Jogga-Blog to the Moon

So last night I talked myself into going for a run. Actually I ran last Monday too, although I don’t think I blogged about it (despite it being world news). Anyway, I run along by the river towards Richmond, where I am greeted by the wonderful sight of the big red house on the hill. Last night the view was even more outstanding, as it had a big red moon to go with it.

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Today I ache, a lot more than last week, but it was worth it.

I wanted to end this blog with a song about the moon, but I’m saving that for my next post. So instead I’m going to leave you with a bit of INXS, who kept me going on my run last night.

Disappear – INXS (1990)

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Jogga-Blog is back!

While this blog is called 33 and Lost in Life, and you expect to hear the mumblings of a thirty-something as she stumbles her way through the journey of life, I have to be careful not to grumble too much. Suffering with depression, and now being off my anti-depressants (I’ll tell you about that another time) I am susceptible to bouts of downness. After a lovely weekend away with friends, I was particularly down at being back to reality. Yesterday as I headed home after doing some overtime at work and my weekly shop, I could feel the depression seeping in. My housemate was out, so the flat was deserted except for The Bish (my cat, Harry). I knew there would be trouble ahead if I didn’t do something.

So, after unpacking my shopping and feeding Bish, I donned my jogging gear and set out to run.

Something else I need to update you on is The Sugar-Free Me Challenge. I’m well into it now, and I promise a proper update today or tomorrow.

One thing I can say is that I’ve not lost weight. As I turned onto the main road, I felt heavier than I had when I jogged this route earlier in the year. This did not bode well.

However, after my initial misgivings, I managed to run for 13 minutes without stopping. I was most impressed with myself. I was out for a total of 25 minutes, and probably 5 of those in total spent walking (which admittedly seems like a lot now!).

When I got home, I felt like the cloud had lifted. Not totally gone, but put enough at bay to have some food and relax for the rest of the night.

I still want to blog about what’s on my mind, but not yet. They say that patience is a virtue. If I blog when I’m down it shows in my writing.

Yesterday on my commute to work, there was a fog over London. Between Acton Town and Chiswick park, there is a point where you can look east towards Central London and see the skyscrapers. I make sure I take a look most days as it reminds me that I live in London . This great city. I don’t see much of it apart from this West London bubble between Chiswick, where I work, and Ealing, where I live. Yesterday, the city skyline was obscured by the fog, but I knew it was there. Like the way out of depression, I know it is there, I just have to try to follow the path. I think I shall jog and blog my way of the fog…

Jogga-Blog No. 4 and 5: AKA The Return of 33andlostinlife

Out of all the titles you could possibly have expected me to pick for my first blog post in almost two months, I bet you didn’t expect to see the words “Jogga-Blog”.  In fact, this is the fourth and fifth Jogga-Blog combined, because my first London-based jog occurred on Thursday evening.  While afterwards I was most pleased with myself, the closest I got to blogging about the experience was thinking about it.  Well, you know what they say, it’s the thought that counts.

Today I was up early, so I decided to take advantage of the nice morning, before the heat became too overbearing, and take myslf off on another jog.  Once round the park without stopping this time.  I was most impressed with myself.

You may be wondering why it has taken me so long to write another blog post since the publication of The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 1.  I’ll do my best to fill you in on what has happened in my life over the last seven weeks, and from then onwards I shall attempt to keep you updated on a more regular basis.

I managed to find a lovely flat in West London, which I’ve settled into now.  My “housemates” are slightly older than me, but it’s nice to be with people who are full of stories from their lives.  I love listening to them talking, because it gives me inspiration for writing.  While this is the first time I’ve put virtual pen to paper in some time, I’ve been jotting down notes in my mind.  My little notebook that I use for my writing ideas got dusted off the other day, and I’m delighted to say that some of my ideas made it onto the page.  But I finally feel like my creative juices are starting to flow, which makes me happy because the pipes have been clogged for some time. Now though, that all my university work is finished, I can write for pleasure, without having to worry about deadlines, and I am thrilled that my ideas may finally find a place in the world.

It took me a while, but in mid-June I finally found a temp job, working in the Head Office of a high-end retail company.  The office is located only four tube stops from where I live, so the commute takes around 30 minutes door-to-door, which is not too bad considering I work with people who commute up to four hours a day.  The work is very similar to what I did in the NHS, analysing data, but instead of patients, it’s handbags and high heels.  I had a job interview for a writing position for one of these Daily-Deal websites just before I was offered this post.  While I was slightly disappointed not to have got the job, I think I’m coming to the conclusion that, for now, I’m happy with a nine-to-five job that I can do without having to stress out over it, where the people are nice and the commute isn’t too long.  I can get work on getting my finances back into a manageable condition, and use my free time to do what I have wanted to do for so long: write.  This job is temp to perm, which means it may become permanent in a few months.

