I’m not your typical naval-gazing modern day philosopher, nor do I pretend to be so. I struggle with trying to do everything – work, friends, family, exercise, hobbies. I’m so busy trying to get better at all of it that I forget to stop and think; to take stock of my life.
I think that we’re all guilty of that – but sometimes we need to remember to be content, to truly live in the moment.
Yesterday, Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits came home from a long day’s filming and told me how moved he’d been by a story that he’d heard on the radio. An old lady had written in to thank the presenter for keeping her company, she enjoyed his show and listened to the radio a lot since her husband had died a few years ago. She used the radio to keep her company, and listening to music that she’d listened to with her husband brought her comfort through her loneliness and seclusion.
This sparked a conversation that we should never either take our lives nor each other for granted. I realised that I am blessed on so many fronts, that I experience a deep and meaningful love and I have a rewarding and challenging career. We have enough money to live on and have a small amount of savings should something in our lives go awry. We have siblings, our parents and an extended family which have enriched our lives and who continue to stimulate us.
I am thankful for the life that I lead and the choices that have brought me here.
As I watch the news, read articles and features and see what is happening in the world outside of my own little bubble, I realise how lucky I am to be here. It all could have been so different. I am truly happy.
It all started with my spa day on Friday. I left my phone in my locker, and allowed myself to switch off, completely. This is usually very difficult for me – someone is usually texting, tweeting or emailing me and in this modern world we live in, I feel driven to respond almost immediately, because otherwise it’s rude.
Is it any wonder then that we burn out, or find it difficult to switch off and sleep? I’ve become programmed to deal with everything as it happens and constantly amend plans already in place to deal with the latest event. It’s not just me, it’s everyone I know.
But I know that I was run down and on the cusp of a burn out and so I begrudgingly booked myself in for the spa day. A day of total retreat and relaxation, with a 90 minute massage and a reflexology session thrown in for good measure. And I realised how good it was to be switched off from technology for a while. An unexpected delight came from the tea room menu – toast and marmite 🙂
So good in fact that it’s now Sunday evening, and I’m only just reading through emails, texts and tweets that have come in over the last 72 hours.
Instead I’ve spent my time listening to music, reading, exercising and have even managed a marathon ironing session. It’s been good for me.
I’m now ready to switch back on. Maybe I should ease my way in via online shopping? There’s worse ways to spend one’s time!
Don’t get me wrong, I can relax with the best of you – as long as it’s on my own terms. Snuggled indoors with a good book or film, Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits, and (perhaps) a glass of wine or two.
But, when someone tells me to relax I respond in exactly the same way – I clam up and do exactly the opposite. I’ve frustrated hair dressers, manicurists, beauticians, masseuses – and those are the very people who are attempting to soothe away my worries. Imagine my reaction to dentists, doctors and those people who have to inflict pain for the greater good.
“Just relax” are words to instill me into a state of rigidity normally only seen in tantrum riddled toddlers. It’s a defensive mechanism brought on by youthful excursions to A&E; treatment of split heads, torn ligaments and pretty much anything else always started with a “Just relax” statement before things got prodded, pulled and strapped back into shape.
It doesn’t help that health professionals still use these words today; recent experiences include root canal dental work, cortisone injections into both hands, and the poor practice nurse that swabs your cervix with alarming regularity.
Little wonder then, that my instincts ensure that my body hears “Brace, brace” every time those two other words are uttered.
I am going to a spa day on Friday and have a couple of treatments booked – let’s hope they don’t say those two little words.
I’m a coffee loving kind of girl. In my prime I would be ordering an early morning, pre-travel gigantic 5 shot latte. How I loved them, they nurtured me from the passive state of near-sleep to the pre-dawn meeting prep that a long train journey brings.
I still love coffee, but tea has sneaked in over the years. Current favourites are Lipton’s Moroccan Spiced, any Earl Grey and any type of fruit tea. I avoid peppermint and camomile, they’re just too horrible to contemplate as I can’t get passed the smell to sip them.
Green tea used to live in the latter category, but slowly and surely I’ve begun to integrate it into my daily beverage intake. If I’m feeling particularly pious, I even drink it before that all important first cup of coffee. But that’s pretty unusual if I’m honest.
Put it down to trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle, cutting back on caffeine and upping the water levels. It still isn’t great – I never think, “mmmmm, that cup of green tea really hit the spot”, but I do want to believe it’s doing me good. I just wish it tasted a little bit better.
It’s been quite a year, 2013.
January started full of hope: this would be the year that I got fit and honed a body to be proud of; it would be the year that I perfected my work/life balance; it was to be the year that I started writing, seriously writing.
But it’s also been a year of loss, of stress and of responsibility.
So this year’s aims are adjusted: to grow and develop as a leader, cajoling and encouraging my team to up their game; to continue to work on achieving the body beautiful and remembering that perfection is just a notion in my head; and to strive for the work/life balance where following your heart as often as your head is possible.
I have lots to look forward to: a lovely long bank holiday weekend of rest and relaxation (and ironing); a 10 day holiday away with Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits; and some precious time with my parents who are coming to visit in October.
So that’s the heart taken care of; a protein shake and a sweat-inducing workout will take care of the body; and the mind, well – it’s not doing so badly after all.
Don’t get me wrong, I love sport. I loved it long before the London Olympics. I’ve loved it since I was a clumsy little girl.
But, I just don’t understand cricket. I can admire it, and respect cricketers as true athletes, but even after a decade living down here in Cricket heaven, I still don’t really understand the rules, or why they bother at all.
I get the concepts – overs, unders, wickets, runs – it’s the scoring I can’t wrap my brain around. I just don’t care enough to learn the rules – life is too short to understand what a score of something like 436 for 3 actually means. What’s that about? Each season I feign interest with colleagues who perk up from their desks every so often asking what the latest score is. I gain kudos by repeating parrot style what’s just been reported – but if someone asked me to break it down any further I’d be stumped. See what I did there?
My idea of hell is travelling with a cricket fanatic colleague on a long car journey – I’ve been known to fake a kidney infection just to make us stop at more services so I can get a break from it.
I may be a philistine but life is too short for cricket.