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therunawayeducationalist

Why the runaway? Because it sums up my thoughts, what I like to do in my holidays, and what I like to do to de-stress,quite literally, just run.

Once a Wasp, Always a Wasp. Playing a Bit of Rugby

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This weekend was my birthday and it was a weekend of getting out of my comfort zone. I actually played rugby. I am now of the age where my age doesn’t count, and the years go by and I don’t care. I do like to feel a little bit special on my birthday though, and unfortunately this was a giant fail on all counts. So on Saturday I had a little pity party, had a little word with myself and got on with life. I didn’t go out and drink copious amounts of wine to celebrate because I was in match preparation mode. I carb-loaded, stretched and readied myself for Sunday. I was about to play for Wasps.

For the first time in three years I played for my beloved club. I played for 9 years, a faithful servant. Once a Wasp, Always a Wasp is our motto and I guess this weekend I proved that right. I correct myself, we proved that motto right. With lots of the current players away on holiday and a Cup match to play, the club feel short and called on us Ol’ Girls. So 2 World Cup finalists, an Ex-England International and me ( I garnered a few Welsh caps along the way). We donned our boots, and pulled on the rather tight Wasps shirt for just one more game. This year is the 30th year of Women’s rugby being played at Wasps and H, our scrumhalf stalwart came on at half time to play in her 30th season. As she came on we all clapped, such an achievement. Can you imagine that, playing every single season since she was in her teens. That is pretty legendary in itself. Are you wondering has she still got it? isn’t she over the hill. Nope, her delivery was sharp, she was at every breakdown bossing us and the all to our outside half was sweet. Our 10 with 44 caps under her belt had to catch the mud-ball like a fullback on a high ball in a bread basket, at one point being tackled to the ground as she released the ball to kick it and the ball just fell dead in the mud beside her. Kicking duties at kick offs and conversions passed on to the younger generation, but still giving us great lineout ball in the corners for a couple of catch and drive tries.

It’s like a drug. It’s addictive. There I was amongst all of the banter of the changing beforehand, everyone laughing with excited nerves. A collective goal, all wanting the exact same thing. It was electric, girls kept on coming up to me, shaking my hand, telling me their names. These young guns, I only knew a third of the team by name beforehand. On the pitch they were so talented, our tradition of Army girls playing for us has gone from strength to strength. I was worried I was going to let them down. What if I couldn’t tackle anymore? What if I gave away too many penalties (always a worry), what if I wasn’t fit enough to keep up with the game? For the first time in years I was nervous enough about something to be physically sick on the sideline.

The weather was horrendous and it got gradually worse. The pitch became this comical mud-sliding, glue-like substance. The back three schlepping through toffee. Towards the end all you could see of my face was my blue eyes. Nobody could distinguish one team’s shirt from another. Our centre made a huge belly flop in the mud and we all laughed, our second row slid for 3 metres past us all and we just laughed. There were so many comedy moments despite the cold. The camaraderie on the pitch was magic. My jaw was and still is aching from shivering so hard, hypothermia setting in. The game was called short at 60 minutes due to the weather. We won 39-0, I think we could have scored more. I stood in the cold shower wondering what on earth had made me do it. Why would I put myself forward for this. The truth is I miss it. I miss being part of something bigger than yourself and your own goals. I miss being part of a collective. I miss expressing myself at something I was pretty good at.

After the match all of the girls sang Happy Birthday and one had even made me my very own vegan cake. That’s the thing about the rugby community. It makes you feel pretty special. The Wasps family can make you feel pretty special. I don’t miss Saturdays doing nothing in preparation for Sunday, I don’t miss giving up my whole day for rugby. I don’t miss rugby in that kind of weather. I don’t miss those kind of pitches. But. I do miss tackling. I miss supporting players running lines. I miss turning over the ball in contact. I miss the laughs. I miss Wasps. It’s ok, I’m not coming out of retirement, I know my time is over. I love the fact that they have so many young talented players coming through and I know it’s no longer my time. But for one weekend it was so good to get out of my comfort zone, play rugby and feel that real high that only rugby seems to give me. I guess it’s true Once a Wasp, Always a Wasp

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To quit or not to quit?

