Tag Archives: life

Should we be content with content?

29 Jun

Have you ever kissed someone and had the whole world stop?  Everything fade away until all that is left is you and the other person and the moment, and the knowledge that nothing will ever be the same again.

That doesn’t happen, right?

Or have you had a job that you love going to, that it doesn’t matter how many hours you work because working just re-energises you? That you get so much satisfaction out of knowing you’ve done a good job and had a positive impact that you just can’t wait to go back to work.

That doesn’t happen, right?

So instead, lets settle for a job that pays the bills and is secure; for a relationship with someone that’s nice and reliable and who, “yes, of course I love them, its just, well….”

That’s what happens in real life, isn’t it.  That’s what life is about, isn’t it.  Isn’t it?

But what if it isn’t?   Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticising on either side or saying one way is better or worse than the other.  Everyone has to do what is right for them.  If you find a way of having a calm and settled life that fulfils you and makes you happy, then that’s fantastic.

Certainly I sometimes wonder if part of my stress is caused by always striving for something that I’m not quite certain even exists.  My job, for argument’s sake:  it pays me pretty well, I’ve done it for a long time and, unless I do something daft, is pretty secure.  But recently its destroyed my confidence and caused me much more unhappiness than satisfaction.  I can’t remember when I last enjoyed going to work – even getting there without having a panic attack on the way would be good (ps:  cycling to work is great for helping reduce this, its difficult to have a panic attack when you’re riding a bike nicknamed Bella that makes you want to sing in Italian!).  Is that because I’m expecting too much from a job? If I just accepted that I’ll go in, do what I can and then go home, not looking to move up or help things be more effective, perhaps I’d be happier.

Maybe its better to get to a certain point and settle there.  My weight, for example. I’ve worked hard to lose weight and get in shape (or at least, a better shape).  This wasn’t helped by the arthritis diagnosis, although knowing that the pain would be eased by losing weight did give a push in the right direction.  So now I’m at a size that is ok.  I’m normal weight, I look ok in clothes.  I’m working hard on personalised workouts which are having an impact (I can actually see muscles in my arms and that thigh tattoo is getting closer).  But I know that if I really focussed on my nutrition and upped my workouts I’d get closer to where I actually want to be.  This is also where you realise there are some things that are acceptable to say and some that aren’t: when I’ve mentioned that I still want to lose more weight/tone up more the comments are all along the lines of “no, you’ll look haggard”, “you’ll look ill”, even though I’m nowhere near the lower levels of my BMI.  (As an aside rant:  All those ‘motivational’ posters now about, “its about being fit, not being thin” – no, you didn’t get like that just through working out, you have adjusted your eating, I do believe the saying that you can’t out train a bad diet.)  But anyway, I digress.  This is about whether its ok to be content with content.  So should I be happy at just being the weight and fitness level I am?

Should I be content to have a job that pays the bills and is secure?  Should I look for a relationship with someone who would be reliable and dependable and, ok, I might not be able to talk to them about absolutely anything or absolutely nothing and they just totally get me, but they are nice?  Should I settle at the weight and shape I am?   Would it be so wrong and way less stressful, to just be content with content?

Sure, I can see the advantages in being thankful for what I have, for living in the moment, counting my blessings, being realistic in my expectations.   Blah blah blah.  But won’t it be equally stressful, just maybe in a different way, to always have a niggling doubt at the back of my mind that it could be better?  Always wondering if only I’d taken a risk or tried a bit harder or been a bit more focussed, that I could have achieved so much more.  Oh, and who is to say what’s realistic or not – who is setting those boundaries?

I’m going to say it again – this is not a criticism of anyone who says they have achieved exactly what they wanted and that they aren’t settling for content with content and that, actually, what’s wrong with content?  There isn’t anything wrong with content.  Content is great.

If that’s what you want.

But I don’t think I do.  I want to have that feeling of the world stopping; I want that feeling of knowing I’ve made a difference; I want that feeling of knowing I’m the best I can be.

