Trying to live life with patience

Mon 29 May – Sun 4 June 2023

A week in which I had to try to have lots of patience. Not least because the weather still isn’t as good as I would like. Spring/Summer has started as identified in my previous blog here. There’s no rain however it certainly ain’t ‘Flaming June’. A particular pattern seems to be cloudy and cold mornings that burn off for some sunshine later.

I will be honest that patience is not one of my greatest strengths. It could easily be said ‘he did not suffer fools gladly’. Indeed, one of the biggest criticisms I get is when I am bored or frustrated and just switch off. But who can blame me after having had to sit through so many useless meetings in my existence. Anyone who puts ‘To actively attend and participate in relevant committees and meetings’ in a JD deserves lots of bad things to happen to them.

So waiting patiently does not come easily to me. But I’m learning and trying to keep my cool despite important time just ticking uselessly away. What waiting did I do? Two really important ones: waiting around at hospital and waiting in (pointlessly) for repair people to turn up.

It’s been a feature of life particularly since the pandemic

I suppose the key thing is that we all need to learn patience as life is ultimately simply about waiting for death to arrive. Although whilst we are waiting, we need to make the most of everything and not let it get us down. ‘Waiting’ and ‘patience’ is a theme I have written about several times before. Albeit particularly during the pandemic when our lives were on hold for much of the time.

“Life is a moderately good play with a badly written third act.”

Truman Capote

Health and Efficiency

Jog-run: 2 5Ks in one week

First 5K took place on Tuesday despite the glands in my neck still feeling a bit dodgy. Plus also Green Park was busy with tourists – I really don’t gel with London during half-term. But I did OK and beat my time for the week before. Actually all indicators were better including average time per km (pace) and calories.

Second one was on Sunday morning. A slightly slower time than my record set on Tuesday and my knee was hurting a wee bit. But a more strategic jog-run in that I managed to time things better: km stretches that got faster as the run progressed.

Do enjoy my jog-runs and the feeling of freedom. Although I don’t think I am 100% well and that is holding back my time.

a form of exercise

Gym

3 gym sessions done. Four people in my gym on Monday, much busier than usual but that’s because it was a Bank Holiday. I just love being in the gym doing some regular exercises I always do like chest press and squats. But then also playing around with variations on other exercises to see what the impact feels like.

55 gym sessions since the start of 2023 divided by the annual membership = £9 per session.

Gym

Weight: Steady progress

Living my dissolute, non-working life since December has meant no money coming in but I have finally managed to get a grip on weight loss. An interesting exchange that gives food for thought to all of us.

Another small drop in weight so I am down to 13 stone and 1 pound. Over a stone lost in 6 months. Assuming nothing more sinister is happening in my body then it’s down to reduced stress eating, recreated food intake patterns, and increased exercise.

lose weight now

Patience at the hospital

To the hospital I go to for my HIV care on Wednesday for a series of checks and tests. Seen by the doctor promptly on my arrival for consultation and then to the examination room. Lots of bloods, samples, and swabs taken for investigation leading to some treatment but other results to be awaited. All in, this took two hours.

Lots of time just sitting alone waiting in the examination room. I spent the time checking emails though I did have to go out and confirm at one stage that I hadn’t been forgotten. Patience was important here as it’s about your health, the NHS is under-resourced, everyone was doing their best, and there is no point in being impatient. However, I can understand why people pay for private treatment simply to speed things up.

operation

Family and Friends

Mum: Waiting for the never-ending repair to be done

Well surprise, sur-fucking-prise – repair to mum’s kitchen window opening mechanism was not done. Repair people didn’t turn-up on Thursday. When I phoned to check what had happened, I was told they had tried to phone (clearly untrue) as the ‘operative was off-sick’. So a new date in a fortnight. I am really trying to have patience but this repair was first reported to the Housing Association in Sept last year…

Books and Reading

‘The End of the World Running Club’ by Adrian J Walker

As someone who likes sci-fi (and fantasy to a lesser extent), I can’t avoid reading apocalyptic literature. Stories set in a world where a massive disaster has happened and civilisation has ended. Some great novels have come out of this (i.e. ‘A Canticle for Leibowitz’ by Walter M Miller Jr or ‘The Road’ by Cormac McCarthy) but there’s also an element of sameness to it these days. A group of individuals battle on and the result is either a form of civilisation returns or things decline further.