I am in the 5th month of my new career. I am enjoying learning. I lie. I am loving the learning. I don’t mind being low down the pecking order. I definitely don’t miss managing people. I don’t miss the 60 hour weeks. I don’t miss the reactivity because I was so time-poor. But I do miss the feeling of mastery and right now I miss the cold hard cash.

Some might think I’m being brave, starting something new, heading in a new direction. Pushing myself to be a better practitioner. In a way I am proud of myself for taking that leap. But on Friday when the vet bills came to 300 quid and I shoved it on the credit card. I can honestly say I wondered what on earth am I doing. I live in London, where the cost of living is eye-waveringly expensive. I spend half of my wage just keeping a roof over my head. I have an amazing other half who supports me in my choices. But the realities of every day life are that this is really tough. My ideals, my wanting to better myself, does not pay the bills, does not pay for all the travels I lust after, does not pay for vet treatment.

We always have projects on the go, and at the moment it’s building a camper van. Next week is supposed to be really exciting. The furniture goes in, but instead of being excited, I keep thinking, how am I going to pay my way? I guess in my previous life I was flippant. If I wanted something, to go somewhere, I just paid for it. There and then. My expensive taste in bathroom tiles and wall paints, all paid for by my job. A job that I didn’t love anymore.

So what do I do? Do I quit on my ideals and live a more comfortable life and accept work is work, and my life is my life the way I want to live it. Or find my passion in sport through research and sacrifice these material trappings. I spent last night looking through jobs on TES contemplating going back to my old life. Where I knew who I was, I knew what I was doing and I was comfortable in knowing that I could pay for anything that cropped up, or projects that we undertook. I feel a huge internal battle right now about what I am doing, where I am going, is any of this worth the struggle?

I never wanted to be rich. I don’t even value material things. This can be seen in the hundreds of little and not so little things I’ve lost over the years. So why am I struggling with this so much? Is it my fierce independence that feels compromised? Is it my freedom? and sadly freedom comes with a little bit of money behind you these days. Maybe if I moved out of London I could forget about these worries and concentrate on the ideal of experiencing fulfilling work. Except then I wouldn’t have my gorgeous 10 minute bike commute, I’d have a car or train commute and less of a lovely work-life balance.

I’ve never really been a quitter, and reading the jobs pages made me feel a bit of a quitter. I don’t want to be a realist either. I don’t want to think about how I’m going to pay that credit card bill or whether another vet bill will pop up anytime soon. I want to drift along on a little cloud of optimism. Thinking I will change the world in my own little way.  What to do, what to do. Today I am contemplating this with my big bi-fold doors open, while marking exam papers, looking at the roses in the garden, listening to chill out. Can you really put a price on that?

My past isn’t my present and certainly isn’t my future

Whatever anyone may think, you are shaped by every moment of every experience. Your genes will also determine some of what happens in your life too. Genetics will impact on your sporting ability, your aptitude for creativity, parts of your intelligence, your general contentment and happiness. Those genetic tendencies and life experiences will all mash up into a swamp-like consistency, full of murky dark spots, with beasts in the depths that some will never know about and sometimes those creatures of the deep will surface and startle. That to me is how we all are, some of us have beautiful lotus flowers on top that make us all pretty and shiny and attractive yet underneath just shallow, dirty pond waters. Others, foamy, attention seeking waves but beneath it a tranquil turquoise with thoughts the depths of the ocean. 

I’ve realised we are all like that. We all have our story that we carry within us. My story of marriage is carried within my psyche. It is of endings, sadness, bitter rows and legal disputes, of agreed visiting rights and loss of homes and comfortable, knowing spaces. Goodbyes and tears and shouting and stories with sad, sad endings. Strangers and strange feelings of being an outsider. So I’ve carried that fear and loathing of marriage around with me, deep into my adulthood, my past in my present, winding its’ way into my everyday life.

I have had a simple mantra in relationships. I will be with you, all of me, until we no longer make each other happy, until the times of sadness outweigh the contentment and then I will go. I move on. I will leave. It has served me well. I have also entered into each relationship thinking about ‘action, not words’. Why would saying words in front of someone in a legal framework make me a better person to be with. I could get married, still be unfaithful, still be angry and hateful and disrespectful. Or I could show you with my daily deeds how deep my love goes, I could do big things, little things every day, every month, every Year that demonstrate my love. Thankfully this has always been enough.