If I’d been content with content, I’d still be with my first husband and working as a secretary – and probably 5 stone overweight, drinking heavily and hiding in the bathroom to cry when no-one was looking!

So I’m going to try and find a balance:  I’ll be content about what I’ve achieved so far, but not content to stop there.  It’ll be my stepping stone.  I can only be content here if I know its acting as a base to work towards where I actually want to be.  Use the good things about my job, my fitness, heck, even what I’ve learned from relationships, to act as the foundation for getting something more.  To getting that unrealistic aim – because its only unrealistic if I believe it is.  Hell:  I believe in zombies and aliens and ghost monkeys, I can certainly believe in having a job that I want to go to every single day; a body that can sport a leg tattoo and vest top with pride and finding a man that will make the world stop when they kiss me!

Inspiration

 

 

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Waiting for the green man

31 Aug

I was rushing into town today.  I’d had 4 hours sleep after nightshift, needed to get to optician and then on to another appointment and was running out of time.  The pedestrian crossing was red but the road was clear, however, a small girl across the other side had just been told by her mum to stand back from the kerb and wait for the little green man.  I couldn’t run across and set a bad example.  So I waited.  And took time to breathe deeply, to unhunch my shoulders and to feel the sun on my face.  It felt good.  I started to remember what it was like as a child.

When a summer’s day where you could splash in the paddling pool; or chase dandelion fairies; or just spin round and round with the warmth on your face was the best day ever.

Until Autumn, when you could kick through the leaves and throw them over your head, with crinkly colours landing on your smile; gather conkers and get excited for the fireworks that would be coming soon.  THAT was the best day ever.

Then the snow of winter:  snowmen; wooly gloves laden with snow-ice that you just licked off like a hairy ice lolly; hot chocolate and marshmallows to defrost you at the end of the day.  That HAS to be best day EVER.

When change was scary but so exciting.  The first day of new school.  What would your teacher be like?  The other pupils?  Would there be someone new?  Were you going to be the new person?  (I moved around a lot as a child and went to a lot of schools, I know that ‘new girl, first day’ feeling well.  PS – I was an army kid, we weren’t on the run nor  was I just being expelled each time!)

But while nerves were tingling, you couldn’t wait to get in there and meet the challenge head on, because you didn’t know that being nervous was a reason not to do something.

When, if you fell over you just got back up and rushed back to try again.  Falling over wasn’t a reason to miss out on the excitement of life – your friends would still be playing, you needed to be there in the thick of it.  Sitting, fidgeting as your mum stuck on a plaster, because you were impatient to get back out there and climb that tree again until you DID reach the high branch and didn’t fall out; to make it all the way down the hill in the go-kart made from a toy pram.  Even though 17 times already it had tipped you out and cut your lip open.

A time when every day held the possibility of being the Best Day Ever.

When falling down was never a reason to stop.

When nerves were never a reason not to try.

When fear of change was never a reason to hold on to the past.

So maybe we need that pause at the red light and remember what it was like to be a kid, so that when the green man appears we bound ahead with the enthusiasm and optimism we used to have.

DSC_0182

If I knew yesterday what I know today would I be looking at a different tomorrow

17 Jan

Do you remember that episode of Dr Who a few Christmases ago? Where Catherine Tate turns left instead of right and changes the course of the whole world? Everything ends up in chaos and destruction.  I was thinking about that as I ran the other night.  I wondered if I knew yesterday what I knew today would I be looking at a different tomorrow?  Not that I think if I’d taken a different choice would it impact on the whole world (or even that David Tennant, the REAL Dr, would come dashing in- I wish!) but who knows.  

