SoCS -‘Be’– #AtoZ Challenge

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “be.” Use it as is or at the beginning of the word you decide to base your post on. Enjoy!

Being rather than Doing

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To be or not to be? In the past it was ‘not to be’ as when I was younger, life was all about doing. I travelled constantly, ran hard every day, enrolled on course after course, dated obsessively and generally tried to cram my life with as many activities as possible. I felt that if I wasn’t doing something then I wasn’t truly living. Now, however things have changed a little. Although prone to the odd bout of apathy (see previous post!) when I have a tendency to beat myself up for not accomplishing anything of note, I’m more able to recognise the value of simply being, without feeling the need to ‘do’ anything. Take today for example. I had plans, lots of them. I was going to go for a long bike ride, I was going to work on my novel, I was planning to tidy my flat etc. etc. but that was before I went out last night.

Last night was relatively unplanned but I ended up having a beautiful evening with one of my best friends and her boyfriend. We went to a lovely little cafe around the corner, where we ate tapas, drank wine and danced to Spanish music. I hadn’t planned to drink much but .. today I woke up with a hangover and a feeling of general laziness.

It’s a gorgeous day here so all I feel like doing is chilling out and enjoying the sunshine – my plans have changed, but I feel fine with that. Being present to the moment is all about focusing on what is happening right now, without worrying about what you feel you ‘should’ be doing. I might try a little meditation later and luxuriate in the fact that I don’t have to do anything today if I don’t want to.

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Changing Priorities

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Like numerous others, I started the new year with so many good intentions – drink less wine, write more, write better, read two books a week, exercise as much as I used to, improve my French and Italian AND Japanese etc. etc. I didn’t write these intentions down but I knew they were there, lurking around in the back of my hangover on the morning of the 1st of January. The morning of the first day of the year doesn’t count though. Everyone knows that. It’s the afternoon when the year begins, but in the afternoon my hangover persisted so I took some aspirins and watched a film. I’ll start tomorrow I thought.

However, on the morning of the 2nd of January, I woke up to torrential rain. TORRENTIAL. My gym stuff was hanging over a chair in my bedroom, put there in preparation the night before. All that was needed was for me to slip out of my pyjamas and put it on, but I hesitated. I’ll have a coffee first, I thought. Wait till the rain stops. But the rain didn’t stop and by 11 am it was heavier than ever, so instead of going to the gym, I lay down with a book and imagined it. It was the beginning of the year – it’d be crammed with people. I’d have to wait for the treadmill, the free weights, the bike. What I’d intended to be a quick hour long workout would end up being two and I didn’t have time for that. I had my writing to do. Yeah the other things were important, but writing was my priority. And so I put it off until the next day. By the time it got to the evening though, I felt depressed. I never used to be like this, I thought. I used to be a marathon runner. I’d done triathlons ffs. I’d got up at 6 in all manner of weather. What had happened to me? I SHOULD have gone to the gym. I SHOULD have started the year as I’d planned to. I SHOULD have been more disciplined. But then I thought about it. I might not have gone to the gym but I’d spent quite a bit of time on my writing: I’d edited a short story, done my daily 750 words and revised some notes from a previous course. I realised then that my priorities had changed, and when a similar thing happened again today (I decided not to go to my Lindy hop class), preferring instead to write this blog (& play with my kitten …), instead of beating myself up, I relaxed in the knowledge that I was doing exactly what was right for me.