I have gone to others beautiful wedding days and celebrated their love with hope for the future, some people choose to spend thousands demonstrating their love to a huge gathering and I have always felt honoured to be asked to be part of their special day, I have always been in awe of their ability to celebrate their love so publicly. But my love is shown in other ways, in handmade cards, in paying bills, organising holidays, in an every day kiss.

Until now, necessity and legality have caught up with us and after 13 long years it was time to put pen to paper. We decided to do so in front of two witnesses and a pint in the pub in our lunch hour, yet 33 days later and our little snowflake of an idea to be civilly partnered. To dot the i’s and cross the t’s snowballed into an actual celebration.

We asked our parents and the friends who have taken care of us through our 13 years together in London. Those who have been with us through thick and thin. Through the crappy times and the good times. It was brutal, working out who had kept in contact, who had we made an effort with as much as they had made an effort with us. And we asked a tiny gathering to come and celebrate our commitment to each other. 

The sun shone down on us, we whispered personal vows, we had friends read poetry, we chose our own bunch of flowers which screamed of our personalities and smiled and laughed and felt so much love for the family we chose to share our day with us. 

For me, it was a great, big, gigantic steeplechase hurdle I had to leap over. I cried, I faced up to the demons of my past full of endings and realised that this was another story I was weaving into my future. Yesterday was a new beginning, a time to formally celebrate our commitment to each other, to shape our future. 

Whatever your genes, whatever your past, you make your own future. You get to choose your own world, your own story. I choose a happily, ever after. I choose it because we have had the toughest six years you could possibly imagine and we still choose action over words, we still make each other happy on more days than we make each other unhappy. We choose our very own perfectly, imperfect love. 

Dreams and Reality

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We all have dreams, some more than others. I have imaginary worlds that I build up in my mind and aspire to work towards. One of those dreams was to become a university lecturer and be active in research in my area of interest. Simple right? I teach. I gain experience. I get a job at a university. I teach others to think about how they want to teach. I research my areas of interest. I live happily ever after on this linear path. My idealist mind works a little bit like that.

The reality. I teach. I’m too busy teaching to get myself organised enough to do a Masters while teaching. I get myself a job in a university based on my experience. I’m here, living the dream. Except, it’s not really the dream. It’s a much messier version of the dream.

The reality is that I am a junior, and I earn a lot less money, so I have less money to do the things I want to do. It’s not so easy to get into research when you haven’t followed that standard route and you haven’t got that Masters. All that I think I know about teaching and coaching, and the way that I have fumbled through it, feeling what is right and what is wrong in a gut instinct kind of way is worth maybe nothing and might be nothing more that ‘folk pedagogies’. My whole being and thought processes and previous actions are now being called into question by the reading around my subject that I’m doing. And it feels really uncomfortable.

I am in this quagmire of confusion, where I feel like I know nothing. That my years of experience mean very little. I knew it would be challenging, but this constant ache of not being sure is pretty exhausting. I thought I was a good teacher, every lesson observation was an outstanding, but why, what if they were wrong, what if I really know nothing much and have been blissfully unaware all of this time. Happy in my own ignorance. Is it easier to just be ignorant and just keep ploughing along in the same way, repeating the same patterns. Or is this feeling of being at a loss going to eventually subside and I will come out the other side, feeling that theory now informs my practice and I become a little better. That it transforms me into something more. There is no real guarantee of that.

I am missing the comfort of my pay cheque. I am missing the comfort of my own practice. I am missing the mastery of my own profession. The problem is I don’t really want to go back either. I enjoy working with young adults. I enjoy dragging them into that pit I’m in and making them question their values and practices too. I enjoy reading the thoughts of others on my subject. I love feeling like my brain hurts.

The reality is a murky mess, muddy waters that I’m finding difficult to navigate. I feel like I did in Nepal a few years back. I climbed to Everest base camp, felt a huge sense of achievement at reaching it, then looked up and realised that there was still 1000s of metres above me up the glacier to the peak and that my days of trekking had only got me to the very beginning of the journey.

