I found myself thinking about my various small cousins last night, probably because of the pictures I have on my wall that they drew – of our family cats, Caramel and Blackjack, especially beloved of M; and another ginger cat, a couple of robins, and a very elegant horse. These are courtesy of M, who is six, and E, aged nine.
Anyway, from a distance, I found myself feeling incredibly protective of them. E and P, the youngest two of four children, aged nine and five respectively: I can’t imagine being one of four children, I can’t imagine not being the oldest of two reasonably civilised girls (other than the odd ‘I didn’t bite her, I sank my teeth into her’ moment, thanks C…!), I can’t imagine having brothers of any kind. And then there’s M, who is an only child, very quiet, aged six. I found myself feeling this terrifying rollercoaster of feelings for them. Fiercely loving and protective and maternal, all of a sudden; I wanted to protect them from all the things that have happened and will happen to them, whisk them away to Neverland, make it all OK forever. I know I can’t, shouldn’t, and have no need to – they’ll all make it, children do. It’s not really the point I’m making.
No, what I’m really here to say is that I found it really bizarre, feeling like that – a whole rush of hormones and emotions which was completely beyond my control. I suddenly began to understand how it must feel to be a parent, to have to learn to accept that there are things you have to let go of and allow your children to manage themselves, you can’t turn their world into Neverland, cushion them from everything, keep them happy, because they won’t be happy like that. I suddenly thought how odd it is to be a human being: we think we’ve got it all sorted, we feel like everything we do is the result of considered thought, but actually we’re only just in control of the way things go, and truly we are animals like any other.
Right. As of quite recently, I have discovered that I genuinely do enjoy exercise, and since New Year I’ve done something every day, be that a long walk, a rather less lengthy run, swimming a kilometre, climbing, whatever. I really enjoy it, and I come away feeling great about myself, more energetic and generally brilliant.
So why is it that actually making the effort to get out and do it in the first place is still so hard? I sort of want to go out for a run now, but I can’t quite be bothered when I could just stay here festering in my room and continue not bothering to do anything. Sure, I’ll do it at some point – I’ve promised myself I’ll take some kind of exercise each day, and I will; there is no reason for me to fail today.
The same goes for the cello – I love playing it, I love practicing it and getting better at it and I love playing through something I’ve been working on and it all going really well. I love being absorbed into this whole different world, created only by the music I am making. But it sits in its case, reproachfully, at the corner of the room, surrounded by the coats on the hooks and a heap of music in tatty old cases round its feet. I can’t quite be bothered to simply unpack the thing, move my chair into the middle of the room and start playing.
Apathy: why is it such a bloody killer?
I just found this on youtube – it’s a water bomb not exploding, shot with a high-speed camera so that it can be slowed right down, and it looks so incredibly strange that I thought I should share it with you.
Meanwhile, my exams are over and today I swam a kilometre and lifted a whole load of weights and did the plank for thirty seconds and rowed a kilometre, and so on, and so forth. I feel great right now, I really do.
That’s quite enough from me for now, because my one problem is that I do have a headache, and so I’m going to bed.
Filed under Happenings, Life
I am so happy – I finally feel like a real part of this flat. We’re going on a Girls’ Night Out, and I’m feeling pretty and happy to be with them, and, well, life is good.
This is all you need to know. That, and I am really hungry, but never mind…
Outside my building, down five flights of stairs, outside, past the tree, round the corner and down another flight of steps, there’s a pond. I love it. It’s the most still place on our campus, nearly silent, apart from the vague rush of traffic a couple of streets away. No-one else ever seems to go down there. There’s sometimes a moorhen or two, or maybe some ducks, but nothing else. I go there to escape, when I’ve been stuck in my room working all day, and it’s lovely, it’s my refuge. I’d love to be able to say something really poetic about the sense of tranquillity this place gives me, but I don’t think I can do justice to it. I just thought I’d share that thought, my space.
That is all.
So, I was in church the other day, yesterday in fact, and it was a commissioning service. As I found out, this is where a person or people who have committed themselves to become missionaries are now fully qualified, ordained missionaries; if ‘ordained’ is the word I mean, it may well not be.
This of course required a speech by the person who’d been their tutor at missionary school, All Saints Christian College, wheresoe’er that may be; and then a promotional DVD presentation from WEC, the missionary group that’s sending these two people out there.
The whole service shocked me rather. I don’t believe that missionary work is right and good, and that if a community needs help, then it probably needs that help in terms of practical equipment and funding rather than spiritual assistance, and I think we are all free to choose our own path and beliefs and such. I’m not a very Christian christian, really, but I was talking to a guy after the service who was as shocked as I was, and his father’s a vicar!
The DVD was the worst, though. It talked about the 1.7 billion people who as yet don’t know about God, and then went on to say that those 1.7 billion people are going to Hell unless we can reach them. The sermon that followed pointed out that, supposedly, God will forgive you if you ask him to do so before you die, and you will then go to Heaven even if you were a serial killer, or initiated mass genocide, and so on.
I cannot and will not believe this of the God I now believe in, and I know I’m not alone. I don’t even think I believe in heaven as such – goodness is it’s own reward, I think, and I merely try to act in a way that does not hurt other people, where I can. I try to enjoy myself, and I try not to be a git, and I think that’s enough, isn’t it?
Merely that. Wishing you all all the best in everything you do this year, I hope things get easier or stay easy for you, depending on where you are at the minute. I hope you’re all happy, I hope you achieve the things you set out to do, I hope, in the end, that you – and I – can look back at this year and think, At Least There Wasn’t Anything I Did That Was Utterly Wrong.
This time last year I was still a college student, still succeeding, by and large, not massively, but still there.
This time now, I’m going to have to really work to recover myself. Never mind. Otherwise really not a lot seems to have changed – I still have more or less the same friends and the same goals.
Of course I’m introspective: it’s the start of a new year, and the things I resolve to do and be are so nebulous that I’m wondering where to start. But this is one of those entries that it’s almost obligatory to write, isn’t it?
Happy New Year.
I will endeavour not to mind that I am now too old to have any chance of having thighs like a baby gazelle and a bottom that stays up on its own without having to work for it, and I will attempt not to miss my sixteen-year-old self or berate her mentally for not enjoying these things while they lasted.
I may even endeavour to work for it.
I will stop being such an old woman.
I will find a way of making my hair look perfect every day without having to think about it or get it cut every six weeks. Somehow (I used to get it cut every few years but now it’s shorter and that just won’t do unless I want to grow it again and go through that awful inbetweeny stage).
I will work out why I can’t seem to upload more than five photos at a time to facebook.
I will buy a new camera at some point I promise because I probably don’t really need new shoes.
I will make marmalade this year and ignore my grandmother when she complains that it isn’t as good as the stuff she used to make because it will definitely be better than shop bought even if it is the first time I’ve ever done it.
I will redesign my blog because what’s the point in having got out of WordPress if I can’t make it look like I did?
I will make damn sure that 2010 is an improvement on 2009, just as 2009 was definitely an improvement on 2008 (remember 2008? Utter rave).