 
What if I’d not changed my mind about going to Spain? What if I’d never left Hampshire? What if I hadn’t looked at ex’s phone that early morning?  What if I’d stayed in my first job and not left to be with my first husband? There’s so many points where I could have turned left instead of right.  Without the advantage of rewind or fast forward (or very good scriptwriters) I’ll never know how things could have been.  All I know and can know is the now.  Who is to say if a different direction had been taken things wouldn’t be very much bleaker? What if this IS the life where the Dr and Catherine Tate met up and saved the world? Is this what people mean when they talk about living in the moment?  So would I, if the Dr came and offered to whisk me back in the Tardis and change things, would I?
 
No.
 
I am where I am because the decisions I made at the time brought me here.  When I made them, I made them for a reason.  Those reasons, in hindsight or to someone else, might seem crazy.  But they were my decisions and they made me who I am and were based on who I am.  So I stand by them.  They brought me some wonderful, truely amazing moments that I’ll never forget and will cherish in my heart and soul for always.  They also brought me some awful moments, which I will try to learn from.  I’ll continue to work towards the things I want and to hold on to my dreams, but without torturing myself on the could have beens. 
 
So if yesterday me had today’s knowledge or even tomorrow’s knowledge, I wouldn’t change the things I did.  
 
Well, maybe apart from altering my lottery numbers.  Hey, I’m human and fallible, not a Time Lord. 

Sent from my iPad

Hope Stomps on Toads

9 Dec

There’s been a bit of a gap in my write ups, even though I’ve written a dozen in my head as I ran or walked the dog or just couldn’t sleep at night.  I was very conscious that I didn’t want to write a mopey, complaining blog (having just unfollowed a couple of people on Twitter for being a real life version of @uokhun, I felt it would be a bit hypocritical!).   A little while ago I did an informal update about how well things had gone this year, and they had – I’d left a marriage because husband was cheating, I’d moved out of the marital home and bought my own house, I’d taken and passed promotion exam, lost stone and a half and recovered sufficiently well from two lots of stomach surgery to be able to consider training for a marathon, all no mean feat.

Then I went into a bit of a slump and turned into an all round pity party for myself.  The toads were leaping around in my head, spraying their poison and croaking evil (am I misquoting Shakespeare there, not sure, I’ll google later).  But you know, after a couple of weeks of that it hasn’t actually made any difference.  Who knew? feeling sorry for yourself, crying pitifully, moping around and eating crap actually doesn’t result in life getting better – big shocker there, huh?   Hmm, note to self – that may be good title for a self-help book along the boot camp, tough love line.

Anyway, back to the point …. I have been dwelling on the things I haven’t got, but actually – what does that achieve?  Don’t worry, its not a test question, I’ll give you the answer …. It achieves precisely nothing, zilch, nada.  It doesn’t move you forward.   It just makes you feel like you’re sitting in a pit of treacle, and not in a good way.

So what if my 2nd marriage has gone tits up.  At least I know for next time what I will and won’t be prepared to live with and what I want.  There are plenty of people out there in relationships they don’t want to be in, but which they feel they have to be in for a variety of reasons.  All of those reasons may be valid to them, and that is fine.  But it doesn’t mean I have to dive into a relationship that isn’t right or what I want.  At least being single I’m ready and able to grab an opportunity if someone comes along that is right for me, who likes me exactly as I am  – bit bolshy, bit gobby, odd sense of humour, bit of a feeder, crewed up with an insane dog.  If that person doesn’t come along, then I’ll be fine on my own.

So what if work has been a bit frustrating lately.  If I don’t like it – do something about it.  There are plenty of people out there that don’t have a job.  Who are struggling to know how they’ll meet their bills or support their kids.  I’m in a secure job, I’m well paid.  I should be bloody grateful for that.  Passing the exam is first step towards moving on, so what if there might not be boards for a while.  It doesn’t mean I have to sit back and do nothing.  I can either stop moaning or deal with what is frustrating me or look for alternative roles.  I can even, if I really wanted, save up enough to take a career break, rent the house out and go travelling for a year or go and run a bed and breakfast/cake shop in Spain.  Those options are all there, sitting around moping isn’t going to change things.  Getting off my arse and doing something will.