Ahead of me I have potentially years before I possibly achieve a PhD, I’ve got to get on one first. Persuade someone that my Post Graduate Diploma is enough, that I am capable of even beginning the journey towards researching in depth my own area of interest. It is all rather daunting, and I’m not even sure I’m up to the task. Am I even bright enough, inquisitive enough, capable of collating my thoughts, making a cohesive argument. The dreams was that I became a university lecturer, the reality is that it is a long process that needs huge levels of self-motivation, dedication and graft. This is a long process that is going to take time and commitment. I could go back to my comfortable old self, I could be better paid back in teaching, I could be further along on that career path. But will any of that make me happy?  Is this feeling of discomfort making me happy?

I don’t really have an answer for any of my thoughts. I just know that reality is never as simplistic as those silly little dreams of mine. I dream, and then reality brings me back down to earth with a thud. So here I am on my arse, thinking to myself ‘what on earth have you done?’ ‘why the hell have you put yourself through this?’. I look at our home and all the jobs I want doing on it, I look at all the countries I want to travel to and I think how I’ve sacrificed all of those material possessions and experiences for something intangible, a longing to find my own path, my own raison d’etre, and quite frankly I think to myself. ‘Nic, you are nuts, what made you do such a stupid, idiotic thing, because here you are, you know nothing, you’re a million miles away from knowing anything and you are skint’.

If I think I’m daft, others must think it too. But here I am, chasing dreams, completely lost in my reality.

Anyone else out there chasing dreams? anyone else out there looking for their true meaning, trying to find their path? Are any of you as lost as I am and realising there’s no blooming map? and why isn’t there a map, there should be a map! Let me know if your life is as ridiculously complicated as my life feels, or is it just me. Anyone else feel like they are on a journey?

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The Reinvention of Self

How many times does a conversation start with ‘What do you do…’ our desire to know who someone is. This nearly always boils down to what work do you do, therefore your career defines who you are. Maybe this is a Western or Capitalist view of the world. I am slowly coming to terms with telling people I am a lecturer, I struggle to see myself as that. I am at the very beginning, I don’t feel competent enough to say that is what I am.

But if I’m really honest if I was to simmer down my essence of self. My self-expression has been as a sportswoman, a rugby player. The amount of times I have controlled conversations around to the fact that ‘I’m a rugby player’ and the dialogue defining myself was around me as a 7.

I have huge emotional attachment to the number 7, even though ironically, I was a back for quite a few years and at Wasps I had such talented flankers around me I often slipped into the 8 position. But my heart and soul, my emotions were attached to the no.7 shirt. The first time I played for Wales against South Africa was at 7, I started a Six Nations at 7, I played in my all-time favourite Welsh game against Canada at 7. I captained the A’s for a few seasons at 7. My favourite place was sat on a backs shoulder at 7 interplaying with the idea of forward who could have fun with the backs while getting my hands dirty in the melee of the tight forward work, turning the ball over at the tackle, holding the ball up at the maul.

Nowadays, these are sentimental memories that I cling to, nine years at the same club and there are plenty of pretty awesome memories. But that is all they are. For my birthday I was given a beautiful hand-crafted stamped 7 card and all of those emotions rushed back and I realised I was feeling the nostalgia of the old me. I am no longer a 7. I am no longer a rugby player- I am a coach. I have favourite position, all positions are important now. My sense of self for the last five years has been in a state of flux. Yes I have been a Director of Sport, yes I am a lecturer, but no I do not let my career define who I am. I have always considered my embodied experience to be my definition of self.

I feel I am in the process of reinvention of self.

I am beginning to define myself in whole new ways. Today, I had a discussion on research and could feel my brain ache with the stimulation of considering who I am and where I stand on the continuum of research. I feel the physicality of my experience is changing too. I am now training towards a half ironman and the physical tiredness is different, it effects my cognition, I can hardly make a decision when I’ve trained hard. There isn’t that same muscle soreness and toughness, there is this sleepiness and need for naps that I’m not quite used to. I have finally started to feed my body for exercise, I am actually thinking about fuel, rather than feeding a hunger pang with empty calories (I wish I could have done that as a rugby player).Yet, I can’t possibly imagine myself calling myself an endurance athlete, or a triathlete, it is just the training I am doing. I refuse to pay the money to enter races, I am just doing this to fulfil my own challenges, not externally defined races, positions and times.