You may be wondering why I bothered to do a degree in American Studies, if I was only to get a job the same as what I was doing before.  Well I got my degree results the other day, and I will graduate from the University of Lincoln in September with an upper second-class honours, or a 2:1.  This is reflective of the work I’ve done over the last four years, and while last year I may have been disappointed not to have received a first-class honours, right now I am just glad to have made it to the end with some sense of sanity.  When I started my degree, my life was very different, and what I want to gain out of a degree now is not necessarily the same as it was when I enrolled back in September 2009.  While I would still love to have the opportunity to work in America, I am learning to pick and choose my fights, and the opportunities for someone like myself to make the USA my home are slim.  What I’d rather do is focus on what I want to do, which is writing, rather than where I want to do it.  Days like today, where the weather is 26 degrees centigrade (79 Fahrenheit), and the forecast for the next six days is much the same, I’m more than happy to be in London, which is like a little greenhouse full of heat, where I can spend my lunchtimes sunning myself in the park, and the early evenings in the garden.

So I have somewhere to live, a job, and lots more time on my hands.  One thing I don’t have, is a relationship.  As you know if you’ve spent any time with me or my blog, that is high on my list of wants.  Right now, as much as I’d love to meet someone, I don’t have the money to spend on dates, or buying new clothes for dates.  But that is ok, because knowing myself as I do, it would be wrong to rush into finding someone, and people do always say it happens when you don’t expect it.  I can enjoy settling myself into my new life, and eyeing up the hot guys on the tube…

For now, life is good.  This chapter is still very new to me, and I’m very much finding my feet.  I’ve put on weight since my arrival, hence my desire to jog, and knowing that I won’t be able to afford to join a gym until possibly later in the year, I’m going to have to rely on my own resources and free exercise such as jogging and walking, in the tree-lined areas close to where I live and work.  By the end of September, I will have graduated from university, signaling the true end of the previous chapter of my life; potentially have secured a permanent job, and have made myself financially stable.  All the key ingredients for the basis of a happy life, on which I can build the foundations of the me I’ve wanted to become.  Please join me as the journey continues.  I’ve missed talking to you guys.

 

 

The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 24

Whereas yesterday was a busy and productive day, today has also been busy and productive, but in different ways.  Yesterday I was involved in general ways to improve my life, by jogging and gardening, but today I have concentrated once more on the areas where I need to achieve results sooner.  I did work on my essay, I have applied for several more jobs, both temporary and permanent, and have also made enquiries about a flatshare in London.

 

Most of the people I have spoken to (family and friends) believe that I should wait to find a job in London before moving there.  That would be the sensible option, but since I’m looking at temp jobs now as well, I don’t know how well viewed I will be seen by recruitment agencies trying to fill roles when I live 143 miles away.  Having done temp work before, it’s quite possible that an agency will phone you up and ask you to start the next day.  While I have a statement on my CV that I am willing to relocate “immediately”, the practicalities of this are somewhat not as conducive to this idea.

Of course, it’s a huge risk moving to a big city where rent and bills will be at least double and possibly triple what I pay now, without having a job.  But I do believe in taking risks, otherwise I wouldn’t be where I am today.  The rebel in me thinks I should do the exact opposite of what everyone else says, because, of course, I know best.  But do I?  Everything I’ve been through in the last few years has taught me that you have to strike a very delicate balance between taking a risk and thinking things through carefully.  Where the line is in this scenario is yet to be decided.

The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 25

You should probably be aware (and impressed) that this is the second blog I’ve written today.  If you didn’t see Jogga-Blog No 3, then you can read it here https://33andlostinlife.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/jogga-blog-no-3/.

After my jog, I went supermarket shopping with my housemate, stopping off at the hand car wash on the way to clean the car, got home, chatted with another visiting friend and housemates, went in the garden, mowed the lawn, did some gardening and even hoovered downstairs!  I don’t know what’s come over me today.  Maybe it has something to do with that warm, gorgeous sunshine!  Anyway, today I was determined to do lots, and while it’s left me aching in places I didn’t even know I had places, I feel happy that I’ve achieved several things today.

