Thursday, 21 July 2016

Life change: Time, Time, Not Enough Time?

Life used to be about fitting in as many things in to a day as possible. I was never someone who tutted at queues in the post office, but I was aware of time ticking by. 

In London I always walked at top speed. I wrote lists and meticulously measured out my time, getting annoyed with myself when I didn't accomplish my daily goals.

50 minutes to write, 10 minutes to hang out the washing, 50 minutes to write...

My driving lessons are supposed to be 45 minutes long, but my instructor says he does it as a hobby and our classes regularly run over. Not just ten minutes, but whole hours. We'll stop for coffee and put the world to right. And a part of me will think, this is crazy, I've got stuff to do! But another part of me, a part that's growing louder, will think, What's the rush? Whatever I need to get done, won't get done faster by thinking I should be doing them.

My hunger for routine has started to fade. I've begun to feel more relaxed about time. Walking to the supermarket is not a waste of writing time, it's something that needs to be done, so I may as well enjoy the walk.

I'm going with the flow a little more. If things take longer than planned, so be it. 

The last time I went back to London I met a friend in Waterloo station. I felt like a little villager making their first trip to the metropolis. I was overwhelmed by the pace of the crowds threading seamlessly through each other like ants. I kept standing in the wrong place, upsetting the order of things. It took me ages to cross from one side to the other because I couldn't get into a rhythm that had previously been so natural to me.

It's a huge station, of course everyone was heading somewhere. But it wasn't just that. I got the sense that everyone was in a race against time. Everyone wanted to be somewhere other than where they were and the present moment was an obstacle. At any rate, that's what I used to feel speeding from one platform to the other.

Eckhart Tolle says, Since there is no escape from the Now, why not welcome it, become friendly with it?

It makes a lot of sense when you think about it, doesn't it?

Monday, 18 July 2016

New challenge - Palma Half Marathon!

One of the first purchases I made when I arrived in Mallorca was a pair of bright pink running trainers. Time to embrace my new healthy outdoor lifestyle! - I thought. 

I remember my first jog lasting all of five minutes because I was being cooked alive in the summer heat.  

After a few more attempts, I swapped trainers for rollerskates. Skating is so much faster and easier. I probably have done quite a few half marathons on skates without realising it.

Skaters also look like they're having more fun than the average panting, red-in-the-face jogger. 

In short, it appeared my brief running days had ended and I had no regrets.

And then on Saturday, I registered to run Palma's half marathon.

Wait! Stop! What do you think you're doing? my inner voice cried. 

But it was too late. I'd paid my €30.

The problem is lately I've been feeling restless because I don't have a new idea for a novel. Because I'm unfocused, I've been having boozy weekends leading to tedious hangovers. I was starting to feel that life was going around in circles. Signing up forces me to refocus and take care of myself. (Actually, it's probably a form of punishment! I always feel guilty when I'm not writing enough!)

I have yet to dust off my trainers and get running. It's boiling out there. I'm either going to have to go outside at the crack of dawn or late at night. An optimistic assures me that Palma's pretty scenery will help me along. 

I told a friend that I ran Hackney half marathon, so I'm sure I can do it.

"Was it flat?" he asked.


He laughed. "You're going to die then!"


Oops. Sorry!

Donations really appreciated!

I'm also unofficially raising money for ProActiva Open Arms. They are a charity made up of coastguards from Barcelona, who were so horrified by the amount of refugees drowning in the Meditarranean, they headed over to Greece to help. While governments talked, these guys got practical! Their facebook updates reveal how hard they are working and how many lives they save each day. I know there are so many charities needing our help, but I'd love to be able to raise 100 euros for this inspiring crew of people! I've got until October. Thank you!