Why is it so difficult for us to allow ourselves to be different, to change, to move on, to transition. We are so comfortable with what we know of ourselves, we can hardly bear to let go of the old, I cling longingly to ‘old me’ wishing for her to come back to me, that old familiarity. Yet here I am, contemplating completing a half ironman in 12 weeks, thinking of setting myself mountain and lake challenges. Thinking how I can push my boundaries and take my body on adventures and the edge of my own limits and see how far I can push those limits. I feel that my mind is holding me back, nagging away with doubts and fears.

So here I am, right here, right now. I am still me and I feel I hardly know myself. My embodied activity still defines me. , I am so far out of my comfort zone, I am so far away from my old self, I am a triathlete without a racing number.

Have you reinvented yourself? Have you had a life of ages? of chapters? Are you a cat with nine lives? How do you feel you define yourself? Who are you and what gives you your identity? How does that make you feel?

 

 

The Long Commute

Living in London commuting is a way of life. We accept without consideration. Anything less than 40 minutes is a short commute. For the last 5 years I have had an 8 mile commute, on a bike 40 minutes (great in the Summer-not so great in the middle of Winter after finishing a late hockey match in the rain!), in the car 45 minutes maybe, an hour or so much more likely and an absolute minimum of an hour 15 minutes every night. Never on public transport, that was more like two hours each way. For 5 years I spent maybe 2 hours a day on the long commute. 10 hours a week of my life, travelling, sitting in traffic, not being productive  with this precious life.

My life has been totally transformed by a 10 minute commute. Most mornings I do some kind of physical activity. I meditate. I have breakfast. I start the day the right way. What would appear to be such a small change has made such dramatic changes in my life. I am under no illusion that my work life will get busier and the workload will ramp up. But here I am six weeks in and I have transformed my daily habits, working towards a much better work-life balance.

I sit on my chair at the end of the kitchen and watch the blue tits eating the peanuts while drinking a coffee and eating my overnight porridge. Is that a big deal? Does it matter? I would say yes, it is the minutiae of every day life that builds the bigger picture of a good life. A good life for me includes daily exercise and I always felt a bit of a fraud, a PE teacher with no time for myself and my own physical wellbeing. I binged on school holiday fitness bursts followed by half terms of working and inactivity. I rushed to work and missed breakfast, if I was lucky enough to remember I would take in breakfast and eat it at my desk reading my emails, already in work mode.

A big part of my life feels like it has been given back to me. I feel like someone has handed me a whopping 10 hours of my life on a plate and I am making the most of those precious hours and minutes. I never thought for a moment that the long commute had such an impact on my feeling of wellbeing.

This simple change in my every day life has made a huge difference to my level of tiredness, my energy levels, my everyday happiness. What changes could you make to your everyday to make you feel better aligned to your beliefs and your life goals? Mine were to give myself time to take care of my own health and wellbeing and my change has made a huge change. Not all of us can change jobs, not all of us want to, but what changes can you make, what changes do you think will impact your life?

 

Starting over again 2017

The old me: A Director of Sport, 16 years of teaching, deep subject knowledge, passionate about teaching, in a place of mastery. Also: bored, waiting for a new challenge to come along, exhausted, lost my enthusiasm for my job. 

January 2017: Starting over again. The new me: a newbie, lacking in knowledge, a junior, not sure of myself or place. Also: excited for the change, wondering what the hell have I done?!

I am three weeks in, lectures haven’t started, I have been moderating essays, but really I’m not quite into the actual job yet. I have received my first pay slip. I am genuinely wondering what on earth am I doing, I am at a place where the gravitas of the situation has really hit me. I’ve left behind a career I have crafted over time and I am asking myself, doubting myself, am I really cut out for this. 

