No ending, only beginning

Mon 3 – Sun 9 Oct 2022

I put a quotation in my previous blog (read it here) that came from the late, wonderful Hilary Mantel: There are no endings…they are all beginnings. And over the last week I have thought more and more about this, and realised how true it is. Just as life is full of big and little deaths so it is also made up of many big and little beginnings.

It’s so easy to see the world as just endings both hoped for and real: the death of the Queen, the end of established global supply chains, jobs and relationships ending, and so on. But it’s much more realistic to see things as beginnings. And, hopefully, they will be good ones though there is no guarantee on that.

Inevitably every beginning will end at some point and a new one will happen. It’s the circularity of life. And it gives hope as it’s not about looking back to what has gone and been lost but rather to the new life that is constantly being born in some way.

Health and Efficiency

Gym

Every day is a new beginning. A new chance to make progress on our plans, ambitions, and hopes. That is particularly true for me when I go to the gym. I love the feeling of working out and I am sure that strengthening exercises are some of the best means to ensure good health in the future.

Gym

As my cold subsided (though it’s still there a bit), I was able to get gack to 3 gym sessions last week and I was alone in the gym for each of them. I really could spend all day in the gym just doing different machines, weights, and exercises. Though inevitably it would lead to exhaustion. And rest to let muscles recover is as important as putting them through a workout.

Though on my non-gym days I’m also trying to do lots of good walking. Tuesday was a particular good day when I spent the afternoon wandering around my local area in West London though focusing on some parts I haven’t been to for ages.

69 (a lucky number!) gym sessions since the start of the year divided by the annual membership = £7.17 per session.

Weight

Every day is an opportunity for me to try to lose weight. Most days I fail but there is no point in being despondent. Rather it is better to have fresh hope each day that this is the one where I will make a breakthrough. It’s like the recovery saying: ‘Never give up giving up’. Perhaps I lost a quarter of a pound last week (due to not having a fish and chips blowout?). It could be another dead end or perhaps it’s a real beginning.

man weighing himself

INR

Good news in that my result was firmly in the required zone. So no need to get it checked again for a month. Which is actually 3 weeks as I need to get it done before I go on holiday to Torremolinos to see Phyllis at the end of October.

Work Life Balance

My three month notice period has begun

This is a particular area in which I have been thinking in terms of the importance of only seeing beginnings rather than endings. It would be so easy for me to think that my current role is ending in December and be despondent. Indeed, basically last week was the beginning of my three month notice period; I am on a countdown.

But rather it is a beginning. It is the chance for me to do new things and make progress in new areas. Indeed, I have actively started thinking about what comes next and it may be the time to be daring.

The importance of belief in yourself and your ability

Fascinating to have a conversation with someone else this week who is soon leaving their role. They are stepping into uncertainty and it is easy for me to say it is a new beginning. But they are an extremely talented and experienced person who will fly.

Reminded me so much of when I took voluntary redundancy after 11 years at Comic Relief. It was so scary and there were times when I thought I was on the scrap heap. If only I had been more positive about the new beginning I had with confidence in myself then I would have had a lot more fun and far less worry.

Our Future is Greater than our Past

Books and Reading

Great Circle‘ by Maggie Shipstead

Finally finished this long book that I’ve been reading on my kindle whilst I am walking about. It’s the fictional story of a young woman in the first half of the twentieth century who dreams of being a pilot. She fights poverty and discrimination to try to reach her goal. This is intertwined with a female actress of our own time who is playing the other woman in a film about her life. She faces similar and different barriers to get what she wants.

Tragic and epic, it’s a beautiful book about the constant beginnings we have in our lives. And the characterisation is brilliant. We follow the lives of several people as their stories are detailed. They grow as real people that we are curious about and feel joy or sorrow for. Plus there are some people who fleetingly appear and disappear. We would love to know more about them but that’s not real life. People come and go all the time in our existence. That is neither good nor bad.

Rows and rows of beautiful books

My new reading book

One of the best thing for me with books is beginning to read a new one. It’s like an adventure waiting to happen as you don’t know how good it will be and how much impression it will make on you. I have started on ‘The Watchmaker of Filigree Street’ by Natasha Pulley. She’s a great alternative history / fantasy writer and it’s a fun adventure set in another late nineteenth century London.

Meanwhile, I am still reading Patrick Gale’s ‘Mother’s Boy’ and should finish it next week. It’s a very good book as well.

Personal Development

Language progress every day

A bit like with my weight, I can see everyday as a new beginning for learning. I am not making as much progress as I would like but there is no reason ever to give up. I am still managing to do my Duolingo Spanish most days (including at the gym!). And on the occasional days I miss out, I just dust myself off and worry about the next day. Same as with a missed gym session or even when I forgot to take my daily cocktail of meds.

Pic of my meds case

Art and Culture

Return to being a creator

Regular readers will know I am not making the progress with this that I want. But I genuinely think I will once I leave my current job and move into a period of semi-retirement. It’s that period as a new beginning. And I really hope I can be more than just a consumer. That I can also be a creator. I tried to get back to making art when I was in-between work Autumn 2020 – Spring 2021. But I couldn’t give it the time it demanded. Though, I suppose, in a way this weekly blog is a form of art.

Great TV

Finished watching the ‘KaDeWe’ German drama series. Really good cultural drama and so reminiscent of Berlin – a city that me and Dave love. Meanwhile, I have also been a regular viewer of ‘Married at First Sight’. Classic this week with Thomas screaming in scouse to one of the other people ‘You’re a liar and an adulterer!’ Dave is exasperated by my love of it. But, as I tell him, it’s about human relationships and the way we interact with each other (just like ‘Love Island’).

Congrats to Liverpool in getting Eurovision. I really thought it would be Glasgow. Sonia will be happy.

Eurovision

Sustainability

Our dangerous disengagement from nature

We think it doesn’t matter. That whatever we do as human beings is our right and the right thing to do. But we really have lots to learn from nature and it would be so much better if we were more connected to it. The seasons are linked to our states of mind; autumn and winter is a time to wind down and get introspective. Our energy is best when it comes from waves, sun, and wind.

And a big thing about nature is that it tells us that life is about constant beginning again. Everything in nature lives and dies. But out of that death comes a new start. Plants grow and die then grow again from seeds. All organic matter rots and creates compost which gives soil the ability to grow new life.

“You are good enough as you are. You have nothing to prove to anybody.”

Maya Angelou

The Week Ahead

  • Should be a nice normal week with two busy working days and three non-work days hopefully with three gym sessions
  • One of our Tech for Good pro-bono projects ends. The team have been great and they done some brilliant work for the charity.
  • Repairman should turn up this week to repair mum’s kitchen window which will be another thing for her to stop worrying about
  • A bit of culture in that me and Dave are going to the cinema on Monday to see the Bowie documentary ‘Moonage Daydream’
  • Looking forward to finishing ‘Mother’s Boy’ and beginning to read another book alongside ‘The Watchmaker of Filigree Street’
  • I think it’s the final week of ‘Married at First Sight’. What will be the new ‘trash TV’ that grabs me next?

And Finally…

Here's hoping

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