A good week

This week has been really full, but an excellent week over all. I’ve learnt some useful things and travelled to some interesting meetings and have hung out with people of all ages.

This week I travelled to London, Bristol and Crewe. I led possibly the most nerve-wracking meeting I ever had and survived, which was important – it was an excellent test in controlling nerves, proving to myself that I feel better if I am well prepared and that I can drive an agenda very well.

I read lots of public transport, I gave myself time for planning things at work, each of the journeys felt very productive. In fact the whole work/not work split in hours felt good this week, with me being flexible as needed and intentional about that flexibility.

I met some brilliant women all older than me with a sense of fun and a curiosity about life. I hung out with a group of 20 somethings, all young enough to be my children, chatting about life this week whilst learning to knit. I sat in a room of Scout leaders with years of experience and boundless enthusiasm and skills between them. I caught up with some old friends.

I saw some theatre from a new young theatre group, I have listened to podcasts galore on driving commutes, I’ve hung out with my Mum and both the children. And I have practised some yoga every day and spent a bit of time journalling and stuck to pretty healthy eating all week.

I’ve managed to fit in a nap and have bought a new outfit for a party – one that definitely stretches my comfort zones but it feels really fun. And I have a brilliant weekend to look forward to.

All in all a week where I am hugely grateful for volunteering in church and scouts, my job which never fails to interest me and the decision to send the offspring to Stage2 Youth theatre, start yoga and go to Slimming World.

The week even included free lunch.

Creating Space

I am trying to focus on a theme of ‘creating space’ this month. Space can of course mean many things and indeed it does to me.

My focus this week was having space in my diary: I am not doing very well – as soon as space occurs, I fill it. I work part-time technically, but I only have one day a week off, split into two afternoons. I combine that limited time off with a habit of booking lots of social events into those afternoons and a tendency to offer to do lots of tasks, as I have a day a week to complete them. My perception of the amount of time I have off work does not coincide with the time it will take to do all the tasks and meet all the friends.

I travel a fair amount in evenings when I am away with work, and yet also manage to fit in meetings either around travel or on the evenings I am not travelling.

I feel a need to leave space, rather than filling each part of the blanks with something else. My aim is to have space for just mulling things over and seeing what comes up, but I have a nagging feeling that having space in the diary will not be the solution, because I really dislike not doing things, I want to be seeing people and feeling useful. Maybe I need to head back to the drawing board on this one and define space in my diary in a way that suits me more?

Losing my blogging way

It’s Thursday and this is the first blog this week, it’s been six days since I last blogged. I have had the time to blog, have found myself in blogging mode – awake, coffee, laptop – but have been distracted by other things.

This could be because the other things are genuinely more important. So far this week, I have had a meeting every evening, and have felt a need to use that precious morning time to sort things out for those meetings, so that may be true.

It could be because I am just not enjoying blogging any more. Also possible. I have been blogging gently for about 11 months now, maybe it’s getting a bit boring? I can’t say I love the new format that WordPress have created, and the lack of access too free photos is taking away some of my delight. I used to enjoy trying to find a photo that in some way illustrated my thoughts that morning. I did toy with the idea of making sure I always took my own photos, but I have no real desire to be a photographer.

Or, I have nothing really to say. I have run out of thoughts . There is nothing to write about. That seems unlikely, I am still able to think and life is no less full of things to write about.

No, I fear the problem is not planning. Yep, everything that goes wrong in my life is generally blamed (by me only!) on me not having planned properly. The control freak in me is dominant as planning is in full swing in January. I am planning furiously for work, Scouts, Birmingham Children’s Book Group, CAFOD group, World Day of Prayer, holidays for the year, theatre visits, offspring’s next step in life, dog’s health, my exercise regime, my Slimming World-friendly food for the day. And there’s probably more that I am planning to the nth degree.

Every morning I sit down to write this, with no plan, I have not totally planned to write on any particular morning. In the midst of a planning frenzy I feel utterly overwhelmed by the lack of a plan in blogging. So I have avoided it. Wrongly, as I suspect having to deal with no plan is a good thing for me.

it’s been a couple of weeks of meticulously planned days – even down to pretty tape keeping my spoon in place. Just no blog plans.

Reflecting the lessons of the mat

One of the tools in the box to settle me into the new routine this month is yoga. Writing that has made me giggle. It’s not a new routine, it’s the old routine, but there has been a two week break of loveliness and so I am struggling. There we have it. I am an energetic, healthy and enthusiastic person, who just struggles with her routine changing. Somewhat like a toddler!

