So it is now five weeks since Kate started her Groovingmums project and challenged us to make a little time for ourselves in our busy lives in whatever ways work for us. I signed up at the beginning and enjoy taking part and reading the inspirational stories of other contributors. The list of objectives I compiled during the first week included making more time for reading, joining two book groups, learning Italian, losing weight, writing the blog and enrolling on a writing course. Looking back, that’s quite an ambitious wish list; how things have changed! As Kate says, life is a rollercoaster. As John Lennon said, life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans. So, life has intervened, there have been setbacks and my list is now quite different.
I’m still very enthusiastic about writing and blogging, although I haven’t done any of either for nearly two weeks now. Life just seems to have got in the way, but I miss it and aim to make more effort next week when the little chap goes back to preschool and the house is quieter. I’m tempted to enrol for the writing course sooner than next September when big school begins, but realistically there are not yet enough hours available. I’d rather do one thing properly than two things badly and my little chap is my first priority, always. This deferment is a positive thing as I will have more time to devote to blog writing and further reading and will therefore be better prepared when the happy day of enrolment dawns.
Speaking of reading, I haven’t turned as many pages as I’d like, either. I read two very good books in quick succession, but then started on Lionel Shriver’s So Much For That which I’m finding rather difficult. I loved We Need To Talk About Kevin and read that in a few days last summer which makes my disappointment in this new book even more acute. I will persevere as I don’t like to be beaten, but I’m keen to start something else as soon as possible. I might try Solar by Ian McEwan because one of my book groups gave it a resoundingly positive score when they read it earlier in the year. When I first posted my original list, someone advised me that two book groups might be too ambitious and I think they were absolutely right. So I will only be dipping into one of the book groups as there simply isn’t the time to read two books in one month. When I was commuting I could read a book in a week, but those days are in the past!
The Italian classes are proving to be more difficult than I anticipated and I think I am a little out of my depth. I’ve been attending the classes but I don’t have much time to devote to homework and I think I might change course and revise the previous level, as it is quite some time since I completed that. As one of my friends said, it’s got to be enjoyable too, and if I’m not enjoying it, it’s probably a waste of time and a potential source of stress, which I could well live without at the moment.
My best news is in weight loss, having shed about half what is required. I don’t go to Fat Fighters anymore, but have been motivated to clean up my diet and promote my own health through good nutrition and exercise. I feel better for it.
I’ve added a few new things to my list as this process has evolved: I’ve made contact with a friend of a friend who is also an aspiring writer and is taking part in NaNoWriMo next month (www.nanowrimo.org), I bought a grown up hat which I wear all the time, I take time to think about what I want to eat, rather than having the same old same old because it’s easier, I’ve had a brilliant de-stressing massage and I’ve been generally more mindful about what might make me happier. In many ways, this sums up the benefits to me of Kate’s challenge. I’ve recognised that although I am a full time mum and my little chap will always come first with me, there is still time in the day / week / month that I can use to concentrate solely on me. It’s also reinforced that those activities I undertake should be enjoyable, because there is little point in heaping on more work when I already have an abundance of that. My strategy, for handling setbacks and for life in general, can now be summed up as “care for the carer”, a very important maxim which, in my opinion, we don’t remember enough.