I can’t figure why I’ve had such spasms of bad mood this week. Is it stress? Is it coffee? Is it the Fig Rolls? Is it not going out for a run when I said I would? Is the yoga releasing some negative energy I was holding somewhere in my body? Perhaps I was subconsciously anxious about the results of the US election? (Needlessly, it turns out, but it was worrying there for a while,) These sudden angry moods are like the bad old days when I used to suffer from PMT (I used to have to mark my calendar to stay away from coffee and chocolate to avoid black mood swings). I do not like this moodiness and I hope it passes soon.
This week I went for a run exactly once, on Wednesday. The temperature was 3C when I headed out, not much above freezing, but the sun was shining and I went out into the marshes instead of the park. I realised on this run that I was achieving one of my dreams from The Before. Back in The Before when I was on the train in the morning, I would look out the window as the train passed through the marshes, and I would see people walking their dogs or running and I would feel a little bit sad that I was sitting on a train going to the office when there were people out there in the open air. I always imagined the carefree lifestyle these people had, that they had time to get out and exercise in the mornings, that they didn’t have to commute. But on Wednesday it was me out in the marshes. Not commuting. Running. Despite the cold. Despite the mud. And it felt good!
It was good I got my exercise in early because Wednesday was a day of lots of long calls when I was strapped to my desk by the cable of my headset. Some people I work with have calls back to back, so I’m lucky to still have space in my calendar to grab food and get away from my desk for at least some part of the day. I’m trying to make sure I take little five minute micro breaks during the day, where I get up and dance or get up and do five minutes with my hand weights. This is the benefit of working from home, no one to see me doing this and laugh at me!
This week I realised it’s a month until my birthday. And I decided the best gift to myself would be to do “some yoga” every day up until my birthday. I’m not promising to do an hour of vinyasa every day, that would be crazy. But I can find 15 or 20 minutes at the end of the working day to stretch and twist and forward fold and release the working day stresses; or take an hour for longer practice on weekends (like Saturday, when I found myself sinking into a bad mood from the feeling that I had wasted most of the one sunny day of the weekend). I’ve got the first week down, let’s see if I can keep that up.
This week we started our first lockdown jigsaw. Husband thought I was joking when I started talking about jigsaws. He realised a few weeks ago that I wasn’t, and got busy on Ebay and bought us some. Four to be exact! The first one arrived on Tuesday – an aerial view of Manhattan – and we threw ourselves into it with the excitement of… umm… people who haven’t done a jigsaw in a very long time. We’ve worked on it every night this week and we felt a tremendous sense of achievement, getting the puzzle mostly done by the weekend, only the dark blue section of water at the bottom of the picture to be done. And there we have been stuck all weekend, possibly contributing to my bad mood, as we spend hours trying all the pieces in all the holes and cursing because nothing seems to fit anywhere. We are close to finishing, and we need to finish so we can get our dining table back, so we can move onto the next one, but we can’t finish because the pieces just won’t fit.
This week we did our grocery shopping on Monday morning and I treated myself to a pack of Fig Rolls. Husband thinks these are the most disgusting biscuit but I love them for some reason. I have been rationing myself to one biscuit a day this week. (Because I really could just sit down and eat the whole lot – and give myself a nasty stomach ache in the process.)
On Tuesday Husband and I were talking about figs and fig rolls and I said I could probably just go buy myself some dried figs and they would serve the same purpose but be better for me (so long as I ration them too – I know from eating too many dried apricots in the past that dried fruit can cause unhappy tummy problems). I mentioned that I had never had a fresh fig. On Wednesday our neighbour-from-down-the-street turned up at our door with a bag of fresh figs, a gift from our former-next-door-neighbour who has two large fig trees in her new garden. One day I talk about never having eaten fresh figs. The next day, fresh figs arrive on my doorstep. Maybe I should try the same approach and talk about how I’ve never had a big lottery win?
This week I’ve been staring out the window a lot, and thinking how great it is to be able to look out at the sky. Back in The Before, when I used to have to go work in an office, I had no natural daylight from where I was sitting. Now I can look out the window and watch the clouds pass by, watch the flocks of magpies flying back and forth, watch the squirrels running along the fences and digging in the garden (where are these squirrels getting those whole walnuts from?) I’m also watching the branch from next door’s eucalyptus tree growing over our yard. I’m pretty sure it’s getting longer every day. This tree has grown out of control and the branches that are growing over our yard are up so high we can’t reach them; we’d need to engage a proper tree surgeon to take it down. But it’s not our tree! Why should we have to be responsible for it?
This week we had a plasterer come to the house and fix up the blown plaster in our bedroom and the bathroom. He got it done double quick time and I will not dwell on how long it took to organise someone to come in and get this simple job done. So now the tricky technical work has been done, Husband has some work to do as a follow up, sanding down the new rough plaster to a smooth finish so I can take over and do the painting. (I like painting.)
This week I’ve become conscious of the need to pick up my novel again and do some “proper” writing. I’m spending a lot of time getting caught up on my Bond film blogs, and this weekly bulletin of course, but Megan and Andreas are stuck in limbo in my draft novel, waiting for me to get back to them and give them a proper ending. Blog posts are all very well, and my daily thought-jam five minute journal is good as a form of meditation, but this novel is what I was supposed to dedicate myself to this year, and I have been avoiding it for the past month or so. 80,000 words represents a lot of work. Am I just going to let that go to waste? No!
This week I found this article providing some microtips on how to get through Lockdown 2.0 – the winter lockdown: keep connected with people, not necessarily through video calls though; do one thing every morning that brings you joy (hint: this won’t be looking at social media on your phone); and find some minutes for yourself every week to do something you love. Yes, I know, everyone needs you all the time, but you need to take care of yourself and feed your soul a little bit too.
When does it become appropriate to talk about a White Christmas? Now, I think. At least in connection with this story about the wedding of childhood sweethearts Tilly Christmas and Kieran White who decided to hyphenate their surnames to become the White-Christmases.
And on that happy yuletide note, I’ll sign off. Have a good week!