Good Days and Bad Days

It really has been an up and down week. One of those where I have felt content with life. But also one of those when a couple of bad days have blown me off course. The real world weather definitely didn’t help at the start of the week. With the greyness and heavy rain. But some of the bad days happened when the weather was good. Like on the day I thought I had sorted out some financial admin only to find it wasn’t sorted after all.

Perhaps it was also some sort of comedown following our successful mini-trip with Patrick and Frances to the Isle of Wight the week before; you can read more about it here. And it might also be that my bad days are based on me generally trying to work out what is the purpose in my life without work.

I do have days where I wonder ‘Is this it?’ But then I know some people have a lot worse lives than mine (though some have a lot better). Worries about money always loom on the horizon with no salary coming in. Perhaps the key thing to get rid of bad days is just to jettison worry. Indeed, as you get older is there any point in worrying about money as you will be dead sooner rather than later. Live day by day and see what happens.

Good days and bad days - get knocked down, get up

Mum: A week with no dramatically bad days

One of the things about caring for others is that they very definitely have bad days and good ones. Generally mum was OK last week in that there were no dramatically bad days. She’s still uncomfortable a lot of the time and there is so little I can do. But we continue to spend time together. And Friday afternoon, we went out together to the post office and the local shops. Took a lot out of mum but great to get her out in the fresh air.

Patrick: The importance of pacing yourself

It is amazing how much better our friend Patrick is now compared to 6 months ago. And for him also was generally a good week. Though he did go out on Tuesday and told me how exhausted he was by it when we spoke in the evening. As with my mum, I advised him just to focus on one thing when he goes out – good advice for all of us. Though I know it is so easy to think all is good and let the momentum carry you forward so that you end up doing far too much.

walking feet setting out on a journey

Gym: Love it but am I kidding myself?

Am I just using the gym (and exercise in general) to give me purpose? Am I like one of these sad older people who suddenly decide to use their retirement to try to over-ride the physical impact of ageing and become addicted to exercise? It is very rare that I would class one of my bad days as having an exercise component. Good days are generally exercise days.

Pleased to say I had my perfect routine with workouts on Mon, Wed, and Fri mornings. And my normal routine of going with the exercises I wanted to go with. Indeed, there is something quite nice about going back to exercises that I haven’t done for a while. Be great to explore some new exercises but I am limited by the weights and machines at my gym.

48 gym sessions since the start of 2024 divided by the annual membership = £11.50 per session.

Swim: Just one good session

Finally managed to get back to the swimming pool on Tues afternoon. 22 lengths: 11 front-crawl, 10 back-stroke, 1 breast stroke. Felt really good particularly as the private instructor allowed me to swim in the swimming lessons lane.

I had a plan to also go swimming on Thurs morning. A bad day and a good day. Bad in the sense that I didn’t go, I just felt too knacked. A good day in that it gave my body a chance to rest. And I was able to have coffee with Dave instead.

swimming pool lanes

Weight: Time to get serious

The reasons for over-eating are complex. It’s not so simple to say that we eat because we are unhappy. Or that we eat because we are happy. Perhaps I am feeling a bit down. But that doesn’t excuse that I know I am over-eating and my weight is pushing up towards 13 stone.

So time to get serious. To deal with good days and bad days as they come along. And just focus on not eating more than I should. I know when I am over-eating so weight gain shouldn’t be a surprise. And if I know I am eating too much then I should simply stop doing that.

lose weight now

Always interesting how a good book can make bad days more bearable. Got through two good ones in the week gone.

‘The Adventures of Amina of al-Sirafi’ by Shannon Chakraborty

I’m not a great fan of fantasy as it usually involves wizards, dragons, and strange new kingdoms. Yes there are some classics like the brilliant writings of the late Terry Pratchett – my favourite character was the orangutan librarian. But there’s also a lot of silliness. I initially liked Harry Potter but it doesn’t work for me now as it is pretty formulaic and aimed at kids.

However, this book by Chakraborty is a really fun piece of fantasy writing. In many ways it is the story of Sinbad crossed with the Arabian Nights and the hero being a woman. It’s set in the Indian Ocean during the period of the European Middle Ages. The basis is factual when the Indian Ocean was a hub of international trade and cultural exchange.

But there is a big supernatural element with monsters, demons, and magic. Obviously you can’t take it seriously. But it’s well written with interesting characters and the swashbuckling story flows well. I really enjoyed reading it and look forward to the future books that this one lays the foundations for.

‘The Ferryman’ by Justin Cronin

A very big and intimidating book, about 600 pages long. I know it has had great reviews but I approached it with trepidation. Indeed, I thought it was going to take me a bloody long time to read. However, it is a very well written novel that I loved reading and sped through it far quicker than I expected.

I don’t want to give too much away about this sci-fi novel. But there are two large elements of the book that made an impact on me. First, it’s about the divides in society particularly between the rich and the poor. We are living in times of unparalleled wealth inequality. True people don’t starve to death any more but some struggle everyday and some float along. Inevitably societies like that rightly end in conflict.

Second, the book raises that age old question of how to define reality. Increasingly the internet raises more and more questions about what is real. What can we trust and we can live in worlds that can feel as real as the real world but aren’t. We also know that our memories are totally subjective and dreams can’t be trusted. So what are we left with?

woman lays awake in bed

One way of finding purpose?

I think I try to find purpose by doing my daily Duolingo lessons. I would love to come out of these years being far more fluent in German and Spanish. And my bad days definitely include if I don’t do any Duolingo or only just one lesson to keep my continuous number of days accumulating.

Do I need to be more creative?

I really must get some more cultural stuff into my life. I’m aware that I am doing little to actually create anything perhaps except with this blog. Perhaps less bad days if I was putting my energy into creating something or some things that would give my life more purpose?

British art from the 1930s

Good TV

Consuming TV is not being creative. But there is some great TV on at the moment and, like a good book, good TV makes bad days bearable.

I have re-discovered how bloody funny ‘Googlebox’ is. And also on Channel 4, ‘The Piano’ is a wonderful programme with great music and fascinating stories. ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’ is back which has partly inspired me to think about the need to be more creative (as has ‘Glow Up’ which I really need to catch up on). Plus Dave and me are loving ‘Race Across the World’ – the final next week.

And you have to love the circus of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’. Whilst Dave (who is in bathroom decorating mode) is loving ‘Bridgerton’. TBH this really doesn’t grab me but each to their own.

  • The usual mix of good days and bad days as is life. Bank holiday on Monday but it’s not the same buzz as if you are working.
  • My plan is to get to the gym on Monday as it was wonderfully empty on the May Day Bank Holiday. Plus also Wednesday and Friday with a swim on Tuesday.
  • Time with mum. We currently have a plan for me to take her to visit Dave’s place on Friday through a combination of Zip Car and Uber.
  • I’ve gone back to one of my favourite sci-fi writers Robert Silverberg to catch up with one of his mid-seventies classics. Plus I’m reading a good very recent book about AI.
  • I need to get serious about trying to keep my weight under control.
Not what you want to hear

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