The Best Thing

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‘There will come a moment,’ my PT told me, quite early on in training, ‘when your body will start telling you things. Maybe it will be a pain that’s not normal, or a reaction to an exercise that you don’t like. When this happens, you need to learn to listen, and act appropriately.’

Yesterday afternoon I got back from picking up the youngest from School, came to sit down here to work and my body waved at me. The conversation then went something like this:

– Hi there! You remember that time when your PT told you I’d start talking to you?

– Yeah, I do as it happens…

– Well, this is the moment when I tell you that running 2k yesterday plus the anxiety of both going to the Dentist and your son’s school today has compounded to a situation where I’m forcibly shutting down higher brain functions for the evening. No more thinking for you, Missy!

– But, hang on, I planned to write tonight!

– Nope, if you do that you’ll get frustrated, angry and everybody will just go backwards and there is NO WAY that this is happening. Sorry. You have to believe the flesh on this one. Go play Warcraft all night, switch mind and body RIGHT OFF and we’ll come back to it tomorrow and you know what? You’ll not only feel better, but we’ll get more done. TRUST ME.

– I’m supposed to trust a body that wakes me up at 5am every morning with a hot flush???

– Look, M8, I can’t fight millions of years of evolutionary process, but how about I let you sleep through to 6am coz it’s Saturday… sound fair?

– Okay, dun. Someone needs to order me Chinese takeaway now…

– If you hang about I bet you can persuade Mr Alt to do that… ^^

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That, everybody, is what a decent night’s sleep and a lie in should look like and that’s not just my body talking. Also, the final iteration of my husband’s blog artwork has now become his logo, and I don’t thing he did it just to be nice. I feel it was used because it shows I understand what bike porn is and why my husband is so enamoured with it. Don’t look at me like that, fixating on inanimate objects is perfectly normal, or else consumerism wouldn’t be destroying society. So neurgh.

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I suspect, as has been the case a lot of late, I’ll look back on this week and know it was when a piece of the puzzle finally fitted and made sense. No more need to push the point.

It just keeps getting better.

Bad Day

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There’s a trend of late, that disturbs me greatly. Someone who clearly has an axe to grind at the actions of someone else will post something via Social media to the effect of ‘oh my God this is terrible and WRONG and as a result I won’t buy/watch/take part in this thing any more.’ Let me give you an example that Duncan Jones tweeted into my timeline late yesterday evening:

Of course, all of this indignation hinges on your definition of wrong. As men have been kissing each other since Roman times, I see no problem with television showing the action. I also see no problem with people calling someone out who mistakenly has decided that allowing this in a sci-fi show is somehow appealing to a demographic, when that show has historically broken cultural barriers since debuting in the 1960’s. Some people have short memories, and many others need to understand that the wrong they’re seeing is not somebody else’s problem, but their own perception at fault.

More people need to admit they’re wrong in public.

The last month has seen a palpable sea change in the US over what counts as decent behaviour. There’s a realisation emerging that shallow, indistinct indignation is no longer enough to make the changes people want, and more and more individuals are taking matters into their own hands. Slowly, but surely, the swamp might yet begin to drain, but not perhaps in the way many Republicans expected. The acid test is whether telling other people someone is wrong works in the same way as that person admitting the fault themselves. In this case, silence seems only to confirm culpability, as has been the case for Weinstein and an increasing number of high profile celebrities.

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However, sometimes sorry is not enough. Sure, its great to be vindicated, and refreshing to be proven correct, but when apologies come from people you cannot believe understand the value of either contrition or remorse… it is a very human emotion to want justice, and to demand acceptance. However, nobody learns anything until the fundamentals are grasped with considerably more willingness. Teaching people it is weak to admit failure is bollocks. Knowing how to fail is a skill far more people need to learn and accept as part of life. The trick, as is the case with most things, is finding the balance. I can build myself up and knock myself down without anyone else involved. Sometimes, that’s essential to get the day done.

Mostly, if you could stop thinking that what two blokes do on screen is corrupting your society that seems happy to attack women, ostracise anyone who’s not white and condemn other religions that aren’t Christianity? That might be a start. However, please don’t go too far the other way. Listening to people on my Social media feed publicly blaming other people for their own inability to self-help, self-care or make the best of what are incredibly privileged situations to begin with seems to be flavour of the month. Maybe the answer isn’t to sit there feeling sorry for yourself but start effecting long term change. I began with 30 minutes around the block every day. The first step is the hardest, but the benefits (trust me) are enormous.

After that, if you’re happier pretending everybody else is wrong but you, you’re probably on your own.

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.

