Monthly Archives: January 2019

Snowflakes falling


I walked out of the office yesterday with a head full of all the things I didn’t do at work that day. A rainstorm had moved in an hour earlier and a light rain continued as I got on my bike. As I made my way through the hurried, wet streets of central London, I couldn’t shut off the work related thoughts, my mind turning over and over on what I could have done and how I should have done it.

This isn’t unusual.

Recently I began a course on worry management. Its aim is to not stop worrying, but tone down what may be excessive worry (aka anxiety) through different management techniques. It’s not easy. Not when you’ve spent most of your life in this ceaseless cycle.

So as I churned through these thoughts I realized I needed to stop and think of other happy things or, even better, pay attention to everything that is going on around me. And   in London there are no shortage of stimuli to take in especially on a rainy night. Unfortunately, for someone like me who has trodden the same path for many years, I don’t pay nearly as much attention to what is going on around me other than what is going to keep me safe. So I employed a technique (I don’t know what it’s called) where you think about what you are sensing. It’s kind of an eye spy for your five senses. You set out the rules as you see fit. You may want to identify 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 you can hear, 2 things you can taste and 1 thing you can smell. Whatever best fits the scenario.

At first it was a bit of a battle to fight off the work thoughts, but after a few minutes of perseverance I was deep into a game of description of all the things I was trundling past on my bicycle. The sound of wet tires on the tarmac. The clicking over of  bicycle gears. Various languages being spoken by strangers. Cold rain peppering my face. Neon lights from shop windows. Snot dripping down on my lips. Dank smell from the fish & chip shop.

Before long I was in Tooting Common and looked down to see small flecks of snow on my damp jeans. The snow had begun to mix in with the rain and my pace fell slightly as I took in the moment, quickly thinking back to the last time I’d seen snow falling in the Common. Tonight the Common was almost entirely empty except for a few hardened runners. Quickly the winter mix turned to full snow. By the time I got home, it was big, beautiful lumpy snow. And the thoughts of what had happened during the day had disappeared. All that mattered now was the snow falling now on my hands.

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Sober times are sauber times

We’ve been sober since Thursday night. This is due to a new years resolution in 2019 to be sober one weekend a month. It doesn’t sound hard, two days and three nights without going for a pint. BUT IT IS. We were meant to be sober last weekend, but failed spectacularly by the Saturday night (after 5 days of sobriety).

So in preparation for this weekend, we went out for a couple of pints on Thursday night on our way home. We had one quick one down at the Priory Arms in Stockwell before heading to Mondo Brewing’s tap room in Battersea. It’s run by a couple of Americans and has a friendly bar manager, Diego, slinging pints. It was a nice time. There was a fleeting moment where an Irish pub seemed like a good next step, but it didn’t come to fruition luckily for the sake of both of us.

We spent most of the weekend doing DIY and cleaning our house. Like putting up shelves and varnishing levels of DIY and hoovering under the bed in the spare room type of cleaning. It doesn’t get much more serious than that. It was fine. Boring, but fine. The hardest point was playing a match of Dutch Billiards which house rules stipulate BIH (Beer/beverage in hand). The cup of herbal tea was not cutting it, so I needed to take a technical time out and get to the shop to get non-alcoholic beers. It was worth the TTO as my game improved and I was able to come through with a strong win.

So while we may find these weekends a bit of a bore, they actually do serve an important purpose of slowing us down for a few days every month. Hopefully they won’t all involve DIY. It’s something we struggled to do last year as we were in constant upheaval from getting our tiny business started. It sucked up a lot of time and brain capacity. While it was fun figuring out the logistics of cider, it was like I was constantly processing information. If it wasn’t the day time job, it was the business. I know I’m only 36, but I can totally see how people have mid-life crises. That amount of stressy shit will bring you down if you don’t find some sort of balance quickly. I have to say, although we’re only a couple months into this year’s production, things are a lot smoother and easier, despite a 50% increase in production. Long may this continue in 2019.

Another thing we’ve done to improve our mental states is booking in a chilled out holiday this year. 2018 holidays were really fun, filled with family and good times, but utterly lacked much in the way of down time. Our plan originally was to visit Chile in April for a 16 day whirl wind tour, but after more thinking we thought we should do something more relaxing. So we’ve booked a 16 day, do-nothing-but-look-at-Atlantic-Ocean-and-fjords-and-sheep excursion to the Faroe Islands. Random choice, I know. But seriously, if you haven’t seen photos of the Faroes, they are totes incredible looking. Google it now! They’re very developed, so you can get around on public buses and ferries without too much hassle. Plus, we’re staying in a house with a mother effin’ sod roof! Count me in, folks.

So hopefully these small interventions will make a big difference.

I realize I haven’t posted my 2019 new years resolutions, so here they are:

– one weekend off booze every month
– read 15 books
– write minimum 3 times a month (2 online)
– continue Germany proficiency
– big walk in Tooting Common/month
– 1 London cultural event/month
– bring back disc golf to my life

I’m looking forward to the disc golf. I think both of us are. It’s about 40 minutes to get to the course down in Croydon, so it’s a bit of a trek. If you really want to enjoy it and get half decent, you need to go regularly. We hope we can do this.  I have started doing shoulder exercises the last couple weeks in preparation. We don’t need any partial dislocations this year to ruin the fun.

That’s it from me today. I don’t believe I’ve taken any photos recently, so I have nothing to share on that front. Sozzles. Till next time!

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