Tomorrow, I go back to work.
I could have done with another week off 😉
Usually when I have time off I come back with some kind of epiphany, and I’m trying to sum up what I’ve learned this time around – still on the simplicity kick really, I haven’t been writing (handwriting) hardly at all, it’s like the penny has finally dropped that it’s only about what I actually do and it’s not about other people any more either. I go through phases of feeling OK with that and phases of feeling down.
Since taking that biorhythm test in Psychologies the other day I’ve realised (in composite with a previous revelation about not really needing to plan days in advance so much) that I have various patterns when it comes to how I tend to feel about time-use, and I do seem to have a slightly manic-depressive bent in that I’ll either want to be go go go doing things all the time, or hiding in bed under the duvet watching DVDs, or anything in between, or sometimes both at once. This dichotomy of freneticism vs. hibernation is something I need to manage; I will get incredibly frustrated when I’m following the wrong pattern. Work days, with a 5am start (though if I’m not writing? maybe 5:30? six even?!) are frenetic by design – there is stuff to be done all day at work (study if not work), stuff to be done on the train, always things going on at lunchtime and quite often after work too, rarely more than 6 hours’ sleep. Naps every three hours are out of the question. This probably explains why I can crash at weekends.
On the other hand, when I’m in hibernation mode it’s not that I don’t want to be doing stuff – I’m learning that I can stay in bed and read useful things, I can have study-time with HH over coffee (he drinks coffee now, hurrah!) and I can do small things around the house. What seems to be key (and the luxury) is staying close to home and having the freedom to go to bed whenever I like. If I end up napping for one our out of three or four (and I do get into some quite serious REM dream-filled sleep when I nap, more so than at night) then that’s not so bad. A lot of what I want to do involves reading of some description anyway, so it takes away the discipline of having to sit down and read.
The other thing I’ve been enjoying is working in blocks of 20 minutes, which is enough time to read an article, or a few pages of a book, a bearable amount of time to study accountancy, enough to write an e-mail (or a blog post hehe) or make progress on something creative. It’s more than enough time to do some stuff around the flat (or alternating single cleaning chores in between 20 minute segments is also an option. In fact, it’s enough time to do virtually anything besides music, which tends to need longer. I also find it reassuring because I can get through 10 or more different things in a short space of time, which makes me feel better about not dropping any one activity for too long. A lot of the things I would like to do are not things I want to do full-time, so it’s nice to get them done and move on. This evening I had a free Starbucks voucher (how rare are they?!) and exactly 40 minutes until they shut; I read an article in Foreign Affairs and did some French, then came home and had a big chunk of music/recording time, then went back to splitting up between domestic chores and 20 minute tasks, getting everything done that I needed to. I feel energised by this and happy that I’ll get to all the priority things and some lesser tasks without losing too much sleep. When it works, I get in a rhythm and I don’t even think about food at all. For those 20 minutes, the thing I’m currently doing is the only thing that matters, and that makes everything matter in appropriate measure.
Eating definitely does seem to be better – I’m not snacking between meals (let that hold through a week of work and that’ll be the real test) and have been making all our meals at home this weekend. I’ve made breakfast frittatas (top pic!) again after a long period of not, and I’ve been eschewing carb-laden meals (didn’t even have rice at lunch with HH’s stew) and enjoying making healthier things. The second pic is my go-to salad – watercress and fresh basil with assorted salad items and a honey/balsamic dressing – yum. I’ve been looking forward to that every day this weekend.
I’m also super glad that I did get some recording done (bottom pic) at long last. The most important dreams often involve the hardest work.