The Wall – Marathon runners talk about hitting it, people try and build them, break them or try to climb over them. For me and this series of adventures and ways of celebrating 40, the past week or so I well and truly hit the wall.
What started out and what was supposed to be an adventure, an exploration, a celebration, a joyous year, a year of taking some risks yes, but having lots of fun along the way, was unfortunately and inexplicably becoming a chore, a stress and was getting out of control! Quiet frankly I was on overload and was getting carried away and out of control. I was losing sight of the joy and art of celebration and adventure.
The end of the holiday’s, the beginning of the school term, sorting out the house post decorating and life generally were all in the mix as well, and slipping back into poorer screen habits and not sleeping well enough were also in the pot that was increasingly feeling like a whirlpool. I knew I was in trouble and that I needed to find a way to reorientate and rediscover why the heck I was doing all of this in the first place!
Was my Ego driving this? Was this just too ambitious? Was it beginning to manifest as a form of mid life crisis and an unhealthy drive rather than the joy and wonder it was supposed to be?
The delightful memories of my first visit to Wimbledon, The exhilaration I felt at the end of my 40 mile cycle, the freedom of walking with my sister on a sunny day and the delight at crafting some liturgy and seeing it work well at a gathering were all seemingly distant.
I also had a bit of a crisis moment about the gig I’m organising. Is it going to crash, are ticket sales going to stall and will it all become a bit of an embarrassment?!
And then…. I got a message from a former lecturer, who helpfully and brilliantly reminded me of the importance of making celebration and experience the most important thing and equally to be kind to myself, to blend some smaller and yet meaningful moments, experiences, journeys etc alongside some bigger and bolder one’s. To basically get back to basics, and remember why I wanted to do this, to embrace the joy of it, to pace myself, and renew my perspective!
There is beauty in the new but in the simple and mundane. Not all of life can be lived to full the in the maximum sense. Fullness of life includes the mundane, the small, the still significant, alongside the more ambitious, big and seemingly more significant things. A Journey that takes me to a tube stop I’ve never got off at before and getting out for a Coffee, Reading a book that I keep meaning to read but don’t, baking something I’ve never tried before should blend with the trips to Wimbledon, organising a gig, writing a song and taking a longer and more significant journey to retrace my roots and place of birth.
It felt liberating to embrace the reality, but to embrace the fullness of life, the small, the seemingly less significant and mundane and seek to embrace that more fully as well.
The week, and this whole 40 ways to celebrate being 40 all feel more life giving when viewed and worked out through this lense.
OK, so getting Bon Iver Tickets for February (Still whooping and buzzing) for one of my experiences, starting to see more tickets get sold for the gig I’m organising and blending some ideas of much shorter as well as some longer journeys all massively help…. but I have been amazed that the renewal of my mindset has continued and flowed out of the insights from my lecturer!
Beginning to make plans for a Reading Challenge, lots of ideas for smaller journeys, laughing with the kids and Hazel about a week long dressing up challenge and getting some good time to rehearse for the open mic night have all flowed out of that renewed mindset…. I seem to have broken on through to the other side!
So its, 6 Experiences (plus 2 more booked), 2 Challenges (plus 3 more planned), 1 Journey (with ideas for more flowing) and 2 creations complete (plus 3 more underway including the gig) but equally, and indeed maybe more, crucially I have put this whole venture into fresh perspective.
I’ve written some lyrics to articulate something of what this past week or two has thrown up through the contours of the feeling of being overwhelmed to returning to a more at peace and contented perspective.
Feeling so good now / Feeling so Free
Pressure is lifting / I’m beginning to see
With fresh eyes / renewed mind
Healing has come
I’m walking with head high, and reimagining again
The wall is now crumbling / new perspectives appear
The feeling of fear being replaced with good cheer
Ego a Go Go, replaced with life to the full
Embracing the mundane as well as chasing the Buzz
Renew my heart, my soul and my mind
Help me to see the treasures to find
I need to laugh more and do more exercise
And just like this week embrace the surprise