It might take an absolute age for me to get into further study, these things take time to process. I might be quite a while being a junior lecturer, learning my new craft and that genuinely takes me way out of my comfort zone. When will I be good at this? When will I feel like I know what I’m talking about, this isn’t something I can magically just be knowledgeable about. I have devoured books over the last few weeks, but it is going to take months, years for me to be well-read, to be able to absorb all that knowledge. That is taking me by surprise. This is about me taking small steps towards my future and for all of you that know me. I’m one of those impatient, want it now kind of people. I want to already know how to do it and at the moment I am genuinely floundering around in the unknown. 

I know that it will be a few weeks into lecturing before I work out if I have made the right choice. There are so many positives, beyond money that makes me hugely grateful for the change. I live five minutes from home, I can work from home, my brain hurts from reading so much, which I love. 

Starting over is a scary place to be and I am doing my very best to embrace it, all of it.i go through waves of ‘this is amazing’ to ‘oh god, what were you thinking!’. I’m not pretending to be all look how amazing it is to change your life, it is what it is. I am grateful for all that starting over has brought to me. If you could start over, what would you do? What takes you to your scary place? How do you handle that fear of not knowing? 

Fitness in 2017

This year my fitness is all about self-acceptance and enjoyment. Doing stuff for myself, that is good for my Soul and my broken body.

7 knee operations, being told I couldn’t run long distances, tight hips, weak hip flexors is the story I have repeated to myself and others over and over again. But this year it’s about moving away from the story I keep on telling myself. It’s about moving away from my self-definition of a bit wonky ex-rugby player. Because this story is not helping me move forward.

I actually can run far and have completed two half marathons. So this year the mileage is going to gradually increase and I am going to work towards that marathon. It is within reach.

This month I have really dedicated myself to rocket and jivamukti yoga and since just before Christmas I have gone to 8 classes and have began a home practice with the help of the Yoga Intenrational website. I can already feel the difference this is making in my patterns of movements. This week I nailed a crow pose to tripod headstand back to crow out to high plank. This is progress. The yoga teachers at yogahaven, Richmond recognise my limitations and have offered suggestions to enable me to move forward. My foot is now in a wider position in Warrior One just so that I can face my hips forward. I am approaching yoga with a lot of patience. I recognise that a few poses like camel are my nemesis but I am no longer attacking them, I am encouraging my body to experiment and stay with that feeling for milliseconds longer.

I also gave myself the present of ClassPass for the next three months. My health and fitness are a priority to me and therefore require investment. The membership allowed me to go to my first ever reformer pilates class. I have experimented with mat pilates with my students, but have always wanted to give reformer pilates a go. The expense has always stopped me. I pay £26 for 5 different classes a month across a wide range of fitness clubs in London. I’m hoping to use it to really experiment and explore with a range of different classes.

The pilates instructor seemed to be an ex-rugby player, and when he asked me if I had any injuries, I simply told him just rugby. He laughed and said he understood. He was precise and concise in his instructions, he gave me lots of support to change my poor technique. I wasn’t competitive with myself and used the intermediate bands, thinking about technique first. I really enjoyed it, lots of work on glutes and the VMO, the small muscle in the quad that supports knee tracking and can prevent pain. It is exactly what I need. I am going to keep up the pilates for the next three months and develop a strong core to support my aim of completing the half ironman. 

It’s not all rosy. I have found a swim instructor and suitable times I could go to in the gorgeous Hampton Open air pool, but have so far wimped out and avoided it. I have 18 weeks until the half ironman, I need to get in the pool. I also only ran once last week. One 5 miler. So this week, I have already completed a 4 miler off 20 minutes on the spin bike and I am planning on a long run on Sunday. 

I could beat myself up, but I won’t. That type of behaviour is behind me. 

Social Media Addiction-Facing up to it

I want to live a genuine life, make genuine deep connections, achieve goals I have set myself like writing and running and travelling. To do all of these things takes time in your day, around work, around family, around friends. I need to be pretty savvy with my precious time if I am ever going to achieve it. I need to keep time spent with loved ones sacred. I need to timetable my life carefully if I am going to succeed as a lecturer, a coach, a girlfriend, a writer, an active bod.

I am self-sabotaging all of this.

