Eyes on the Prize

Aside

No writing has been achieved today, which isn’t ideal given that there are only three days left of NaNowrimo (two in which I will be able to write) and I’ve got a whopping 8,000 words to get down if I’m to chalk up another win. But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I work best under pressure, so I’m just going to have to have faith in myself and hope that a couple of late night scribing sessions will be enough to see me through.

The truth is I’m shattered. Last night wasn’t the best night’s sleep as the wanderer had returned and was up to his usual nocturnal activities (not that i’m complaining as I love having him home – but, on that note, if anyone knows of any tips to help restless sleepers they’d be gratefully received). I can’t blame my tiredness entirely on my boyfriend’s return, however – I think it’s fair to say the relentless cycle of training and organising is finally beginning to take its toll.

Fortunately, however, I’ve only got thirteen more days of work before almost a month of holiday, so now it’s all about the countdown-I just have to keep spinning those plates for another few weeks and then I can relax. As far as a constantly on the move trip to a part of the world that’s recently been devastated by a natural disaster can be called ‘relaxing,’ that is…..

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Spinning Plates

Aside

I’ve just been reading a magazine article about people who plan too far ahead and generally take on too much, and how it can be harmful to your health to set too many deadlines in life (apparently people who set lots of deadlines are four times more likely to have heart attacks…), and beneficial to sometimes be spontaneous and just go with the flow.

This weekend I’ve been back home with my mum and stepdad. Mum always worries that I’m doing too much and not getting enough rest (to be fair, given in the past two months alone I’ve organised two big parties with a third in the pipeline, planned a forthcoming trip to Hong Kong and the Philippines in the new year, signed up to a marathon in March next year and written 33,000 words of a new novel – in addition to the daily blogs I’ve been posting every day of this year so far – she might have a point), but I always argue that I like being busy.

And it’s true, I DO like being busy. It keeps my brain active and keeps me inspired. It also makes me a more interesting person, or at least I like to think so. Exercising keeps me healthy and happy, writing soothes my soul and, although planning social engagements can be stressful (the most recent one – a festive lunch for 40 people – particularly so), I love getting people together and knowing the occasion wouldn’t have happened had it not been for my tenacity and enthusiasm in organising it.

I feel so blessed to lead such a busy and fulfilling life, it’s just not in my nature to sit around and do nothing. That said, I’ve really pushed myself to the limit with today’s almost-eleven mile run. And, after getting home from a fabulous roast dinner with friends, my whole body aching, I have to say I’m glad ‘all’ I have to do tomorrow is catch up the 6,300 words I’m currently behind with my novel…

Never too old

Aside

Never one to turn down a free ticket (or, let’s be honest, a free anything), last night I went along to a gig at Barfly in Camden. In truth I wasn’t particularly looking forward to it. Despite my dad having been a talent scout in the music industry when I was a teenager I’ve never considered myself to be part of the in-crowd where new and emerging artists were concerned. Whenever I went to a gig I’d stand at the back in my River Island jeans and H&M top, clutching a pint of cider and feeling beyond awkward as I watched all the hipsters in their drainpipe jeans and black-rimmed glasses bopping away at the front, collectively pouting as their directional hair valiantly fought the forces of gravity.

It wasn’t a conscious decision to stop attending gigs, more of a natural progression. So when I was offered a free ticket to last night’s event I was forced to re-examine my position. Was I really up for spending three hours standing in a dingy room above a pub, face-in-armpit with a bunch of hairy hipsters? Did I really want to re-live those awkward memories that had long since been buried? Surely now I was at an age where I knew what I liked and what I didn’t and this just happened to be something that I didn’t? Was it so wrong to admit that?

So, after considerable soul searching I went along to the gig. And it was dingy. And it was full of hipsters with directional hair, drainpipe jeans and black-rimmed glasses (has the trend not changed in a decade? Maybe I’m not so behind the times after all). But you know what? I had a fantastic night. The bands were brilliant, especially the last one, Slow Club, whose lead singer was just mesmerising. At the end she jumped into the crowd and sang a song standing directly in front of me. She didn’t have a microphone to amplify her voice but it didn’t matter as the crowd were so silent you could have heard a pin drop. It was quite, quite beautiful. And utterly inspirational – I even started formulating a character in my mind for my next story.

Afterwards we went downstairs for another drink (at 11pm on a school night – I really was pushing the boundaries!) and ended up dancing until midnight, casting off the restrictive shackles of ‘age’ (that I’ll admit I impose upon myself) and simply having some good old fashioned fun.

I learned something about myself – and life – last night. When you pigeonhole yourself because of silly things like age you close yourself off to new – and wonderful – experiences. And it’s only through new experiences that you can grow as a person (and, in my case, develop as a writer). Getting older doesn’t make us old, telling ourselves we’re too old to do things makes us old – so from now on I’m going to try and hold that in mind.

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