So what if it turned out some people I thought were friends turned out not to be – I still have some amazing friends round me now.  I won’t do a shout out as it’ll embarrass those I name and turn into a bit of an Oscar acceptance speech.  But suffice to say, I’m astoundingly lucky to have people who will listen to me, drink vast quantities of coffee with me, talk random crap with me, laugh with me (at me?) and just generally be there for me (and I hope I’m there for them, too).   If I’m totally honest about things, I’d rather have those people in my life as friends than be stuck in a bad relationship.  I know those aren’t exclusive, but in my head I know what I mean and I hope it makes sense.  So thank you to my friends (again!) and I give you permission that if I start to go into a pity party again you are allowed to slap me, quite hard.

What I’m trying to say is, I’ve got a whole load of positive things in my life and most of all, I have hope and whilst it would be a strange game of ‘rock, paper, scissors’, I’m fairly certain that Hope kills Toads.

Baron+Von+Greenback

Your time is up, toad, mwhah hah hahhahhah!!

Another mile closer …

14 Oct

This week has been a bit of a struggle.  One of those where everything just seems to pile up on top of me and all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball under my duvet and stay there for a month or two.   But I guess when you’re a grown up and you have responsiblities you can’t really do that.  Firstly, they’d stop paying me, but before that I’d probably die of starvation as noone to bring me food and then the dog would eat me as he’d be hungry.  Actually, scratch that, he isn’t the sort of dog that would wait for me to die – he’d smother me with a pillow and then gnaw on my leg!

I knew it was going to be bad on a personal level, but to really kick me in the head, work decided to be really difficult this week.  I ended up having to cancel a day off and I went in on the weekend, yet despite that everything I did just seemed to go wrong.  At one point I cried.  At work.  In front of my boss.  I hate crying in front of anyone.  At all, ever.  To cry in front of my boss was just mortifying!  Although I think he was slightly more perturbed by it than me!

On a personal level its been…. shall we go with ‘challenging’?   Its almost a year now since the day I found the text that showed me my husband was cheating on me.  So it was going to be a bit difficult anyway, he’s still with the woman he cheated on me with and I’m alone.  But in that ‘yes I am going to kick you when you’re down’ way that I mentioned before – they’re heading off to New Zealand on holiday (well, part holiday, part racing in World Championship Tri, but he didn’t qualify so that is sort of amusing to me!).  Its not that I want to be with him, I really don’t.  But New Zealand was a dream holiday for us a few years ago and we always planned on going back.  So that he’s going there with someone else is hard, its as though I’m being airbrushed out of existence.   But more than that, it hurts that I’m still alone.  It hurts that someone can go so quickly from telling you that you’re their soul mate and that they love you so much and then all of a sudden they don’t think that any more and they’re telling someone else that.  It hurts to realise there is noone in the world that loves you.

So I had a bit of a mope this week.  I’ve cried a fair bit at home (in addition to the work bit), I’ve walked the dog in quiet fields and howled alone as I whipped along on the pity train.   But I’ve got a choice, I can sink into a pit of wallowing or I can do what I was doing before – just get on with things.  Get up, go to work, come home, do stuff, watch the days pass by.  So that’s what I’m doing.

In the spirit of that, I’ll focus now on what has been positive:

Had a fabulous weekend last weekend.  Friends came up from Hampshire and we had proper girls night out.  Lunch, wine and shopping during the day.  Cocktails and all of us getting ready together in the evening.  I wore a boned corset that I’d treated myself to and I felt like I looked ok.   I did seem to attract attention from traveller types and not the good ‘aussie back packers on a trip to the UK’ type, but that meant I did get to learn some good techniques from my friend in how to get rid of unwanted attention (that’s never been an issue for me before so I tended to be too polite!!)

I’ve lost more weight and am now less than a pound away from dropping into the ‘tens’ (ten stone bracket, that is, not size 10, thats a bit away yet!).  Even after a blow out weekend last weekend, I got back on to the healthy eating and managed to lose a pound this week.  19 pounds to go to target weight.

