I’ve known it’s coming for a while, but this coming fortnight is probably the one that’ll grump me the most about the Lockdown so far.
It’s the time when I had a lot of events lined up, all of which have now been moved to next year. Among other things, that list includes
- Tonight, when I was supposed to be seeing Skunk Anansie at the Royal Festival Hall
- Tomorrow, when I was likely to have been at the Taste festival in London
- Saturday, when I was supposed to be seeing Jessica Chastain in “A Doll’s House” at the Playhouse Theatre
- Next week, I was supposed to be at the Lead Developer conference in London for two days
- Next weekend, I was supposed to be seeing Much Ado About Nothing at the Globe
So yeah, bit of a slump of “I should’ve been doing [x]” for the next couple of days.
I had a similar slump a while back when I got a load of “this won’t be happening” emails over a couple of days, and this is much the same. I’ll get over it, and it all could be much, much worse.
But still, blah.
Turns out, it’s eight years today since I moved to the current house.
A lot’s happened in that time, and I’m still here. It’s the longest I’ve lived anywhere since I left home, which still feels very weird.
I keep on thinking about moving on (and, as I said in a previous post, right now I’m glad it hasn’t happened) and being somewhere new, but so far I haven’t found anywhere I really feel right about moving to.
I don’t know what the future will bring, or where it’ll find me, but for now well, eight years. Wow.
Decades ago, I used to be highly into archery, and enjoyed it a lot, including shooting up to County level.
Then life got in the way for a while, until I was reminded (15 years ago now) that I enjoyed it when we went to Center Parcs that I went and sorted out a bow and so on and started to get back into it again, and then life got in the way again.
I’d kept the bow and so on, even though I wasn’t doing the archery, and kept on looking for local(ish) archery clubs whose schedules worked with my own. (This is actually a lot harder than you’d think – most of them are on school grounds or similar, so only open specific evenings, and usually ones where I was already doing stuff)
Anyway, about a month ago now, I found a semi-local (within about 30-40 minutes drive) club that has an outdoor range which is open to use seven days a week, which does suit me. But before I could join properly, I had to do their beginner’s course, in order to prove I could use a bow safely.
I did that a couple of weeks back, and again really enjoyed myself.
The final step was to get my bow properly checked out and serviced (it’s not been fired in eight years, I wasn’t going to try it without getting it inspected!) and that happened a week ago on Friday at a place I’d been recommended to use. Again that was a really good – if not cheap – experience, and by the end of my time there, I was grouping my arrows (at a shorter indoor range) within the space one gets if you circle fingers into an OK gesture.
I filled in, signed and sent off the membership forms the following day, so now I’m just waiting to get my confirmation and card.
All told, I’m generally feeling pretty optimistic about it, and looking forward to seeing how things go.
Back in December I said about planning to have things being quieter and calmer in 2020, and I’m working on it. But it’s decidedly odd in some ways.
Each weekend of January has had a day “off”, where I’m not doing as much. I usually prefer to at least get out and do something (even if, like today, ‘something’ is just going to the cinema to see stuff) but there’ve even been a couple where I didn’t leave the house – and they definitely felt weird.
It’s actually something that is – for me – very hard to do. It’s taking time to think of it as being “OK” to have days like these. What makes it harder is that I’m physically used to being out and doing stuff – the days of doing Not Much actually leave me feeling achy, tired and grouchy. I honestly don’t yet know how long it’ll take for that to stop happening, or at least get easier.
I’m still working on it though. February is currently planned to be similar – I’ve only got one weekend where there are things booked for both days. So we’ll see how things have progressed in that time, and whether I’m doing better on Not Much days than I currently am…
Among all the usual stuff, I’ve spent some time this month getting things a bit more organised, and kicking off things that had slipped last year.
So in the last two weeks, I’ve…
- Moved/merged my credit-card crap onto one interest-free balance-transfer card.
It’s not a huge amount, and not something I’m worried about, but it’s good to have it in one place and no interest for the next two years.
- Started playing hunt-the-pensions, seeing if I can find them and merge them into one fund, so I know where the hell things stand.
I’m not expecting much, but again, it’ll be good to know
- Started sorting a new will, as the last one was done while I was still with Herself. So yeah, that *really* needs to be sorted
- Booked in cat-sitting people for all the stuff I’ve currently got lined up (which is more than it should be, but less than it could’ve been)
- Actually also done less – in each of the three weekends so far, I’ve had a day of doing very very little, as per the plan for this year. I don’t know if that’ll keep on happening (in some ways I’m finding it more exhausting than being busy, but I’ll write about that another time) but so far it’s worked out
- Completed another project outside of my usual work, which has already made me more productive than last year
- Oh, and visited my first Michelin-starred restaurant of the year as well (and it was bloody excellent)
It’s been interesting, and eventful – and it’s good to have some of that stuff checked off the list already
For your ‘busy’ do you get anxious when the calendar is empty, do you just like having ‘a plan’? Would it work if you planned an afternoon of deliberately doing nothing? (the challenge being to stick to it?)
It’s a bit more – and less – complicated than that.
I don’t need a full plan of “I’ll do [x], then [y], then [z]” for either a day or a weekend. In general I’m happy with an outline idea, even if it’s just “I’ll go to London” or whatever.
However, I do like having at least that idea. A blank space in the calendar is an oddity, and it does leave me feeling uncomfortable.
The other side of it is that my time off is precious to me, my weekends are important. I make sure that I do all my domestic stuff during the week, I refuse to spend half of those important two days doing cleaning, laundry, shopping and so on. They’re my own days, and if I do nothing with them, I feel they’ve been wasted.
So long as I do *something* with them, I’m OK. And even ‘just’ spending a day at the cinema catching up on films counts as “doing something”, so my criteria are quite low on that basis.
It’s that balance I need to find, somewhere between going out – day trips and time away, seeing friends, that kind of thing – and just doing enough to appease my work ethic. I also probably should find a way to be able to class days of doing nothing as also somehow counting as doing something.
It’s not an easy balance to find, and I’m not quite sure how I’ll get it right, but I think it’s time to at least try…
With my plans for 2019-2020, the first key thing (although it’s not really something quantifiable) is to do less.
The last two years have been particularly hyper, with very few days/times where I’ve not been working, or travelling, or doing stuff. I don’t resent it – most of it has been my choice, after all – but it needs to slow down a bit.
I don’t yet quite know how I’m going to do it – some of the problem is my own mindset and work ethic, where I feel I’ve wasted a day if I’ve not done things. In particular, my weekends are precious and important to me, and I don’t like seeing them disappear without something to show for it.
But I also know that I need to not be quite so hyper, to take some down time and space. There’s a balance in there somewhere, and I hope to be able to find it.
I suspect that what will happen is that this will work alongside “be a better friend” and “be better to myself”, and that it’ll involve still travelling to see friends, but also doing so for things that work for me.