Optimism: Looking Forward to Things

Mon 16 – Sun 22 Jan 2023

You definitely should not wish your life away but it is good to be looking forward to nice things. And next week I go off with Dave to our beloved Gran Canaria. The first time we’ve been there for 3 years (pre-pandemic). It’s going to be sun, sangria, the Yumbo Centre – a wonderful fortnight of trashy indulgence. This is part of my remedy to deal with the fragility of life I wrote about in my previous blog here. As well as the cold and grimness of this particular January.

So a big part of the week gone has been getting everything in place before we get away. Stuff done like seeing friends and family. As well as haircuts, taking back library books, getting Euros, and putting aside stuff for packing.

It’s good to be in touch with the past and learn from it. However, it’s important to be optimistic for the future and have stuff to look forward to. Mindfulness fundamentalists would say this is a path to disappointment and unhappiness. Yes, things may go wrong but they may also go wonderfully. And how lovely it is in life to have exciting things to be looking forward to.

The future - next exit

Health and Efficiency

Weight and diet

My weight loss programme continues to be successful in that I have basically stayed the same since last week. Overall, I’m actually only a couple of pounds heavier than when we previously went to Gran Can in Feb 2020. That’s the value of keeping details on my weight over the last few years – read it here. This gives me a nice feeling because the gay scene is cruel around age. At least I can reconcile myself that I’ve managed to keep my weight the same even if I am older.

I’ve also been trying to shift my diet patterns. I find I can skip breakfast in the morning particularly when I have the distraction of going to the gym. I am also trying to eat a lot more oily fish. Low in calories and full of ‘good fats’. If I can put more of this into my diet then that could help with losing weight and avoiding cancer / heart attack / stroke.

Gym

One thing I am always looking forward to is simply getting to the gym. I enjoy it so much even when it is bloody freezing walking there in the morning. Managed to get 3 sessions done last week: mornings of Mon, Thurs, Fri. Was going to be 4 times but the gym was shut on Tuesday for building work. An enforced break that enabled me to get on with other stuff that needed doing with going away.

Slightly different gym sessions to normal in that there were people with me each time I was in the gym. Indeed, Mon was quite busy. Love being there on my own but I just worked around the other people. I think it might be that thing about new year’s resolutions of joining a gym and getting fit.

10 gym sessions since the start of 2023 divided by the annual membership = £50 per session

Dumbells

Family and Friends

Mum – lunch postponed and the never-ending repair saga

Spent time with mum to make sure she’s OK whilst I am away. Me and Dave had planned to take her out for lunch on Wed but this got shelved due to the cold weather. I realise you have to be mindful of how older people can feel the cold weather so much more. We will take her out when we get back and hopefully the weather is a bit more cheerful.

Meanwhile, I continue to chase the housing association to get her kitchen window opening mechanism repaired. Outstanding for 4 months now and I’m phoning to chase on a weekly basis. For the past 3 weeks, we’ve been promised that the repair will be sorted very shortly but nothing more happens. A really frustrating and disempowering experience. Lots of commentary at the moment on the failings of social housing and it is so bloody annoying that there is no accountability when action doesn’t happen.

Phyllis

Met up for lunch on Tuesday. A really nice chilled meal and it is so pleasing to hear how much he is looking forward to the coming year. He’s got lots of exciting travel lined up. And he will be in Gran Canaria for some of the same time that me and Dave are there. Looking forward to fun nights out.

Brian – the joy of seeing old friends

It was great to catch-up with this mate on Friday. We have known each other since we were teenagers. There is something lovely about meeting people again who have known you for so long and so deeply.

Good to find out what has been happening in the past and mark out what the future holds. Clear that things haven’t always been easy but we’ve both survived and thrived. Things have been thrown at us both and we’ve soldiered on. Important to visit the past and learn from it but not to live there.

This has really inspired me to catch up with other old friends I haven’t seen for a while. Definitely something to be looking forward to. Though will have to wait till I get back from my much anticipated holiday.