This book by Walker has had several plaudits. It is set in the UK following a massive meteor strike across the planet. TBH I did enjoy it. In part because it goes in so many weird directions including understanding the joy that comes from running; most people don’t find this in an apocalypse. And I really cared about the characters in this book.

walking person

But it is a clumsy plot and what you could predict would happen in an ‘end of the world’ book. I think one of the main things I took from it was about endings. That nothing ever ends but that doesn’t mean it’s the ending we wanted, planned for, or hoped for. This links into my theme of patience – we need to just wait through any process and see where it takes us.

‘Filthy Animals’ by Brandon Taylor

Finished this book as well last week. A collection of sometimes related short stories about life in modern mid-West America. I mentioned in last week’s blog about how parts of this book are very similar to his first novel ‘Real Life’. But this is a next step up and the stories are very varied. They touch on many difficult themes of modern life in America such as mental health, poverty, homophobia, and racism. Read more about Brandon here.

The stories are gritty and realistic. Taylor also goes into spaces that really are him trying to develop his writing skills beyond just writing about his own experiences such as with a story about the relationship between two lesbians. I enjoyed this book though, as with most short story collections, some stories are better than others.

These stories are often beautifully slow moving, concerned with minor events – the sort of things that make up everyday life. Again this fits well with the theme of waiting. Life is made up of many minutiae and we don’t know where things go; we simply have to develop patience and go through the process to see where things end up.

My latest reading books

Two new ones on the go, both about questioning the society we live in.

  • ‘The Darkening Age’ by Catherine Nixey. An excellent book that tracks the destruction of the legacy of the classical Greek and Roman civilisations by militant and intolerant early Christians.
  • ‘Bad Gays. A Homosexual History’ by Ben Miller and Huw Lemmey. Case studies of famous lesbians and gay men from history who were not role models. Important to remember that you can’t just ignore things because you don’t like them.
Pumpkin head

Sustainability

Do we have the luxury of patience?

An area where we have to be patient but patience is probably the last thing we need. Slowly we try to convince people about the coming environmental nightmare – some listens, others don’t. Some will never listen even when the water is lapping around their feet. ‘Stop the disaster’ they will say, ‘but make sure I don’t have to change anything about my life’.

I continue to try to make my little contributions to saving the planet. No children nor a car are big sacrifices. Smaller are things like trying to limit my flying to only twice per year. Meanwhile I try to consume as little as possible generally and offload the assorted crap I have accumulated during my life.

“Success is relative. It is what we can make of the mess we have made of things.”

T. S. Eliot

Personal Development

Ever onwards

A very good week in doing Duolingo. I am trying to take every opportunity I get to do an exercise. Swapping between German and Spanish. A result of my period of non-working must be that my language skills improve.

Art and Culture

Modern culture

It’s been a quiet time in terms of art and culture over the past couple of weeks. Albeit things have happened like Radio One’s Big Weekend which I enjoyed listening to. And good TV like the addictive ‘I Kissed a Boy’. Indeed, in the week gone we’ve also had the semi-finals and final of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’.

Tate Britain

Did a quick visit on Sunday afternoon to the newly rehung collection at Tate Britain. Purple is definitely in as the new background colour. Some familiar pictures but also some new ones. And it’s genuinely nice to see more paintings by and about women and black people. However, not everything works particularly when mediocre contemporary works are placed in galleries surrounded by infinitely better art from centuries ago.

Painting

It was only a fleeting visit so very much first impressions. I like doing galleries in frequent, small snatches which is a luxury that can only be done if you are able to visit often and without paying an entrance fee each time. Will pop back soon and see how the new hanging settles with me.

The Week Ahead

  • Weather forecast is dry with sunshine though part of me starts to worry about the possibility of drought
  • A big art and culture outing on Tuesday, Dave is taking me, Patrick and Frances to Hever Castle – the home of Anne Boleyn
  • Should get to the gym on my usual three mornings. And plan is for a 5K jog-run on Thurs morning.
  • Will try to finish ‘Darkening Age’ and ‘Bad Gays’ as both are enjoyable and easy to read
  • Time with mum as usual. It is good to be with her but sometimes I need to show more patience when she is antagonistic.
  • Meeting up with my old friend Jane on Friday when we will probably be going to the British Museum together.

And Finally…

Happy Pride Month !

Teletubbies celebrate Pride

2 thoughts on “Trying to live life with patience

  1. As another guy with a poor patience ability…. my Spine Operation had finally be declared for the 1st of July 2023!

    I guess they’re looking for something to “undetectable” in your blood so at the HIV clinic, so I guess a couple of hours is reasonable.

    Good luck

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