I’ve run:

Friday 5/10 I got up early so that I could get a 5k in before work.  It was slow, averaging 12.29 minute miles and I walked some of it.

Recovery from weekend meant I didn’t get back out until the 11th, when I upped the distance to 4.16 miles and dropped the time to 11.10 minute miles.  This time I didn’t walk any of it.  It was also absolutely tipping it down, but not only did I still go out there and do it, I actually enjoyed it more.  I think I mentioned once before that I seemed to like running in the rain.  That does appear to be confirmed.

Today, I wanted to run for an hour just to see if I could.  I had in the back of my head that I’d like to start moving towards the 5mile mark as I’ve got my eye on the Woburn Reindeer 10k in November.  Imagine how pleased I was at the end of the run to realise I’d run 5.46miles at a speed of 11.01 minute miles.   Though clearly as  do like to be hard on myself, I also thought if only I’d run another .04 I’d have done 5.5 and if I’d just sped up a bit I’d have been high 10’s!!!  But it gives me an aim for next week.  A mid week 5.5, a fast 3.1 and a 6mile next weekend.  Also going to look up the application for the reindeer run and have it ready just in case.

The technical bits and a picture of the hilly bits

Hot, sweaty, pasty faced – but proud of me!!

Edinburgh and beyond … things I have done today

2 Oct

Things I have done today:

  • sat a promotion exam
  • run 2.5 miles

I’m trying to take on board some feedback I got from a couple of different people this week, but which was along the same lines:  stop being so hard on yourself and actually acknowledge that you’re doing quite well.  That doesn’t come easily to me, like a lot of us, I’m probably my own worse critic (and bearing in mind some of the criticism I’ve received from others, that’s a hell of thing to be able to claim).  But I’m going to take a bit of a deep breath and whilst doing one of the exercises the physio gave me – I’m going to give myself a pat on the back.  (I will be doing this whilst sitting down and then rotating to one side whilst keeping hips still in order to stretch my back at the same time, fyi.)  I’ve lost 17lbs.   17lbs – that’s actually pretty good.  That would be a fairly hefty baby (apparently), its bigger than a puppy.   I couldn’t run 10k carrying a puppy – that’s perspective!!

I studied for an exam and sat it, not because anyone encouraged me, in fact the opposite, noone has pushed me to do this.  This might be a bad thing and might be a reflection that people think I can’t do it, but noone has taken me under their wing and started pushing me to build a portfolio and all the other blah that is known to happen in my chosen profession.  I did it because I wanted to.  I had to build in the time and still run my house, on my own, while I did it.  That might not be much compared to what some other people have to cope with on a daily basis.  But so what – I did it.  The actual result is fairly irrelevant, I gave it a shot.

Right, now the praise-fest is over, back to basics.  2nd run of this week completed.  Although I was only supposed to be doing a mile to build slowly, that was really never going to happen.  I did keep things slow though, averaging a 12.16 minute mile for 2.56 miles.   Combined walking and gentle jog, warming up with 10 minutes gentle jog then 30 second walk followed by 2.5minute jog, finishing with 9 minute jog.  Took 31 minutes to do 2.5 miles, which is about the pace I was doing a slow 5k, but considering I haven’t run in a dog’s age, not too shabby.  I’d been advised to look at my form and try to relax my back as I run.  I admit I’m a bit confused as to what that means.  I’ve run on and off for about 30 years and have just tended to stick one foot in front of the other and keep going, without putting a huge amount of thought behind it.  So I’m not sure which bits I’m doing right and which bits I’m doing wrong.  So today, I tried to let my arms hang loose so that my shoulders and back weren’t so hunched up.  I’ve always run with clenched fists and sort of punched my arms forward, which when I stand and do it, I can feel is very tensing.  So instead, I left my hands unclenched and open.  I did wonder, as I ran past part of the hospital, whether medical aid would be sent out for me as during the walk parts I took the opportunity to try and shake out my arms and shoulders  to relax them – so there was some rather odd arm waving and shaking going on.  Think some sort of Baptist Church revival sermon and that might give an idea of what I looked like.   On good note – legs felt fine, no problems in legs or feet (which is where past problems have been), which is very positive.  Back does feel a bit tight – but I did spend couple of hours hunched over an exam paper so that could just as easily be responsible.   But to go back to the original point – I went out and ran, even though it was raining, even though I’d already been out and walked some distance with the dog (and got a headbutt into the bargain!), even though I hadn’t had any tea.  No excuses – got out there and hit the pavements.

