“My advice is to never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time.” – Charles Dickens
Hmm! Wise words CD. So, three weeks in and already I’ve broken my pledge to myself. I said I would post every Friday – at least – and I didn’t post last Friday, did I? That doesn’t bode well, does it?
I held a disciplinary over the weekend. It got a bit messy, accusations flew across the room and regrettable things were said. But, it boiled down to one thing and, perhaps a life lesson was learnt – don’t say you’re going to do something, even though intentions are good, if you ultimately fail to deliver.
I mean I didn’t intend to not post a blog. The intentions were definitely there. But I thought, “I’ve got a week and the 4.5 readers (possibly optimistic!) probably won’t remember and, certainly, failing to post will not affect them adversely in the slightest.”
One of the defences put forward by the accused at the disciplinary was that it was a test to see if anyone noticed. And, go to the bottom of my stairs, one did!!! I know, amazing. However that wasn’t until Sunday and by then the punishment for my transgression had been handed out. I have given myself a verbal warning. One more and it will be a written, although I’m not sure who will write it seeing as I couldn’t even deliver an 900 word blog by the self-imposed deadline.
I remember reading once that there are two types of writers. There is the one who is so disciplined that he or she chucks out the requisite word count come what may (I have a friend who does just that. Even if it’s rubbish and gets rewritten it still gets done) and there is the other one who has to have every pencil sharpened, the desk speck free clean and tidy and then, when there is literally nothing else that needs doing, finally starts to write.
I lean towards the latter, and, when I do type that first sentence, the words flow. However, there is never a time when there isn’t a project, which needs my concentrated and utmost attention, when, in truth, it doesn’t and is merely a a smokescreen distraction. Here’s an example: BLD (Boris Lock Down) has affected people in many ways. Fear, financial difficulties, not being able to see loved ones, and restrictions on movements not seen in generations have all impacted and, potentially, could have severe implications on our well-being and mental health.
I should be in the Greek Sporades right now guiding for SwimTrek on a six week gig. I haven’t seen my partner since early March as she doesn’t live on the mainland and restrictions have prevented travel. So, with good weather a clear help, my way of dealing with BLD is to get stuck into outside projects, the main one of which was building Harley Hut 2, an extension to Harley Hut 1, in my garden.
I am writing this at 7 am, Monday. I could be outside silently (‘cos it is early) painting something in the hut. These projects have been very good for my well-being. The good weather has helped and the aim is that Harley Hut 1 will now become a study come office. And, that’s the point. I have much work still to do on Hut 2 and transforming Hut 1. Do I wait until all pencils are sharpened and everything is speck free clean or do I take one step sideways and blinker out the extraneous? Has to be the latter, I have concluded.
Another thing that has helped me enormously during BLD is my running. I am very fortunate in that, sport-wise, my first love is running. A lot of my swimming buddies were going stir crazy in the early weeks of BLD as they couldn’t swim anywhere due to the restrictions. But, I could just open the door and hit the trail.
I aim for 20-30 miles a week on road and trail. It’s a loose target on purpose but, last week, I hit 30 miles, which gave me a proper buzz. Of course, I can’t run consistent 7 minute miles anymore, and hills have long since stopped being my friends. But, I still run and I have great running buddies – see Bacon Butty Brigade in last week’s blog.
As I said last week, while you can still strive for that great feeling that an unfettered, endorphin releasing run can deliver, you have to be realistic and recalibrate expectations as the years pass by. Last week I wrote about Martin Grey, a Shaftesbury Harriers runner from my youth who has this amazing gait and economy of movement when he runs. Starved of actual results due to BLD, the compiler of our club newsletter has been asking for articles. A variation of my blog last week appeared in the latest newsletter and Martin emailed me. He is 77 now and he still runs every day for an hour and then does 15 minutes worth of exercise. I joke to my running buddies that I hope to live to a ripe old age – 95 would be good – and die on the trail. I shall be running. I’ll stop to admire a view and just slip slowly to the floor and pass. In my pocket will be a note, which will say, “I am so sorry to the person who found me but please tell my family and friends I really did die doing the thing I loved most.”
Is that morbid? I hope not. The photo below encapsulates why I run 50 years after I joined Shaftesbury Harriers. Running buddy Klaus took the photo and the other runners are Ben and Ivonne, with me in the blue top. The word on the back says it all for me. We are on the trail in a village called Boxley. This field, along with many others in the area is now given over to the grape for wine production.
To wind my swimming buddies up, I constantly, and boringly, say, “Running Is The New Swimming!” Right now I am running to Hut 2 to paint something. See you Friday – perhaps!!