Letting go

Mon 13 – Sun 19 June 2022

An interesting week in that we basked / burned in a mini-heatwave with temperatures in London on Friday mid-thirties. Meanwhile, my first proper week finally started of just two-day working (both WFH) with 3 days not working / opportunities to go to the gym. You can read about the promise of it here in my previous blog. And, perhaps linked to these things, last week I had a strong sense of the importance of letting go.

I have written about this before but I genuinely think a bigger sense of letting go is coming into my life, not least based on the concept of semi-retirement.

We all have to let go of things throughout our lives: childhood, dreams, relationships, plans, careers, life itself. Some letting go is good (toxic people) and some is bad (people you love). It really does feel like my life is moving on and there is no point in fighting forever or regretting what has happened or is inevitable.

“If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads.”

Anatole France (a French poet, journalist, and novelist)

Health and Efficiency

Gym

In letting go of the concept of working anything like full-time and having a career, so the door is opened to more exercise. Finally got to the gym 3 times last week: mornings of Mon, Tues, Thurs. All good and opportunities to try out different equipment, exercises, and stretching. Best was Thurs when I was completely on my own in the gym.

38 gym sessions since the start of 2022 = £13 per session.

Weight

Hmm, so my plan to double down on losing weight doesn’t seem to be quite working. Letting go of a food and drink addiction is really hard (like any addiction). But perhaps I need to think in terms of letting go of my constant obsession with losing weight. I know I ain’t going to have a washboard stomach ever. But also I know I’m not going to let myself go and I need to lose weight simply for the health benefits.

Dozing bulldog

Hayfever, Covid, and Monkeypox

As with many people, the heat has been causing havoc with my hayfever. Don’t think I’ve ever had it so bad. Indeed, coughing and breathing issues are affecting my sleep. I don’t think it’s covid because I’ve got none of the other symptoms such as loss of taste and smell.

Meanwhile, I’m in the high risk group for catching monkeypox and as I use a gay gym / sauna if it is airborne then that is very bad news. Though no-one has died of it yet. Just hoping the fact that us oldies would probably have been vaccinated for smallpox explains why the vast majority of people with monkeypox are under 50 – something like 85%! Could also be that us wrinklies are less likely to get laid LOL.

Worse case scenario is having hayfever and simultaneously catching covid and monkeypox! These are the sort of thoughts I should be letting go of.

Family and Friends

Dave and taking mum out to lunch

My partner and my mum are the two most important people in my life and both continue to be wonderful and exasperating at the same time. Probably how we all feel about family and partners. I definitely think in comparison to both of them, I am far more chilled and have come to terms with letting go of things. Accepting life is what it is, enjoy it while you can, and stop regretting stuff gone.

So nice to take mum out to lunch during the week. She adores fish and chips so that is what we ate though a bit hot for it really. Her ability to move about without getting exhausted is rapidly diminishing. It’s quite worrying but nothing I can do. Though she travelled by tube to meet us, we hired a car and drove her back home. A far slower journey than expected with all the traffic – things really are very back to pre-pandemic days.

Also nice to bump into my brother at the weekend. He (and his children) are also important people in my life. Be nice to see a lot more of my brother and his partner. Hopefully this will come.

Books and Reading

‘The Absolute Book’ by Elizabeth Knox

Wow, I have finally finished reading this novel. I’ve been reading it on my kindle primarily as I’ve been moving about. But it’s been a hard work book. Definitely a fantasy epic – think of a more grown up version of Pulman’s ‘His Dark Materials’. But not as engaging.

It’s hard to explain the plot as I got lost several times. Veering dramatically between the real world, other dimensions, and Purgatory with various supernatural beings, Norse gods, and demons.

There are several main characters who are developed well. But as a story it sprawls and rears in dramatically different directions. I’m left still trying to work out if I enjoyed it or not. I feel like I’m exhausted after finishing it. But there are parts I keep thinking of and realising how bloody clever it was.

