Pause for thought.
Lots of sneezing….and a kink in the road.
Blog time : It’s mid June 2020, cool and humid after a dry and windy May ; in fact there is a thunderstorm grumbling away overhead and it’s just started to rain heavily again. From where i sit at the computer i can see rain bouncing off the end of my Olympic barbell which i moved to under the utility area roof for this morning’s deadlift session : today i decided to have at it and went over 100 Kg for the first time in this cycle of training….anyway i guess there is some stuff to talk about as i haven’t been doing any blogging and writing recently and even this post represents a definite ‘kink in the road’.
My partner says that we all need a reason to get out of bed in the morning even if that is only for the routine of going to a dull and thankless job. Right now a whole load of people have lost even that basic drive, no wonder then that many of them are angry, stressed, fearful or depressed, or maybe or just living in a groundhog day kind of way every day and no day is different . I have to wonder now if the lives of many people are more like the somewhat pointless and drive-less lives of the unemployed and retired.
A very wise man, perhaps one of the wisest men currently living, that we are all far better, from the psychological perspective, when we don’t just have a reason to get out of bed but when we have an aim and a purpose….better again when that is a high goal or noble quest to work towards. That person, by the way, was Dr Jordan Peterson , clinical psychologist, academic , writer and public lecture intellectual. If you want to follow that idea up a bit i’ll try and make sure to provide a link to a JBP mini clip at the end of this post.
As many of my readers and visitors will know, i retired from a very dull and routine job in the NHS last year and within a day of dropping my scrubs in the bin that day i ran away to sea for most of the year : and what a great year that was cruising around Brittany in a too-small boat. Last year i tended to wake up most days in a new situation ; a different port or different anchorage and each day i had to make a conscious decision about what to do that day. This year though , well this year is different and very strange !
I started the year with a good working plan : firstly to get my own health problems sorted out by shedding a load of weight and then getting WABI”’ ready to go with her smart new mainsail, new engine and such like. My plan for this year’s cruise was to get in the water early, do a shakedown trip to the west and then head east via the eastern half of the west country , then Poole and maybe over-wintering in one of the Chichester creeks….thence in a good position to get to the east coast rivers and maybe Norfolk in 2021.
Iv’e talked about plan ‘A’, the fitness and diet plan at length so i won’t repeat any of that except that i’m now 6 months into a whole new life of food and fitness being an everyday goal : if we have eaten well and i have trained hard then i go to bed each day with at least those things ticked. As it happens i was already well into plan A when the pandemic started so in that way i already had a completely new routine that i was used to and i had very few changes , if any, to make to deal with life during that time. I was already training by going out from door to door via the forest trails and i had enough kit at home to train with in my back deck, non gym ‘gym’.
There are those that would say “its alright for some”, not alright that is , for me to be so lucky to live right next to a river valley in an AONB when they don’t. Some would just say that we are ‘lucky’ to live where we do as though we just landed here by accident one day and never moved on. Well, we moved to a small and quirky village in a virtually unknown part of Cornwall…..sneeze at the traffic lights and you’ll miss most of it….because we chose to and accepted it’s quirks and it’s dark side : scratch the surface of village life just a tiny bit and you’d find a world of alcoholism, petty drug use, petty rural crime, high unemployment and wasted lives and a seething mess of personal rivalries and petty jealousy…..nice place the country !
The plus side of this place is that we really can walk out of the door and 50 yards up the lane disappear onto a rough track and into woodland where it’s unusual to meet anyone else at all most days. There’s a clear path so obviously people walk there and i quickly worked out that most of the people that use the route are dog walkers and their routines are pretty fixed ; miss those times and most days i have had a peaceful solo hike as a prelude and warm up to the day’s exercise. I’m quite happy to say that most days i took a second walk in direct contravention of a pointless and meaningless ‘rule’. People were even ‘funny’ about that on the social media sites : insisting that the ‘rule’, which had to be complied with, was an hour and nothing more….well, there never was such a ‘rule’ except in the heads of the anxious and neurotic would-be authoritarians….just so many sheep in my opinion !
All in all we went through the first wave of the pandemic well enough once we had worked out the basics, like the best times to go shopping. My partner carried on doing her hospital job with the only personal change of showering before she came home. For my part i made sure that she came home to a good dinner and a clean house, aside from that i went back on the temporary Covid register and waited to get deployed, i presumed to one of the hot spots of the emergency hospitals and that never happened : of the 20.000 retired and de-registered trained nurses like me i see that only 3,000 have been employed.
One of the stranger things that happened to me is that i lost interest in my blogging and writing projects, even with a list of posts and book sections to work on and a writing plan i found that i just wasn’t enthusiastic enough or disciplined enough to just sit at the computer and churn out the writers 3,000 words a day. Instead i just focused on the physical and the immediate : the diet and exercise routine, the jobs around the place and kind-of just watching the world not go by from the comfort of our garden bench. All went well until i hit a natural plateau….nadir….perhaps with my weight loss and training : a point at which i seemed to stall and that unfortunately coincided with a hard hit of hayfever here.
I’m very susceptible to certain pollens, always have been and i can have a miserable time of it for a few weeks some years although it hasn’t been as bad for several years and last year i missed the season completely because i was at sea in clean sea air….this year with the wind being from the north east we were downwind of the entire country and in a constant stream of warm and dusty pollen laden air. So, i had what i can best describe as a bit of a sofa week, a week off exercise, a very bad week for ‘treats’ and i would joke to say that my brain took the week off as well !. I still got through the daily routine of cooking meals but that was it, no exercise, no work or jobs around the gardens, no drive, no creativity and just a carbed-out sofa-funk.
The best short explanation i can come up with is that it feels like a kink in the road, that iv’e hit a useful brick wall and that it’s time also to take a different route and do some different things : definitely different to what i thought i would be doing for the next few years. For now i think i will leave it there.