The weekend has gone pretty quickly, and I’m quite excited for Monday’s arrival.  While Monday used to be a day of torture; the return to work after the too-quick weekend, I now can’t wait for Monday, so I hopefully will have news of…a job, that will put an end to my seven-day weekend, and leave me hating Mondays again.  Ok, so maybe I haven’t thought this through…

Anyway, I think 2013 is finally the year I acknowledged that I like gardening.  Since I was 21 I’ve lived independently from my parents (except for the few weeks after I returned from studying abroad, which saw me back at my dad’s…thanks Pops!) and each house I’ve either owned or rented since then has had a garden.  While I’ve begrudgingly gone out to do gardening in the past when the garden starts looking like a jungle, today I was desperate to get out into the greenery and the warmth of the sunshine.  And you know what, I enjoyed it.  I do come from a line of green-fingered sun-worshipers, so it’s hardly surprising.  I guess I’m just surprised that it took me this long to realise that gardening gives me an opportunity to be out in this country’s sometimes (often) evasive sunshine.  Today was really warm, and actually would have been warm enough for sunbathing, but I was determined to get at least some of the garden done.  There’s less than half to go now, so it shouldn’t be too long before I can sunbathe in peace, and enjoy my days before I get sucked back into the working world I suddenly seem to desperate to be part of again.

 

Jogga-Blog No 3

It’s a beautiful day!  The sun is shining!  Why I am so happy?  I’ve been out for a jog, that’s why.  No, not job (not yet), but jog.

The other day I finally put batteries in my bathroom scales, hopped on and…when I finally picked myself up off the floor, decided that it really was time to do something about my weight.

As I’ve probably mentioned before on this blog, three years ago, I lost a lot of weight in just a few weeks.  I went from 10 stone 4 pounds (65.3kg/144lb) to 8 stone 3 pounds (52.2kg/115lb).  While it was stress-induced, I felt great, and even spending six months in America while studying abroad, where they do love their burgers and portion sizes, I returned with only an additional 3 pound.  Sometime between June 2011 and now, I’ve put on 2 WHOLE STONES.  When I stepped on my scales the other day, I was 10 stone 6.  My ideal weight for my height, 5 foot 6 inches (167.5cm) is 9 stone 10 pounds.

I have never weighed so much in my entire life.  Growing up I was always pretty underweight, and I liked it that way.  I know I’ve been piling on the pounds, but I guess I didn’t realise quite how much until I weighed myself.  It always goes to my stomach, and the amount of coke I drink, along with the Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) I suffer from, has always given me a belly.  Plus I’m a Cancerian, and they are apparently renowned for having pot bellies (I certainly can’t argue with that).

So this morning, I woke up, decided that today would be my first jog of the year.  Got dressed, put my Adidas London Marathon 2012 cap on (I’ve never run it, the cap was a freebie at a place I worked last year), strapped my iPhone to  my arm with Michelle Branch playing and took off on my route.

It was so warm out today that I knew I didn’t even need to wear a hoodie.  While that meant my belly was on full view to everyone, I didn’t really care, because even wearing my jogging outfit, I feel slimmer already.

I’ve been eating lots of fruit this week, and trying to drink more water, and less Diet Coke.  This healthy eating is going to continue, along with a decided effort to cut the crappy foods out.  I want to look great when I move to London.  Whereas the huge weight loss from three years ago was caused by stress, usually stress causes me to comfort eat, so this was rather a one-off.  To lose weight, get toned and look great, it’s going to take a lot of work, at a time when I already have a lot of other stuff to think about, but it’s time to kick this new me off with a bang.

Life’s Lessons…Learned In Mysterious Ways (Like While Jogging)

Ok, now you’ve picked yourself up off the floor, YES, I ACTUALLY WENT JOGGING.  Difficult to comprehend for those who know me, but my pot-belly, apparently a well-known trait for Cancerians, is beginning to stick out further than my boobs, especially in a sports bra, and thus, I decided, something must  be done.  After losing a stone and a half (9.5kg) in the space of a few weeks back in 2010, managing to keep same weight off while nom-noming the vast range of American delicacies available to me during the five months I spent studying/travelling in the US last year, the weight has slowly crept back on, thanks to bingeing on the delight which is British chocolate, something which I blame partly on the four months I spent working as a temp for a company that provides equipment and prizes such as medals for those taking part in sporting events.  Hence, somewhat, my desire to work-avoid now.