Be happy and grateful about nice things

Patrick – ups and downs

Me and Dave caught up with Patrick on Saturday, our normal morning coffee at Starbucks cancelled last weekend due to the weather. All is good and Patrick should be OK whilst we are away. Dave also helped him out during the week with chasing up support from social services (another case of promises made and nothing happening) as well as an x-ray. The latter was so smooth and easy to do – total credit to the NHS.

Books and Reading

‘The Bedlam Stacks’ by Natasha Pulley

A wonderful book. Pulley is definitely turning into one of my favourite contemporary authors. ‘Bedlam Stacks’ sits within the same universe as her first book ‘The Watchmaker of Filigree Street’. Though subtly Bedlam slots in before Watchmaker despite the latter being published first.

Books set in the Victorian period but a different one to that we know. Britain rules the world but it’s one dominated by cyberpunk and unexplored opportunties. Ultimately Bedlam is a fantasy novel. But you have to admire and be inspired by its sheer imagination. An explorer in a land of walking statues, natural wonders, and unexplored civilisations.

There’s a slight queer undertone to the story and sometimes, just occasionally, I lose touch of what is happening. But it’s one of those great books where you are on an exciting journey and you just keep going to pick up the story later on. Enormous fun and a stimulation to the mind. Really looking forward to catching up with more of her writing.

Rows and rows of beautiful books

Art and Culture

‘Bones and all’

Managed to get to the brilliant Prince Charles cinema on Monday to see this latest movie starring Timothee Chalamet who is such a hot property at the moment. I really liked the film but it definitely wasn’t Dave’s cup of tea. A fun romp but with a serious understory about alienation and trying to find your community.

Basically it is the story of cannibals. A small group of people that live amongst us but also eat human flesh. It’s set in the 1980s which gives it a nice vibe plus there’s quite an art film slant to it with a focus on images and photography. Though I suppose it would be harder to pick up people and eat them these days with CCTV everywhere.

Death

Sustainability

Offloading

I genuinely think it’s hard to be looking forward if you are carrying a load of baggage from the past. Obviously we go through life and we accrue emotional memories that can weigh us down. But we also gather physical stuff. This is the basis of capitalism and consumerism – that we are encouraged to consume. The result is that we use up resources and end up with far more stuff than we need.

If we can travel light then we are inevitably going to do less damage to the environment. Plus we have the ability to move further and faster. To this end, I have been offloading stuff. This has been linked to getting everything ready and packed to go on holiday. I’ve used it as an opportunity to sort out things to also go to the charity shop. All those books I won’t have time to read, DVDs I won’t have time to watch, and clothes that I was never going to lose weight to fit into.

Personal Development

Spanish for my holiday

Have been trying to keep to the pattern of doing Duolingo everyday. Though my routine of doing it whilst at the gym hasn’t been possible with other people being there. My focus is on Spanish to obviously try to use it on the upcoming holiday. TBH, it is often hard to speak Spanish as people want to practice their English and my inbuilt timidity / laziness means that I happily fall into this trap.

The Week Ahead

  • So looking forward to Wed when me and Dave fly off to Gran Can. It’s an early flight so we are staying overnight at the airport.
  • May do some sessions at the little hotel gym. But my big plan is to start a ‘couch to 5K’ programme as a means to get back to jogging. Will be so much easier to do it in the warm sunshine rather than in our horrible winter. Hopefully also looking forward to a bit of swimming in the hotel pool.
  • Enjoying reading the autobiography of Ai Weiwei. He’s definitely of the school that art is everything and everything is art. As such, it’s making me think about art more in my life. And perhaps how I can learn more from reading biographies.
  • Very much looking forward to getting through several big, chunky ‘real’ books on holiday. And my kindle to fall back on as I’m walking around.
  • Must take opportunities to practice the Spanish I’ve been learning
  • To lose weight on holiday is nigh on impossible. Rather I must make sure I don’t over-indulge both in terms of food and drink. The latter will be hard as I love just watching the world go by with a drink in my hand.

And Finally…

If you're not careful...

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