Let’s pretend you’re an airplane. Not one of the Boeing Max’s with the problems, or a missing Malaysia Airlines one, just a modest little plane carrying a few passengers. Each morning you get yourself prepared, inject some fuel (coffee for 90% of the universe) and you’re ready to fly! You work throughout the day taking care of all the passengers - partners, family, friends, work colleagues – but on the whole you soar though the sky, hit a little turbulence here and there, adjust for changes in the weather, but you make it back to base safely every day and land in the comfort of your own bed (or someone else’s, depends on how good your day went!). Tomorrow you’ll do it all again. Ad infinitum. Well, ad infinitum until you fall out of the sky.
Aeroplanes, like people (link!!!), need maintenance, they need care and attention, not just for your passengers but for yourself. There’s no point in exemplary upholstery and an opulent interior if outside a wing fell off. Equally, there’s little merit in a shiny exterior if the inside is like a chicken coup . . . unless you really want a business delivering high-flying chicks! Am here all week, don’t forget to tip your waitress! <Ed – we need to talk>
Essentially you need to take care of yourself: you cannot take off; mind passengers; soar all day through a cobalt sky; land safely; then rinse and repeat, without giving yourself some love. Take a break, take even ten minutes in your day to look after yourself. For those that cannot afford ten minutes, you have 1440 in a day, I’m talking about less than 1%. For those that struggle with that, try ten minutes a week . . . in the grand scheme its nothing, and yet that ten minutes may help you decide whether you’re flying in the right skies to being with. It may also end up saving your life.
To improve your mental health there are numerous sources available to help, beyondblue.org here in Australia, Mind and the NHS in the UK, and a US friend recommended mentalhealthusa.org. If you’re struggling, always reach out to your local GP, but most importantly reach out to someone. I’d also recommend headspace and buddhify apps, the latter offering excellent walking meditations, and I’m yet to walk into a lamppost this week – win!
“No role is (so) well suited to philosophy”, writes Marcus Aurelius, “as the one you happen to be in right now
I’ve always been intrigued by philosophy, it’s the fundamental ‘why do we do the things we do?’ part of me that tugs at my mind. There is always another point of view, another angle to survey the situation. Often you don’t need someone to say anything at all to understand their feelings. All you have to do is look: the slumped shoulders; the weary eyes; the fidgeting hands; the sweating brow. If they scream suddenly ‘fuuuuucckkkkk you alllll!!!’ that’s also a good indicator maybe not everything in the world is right.
Once someone begins to talk, I like to see if their eyes mirror what they’re saying: do they actually believe the words coming out of their mouth? Are they rambling, considered, patient, thoughtful, filling the void with nonsense? Despite being told constantly that I like to talk, watching others is fascinating, in a non-stalking, steamy windows kind of way, by the way.
In other news, I’ve come up with a novel idea to solve America’s endless gun-massacres without breaching the heaven-sent constitution. Everyone has a right to bear arms, still, but bullets will cost $5000 a pop (literally). However, this does mean that Bill Gates could possibly kill 20 million people before his money runs out. The plan is a work in progress, I’ll admit.
Occasionally I surprise myself: having barely even run for a bus in three years, I ran 4km this morning. Without stopping. Or being sick. Or crying. This is quite an achievement! Yes, ok, old women threatened me with violence if I continued to dawdle in their path, and my shadow almost overtook me, but other than that, it was fine.
Having a similar lung capacity to a packet of crisps (no coincidence) I have eschewed even light cardiovascular exercise since giving up playing football/soccer five years ago. Well, apart from swimming and walking: the first as I’m mostly lying down; the second as I can talk whilst I walk. I can try to natter whilst I run, yet the heavy breathing may attract the wrong type of clientele. “What you wearing?” “Well . . huff . . . puff . . . runners! Oh . . . my . . . huff . . . heart!”
Somewhere amongst the travelling, photographs and trains of the weeks I’d spent in Japan and Norway, I must have crossed a mirror or two and marvelled at how badly I’d treated my body. With my mind being nourished plentifully in the last two years, it was time I’d treated the rest of me. Attending the gym again it has made me wonder why I’d ever stopped. And then I remembered why: age. Having been athletic in my youth running a pretty decent six-minute mile for a marathon, I’m now at a six-minute kilometre. That isn’t brilliant, is it? And it takes my man-boobs a week to recover from a chest-press. A week!!!
My body and time-constraints don’t allow me to train every day, but neither do I need to: flexing on Venice Beach isn’t my destination, just walking past a mirror without mild repulsion. I intend to dedicate two half-hours a week to vigorous exercise: so that’s one gym session, or performing bedroom gymnastics thirty times. Hedging my bets, I think the gym sessions may be more likely. And to those that don’t believe they have an hour a week to dedicate to exercising your body you need for the rest of your days, count how many hours you watch television a week and then get back to me.
Other things I liked this week:
Writing and writing...