Revisiting #hospitweet Resolutions!

It being 1st January 2013, it seemed right, if not a little rash, to revisit the last piece I wrote on The #hospitweet Blog. This blog, regular readers (Hee!Hee!) will recall,  detailed my reflections on coming to terms with having to undergo heart surgery. It helped me a lot to blog about it, my feelings and my aspirations for the future.

The final post set out some Resolutions, and so, nearly three years on from that post I’m going to review what I stated then as my intentions and review, refine and reset my objectives. I suspect this is going to be a painful exercise as I haven’t even re-read the post yet! Am I brave, foolish or do I just know I have to get “back on track”!

So here we go …

“I hope I’ll be disciplined enough to go to the gym twice a week (Resolution One) and to augment this with walking to work (Resolution Two) – once the weather improves.”

Well the first one didn’t last, and I haven’t seen the inside of the gym in the whole of 2012, and I suspect 2011. I have been meaning, honest, to go back but the motivation just doesn’t seem to be there. I guess this will be the easiest of my 2013 resolutions to make, but the hardest to keep – but I’ll try. I know I have to, because my fitness levels have dropped a lot from the heady days of my first year of retirement in 2011 when I was walking so much. So the second one I stuck with right through to retirement and through most of 2011 until September when I was suddenly unable to feel I could do a couple of walks … physical or mental, who knows? Since then, although I’ve walked a bit, it’s not been to the same degree as I did in 2011.

So, for 2013 and beyond, couple the two together into one as 2013 Resolution One – “Get fit and walk more”.

“Firstly, I’ve learnt how much I need to feel in control of myself: not in control, but in control of myself – there is a difference. When I’m not, I get anxious. I really had never recognised that and would not have described myself as an anxious person, now I do and that’s scary and the most important thing that faces me now is to find ways of reducing that anxiety state (Resolution Three).”

This was a revelation to me – I’m not “a control freak”, I just need to be in control of myself. When I had all that time to think and the opportunity to reflect and think about myself, as a person, how I work (or don’t as the case often turns out to be), I began to realise how difficult it must have been to be around me at times. I think I’ve made some significant progress to mitigate my anxiety levels. Just knowing what’s happening to me has on many occasions allowed me to control my reaction, but further progress hopefully will, and needs to, be made.

I think for 2013 this will be best achieved by 2013 Resolution Two – “Work on your patience levels, not everyone is like you!!!”. We then turn to a success story …

“Then there’s reflection and recording. I’d already discovered amazingly after 40+ years of zero-reflection that this was something I should work on; and this, and my other blogs are therapeutic in that sense. They are also practically very supportive as a means of capturing ideas, feelings and observations that previously had been soon forgotten. Reflective thought takes a lot of practice; I’m just at the beginning of the journey – but I have taken the first steps and I must continue on that journey (Resolution Four).”

I’ve kept going, and I know I’m far better at reflective thought than I ever was, but I also know that I’ve a way to go before I could truly say it was embedded in my behaviour. If that happens, perhaps I’ll also be at peace with myself and my anxiety levels will have dropped to more “normal” levels. I think perhaps the challenge here for me is to continue to be reflective, but perhaps not so public about it all. That will be really difficult because I really enjoy blogging. Along with my photography, it’s the most creative thing I do, so perhaps that’s the answer – put more effort into photography and reflecting on the process and output. Perhaps “Moments like these …” will be the major focus of my efforts this year.

Yes let’s make that 2013 Resolution Three – “Really work on your photography and write about the experience”. Now we turn to “the dark side”.

“Thirdly, there’s depression and stress. I would never have thought that I was someone who got depressed, or who got stressed, but I do both … and I believe (for me) that they’re inter-related and are usually the result of me not recognising one state or the other. So I must listen to my mind (as well as my body) and behave accordingly. As another very close friend and colleague has just said to me, I must “focus on the fun things” – that I intend to do (Resolution Five).”

So true … “focus on the fun things” … but I’m beginning to think that as well as fitness, my diet has a lot to answer for as well, or rather my poor diet!! I’m not going to go into details here, just go straight to the resolution.

2013 Resolution Four – “Drink less alcohol, eat less sugar be kinder to my body.” Full-stop.

” … So, I suppose Resolution Six is to slow down a bit, try and relax …”

I’ve truncated this one, you’ll have to go back to the original to get the context and the shocking truth :-). They say you can’t teach an old dog, new tricks … perhaps they’re right. I always seem to need to be doing something. I’ve still got piles of “stuff” around me, to sort, read, process, DO! Will that ever change? I hope so, but to get there I need to clear the decks first.

So, for 2013 Resolution Five – “Get that loft sorted … now!”. Excuse me, must get upstairs and on with de-cluttering my life, or at least our loft!

A weekend near Cleobury Mortimer with David & Penny

After a gap of a few years we returned to The Cider House at Neen Sollars for our fourth visit, our third with David & Penny. After loads of rainfall, it was always going to be wet underfoot, but we nevertheless managed to get some walking in.

The first day (Saturday) saw us head for Ludlow, one of my favourite places by way of Titterstone Cleehill where we got out, had a blow and a short walk to exercise the dogs and our lungs. The air is so wonderful in The Marches, and from the Clee Hills you can see so far into England and Wales – a fact not lost on the National Air Traffic System who have located a number of radar installations on the top of the hill, around an abandoned quarry.

A wander around Titterstone Cleehill on our way to Ludlow at EveryTrail

The rest of the day went to form – a walk around the market, the purchase of some tripe sticks, a drink in The Bull, a visit to the butchers to buy sausages – the things we always do when we visit Ludlow.

The next day we drove to Bewdley and walked beside the River Severn up the west bank to Arley, had a drink and a sandwich at The Harbour Inn and then walked back on the eastern side of the river.

Beside the Severn from Bewdley to Arley at EveryTrail

Of course we were walking beside the Severn Valley Railway and so photo opportunities were readily available – see the link to the pictures at the bottom; but I was also able to take a short video of a train going over the Victoria Bridge, just south of Arley.

Then on Monday, as David & Penny were leaving us that day, we drove to Kinver Edge, where in the wonderful autumn sunshine we did a circular walk along the edge, through the woods, past the cave houses, up the MBX course and back through the autumn colours of the woods before driving down to Kinver to have lunch and say farewell.

Kinver Edge at EveryTrail

We returned via Kidderminster – strange place; that’s all I’ll say!

On Tuesday, Jenny and I went into Ludlow again, had a pie and a pint in The Church Inn – highly recommended; before dropping across to the butchers to discuss hams for Christmas.

There’s a link to a few pictures of the weekend below.