Run. Away. (6.22)

I was listening to my running playlist at home early this week and I realised – it’s not so much the running I miss, but my running playlist. It really does have some inspiring cracking tunes on it! That’s not to say I don’t also miss my time in the park in the quiet of the morning. And the space away from home to let my thoughts wander. And the ache in my legs from having put them to work when so much of my day involves them otherwise being tucked under a desk and not moving much at all. So my aim is to look for the dry and warm mornings, and plan to go for a run, like I did this week, and soak up all the positive feelings that come from doing this.

I wonder what happened to all the people I used to see when I first started running back in 2020? Where is the Crooked Man? And the Shuffling Shadow Woman? I don’t see them anymore. Instead there are lots of people walking their dogs, but not the same people I used to see walking their dogs. Has the population of the neighbourhood changed so much?

I finally have a start date for my secondment – 14 March. I’m counting down to it in anticipation and in panic. Requests of the “Before you go, could you just finish this…?” variety are starting to crop up. Yes, I know there are tasks I have to finish, and yes, I know I have limited time to complete these. There will come a time soon when I will start to say no to these requests because I have enough things I need to complete and no space to take on new things. So far my immediate team know, and the two people I work closest with outside of my team. I’m not sure why this has to be a secret because people will find out eventually, you know, when I pack up my office and don’t turn up to team meetings anymore.

Against this work background, I was probably a bit optimistic to sign up for the Writers HQ Five days of Flash challenge this week. Five days of short lessons on flash fiction. I think I managed to track two or three days of lessons and exercises but work took over by the end of the week and I had no inspiration or will power left to read through the lessons or do the short writing exercises. I will try and do one today after I finish this post. But I did get one piece written that I liked; it’s scheduled to be published on here soon (or has been published already, I’m not sure).

From writing to the written word: I went to my local library this week. I haven’t been there for book borrowing purposes for a while (my last visit was for my Covid booster jab, as some rooms of the library have been taken over for vaccination clinics). I was happy to find the book I need to read for International Book Club (Philip Pullman La Belle Sauvage) was on the shelf and available to borrow. I’ve started reading it already – it’s a nice easy read so far (is it a children’s book?) and despite being a big book (close to 600 pages) it has quite big font and (so far) reasonably short chapters, so I should not have trouble knocking it off in time.

Also, I’ll have extra reading time next week as I’ll be on holiday! Not overseas yet, we’re still sticking to domestic travel, heading north to the Peak District (Buxton and Sheffield) again. We had planned to include some hiking in this trip but this is looking questionable. The “real feel” weather is hovering around freezing although the actual temperature will be higher. We may need to make some late substitutions to our planned walking routes as walking across exposed high areas or by an open space like a reservoir may be downright unpleasant in freezing windy conditions. I’ve pulled some clothes together for the trip – fleeces, woolly jumpers, thermal leggings… all the glamour gear!

I had an acupuncture session this week for the pain in my arm. I saw a doctor last week who said it was carpal tunnel syndrome; the acupuncturist said it may actually be stress and tension in my neck and shoulder causing the wrist pain but Western medicine doesn’t look at the body holistically to take into account other things that may be having an impact and causing the pain. Think work stress (finishing old job) + work stress (anxiety about starting new job) + workload (long stretches sat at desk and immobile) + sitting awkwardly twisted for video calls (one on Friday went on for an hour and a half) = not surprising my body is seizing up and in pain. I was quite surprised at how the treatment went. I thought it would be like seeing a doctor – here’s my problem, fix it. But no. I had to answer questions about my diet, my bodily functions, my stress, my emotional state, my sleep patterns. (Holistic – treat the whole body.) And then she examined my arm, shoulder and neck and found several sore spots that indicated something about liver and gall bladder meridians, and only then did she get me to lie down for the needling to begin.

Now I know some people have a thing about acupuncture because they hate needles but really, I hardly felt anything. It’s not like having an injection or a blood test. There may be a small twinge when the needle is inserted but once it’s in, you don’t feel anything. When she took the needles out and I was ready to get up, I felt very relaxed and spaced out, so I assume the treatment had some effect on the parts of my body that were holding stress (i.e. neck and shoulders).

News stories of the week that have registered in my consciousness:

  • We are still waiting for Russia to invade Ukraine. News reports says the invasion is imminent. I don’t want this to happen but I don’t think my force of will has any influence on what will happen.
  • Queen Elizabeth celebrated 70 years as reigning monarch this week. She is the longest serving British monarch. I can’t help but wonder if this anniversary reminds her it is 70 years since she lost her father. It’s a strange job, this monarchy thing. For you to get the top job you have to wait for someone in your family to die.

I’ve finally settled on a theme song for 2022. It’s Soul II Soul, Get a Life. It’s pushy but in a kindly positive way; and it’s a reminder that after two years of hiding away, it probably is time to get back out there and do the real world thing again. Brush your hair, put on proper clothes and shoes, get out of the house and get into a room with other people. Get a life back again.

I hope you’re getting your life back again readers.

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