1. Day 197: Lazy Sunday afternoon?

    It’s Sunday today and for once I’m at home with no real plans.  Tomorrow I’m going away on a UK Staycation, so I’ve spent a bit of time packing.  I sometimes find it hard to relax and feel that ‘I should be doing this or that’…

    I’ve got this holiday and then a further week in Tenerife in November, but it feels like the ‘gap year’ is coming to an end, and the time in-between the holidays I’ll have to get more serious in the job search.  This makes me sad and also scared as I’ve yet to sort out what the next step is.  I know things will work themselves out and I don’t want to rush into something that is wrong for me, but at the same time it’s hard not to let the anxiety get to you at times.  I know this is silly as I’m in a fortunate position, whilst others have had to take ‘a job’ in order to keep their families going.

    I like spending time at home, but equally I’m used to keeping busy so it’s sometimes not until after an event that you truly appreciate it.  In the moment, the mind can always be thinking ‘what-if’ and ‘I should’.  I’ve found this on many occasions in my life.

    In July I fulfilled a lifelong dream of flying First Class, but I felt that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I should have done because of an internal pressure on myself.  I perhaps felt uncomfortable and like I didn’t belong there, but I’d paid my money to be there. Now, if I look back on my time off, it’s one of the highlights (along with sitting in a school field with a slice of cake and then watching the Queen go to Ascot!).  Holiday photos can be useful memories of what you’ve done, but I don’t often spend the time looking at them.  Instead I have a ‘to do list’ item to backup the photos to an external hard drive, and then it’s done and I forget about them.  My Mum and I have ‘creating a photobook’ on our lists, so I’m going to make a conscious effort to reminisce after this holiday and maybe wider at the time off and what I’ve achieved.  Look out for some photos on the blog soon!

    I’ve just watched a BBC documentary about Concorde.  My friend was lucky enough to fly on it with her parents, and I wondered if she fully appreciated it at the time.  It just struck me how magical it was and I hope that something else is launched to bring that wonder back to the world.

    Holidays themselves bring up a cycle of emotions in me.  I might fret about whether I’ve packed everything that I need or not (even though I rarely forget anything and if I did I could just buy it!), then if I’ve got all the paperwork together, to how early I should arrive at the airport – the list can go on and on.  I also tend to think about death and I get quite emotional about going away – so tomorrow I’ll leave my Dad at home and you think ‘what-if’ again.  A friend once dreamt that my Mum and I died on a plane, which always puts me a little on edge! I did for a time get into a ritual of watching the last episode of Friends and also Sex and The City – a comfort food type thing I guess!

    Once on holiday, I tend to go through a range of emotions.  When I was working I’d want to get everything in a good state before I went, and would invariably send my boss an email in the early hours of the morning if I’d forgotten something.  It would then take a few days to wind down from being in ‘work mode’… Sometimes you’d then get a cold or some sort of illness, which I often wondered was a way of releasing the stress.  I’d then start to relax and before you knew it the time would fly and it would be a countdown to return to work.  Now of course things are different, but instead I’ve replaced returning to work with what to do next… Again this is a mindset thing, and you need to take control of your thoughts and rationalise them.

    I received an email from Adam Grant today which took me to a BBC article about Ikigai.  This concept explained how Japanese people believe that ‘the sum of small joys in everyday life results in a more fulfilling life as a whole’.  There is a four-way Venn diagram which says that ikigai is in the centre of:

    • Something that you love;
    • Something that the world needs;
    • Something that you are good at; and
    • Something that you can be paid for

    So that gives me some food for thought.  I’m also going to a cottage with a ‘wishing well’ which I hope will give me some inspiration for a children’s book that I’ve started to write.

    This led me to recall how in Elizabeth Gilbert’s book ‘Big Magic‘ (which I went to see her talk about in London), she said that ‘… ideas and inspiration are given freely to us, but if the ‘Big Magic’ gives you an idea, and you don’t work on it, trust me, someone else will.  Ideas travel to people, like the wind’… Small things, or coincidences can occur which make you think.  I’ve had an idea for a while, and have started to write it out, but and this could be the Obliger in me again… I’ve not done as much as I should have done.

    I thought it was funny in Friday’s episode of Cold Feet that Jen daydreamed about going onto Dragons’ Den.  This struck me for two reasons: 1) Peter Jones used to live in this house as a child, so I wonder whether he slept in the same room as me and 2) Jen basically became ‘Joy‘ and tried to sell the mop that Joy invented, which I had cited as an inspiration in a previous blog post.

    So whether any of these do have any meaning, or perhaps I have too much time on my hands to think… only time will tell.

    In the meantime, in the UK it’s currently a nice sunny afternoon, so …

    Enjoy today.

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