I am really ashamed to be writing this and putting it out there. This Christmas holidays I got pretty upset with my Dad on Christmas day because he spent the day with his face in his phone compiling playlists. We didn’t spend time with the Rapidough or Monopoly or Scrabble we pulled out, we spent time separately together. But actually, if I’m honest, I was actually angry at myself, not him. Because he was reflecting right back at me how I must be when friends come to stay or I’m sat on the couch with a loved one. This is nothing new to me, I wrote about it in goals for last year. I’ve known it’s a problem of mine for a whole year, but I have refused to do anything about it. I have refused to face up to it, I have justified it with excuses. ‘Oh I just flick on it when i’m bored, it’s because I’m lonely and I get to see what the outside world is up to.’ Except, I’ve let it take over me. I absent-mindedly flick through it umpteen times a day, I get lost in it, clicking links to articles I never knew I was interested in. I have used up valuable time on the commute to training mindlessly looking at status updates. I have sat mesmerised by food on instagram, making myself feel hungry.

I could be using my commute to coaching to write, to read to improve myself and my writing skills. I could be fully engaged in the conversation that I am in with the person in front of me. I could leave the house and have a cup of coffee with someone, go to a pub quiz. Be social not lonely. I could be getting a quality night sleep instead of reading articles in the dead of night when I wake at 2am.

I wanted to get a good idea of my addiction so I downloaded an app called Sense. I have used social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter as per normal. The stats are horrifying, but they are the cold hard truth. My maximum amount of time has been 203 minutes total per day. I can average out about 90 minutes per day on Facebook, 20-30 minutes on Instagram. I am genuinely devastated, because this is all valuable time that I could be putting to far better use. Training, Writing, Planning, Doing, Being.

My life is flawed, imperfect, busy, heartbreakingly sad and wonderfully enriching all at the same time. I know it, we all know it. But there I am looking at people’s beautifully curated yoga poses (yep-you’re bendy, I’m not, I still love yoga and I don’t need to be you and your bendiness- and yeah I am kinda jealous you’re on a gorgeous beach somewhere tropical and I’m here in soggy, wintery London) and training sessions and motivating quotes. There I am engaging in that. Have I ever posted here I am sad, unmotivated, still in my PJ’s, can’t be bothered to face the world. Nope. Because none of us want to see that. I need to engage in that more. The realness of actual life, the people who are genuinely interested in me and want to spend time with me. The people who want to run with me, laugh at my rubbishness at pub quizzes.

I have deleted Facebook from my phone to enable myself to choose when I want to log on and engage. There is nothing wrong with the digital world. I just need to be more present in my world if I want to achieve my goals and be present in the lives of the people I love and have time to train. I will still post pics of me running with my running dog, because he is amazing and an amazing advocate for adopting not shopping for your dog. I will still post ridiculous posts about my stupidity or the hilarious moments in my life. I just want more of my real life back in my own control.

Do you self-sabotage? If you do, how? What are you going to do about it? If you want something, what are you going to sacrifice to get it?

 

 

 

 

2017 – Embrace Changes

I quietly plotted my way through 2016, planning trips, following my heart, shaping my future. I travelled a lot and realised I love home as much as I love exploring. I stumbled my way through my own fitness and kept it chugging along on the back burner. I wrote, I actually wrote, I read my words out loud to a group of strangers, that for me was a huge leap forward. Now, is a time to reflect on 2016, but more importantly to face forward into 2017.

I realised a few things. The more I write, the better my writing becomes and so I simply need to spend this year practising. A lot.

1st Intention: I intend on writing every single week, I intend on spending the time I waste on social media sitting down at my lovely desk in my beautiful office, watching the birds in the branches and tapping letters and words onto my laptop, spend every commuting moment putting black ink to white paper. I will write a book, maybe two. I will continue to go on courses and look at jining a writing group to keep my imagination working and putting those thoughts into words.

2nd Intention: I intend on being a positive role model to females, I will become more active in the feminist movement, will attend events that promote equality of opportunity, will raise up, celebrate and support the women around me. I will become part of the sisterhood of women who cheer and congratulate and build each other up. I will start in my area of expertise, Sport, and I will grow my circle of female friends and allies who encourage others to achieve their very best.

