Always Searching for the Sweet Moment

Mon 31 July – Sun 6 Aug 2023

I think life is largely about trying to find sweet moments. Times when everything is in balance and you just feel happy with the world. A sweet moment comes in many forms. Perhaps addiction is about searching for it; trying to constantly re-find the original high. The sweet moment for others is that feeling of being ahead in your career, happy with your family, financial security, etc.

But one of the key things is that it is a moment and the good feeling is temporary. Life can’t always be just about good times. It’s more about riding the ups and downs.

A week of two halves

The week gone was definitely one divided into two halves. The first part was about my searching for and finding sweet moments which I particularly find in exercise these days. But then an injury reinforced my place in the ageing process and made me need to take steps back on progress I felt I had made. It is almost like I fulfilled what I warned of in my previous blog where my advice was to have low expectations – read it here.

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.”

John Ruskin

Health and Efficiency

Jog run halted by hip pain disaster

I have been really enjoying getting back to doing my jog-runs. There’s that sweet moment when I am jogging and lose myself. All that matters is the jog, the rest of the world feels remote. And it’s taken several months to get here starting with the ‘couch to 5K’ routine then building up to a weekly 5K.

But I’ve been writing in my blog on how I have developed a hip problem. It’s never happened before, knee and Achilles problems but they are both under control. Had a week in-between my jogs but tried to do a 5K on Thurs morning and felt my hip really hurting not far into the first kilometre. So bad I had to give up because it felt really painful – I have never had to stop a jog completely before due to an injury. 🙁

This has left me really down. I enjoy my jogs and it has helped me lose weight.

Dozing and subdued bulldog

Injuries: Bursitis and the need to start again

Really pleased to get an appointment with my GP the next evening. He’s diagnosed bursitis (see details here). Basically the inflammation of the bursa (fluid-filled sacs) around the hip bone. Makes sense as the pain actually feels like it is in the bone and not in any of the muscles around my hip. Plus only seems to be aggravated by the impact of jogging whereas other forms of exercise are OK.

Treatment is dull and predictable. Rest and ibuprofen gel till the pain has gone. Then starting back to my jog-runs in a very delicate manner. Basically returning to the start of the ‘couch to 5K’ routine with limited alternating walking and jogging building it up so long as it doesn’t hurt.

Therefore, no sweet moment in a jog-run for a long-time to come where my physical and mental state are in a nice place together. It’s like that old saying, ‘God sees our plans and laughs’.

Like banging your head against a brick wall

Swim: A new hope?

Tuesday I went for a swim with Dave. Where I wrote recently about not having expectations so I took that to heart and have decided not to strive to increase the number of lengths I do each time. I just focused on doing just 20 lengths – nearly all slow back-stroke but with a few lengths of slow front-crawl. And lost myself in the nice, slow motion of going backwards and forwards in the water. That sweet moment which is what I seek when I am swimming.

The day before I decided to ask about monthly membership of the pool as there seemed to be a July special offer (Monday being the last day of July). Turned out the special offer was pricier than expected and included gym membership which I didn’t want because I already have that. But the sales guy was able to offer me a monthly swim only membership of £20. Too good to say no to as each individual visit is £8. So I can go swimming now whenever I want. 🙂

freestyle

Gym: Heavier and fewer reps

3 great gym sessions on the mornings of Mon, Wed, and Fri. It is interesting with my hip problem that the gym doesn’t antagonise it and neither does swimming – thank goodness for small mercies. Really good workouts and my gym buddy from last week seems to have disappeared. I’m particularly focusing on heavier but fewer reps and alternating body parts.

So for example: 1 set of 8 bench press reps for chest followed by 1 set of 10 squats for legs then back to the bench press – 3 alternating sets of each. Also on Fri following my hip problem developing, I put a lot more focus on stretching especially legs and upper body. The sweet moment of a good stretch is when you can feel it and you also feel that you are defeating gravity.

82 gym sessions since the start of 2023 divided by the annual membership = £6 per session.

