The Winner Takes it All

On the To Do list is to make some headers using imagery from the Italy trip, but that involves me getting around to uploading the pictures to Flickr. It’ll happen, probably some time next week when I plan everything a bit more precisely.

I have been very surprised since returning from holiday at how my perception of the world appears to have subtly altered. I’ve read a couple of really difficult articles in the last few days too: how the menopause destroyed a woman’s whole existence plus stories of the people who died in the Genoa bridge disaster (the same bridge we marvelled at just over two weeks ago when crossing it.) All of this has distilled together, and Ruth’s tweet this morning sparked a train of thought that now demands some attention: why can’t we just be happy with what we have?

It’s a classic tale: you’re healthy, can feed yourself and don’t have to worry about how normal life pans out, and yet everybody’s aspiring to be somewhere else. There’s no desperate rush to get anywhere and yet we all tear headlong into each new thing without thought for consequences. The diet that we thought was great for us at the time then turns out to be less than stellar, or the game we play is boring because we consumed all the content far too fast in the first place. Then, rather that look to ourselves as the reason for all this, it is simply easier to blame someone else.

None of this is news, or any surprise when viewed in the History of Human Behaviour. There is a fixation in us all of our point of current existence: the stuff at either side of this, or at points in future (or past) is very easy to forget. Focusing on now however has multiple consequences: for our kids, for instance, who have their whole lives ahead to live and are unlikely to remember a lot of what happened as kids, unless it is traumatic. The individual perceptions of benefit and pain are also so subjective that what some people might think of as the depths of depression are quite normal operating parameters for someone else.

Then, when asked on top of all of this to present answers to questions like ‘what do I aspire to’ it would be very easy to just say what everybody else does to feel part of the whole, or aspire to be in a position where you could simply buy your way out of trouble. That whole thing about money not affording happiness is a lie too, when you stand back from the truth. I read somewhere that GoFundMe in the US is paying more people’s medical bills in the US than some insurance companies. When that’s the only option for many when disaster strikes, aspiring to wealth makes perfect sense.

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My kids often berate me for being too worthy, that persisting in my attempts to make them recycle, turn off lights and consider the environment don’t need to be repeated ad nauseum. My husband gets annoyed when I pull the Political Correctness card… and there is the sense that worthiness is all well and good to a point. We all want to be lazy, and not worry about the stuff that is someone else’s problem. Except, as time goes on, these issues are everybody’s to solve, and inertia piles up as does rubbish around us. Sometimes, happiness isn’t enough: as this is the happiest I’ve been in 51 and a bit years, by some way, and just enjoying it has become an issue.

The lesson I finally learnt is a simple one: yes, you can arrive at your aspirations, and live a perfect existence, but what happens then? As there’s been so much effort exerted to get this far, I can’t just sit around in my perfect life and be happy, because there has to continue to be forward movement. Once I achieve something, there’s no point in just stopping and saying I’m done. My happiness depends on a continual, gradual process of self-improvement for as long as I still draw breath, and that needs to happen every day, without fail. To maintain the happiness, it has to be worked at.

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This .GIF remains a constant warning of my Past Self to Future Self: just because you did something good, doesn’t mean you can relax. This is not about points on a board or favours piled up. Life should be a constant case of reassessment and consideration: is this working, should I try something else, would that be sensible? Right now that means girding my loins and looking at swimming lessons, so I can finally do laps of a pool without fear. It is what pushes me to complete two contest deadlines with absolutely no guarantee of success, but the understanding that the more stuff is entered, the better my writing skills become.

Happiness isn’t enough to be satisfied, at least not for me.

Honesty

This week’s going by quite fast, but the progression within is more than acceptable. I can now do dips at the Gym (and will be going back to practice those later) and my upper body strength is… well, coming along nicely. I tweaked a bicep after Monday, but everything appears to be fine today. It’s gonna be some running and some lifting, therefore, followed by balancing and core work. There’s also gonna be cycling tonight, because London to Southend is not very far away.

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After that, there is a PHENOMENAL amount of poetry to be written, and short stories to be planned, and a lot of thought over how I schedule stuff during August. Most of that will happen next week, on reflection, but for now there’s a calm over content which is quite reassuring. Yes, there was also an annoying (but predictable) fuck-up yesterday, because it wouldn’t be an application process without me making a mess of something. Hopefully, I’ve now got that part of the journey better covered.

I’m also grumpy. It’s not a bad feeling, in fact it is in places funny, but to share it would make more people unhappy than it would allow me to feel better. The key between Old Me and New Me is that instead of just saying what’s on my mind and ignoring the consequences, there’s the desire to just let it go, without the need to make my point. Yeah, it’s a bit hard to cope with right now, but tea and distraction will make everything better.

This energy can then be directed elsewhere.

The Pleasure Principle

There’s a blog post I could write this morning about how all of us have short memories and fixate on the things that often don’t need fixing at all. Instead of that, there’s a bit of writing, then it is high time some weights were lifted, some cardio undertaken and my own shortcomings taken care of. If we all took as much time correcting the faults in our own lives as was consumed by the critical assassination of others, the World would undoubtedly be a better place.

In fact, that’s what matters more than anything else. Fix myself, as well as is possible (and if that’s not attempt to find someone who can help) and when that’s done to a standard that is acceptable, then there’s the opportunity to consider something else.

