block (husband getting up) feeling frankly amazing. It is like my body just totally reset all the issues, and although there’s still tightness in lower back (because PB broken) everything else is… well, amazeballs, really. Instead of doing what I do every morning (start working on get-go) I have spent a couple of hours pottering about and enjoying myself. I did some in-game faffing, reset my mobile gaming missions, and have had a languid, stress-free breakfast.

Now, I am utterly ready to work.

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I am fairly confident I’ll have my To Do list sorted by mid-afternoon, after which I will go for a run. Then, tonight will be a combination of making Christmas gifts and mucking about online. Why am I telling you all this? Well, I grasp now that exercise is the path, at least for me, to a far better understanding of both body and mind. It has allowed me to become more relaxed with myself, better able to communicate with others and allows my mind to hear what body needs and wants with far more accuracy. Freed from the tyranny of excessive consumption and obsession, life just got easier.

Why the fuck did I not do this years ago?