Food wise – quite proud of fact that I ran right on past the chip shop and didn’t even bat an eyelid.  Got in and didn’t grab junk food, instead I poached fish, roasted butternut squash and made fish pie topped with mashed cauliflower and squash.  Which is what I’m not going to head off to eat.

Overall – a good day.  I’ve stuck a photo below of a poster that I saw advertised ages and ages ago.  I think its meant for a child’s room, but the sentiment holds true whatever your age.

Dream, Imagine and Aspire to be just who you are.

There are dragons to slay

floating on the breeze

7 Aug

I meant to write this update last week, but time got away with me.  Now I’m glad I waited, as it would have been easy to write it last week as last week was a really good week.   Its easier to write positive when you’re feeling good.   I’d had a few days off work, I’d got some revision done, I’d had some really good advice (more in a moment on that) and I had a great evening out for a friend’s leaving do.

Then the weekend happened.  The weekend was fairly crap.  Actually, the weekend was really crap.   Surely though, that’s the reality check to see if the advice really is sinking in or whether I’m just paying lip service?

“have you ever tried really hard for something only to lose it through no fault of your own?  Like a situation totally beyond your control….. So you know no-one can be certain of a future.  You’re not cursed or evil or punished.   You’re just floating along on the breeze.  Without a clue what’s coming.”

When you’re a wee bit of a control freak like me, that’s a difficult thing to hear.  But when I started to really think about it and really work out all the major things that have happened in my life that just came out of nowhere, that I had little or no control over, I realised how true it really was.  And how liberating that felt.  I suppose its just a fancier way of saying ‘I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it’, but it somehow made more sense when it was put in terms of floating along on the breeze, likely to be lifted or dropped depending on the thermals, twisting and turning but still moving.

So when the crap started, yes, I had a mope.  Yes, I had a bit of a rant.  But then I really thought about it:   what could I actually change?  What could I do to make the best of what had happened?   I could decide not to put myself in a position where there could be a repeat of what had happened.  I could decide to focus on good things instead.  I could decide that rather than hide in my cave (as I would in the past) when a friend offered to come round, I could accept.  I had my rant, then we chatted and laughed about other stuff (ok, mainly puppy stuff!).   A fairly major difference that shows to me how far I’ve moved forward:   I went food shopping.  Nothing major there, except – I stuck to my healthy eating shopping list. I ate healthily all weekend.  I didn’t swamp my feelings in a whole loaf turned into toast and jam or eat enough Haribo to turn me into a jelly (belly) teddy.   That might not sound much, but for someone who eats when happy and eats more when upset, it was a big step forward.  I also didn’t dwell.  I picked myself back up, went into work on Monday and just, well, just got on with things.  The breeze had taken me along a different turn, may as well make the most of it.

Floating along on the breeze doesn’t mean that I’m abdicating my sense of responsibility or ambition, or that I’m just leaving everything to fate.  It means I won’t be focussing on the outcome, instead I’ll be putting in the things I need to do each day, be it eating healthily, be it getting another few chapters of revision done, be it sticking a smile on my face and two fingers up at those that try to bring me down.   I’ll put as much into each day as I can so that when opportunity does knock, I’m ready to sling my jacket on, grab my purse and rush off with opportunity wherever it may take me.

Floating