3rd Intention: I will set myself long term fitness goals and short term goals to enable myself to achieve those big goals. I have set up a Half Iron(wo)man ‘Just for the Love of It’.  It’s on the weekend of the 20th of May if anyone fancies joining me for part of it. I will continue to set challenges. I decidedly do not want to be sucked into the money-pit of entering races, I would rather find trails and hills and mountains and lakes and paths that I can set myself goals to run, bike or swim with friends. I don’t need a medal to make me want to do something and if I’m honest I don’t want the ‘two’ of medals cluttering my house. I realised that in 2016 I had nothing to work towards, nothing to keep myself going. So I just need to fully commit myself to a few “Project Goal-Setting’ challenges to keep my commitment and enthusiasm going throughout the year. I am still chasing the dream of completing a marathon. I would like to embrace an every day active approach, whether that be walking, running, swimming, cycling, yoga, Just to keep on moving.

4th Intention: I intend on embracing my change in job, to learn the craft of becoming an excellent lecturer and work out if this is the career for me. I will read and become knowledgeable on my subject, I will support the students in my care. I will apply to complete my level 3 coaching qualification and learn to become a coach that inspires with knowledge and a deep love for my sport. I will look to find a way of making my experience as a teacher and a coach work in a voluntary way and support charity work, I want to become more heavily involved in charity work this year.

5th Intention: I intend on making our second home a reality. I will research how to buy a place in France, I will find our home. I will make this work. We will have a home in the mountains near skiing, lakes, the sea. We will begin in the Pyrenees. This will happen.

6th Intention: I will continue on my path of yoga and mindfulness, this may lead to me learning how to teach yoga. I will continue to push my body past the boundaries of stiff old rugby player and work on my flexibility of mind, body and soul. I am most definitely a work in progress. I have found a yoga that I enjoy, rocket and jivamukti yoga which suits my personality, I keep on going with the yoga that I find difficult too, because what we like isn’t always necessarily what is best for us. I will find daily time to meditate, it is a priority in my life.

7th Intention: I realise I am a bit of a recluse and love nothing more than staying home all day in my own company, reading books, walking the dogs, silence. But I also need to get out of my head too and spend time with loved ones. It is easy to become isolated in London and many of the people I love live miles away, I will make a greater effort to be a more sociable version of me. This is really going to be a tough one for me.

8th Intention: I will travel. I don’t have a bucket list as such, I have places I would like to see. Iceland being an easy one, just for a few days. This Christmas I received a beautiful scratch away map, I intend on expanding my horizons and exploring our beautiful world some more. They say you expand your mind when you expand your horizons, Nepal six years ago changed my mindset immeasurably. I realised how tough I could be when I reached Everest Base Camp with both cerebral and pulmonary edema and I made it off the mountain safely, walking hours feeling completely out of control of my own body. I saw how other people live, how precious water is, how tough life can be. I saw beyond the comfort of my own life. I saw the raw beauty in nature that surrounded me. I want to feel that wonder and awe again. More Mountains please 2017 and a voyage by sea thrown in would be good too.

9th Intention: To fill my weekends with mini-adventures in the camper van. the next few months will be spent tarting it up and then it will be ready for us to make the very most of our free time. Spending quality time with my faves by the sea, in the mountains, home in Wales. Waking up to open the back doors onto glorious sunrises in beautiful locations and drinking cups of peppermint tea watching the sunset in our cosy little home from home.

10th Intention: The most important one of all. To love more deeply, to give more passionately, to be more free and giving of my love to those who I love. My family and the family I have chosen. I intend to welcome more people into my circle of people I love, people who are positive, who make me laugh, who ask me to do crazy things, people who make me feel  a better version of myself. I have a wonderful family right now and I hope to welcome more into my tribe in 2017.

I resolve to stick with my intentions.

You may hate them, you may love them. We should all make more concrete the things that make us happy, we should commit to doing more of the things that make our hearts sing. Last year my resolutions were my life priorities, I intend to continue in 2017. To shape my own life, I am the mistress of my own destiny. I am the captain of my ship. What will be important to you in 2017. What will you make happen in 2017. Do you have any wonderful ideas you want to share with me?

I have only blogged 8 times in 2016. In 2017 I hope to blog much more as I journey into being a lecturer, I hope you coma along for the ride. Wishing you all the love and light in 2017 my tribe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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