Anyway, in my adult self, I am being very sensible and am carving out time to do some yoga every day this month. I am using the lovely Yoga with Adriene series online, as that does not involve me finding a time I can attend a class, nor leaving the house again in days of work travel and other meetings.

It is a month’s programme for which I had to set an intention. Mine was simple – show up every day and see what happens. It’s been interesting. First of all, I have shown up every day, one night at 11:15pm, squeezing in that day’s practice at a time I rarely do anything useful. I slept brilliantly that night – not enough sleep, but great quality. I have proven that I do have time to stop and just be once a day.

The sessions are following some sort of path and surprise me every day. I am not great at a home practice of yoga, but I am thoroughly enjoying this gentle guidance. I am still responsible for getting myself onto the mat and letting go enough to follow the path. I like that guidance, I enjoy being challenged to do something unexpected and it takes away making choices and worrying I am making the wrong choice, a real relief.

I can do more than I think, I have very little faith in my physical self to do anything really, but I can feel myself letting go of some of the negative expectations and giving it a go, a good feeling.

Good lessons so far and we’re only a third of the way through. Wisdom will be mine by the end of the month. Ok, maybe not!

Transition blues

Oh I do hate the transition from holiday to work, from school hols to school term, from summer to winter. Even from day to night if I am honest. So this is a hard week and I am grasping at all the comforts I can. This is a litany of comforts in an attempt to persuade myself that all is well this dark cold January evening

I love a routine, you know I do, I am trying very very hard to cling to a sense of joy of the work routine being back. I love my job and the people I work with and it is great to catch up with them all.

I had the first piano lesson of the year yesterday and it is fun to practise. I have sought solace in scales this evening.

My resolution to create more means I have started to embroider a thing – it’s fun, its’s soothing. I started surrounded by funny, cool, clever women whom I adore.

The 2019 reading targets loom large, so I am stuck into a good book and have downloaded a new audio book as well.

All my favourite podcasters and bloggers will be getting back into the rhythm this week, so I can catch up with them.

My diary is chock full of cool, lovely stuff with great people – especially this weekend, which is looking delightful – and full of good food, friends and family.

All shall be well and all manner of things shall be well. Repeat until transition complete.

Lighten the year

Last year I experimented with having a single word theme for the year and I enjoyed the experiment, so this year I am continuing the process. The word for this year is “Lighten”.

It took me a while to get there, the foundation was originally the word “play”, but I couldn’t quite get a grip on what play could mean in terms of work or even some of the volunteering I do. It felt too much like it was describing something I actively need to do – spend some more time just playing for the sake of fun, rather than everything having some bigger purpose.

So my thinking developed the theme into lighten. It will hopefully have many results. I do need to take more time to just muck around – preferably not on social media, but you know what, I love instagram and so have spent a bit more time taking photos and just posting for the fun of it. I want to spend more time enjoying being creative, because, it’s fun. That will be a challenge, as it could take more time than I feel I have.

I shall also try and lighten my workload. Not the paid work, I would like to increase that, but definitely looking at what I do in my non-paid time and reduce some of those obligations which feel less fun. I would like to make it a light relief from the day job, not an addition to the email and meeting load.

I need to lighten some of the domestic load too – reducing the contents of the house, giving it a lick of paint. All that will happen later in the year though.

Lightening feels very aspirational on this dark return to work Monday morning though. A new year is a good time to feel aspirational though. Here’s to a lighter 2019.

Lightening the mood, remembering the blue skies of holiday.

Not catching up at all

The title is a follow up to the blog earlier in the week , where I made the rash assumption that I would be able to catch up with all the things I have put to one side over the break. I can’t catch up. I just need the break from everything and not to use time off work to fill the hours with things that frankly look a lot like work.

At the time of writing we are six days into the new year with all its resolutions and promises of more efficiency and more productivity. Frankly, I am tired and need these last few days of rest before the start of work tomorrow. I am not doing the admin jobs which I am supposed to be doing to “get ahead” before I enter back into the new routine.

Instead what I have done in the last couple of days is use the time hang out with people I can’t see because they and I are at work. I have been able to be spontaneous in meeting up with people. I have been able to spend lots of time planning some creative projects and getting stuck into a good book. I have indulged in a daily yoga practice.

I am hoping that I will not feel too overwhelmed with the task I have put to one side by the time we get to next weekend, but for now, I have just crossed some of the “catching up” tasks from today’s to-do list and put them into the correct place of next week. Fingers crossed the two weeks of rest and relaxation will have helped me cope with them all then!