Life is too short to obsess about things that are out of your hands.

Round and Round

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Last week wasn’t meant to be a line in the sand, but ended up that way regardless. It means that starting today, there needs to be an awful lot of steps and exercise to maintain momentum.

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That top number’s not accurate either, by the end of yesterday I’d managed 22k steps. Today I’m planning to walk to the Gym after lunch, do an hour of weights then come back, with an hour of cycling in the evening. I start with my new PT on Thursday so it would be useful to look as if there’s an effort being made before then. Most importantly of all, my arm’s now at a stage where exercise is simply an inconvenience and not either painful or an effort.

It is time to get working.

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That first week was when the old drugs were switched for new and body was just exhausted. After that, there has been a slow and steady increase in both effort and ability. I don’t think 12k steps a day is at all unrealistic. I’m not sure 23k a day is doable if there has to be work involved, but that’s a decent point to aim for. There’s half a plan to leave my car in the Gym car park after dropping off my daughter each day next week, exercising and then walking home, before coming back to pick it up for the return School Run.

I doubt anyone would notice that if I did.

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Right, I need to be exercising and now writing now.

Down, Down

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I’ve spoken before about my obsession with weight, for that is what this remains. I think, after 436 attempts to move past five pounds lost, it is probably the moment to accept some shortcomings. I’m dreadful with discipline and patience. It is easier not to think healthily when stressed. Given the chance, eating is the answer to depression, anxiety and anger. Except, as of today, it isn’t anymore. None of these things remains acceptable as a path forward.

How do you realistically alter the habits of a lifetime?

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Instead of obsessing about this to a large audience, it is time to go small. It is incredibly simple to alter long-term habits. You just do it. Inevitably, there will be fuck ups along the way, and then these occur the solution is not to go back to the old ways. However, four hundred and thirty-five times, I’ve not made it past the first hurdle. That alone should be shame-inducing enough to alter course if it is admitted publicly. The bigger issue, however, is the obsession, and that’s something I watch other people do online every day.

That seems to break down into two categories: the people who grasp they are, and those with no idea it is happening. I don’t want to be the person other people laugh at or point towards because there is a fixation with the same subjects, time and again. This should not about making shortcomings public property… except, to shame me sufficiently into alteration, that’s the path that will now be taken. I can’t be back here in a month with a deeper furrow trodden. I am no longer enough. Please take away your motivational posters, and let me accept the failure for what it is.

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The only person this matters to, in the end, is me. However, so much does hang around this goal, and has done historically for years. The tools are now available to complete the task, and yet it remains undone… and there’s understanding now as to why because once this is fixed, there are bigger demons to face. No matter. Getting nowhere is no longer an option. Wasting time on things and people who do not care is also part of the past. The future is written on my terms.

The next time we talk about this, I’ll have my 10 pounds lost badge.

The Other Side

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Yesterday did not run to plan. However, the consequences of not getting what I wanted to be done are variously awesome: a couple of large domestic issues are solved, there’s a brand new shower door, and a lot of my daughter’s workspaces are considerably less cluttered and crowded than was the case. There’s four bags of recycling prepared, another three of rubbish, and I’ve managed to set up my Pedometer with the Zwift app so can start running/walking online tomorrow. All in, all, yesterday exceeded expectation.

It’s a chastening experience when you grasp that a lot of your own frustration is borne from the fact others won’t do stuff in the order you wanted. It is part of my own selfishness that has always run over into home life, and it takes a series of events such as the ones that happened yesterday to make me grasp the wider significance. It meant dropping everything and spending an hour cleaning old mastic off tiles, and making it possible for my husband to go buy the stuff needed to finish the shower door job. It was, and really is, remarkably mundane, and illuminated in my head a basic understanding.

I suspect this is all completely normal thinking processes for everybody else.

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Therefore, this morning the schedule’s gonna be rearranged a bit too. Always on the cards was a trip to a Retro/Vintage Fair in town, but this afternoon after I’ve worked a bit I’ll reorganise my plan from yesterday: clear out crap, increase space and generally make the world around my working space more conducive to, you know, working.

Let’s get started.

Hit Me with your Rhythm Stick

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Things that I have learnt from the last week include the following:

  • White bread is now The Enemy. No more sneaky nicking a pretzel anymore for lunch. If I want poached eggs, granary only. I don’t care if your brain screams nostalgia, having lost my gallbladder now means body bloats like it is a balloon full of helium. Just don’t. There is other stuff too. Just eat better. You know what the benefits are when that happens, so why won’t you fully commit?
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  • My body is not happy for at least 120 hours after giving blood. That means next time there’ll need to be a full week of light exercise, building back to normal. 72 hours is not enough. As I’ve crashed three times now at the same point each time, under the exact same conditions, this is a decent sign to accept that for a sacrifice, there are consequences. I feel pretty good this morning though, so that’s good.
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  • My personal life is a fucking mess. I spent an hour this morning sorting portions of that out, and once I’ve done the writing here there’ll be some effort to alter some more. Professionally, however, it’s looking decent. Maybe everything is impossible, but until it is tried, how will I know?
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  • It is time for a Minimalism purge. Schedule a day to clear the PC. Time to unsubscribe from a bunch of mailing lists too. Make everything simpler. You do not need the clutter. You do not need all of this stuff, it’s a crutch you should be running without.
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jokerherewego

No more fucking about. Let’s get to it.