Smile, surf, sleep

Smile

Talking to my daughter about her friendship angst this morning, I advocated she try a welcoming smile. 

I told her about the nice lady at work who told me about the cold snap in Romania and how it’s threatening the cherry trees; people are tending fires to gently waft smoke through the branches to protect the cherries. We both wished them well.

This lovely encounter grew from simply smiling, on three occasions as she made me a latte; and the smile developed into an exchange and then a conversation. 

Let’s see how my eldest gets on – I suspect it might take me than a smile with this ‘friend’.

Surf

I’m reading a rather terrific book about letting go of anxiety and fear and tapping into your own energy. 

More of this anon, but one of the many useful reminders is nearly everything that happens to us, in truth, is outside of our control. This means there are only two options, try to resist, control or avoid life – or roll with it. 

This week (like so many) looked on Tuesday morning (after an enjoyable but tiring bank holiday) like wave after wave of bother, problems, egos, unreasonable demands, risks and stressors; culminating in large forum event – at which I would have to orchestrate, perform and keep the whole show together. 

So it was; but by (largely) surfing along on the top of it all and not fighting it (and myself) I got through it just fine. By saving the energy on worry, avoidance and fear – I got it all done quite happily. 

As King Canute amply showed, there’s little point trying to stop the waves; may as well get up on your board and ride ’em.


Sleep

My old friend sleep. I need it so much, I never get enough of it and I never do enough to make sure I do. But I have improved in a few areas… to earplugs I’ve added eyepatches and from last week a booze curfew at 9pm. 

All the book and all the sage advice in them can’t help me when I’m tired. Without my sleep I’m hopeless; with it I’m smiling and surfing along.

What a ‘To Do’

img_1936Looking for something else, I stumbled across a couple of ‘To Do’ lists I wrote back in November 2010.

Here’s a summary of how my life was going back then…

“A tiny bit more self discipline will translate some excellent progress and achievement into real happiness.”

“The fundamentals are very sound; small details however are costing me the all important emergent wellbeing.”

Nothing if not earnest eh!

Still looking at what I wrote as the actions arising, not much has changed:

  • Get home earlier
  • Get to bed earlier
  • Find some breathing spaces during the day
  • Get to work earlier and use it well
  • Eat less for dinner
  • Keep up appearances and look the part at work
  • Take pride in myself and my achievements and continue to step forward at work
  • Spend more time with the family
  • Make modest improvements in the state of our home

It is as it was. There’s almost nothing on that list that wouldn’t continue to be on a similar list today.

And that’s the thing with to do lists – it’s one thing to write them; a whole other thing to do them.

Still, I’m not doing so bad on the other 127 things on my current ‘To Do’ list!

Sleep

I was talking to a good friend on Friday about fatigue. One thing you don’t get with small children is any rest. On Saturday we had a day out, buses, boats, trains, ice creams and by the time we got home we were all shattered. A good day though.

I had the same experience with slightly bigger kids at work all last week. Meetings, conversations, communiques and some adult variant tears and tantrums. It all got done and objectively it was a very good and effective week. But…

What’s true of both is I ran my batteries on ‘drain’. A combination of complex emotions at work and simpler but no less demanding ones at home means I’m dog tired.

I have an excuse for a bad night’s sleep on Saturday – next door had a house party. But there’s no excuse for last night. After the clocks going back and two hours of ‘trick or treating’ an early night was what I really needed. But distractions and ‘jobs’ got in the way.

It’s 100% my own fault. I had the diagnosis, I ignored the medicine. Periodic rest and consistent good sleep are the key to happiness, contentment and any sustained attempt at eudaemonia. Note to self, get some.