28 December 2017

Ten percent more

Snow at night

The snow came again on Boxing Day. I was closing up the house for the night and rain falling in the streetlights got heavy and changed as I watching. The girls saw and shouted back and forth to each other that it was snowing again. I got up the next day hoping I could run, but it was clear from one look that it wasn’t going to happen. I weighed myself a few times over the holiday period, worried that this would be the end of me, all the food and chocolates and fruit filling up the kitchen and my complete lack of self-control. Somehow, I managed it the best I could and today, after changing out the batteries on the scale and taking off all my clothes, I felt some sense of accomplishment of having failed but having caught it quickly enough that I didn’t spiral into a month or a year of bad habits. Maybe 2017 can be the year of learning to accept failure and success.

The family has been hibernating, or at least Yoko and me, waiting for the new year to come and all things I have to face: book proofs again, a trip to London on the eighth, a new module to write, the travel and budgets and everything else. I haven’t been able to sleep much this year, but I managed a couple of long rests on this holiday — I slept once for more than eight hours, which is the longest I had slept in years. I’ve avoided my real work, the reference I need to write for a student and some marking, but have been reading all the books that piled up at the end of last year. I was reading through a slurry of things, about consciousness and mysticism, feeling like there was some meaningful connection between everything. Of course, the connections are whatever I'm choosing to make. You can make them if you want and then if someone asks or you find some way to talk about what you’re reading, you can make all the connections in hurried, exhausting discussion of the eternal now and god as a void and the gender.

Perhaps if there were no snow, I could run off some of this caged energy, but the ice is still thick on the pavement, and running on it is only asking for a trouble. Instead, I’ve been doing pushups and looking the mirror, wondering if my back is more defined because of course it wouldn’t be, but maybe it is. I’m finding my way to the rug where I meditate and listening to a kind woman with some sort of accent that’s not British or American tell me to focus on my breath. I chant along with her and feel silly until it stop and my chest is still humming with the same repetition of syllables. Is this the void, I wonder, and the moment I think it, it’s gone. Perhaps it was, perhaps it wasn’t. I fold up my stool, check my Twitter feed to see how the President is winding people like me up. The new year, I think, will be 10% better. Ten percent less of this and I’ll be doing well for myself. I'll be 10% less angry at the traffic, and my wife and kids. Ten percent less likely to fall into some bad habits, of purging on long runs and self-pity.
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