Anyway, back to the pot-belly.  Whenever I think of pot-bellies, I think of Johnny Depp, who I seem remember used to have a pot-belly pig.  So now I’m waffling, back to the blog post in hand.

Having struggled to shift the weight I’ve now put back on, I decided that I must try and lose it before it becomes hidden underneath a mountain of jumpers in the attempt to keep myself warm during the cold winter, resurfacing only when I’m ready to wear a bikini in the back garden again.

I’ve been running a few times with my friend, Susan.  We’d followed our usual route through a busy part of town, running a bit, walking a bit, then running a bit more.  I’d promised myself I would run alone, during the daytime, since I had the free time, and thus I rather surprised myself this morning, by putting aside my copy of David Mark’s The Dark Winter, a debut crime novel that already had me gripped, and by getting out of bed, putting on my running clothes and being out the door within five minutes.

I had already decided to run a different route to that which we’d previously taken on a quiet Sunday morning.  I wanted somewhere a little quieter, where I could soak in the sunshine and feel smug about running, imagining myself to be running somewhere far more exotic, like the Santa Monica boardwalk, or Central Park.  Which was fine, on the way to my destination.  It was on the way back, when I decided to come back a different way, that it happened.  I got lost.  In my home city of Lincoln.

Running back along the river, I passed a group of fishing men, and woman, who may have started drinking already, even though ten o’clock had not yet struck.  Their yellow tent gave me the impression they’d been there all night, but perhaps it was just somewhere to go should it rain during the day.  I can’t claim to be an expert in fishing, a “sport” that does not interest me whatsoever.

One of them, the one closest to the river, said “good morning”, which, in hindsight, was the way you do when you know something that the person you are saying it to doesn’t.  I said “good morning” back and nodded at the others, who nodded in response.  I only got a little further down the riverbank, when the path cut between the grass seemed to fade, becoming little more than a faint line through the long blades of grass.

Here, I had a choice, I could go back, back past the fisherman and their early morning tipple, or I could plough on ahead. I’d seen another lady jogger just in front of me earlier, and before I’d passed the fishermen, I saw her running back down the other side of the river, and had assumed she’d run this way, over the bridge at the end, and back down the other side.  Not wanting to look like the novice jogger I am, I looked at the invisible ‘Point of No Return’ sign usually reserved for film heroines, and decided to continue.

I jogged until it became impossible to jog further, and waded through the long grasses.  I saw the path pick up again, running upwards along the river bank, and followed it until again, alongside the back gardens of people’s houses, until it became lost once more among nettles and other weeds.  It picked up again and I ran down the river to near the water’s edge, then followed it until I came to the end of the houses, and I couldn’t see what was round the corner.   It was at this point that I had to admit defeat.  Reluctantly, I headed back, through the nettles, up the hill and following the back gardens, came out alongside what appeared to be old people’s flats, and back out to civilisation.

Knowing now where I was, I confidently headed back along the streets, completing my journey along one of the busy roads in the city.  By this point, I didn’t have the energy to run, every time I attempted it, I could feel my chest wheezing and my stomach hurt.  So I strode home, trying my best to look like I was walking because I’d run 10 miles, rather than the two or three I had completed.

Upon my return home, I grabbed the glass I’d used earlier to pour myself a tiny glass of water, enough to swallow my Prozac.  Instead of filling it with the Diet stuff I was craving, I poured myself a full glass of water from the tap, and insisted to myself that I drink that, and then I could have a glass of the liquid I was desperate for.

Reflecting upon my jogging experience, I realised that I’d learned some lessons.  1) Keep it simple: On my first solo run, I’d planned a new route, somewhere I was only vaguely familiar with, and changed said route along the way.  Hence, resulting in my getting lost in the wilderness.  In American Studies, much study is given to the theory of the “wilderness” and “civilisation”, the “wilderness” deemed to be man’s place and “civilisation”, woman’s.  Was it wrong, when faced with the choice of heading back to the safety of civilisation, instead I continued on through the wilderness?  Returning to civilisation, only when necessary.  2) What is the second lesson, I ponder to myself?  I returned today with a great sense that I had learned several lessons.  I guess the second, is not to be so ambitious.  Perhaps that is the same as the first lesson.  I know this is a problem I have.  I get these fantastic ideas that I’m not always capable of carrying through.  But you know, I wouldn’t change a thing.  You don’t have ambition, and where does that get you?  I guess I will always end up taking the path of most resistance, and, sometimes, yes, it will hurt.  But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth the journey. ❤