Duet

Here begins a gradual, composed return to full blogging. There’s nothing massively important to write about either: I’ve got some ideas to try when we go back to ‘normal’ hours at the start of September but for now, what matters most is my two poetry contest deadlines for the end of the month. I will admit yesterday there was a full-on ‘why are we bothering there’s no chance of winning either of these’ moment. It isn’t like the Ride London 46 where there’s no victor and simply taking part becomes the achievement… and then I realised this is no different.

The last couple of days has come with a lot of thoughts of failure. It is inevitable, over time, that you dwell on negatives. The trick, of course, is not to allow the blackness a chance to take hold of your soul. It’s an incredibly easy sentence to type and an impossible leap to make when you’re in the dark: watching other people struggle with these demons, as I do via social media, is always heartbreaking. I can try and tell people they’ll find a way, but it’s a lie. The journey’s theirs to make, and only they can find means to escape.

If you decide you can’t be saved, nobody will ever reach you.

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That understanding comes from being in the same place, and having escaped. Trying to reach out to people who I might have a connection with only to be ignored or deflected is a depressing task too. Then there are those who keep talking to me but clearly aren’t listening, and they are the creepiest of all.ย Just because I had a conversation with you once does not mean we’re a friendship.ย Some days, there’s just too much else going on to try and reason with some people, and that’s when it becomes apparent that reality is the far better pursuit.

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This week, anyone who’s not posted for the last six months or longer’s been removed from my follower count. It is clear that Twitter is looking to make metrics more representative of actual numbers using the platform… and then I hear a bunch of people in the US are planning to deactivate their accounts as some kind of protest. Having left Facebook behind at the start of the year, I wish all these people happiness in their social media free existences, and remind them their kids are all on WhatsApp and Snapchat and Instagram not really giving a fuck. If you wanna change the way people use these platforms?

Walking away might not be the answer.

The First Time

We arrived home on Thursday morning, after travelling overnight from Lake Como. Ever since then I’ve been tidying and reorganising my life for a focused reboot and redefinition of what matters most.

I’ll do the backstory on the Holiday next week, and normal service will resume on Monday. Tomorrow therefore is a day of concerted planning, and recovery from a fairly intensive exercise session this morning. It is lovely to be back, and I’ve only put on half a kilo (according to the biometric machine at the Gym.) Now, I wanna get back to work. The first rejection email has come and gone. There will be others, but it is part of the process.

For now, this is about giving the changes that have begun a chance to stick.

Run for Home

It is going to take a while to assimilate all of what happened today, especially as I’ve only had two hours sleep since Saturday night. It was, undoubtedly, one of the most enjoyable experiences of my entire life, despite being completely soaked through before even crossing the start line.ย When I do, I’ll blog about it, but for now it is a measure of how much has changed physically that body is in far less pain than it was last week, with results that were undoubtedly far more satisfying.

Now, however, I need to sleep.

Away We Go

I’m not writing this live, which may be a disappointment to some of you. Time is slowly running out: I’m travelling Monday and cycling Sunday, which means that at some point something had to give. This morning, instead of sitting here and writing blog posts I’ll be training, then taking my daughter to buy holiday clothing, then eating sushi before going to Excel in London to pick up my rider number for Sunday. With the temperature having been so hot all week, they’ve even sent out a health advisory today.

Yes, I got the memo about drinking more water last week.

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I’ve also learnt some salient lessons about carb packing the night before: it didn’t do me any good at all and, in fact, I felt sick all day Sunday, which meant the food I should have eaten on the way wasn’t. This led to my ‘bonk’ about 35 miles in and that is NOT happening again in (potentially) 30 degree heat. It means normal meals, plus extra snacks on the route, plus hopefully more energy as there’s nothing really too stressful in 48 miles of car free roads. All I have to worry about is other people…

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I think I’m less stressed about Sunday than I was about London to Southend because of the closed roads thing, but it is an earlier start and I have to ride into London a bit further. That means extra kip tomorrow and Saturday, so I’m not exhausted on Sunday.