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

Toast

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Because I’m stupid, I forget just how much better everything is on a decent night’s kip. Last night’s nine hours plus is a case in point: it means breakfast preparation isn’t a slog, the tea tastes better and there is less of a desire to blow all my good work for the week by sitting and procrastinating. Therefore, today, there will be a To Do list BEFORE the Gym, some running for the first time (due to blood donation) and then some afternoon gaming. I’ve broken 10k on NaNo but need to go back and check my work. I know that’s not supposed to be the point but as I’m ahead, I want to make sure it all makes sense. Then the next goal is 15k before I go to bed tonight.

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That means being super organised on next week’s work, but a lot of that is already completed (YAY PLANNING.) However, the only way to continue that is BY MOAR PLANNING and so there needs to be the brain in gear and eyes on the ball. Every week, this dance gets easier (even if the metaphors remain sadly contrived) and once one thing is a habit, I can start working on the other things.

Who knows, there might even be some thoughts provoked next week.

[PS: Made it to 13k, never made the Gym but I’m BACK AT IT TOMORROW.]

Life Through a Lens

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The plan, starting tomorrow, is beginning to take form. I will, every day, make time for a new personal header image all the way to December. Tomorrow is my first Blood donation since surgery, so I’ll be forced into maintenance mode in terms of exercise: my Trainer’s gonna give me advice on how I do a week like this, meaning I’ll be back to full capacity on the 6th. Next week I’m gearing up for NaNoWriMo, plus getting some new things ready to roll.

I am cautiously optimistic at the way forward.

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The end of my Haiku project is coming up, and I have enjoyed it so much I think I will do another series in December, with Christmas backdrops. There are other projects to do too: making Christmas gifts, organising my wardrobe (finally) and setting some new Health goals for 2018. I don’t need to wait for January 1st to do all this either. It can happen next week, or tomorrow, or even right now. Spontaneity is finally returning as a viable option. I’d forgotten how much fun that was too.

Right now, it is time for a much-needed rest day, a lot of domestic faffing plus a lot of backlogs to finally deal with. I’ll see you bright and early tomorrow.

Panic

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Yesterday was a hard one for me. I woke up ready to do a lot of important stuff with my son, who completely forgot we’d organised it. This makes me cross,  but I’m trying not to get angry about it, so there was lots of deep breathing and patience. Then my daughter insisted on rearranging my afternoon. I was about 82% cool about this. After all, until both of them are 18, I am still responsible for actions and that means… well, being flexible. There were days I’d really struggle with this when I (and more importantly they) were younger.

By teatime, I was mentally exhausted, and still hadn’t done a weights day at the Gym, so managed to get myself out of the house. Arriving at said establishment, it became apparent that they were holding a ‘Power Hour’: DJ, lots of free instruction, and no way I’d be able to do what I’d planned. If I’d been in private I’d have just gone and locked myself in my bedroom and cried over the change… however I was stuck in the lobby, waiting to get in.

I panicked.

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Except, this time I didn’t just turn and go home, which was normally how I’d deal with these situations in the past. I focussed on breathing and trying to make the feelings of anxiety and fear into something positive. After all, I’ve been practising all this mindfulness for exactly these occasions. This is the moment where I’m supposed to use the shit to good effect… and I was reasonably successful. There were no (major) tears and a surprisingly dispassionate response to all of it. However, my higher brain functions largely shut down, I forgot how to talk and so just ran and Octane-d. However, I did force myself to do the Negatives in front of about double the normal number of Friday night Gym goers.

I still feel sick this morning: however, once I’ve eaten and had a cuppa I’ll go and walk back there and do the weights I couldn’t do yesterday, so I have done at least two sessions this week. I can return to three next week as everyone is back at school. On reflection, I know now all the reasons why yesterday ended up as it did. I can work out how to make things better based on a whole day’s worth of data. I can also be reassured that the Mindfulness training has 100% improved my entire existence. Yesterday could have ended up as the first day when I truly went backwards on exercise, but instead, it will now be remembered as the first day I fought, beat and won against a panic attack.

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I ache a lot this morning, and very little of it is to do with last night’s exercise, I suspect: stress has begun to physically manifest in my body as I have gotten older. My sleep wasn’t stellar last night either as a result but I got a full 8 hours in total, so that’s enough. I wanted to write this down this morning after a night to reflect because I’m only just beginning to grasp how important yesterday was in making sure I’m mentally prepared for what is to come. Doing stuff on my own used to be a fraught experience, but not so much now.

I look forward to the day when I can breeze through everything and wonder what the fuss was about, to begin with.