Shaking off silence

An hour and a half when I was intending to be at yoga, given back to me because there is a lorry and trailer stuck on our hill blocking us all in.   And suddenly a revelation, write.  Just write, right now.  My God, how many procrastinations I have been finding: some great and glorious like our family's new babies, some worthy like my OU course and some self indulgent like knitting and reading.  And a great sense of being stuck blocking my own way out, of having both too much and nothing at all to say.  My lovely and extremely talented niece is an artist and she was musing on her website the other day about things which help the process of making art and one which spoke strongly to me was about just doing it.  So here I am.  Right now.

What is on my mind?  Fitness and health.  I have had a fairly rubbish winter, not with anything serious and even writing it makes me feel faintly guilty knowing that others have real struggles with major health problems.  No, mine has simply been a winter of colds and a racking cough which I could not shake off for weeks followed by a period of a fortnight or so when I could not hear.  I was amazed at how much I struggled with the hearing loss.  I am generally quite good at being stoical and cheerful when I am not so well but not being able to hear made me feel extraordinarily low and very lonely.  I lost the sense of connection with those I loved.  Even the minutiae of the day to day life which Ian and I share was rubbed away.  So much of conversation is not the important, hugely functional or significant stuff but the passing comment, the quick joke, the flying thought.  They go unspoken when the effort of being heard is too great.  I felt as though I was living in a bubble, unreachable, untouchable.  It's fine now (thank you Jayne!) but I won't forget how it made me feel.  And then a stomach bug which we both had.  None of these things are a big deal in themselves but they all remind me how much the enjoyment of life is affected by good health.  I was going to say depends on good health but then I see in my mind's eye my father, crippled by Motor Neurone Disease, enjoying being pushed in his wheelchair in the sunshine and fed a small piece of coffee cake.  That's a lesson.  But yes, good health, being able to walk and talk and have the energy to engage with the huge and beautiful world is a help.

So here I am with a new energy for looking after myself.  All through this muddy, murky winter I have tried to keep up my yoga and I have started Pilates as well.  And now a new dance class has just started in the village.  I went last week, more because a friend had asked me to come because the numbers were low than because I particularly wanted to.  To my surprise I enjoyed myself.  I used to love to dance but life at sixty three doesn't throw a lot of chances my way.  And then I saw a television programme about fitness which said that dancing improves not only physical fitness but mental agility because of the demands of putting steps together so I will certainly have some of that.  The older I get the more struck I am by the pleasures of movement: dancing certainly felt joyous but walking too makes me feel good.  We are made to move I think.

And the other big thing I am going to do is to drink less.  I didn't do dry January.  I am not very good at doing things when everyone else is doing them (must be mildly contrary) and I don't want a big hit of abstinence.  I like wine.  It is one of the great pleasures of life and mine would be sadder and poorer without it.  But I have over the last few years got into a habit of having something to drink every day and often drinking quickly, mindlessly, without really tasting it.  I think wine blurred the edges of the grief of the loss of my parents and I am not sure that there is anything wrong in that.  Anything which helped me cope with my father's last year was fair enough I think.  I am not talking about gallons of the stuff, just a persistent, gentle, something every night.  And now I think I don't need that blurring any more and I would enjoy the pleasures of wine perhaps more if there were less of a habit in it.  I wonder how easy or difficult it will be to stop doing that as part of my daily  pattern.  I suspect it might be more deeply woven into my life than I would like to admit.  But I want the clear head and the steady gut and the sense that I am looking after myself.  I also want wine but a bit of rebalancing is in order I think.

And what else is on my mind?  My daughters and daughters in law and their husbands as they raise their new babies or wait for the one still to come.  And babies of course, lots of babies.


 And springtime, surely not too far away










Comments

  1. Not dancing, but I have thought of Pilates.

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    1. I like Pilates a lot Diana. It doesn't get your pulse racing but it does improve muscle tone, especially around the middle!

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  2. Moving is good and I drink about a beer a week, sometimes two. I've always preferred dark beer to wine and it seems red wines are too potent for me these days. They give me a headache. Perhaps, no, probably I should do some sort of exercise but carrying hay bales, climbing on/off the tractor keeps me moving. Unfortunately, it does absolutely nothing for cardio!
    The babies...AH, the BABIES...all are AAAdorable, give them a hug and smooch for me. Or, as we say in the southern USA, give them some sugar (kisses).

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    1. I am quite your active life on the farm is just as good if not better than exercise classes! I am not sure I could throw hay bales about!

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  3. There is a pernicious tyranny in clocks and calendars that steals our right-nows. For me, one of the joys of retirement is that I have been set free from the tyranny of the clock. I am so lucky to be able to go to bed when I'm tired and wake up when I'm done sleeping, not when the clock tells me I have to. I eat when I'm hungry, not when the clock says I must. I hate it when I have to write something on my calendar, or have to watch the clock so I can be where I'm supposed to be at a certain time. Ties my whole day up in a knot.

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    1. I know exactly what you mean about the tyranny of the clock. I love the whole business of getting up when you want and have to take care that I don't pack my diary with so many things to do that it begins to feel like work!

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  4. I watched that tv programme too and told my 13-yr-old daughter (who loves to dance). She said it made total sense and is one in the eye for anyone who thinks dancers are dumb! As always, Elizabeth, you hit the nail on the head with your well crafted words. What a joy to have all those peachy babies in your life. And, yes, spring is coming.

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    1. I am totally persuaded about the dancing! If physical activity and mental exercise are both great things what could be better than combining the two!

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  5. Pilates is magical -- it does such wonderful things to your body. I can' t do it anymore but in my younger days I loved it. I sympathize with your hearing issue. Every time I get an bad upper respiratory "issue" my hearing is affected -- has been all my life. When I was a kid in the school I always spent a good deal of the fall and spring deaf to the world -- I was my teachers' nightmare and I was miserable. I think it has finally ended me up with a bit of a permanent hearing loss which is dreadful. Take care of that and get better.

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    1. I am so lucky that mine was a temporary hearing problem which, fingers crossed, seems to have been resolved. You will know how glorious it is to hear again! I really never expected not being able to hear to be so profoundly sad though. I won't forget that!

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  6. Well done for sitting down and just writing it down! I like the new look blog too. If you ever have another spare moment, point me in the right direction for doing something similar to mine (also recently updated, finally). Sorry to hear about the winter health problems and same here. Nothing too bad, just a January of winter bugs keeping me stuck at home. Trying to use the extra time to catch up with all sorts of stuff around the house and garden (as well as frittering it on instagram). The hearing problem was a real insight into how difficult and debilitating deafness must be to live with.

    Congratulations on the new arrivals, and roll on Spring! (btw I'm Underwidesuffolkskies in case you are wondering).

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    1. Ah I thought it was you! Sorry you have been struck with the winter bugs too. The blog is one of bloggers own templates so you should find it in their template section. Funnily enough I was thinking if changing it again just for variety but perhaps I should keep it a bit longer!

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  7. I was just bemoaning the state of social activity in these days... no more "going dancing" - there are no dance clubs any more! Just endless miles of "sports bars" (seventeen television screens, beer, and wings..... really?). I miss the days when you could get jacked up in your going out clothes, hit a dance bar, and take the floor for hours on end.

    Now, if I want to dance, it's in my living room with my CDs or my YouTube, or Spotify. Just not the same, really. Sadly, my work schedule precludes me from joining any sort of regular club dance group... I miss dancing!! I know there's a whole swing dance contingent happening, but can't join. Ah, well. It's me and Janet Jackson in the living room or nothing, I guess....

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    1. Dancing in the living room sounds good to me! Considerably better than not dancing anyway!

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