I have no idea how I will be ready to go on holiday…

It’s not the End of the World

This morning, I’m waiting for a man to come and install The Future in our house. Not gonna lie here, there’s a bit of discomfort over the Internet of Things finally making it into the family home, but it was going to happen eventually. It does make sense, all down to the point where the power goes out… but then, we’re not paying for electricity anyway. The future ought to be less robots and more actual work, but if we could get drones to go pick up all the rubbish and then recycle it more effectively? I am all for the plan.

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As I cycled from London to Southend, the reality of rubbish became hugely apparent. There were country lanes literally full of this kind of waste, dumped by hedgerows and choking up fields. The amount of fly tipping really was staggering, to the point I’m amazed that the County Council isn’t tacking the issue. Of course, there’s not enough money in budgets and the manpower to clear this stuff, but once this country is forced to feed and care for itself post-Brexit, this shit will matter.

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The reality of my county is, like it or not, a lot of people who don’t give a fuck about anything except themselves. Cycling through Chigwell, past massive houses with security gates and CCTV, the disparity becomes all the more obvious. The 20-summat girl and her boyfriend, waking their dog… except she carried the poor pooch the entire time.ย I know that making sweeping judgements based on superficial evidence is bad and wrong, but if you make your wealth so conspicuous and your loathing of others so obvious… what are us poor people to do?

I had a lot of time to think on that bike ride. There’s tons to be done, both in mind and body: complacency is dangerous. Just doing enoughย won’t help you in the end, however much that might feel like it’s at least something.ย I listen to people who bemoan this and that, complaining that other people don’t see their point of view or are somehow being errant in their thinking, and it all comes back to the same, unavoidable conclusion. Stop telling other people how to live their lives and fix yours first.

As that’s never going to happen, there comes a need to compromise.

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One day, if it all works out, I’ll be in print. This will not bring fame and fortune. There will not be millions of adoring followers. I will simply have achieved an objective and then it will be time to move onto the next one. History does not remember everybody, with good reason, but a special place is always marked out for those individuals who placed others ahead of themselves. If you want to be remembered, fix yourself and then go fix others.

Nobody will care for the selfish except themselves, and that’s only right and fair in the end.

This is the Day

There are days like today once in a while. They start with conflict, which should always avoidable, but this is the day when you’ve had enough. Everybody’s opinion is fact, nobody is listening and, for the sake of a quiet life, some people don’t want anything to do with it.ย As one person rails against the indignity and stupidity of Thing One, others are getting upset over pixels. Thing Two’s gone from bad to worse and really, the World outside you blurs into this unpleasant, white noise.

Then, suddenly, comes clarity.

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Once upon a time, I wanted to change everything around me, and then I woke up. Some things are largely intractable, and however much you scream and shout, and however much you think you might have altered trajectories, its all a lie. The only thing you will ever reliably change is yourself, if you are able. After that, it is a complex series of negotiations and love songs to make any worthwhile headway. However, as has been singularly proven in the last few years, you can make larger change happen if a) enough people feel the same way and b) you’re prepared to sacrifice a part of your soul to make the point.

I have slivers of soul in lots of projects right now, and hope they can all at least continue the successful journey I’m making. However, there is increasing realisation that not everything can be saved.ย Maybe, it is time to cut losses and accept that… perhaps by writing that down and publishing the post, it has already begun. My future is already moving on a path I had not anticipated, but which is largely unavoidable. It makes me sad, desperately so as it happens, but this is not something I can change. That’s the key to all of this, the understanding of when to stand and fight, and when to walk away.

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There is also a very real grasp, for the first time in a while, that I am different in the way things are thought through or assessed, that there are other issues at play which clearly don’t affect a lot of other people. Although there’s no issue with this disparity, it does make life a bit harder. I don’t want to upset the people that are truly cared about, and if that means I have to change the way I deal with them, then I’ll happily do so.

Perhaps if I show that willing, others might do the same for me.

Open Eye Signal

BOY did I need that lie in.

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Next week is last five days of School runs, which is already being looked forward to with an enthusiasm that has not previously experienced. I’m not knackered per se, and suspect I’ll still be working at the same levels during the Summer Holidays, but there won’t be the same set of peculiar stresses at play. What it does mean is the opportunity to go take photographs during the day, and to do much needed organisation and back end faffing that won’t get done otherwise.

For now, however, it’s time to put my England shirt on and go to the Gym.

Third or fourth, it doesn’t matter. I’m very proud of the National side. They’re my team again.