Dumbells

Weight: A sweet moment

After the previous week’s weighty wobble, a bit more strictness with my diet and I saw a nice reduction to 12 stone, 12 and a half pounds – a pound lost in one week. So pleasing to be clearly under the 13 stone mark. But I do still want to lose more though I think it’s going to be a lot harder. Rather staying where I am maybe the more realistic option. Particularly as it felt like my jog-runs were a good way to burn calories and increase my metabolism. More walking may help but the impact isn’t the same.

Books and Reading

‘Young Mungo’ by Douglas Stuart

Finished this book last week. I found Douglas Stuart through his first novel, ‘Shuggie Bain’ which is a very engaging story about a young gay man growing up in hard urban Scotland. TBH, ‘Young Mungo’ is quite similar and it will be interesting to see the direction of his next novel. But Mungo can stand on its own merits. There is an element of poverty porn but the reality is that some people lead hard lives and homophobia exists – this was especially true thirty years ago.

It’s the story of a young gay man living in a very dysfunctional Glasgow family. An alcoholic and absent mother with a violent brother. But he finds love and it’s that sweet moment of first love when you spend hours simply just kissing and exploring each other. But life is never easy and the story includes physical and sexual abuse as well as death. The ending is a wonderfully dramatic point.

This book does remind me of some other gay milestones. It’s a love story in the mould of the classic film ‘Beautiful Thing. And this is mixed with the melodrama of ‘A Little Life’ by Hanna Yanagihara. Many loved that book but I found it too melodramatic. ‘Young Mungo’ merges these to become a melodramatic gay love story albeit with a bit of hope.

Queer

Art and Culture

Soccer – Slava Ukraini !

A very different experience for me and Dave when we went to a football match on Saturday. It was a charity fundraising match for Ukraine. I used to go to football matches at QPR with my brother but that was a while ago before the cost and time it consumed got too much.

A nice atmosphere with lots of families that kept under control some of the more unpleasant aspects of masculinity you often get at football matches dominated by men and alcohol. The drunk guy next to me did try to engage in conversation but I shut him out. The match was at Stamford Bridge (Chelsea’s ground) which was far more dinkier and less stylish than I was expecting.

The game itself had lots of recently retired players (some of whom I had forgotten how good they are) as well as celebrities. I remember my time playing football with its draw of creating that sweet moment of camaraderie, competition, and physical exertion. Perhaps I should think about investigating walking football, a sport for older men?

The match itself had some good moments but was a bit like a training match. People being safe and lots of passing the ball around. Fascinating how some ex-players have ‘relaxed’ their diets after leaving professional sport LOL. And some nice musical entertainment at half-time and afterwards including Tom Walker, Tom Brennan, and The Pretenders. Also some Ukrainian pop stars who I didn’t know but they clearly meant a lot to the many Ukrainian people there.

All in all, a good night out (despite the weather) and, hopefully, lots of money raised for rebuilding schools in Ukraine.

Stress test - get knocked down, get up

QPR: The disappointment begins

The Championship season has begun and QPR went down to a horrible 4-0 defeat by Watford. Very possible we will be this season’s whipping boy. Supporting a team is very much about trying to get that sweet moment when your team plays well and you are proud of them. This feels a long way away from where QPR is at this current time. Rather we are a master study in how to fuck things up.

“Never keep up with the Joneses. Drag them down to your level. It’s cheaper.”

Quentin Crisp

The Week Ahead

  • Focus on getting that sweet head and body moment via exercise as per usual: 3 gym sessions and a swim session on Tuesday
  • Continue to nurse my injured hip 🙁
  • Have started reading the much acclaimed ‘Our Share of Night’ by Mariana Enriquez. I will finish ‘Ithaca‘ by Claire North and start a second book as I love to read two books concurrently.
  • Me and Dave are going to Essex on Thursday to meet our friend Annie who has a boat
  • Need to arrange a date for mum to come over to Dave’s for fish and chips one lunchtime

And Finally…

Here's hoping

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