Perhaps best to think of it as a flawed masterpiece.

red demon head with horns

Art and Culture

Love Island represents the importance of letting go

I continue to watch ‘Love Island’ which is my contemporary trashy pleasure. Is it artistic or cultural? In a sense it is, if you see it as a product and reflection of modern life. It does emphasise how transient and trashy so many aspects of our existence are. And that is a reinforcement for my concept of letting go. That nothing is too serious to really worry about, we deal with whatever happens, and you just need to try to enjoy yourself.

“Life is a long lesson in humility.”

James M. Barrie (Scottish novelist)

An evening of musical theatre

Me and Dave went to this event on Wed evening in the Crypt of St Martin in the Fields on Trafalgar Square. TBH I was knackered after doing a work day spent almost totally on zoom. Indeed, I fell asleep in a webinar during the afternoon! But Dave insisted we go and I am glad we did.

Four very good singers from the West End who did a selection of popular songs from musical theatre. And done in a cabaret setting with the ability to move around, have drinks and eat whilst the performances happen. We shared a table with a couple from Canada who were fun. Overall, a good live experience and I would recommend – more details on future shows here.

‘A Man Escaped’

Caught up with this wonderful film on Saturday afternoon. It’s available via the BFI and was created by Robert Bresson in 1956. The black and white story of a man planning an escape from a Gestapo prison in France during WWII. Good to practice my French but also a clever and moving film. You realise how much harder it would be now with video surveillance and movement triggers. But you can also empathise that the themes of this film are happening with the Russian occupation of Ukraine now: ad hoc prisons, abductions, torture, collaborators, executions.

Stop caring, death is inevitable

Sustainability

The ongoing impact of Gerry’s talk

Gerry McGovern’s talk from last week still sits in my brain (see my previous blog here). It’s like a stone thrown into the water with the rings emanating out. And I am left constantly asking myself how I can reduce my consumption? Letting go of that urge to own and possess when ultimately it is destroying the planet and we all die taking nothing with us.

“I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me.”

Dudley Field Malone (an American attorney, politician, and actor)

Love Island and eBay

One of the best aspects of my guilty pleasure Love Island, is that all the clothes come from eBay and are secondhand / pre-loved. You see the way the contestants treat the clothes as throwaway and for single wear which is massively destructive of the planet. The amount of landfill taken up by clothes is horrendous. But it’s slightly better that they are not using newly produced clothes.

Will my plants survive?

A small thing but I am worried about my plants whilst I am away in Germany next week. Particularly the plants on my window ledge which were effectively ‘heat bombed’ in the week gone. I’ve given them a massive soaking but, as Dave says, you can’t expect plants to live forever.

Spider plant

Personal Development

Duolingo and No Code

A real benefit of letting go on career chasing is the ability to instead focus on doing all the other things in life you’ve wanted to do. For me, this is learning languages. Managed to get some Duolingo done every day again. And watched a couple of webinars on No Code software – though one of these was the one I fell asleep in LOL

The Week Ahead

  • We’re on holiday! The ultimate letting go. Back to Berlin with Dave, somewhere I’ve not been to for 3 years though he has been back there more recently. My first proper break from work since November last year and one of the two return flights I am limiting myself to each year as a small contribution to tackling climate change.
  • Just one gym session on Mon morning before we go away. Though our hotel does have a gym and I intend to do some long walks in Berlin.
  • Holiday isn’t going to be about totally letting go – not eating and drinking to excess. But I am going to chill and enjoy myself. So it’s about trying to hit that perfect spot between relaxing and having fun without being silly and getting messy.
  • Still reading ‘The House on the Cerulean Sea’ by TJ Klune which is really enjoyable. My holiday reading is Alastair Reynolds’ chunky sci-fi classic ‘Revelation Space’. This is a ‘real’ book. What I will read on my kindle as I walk about, I have yet to decide.
  • Phyllis arrives in London on 23rd for 3 weeks. So will catch up with him when I am back. Also need to arrange to see my friends Fang Fang and Irene. Must get down to Hove to see my mate Rob who is back from Spain next week.
  • Pretty sure I will be doing art and culture in Berlin particularly visiting galleries and museums. Though it’s a city I know well and I just like chilling out there.
  • Plan to carry on with personal development whilst I am away. Hopefully being in Germany should ‘naturally’ help my German language learning.

And Finally…

Absurdities and atrocities

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