Wednesday, 10 August 2011

London Calling

Okay, time to get topical. With a spin. I remember years ago thinking going to the gym on a Friday evening was odd. For weirdos with no friends. Same thing for the cinema - going alone was for losers. I was convinced. Of course, there's absolutely nothing wrong with either. In fact I quite enjoy doing both these days. But back in the day I did tend to see things through a narrow perspective of how life should be lived. What was right. What was acceptable. I'd like to think that I've now grown beyond some of those limiting viewpoints.

And so, in a very round about way, to my tuppence about the civil unrest in London and elsewhere in the UK (or in the words of one looted store owner: "they weren't rioting, they were shopping"). Clearly there are bigger debates to be had behind the causes of it all - "Broken Britain", disillusionment with the job market, Generation X-Factor needing quick gratification etc etc. But as far as I can tell the unrest isn't the second coming of the Jasmine Revolution.

I don't have the answers and many, many learned people have come out with some pretty decent insights on it all. I can relate to the frustrations of some individuals involved - as soon as I could escape the housing estate I grew up on in South London, and the negative karma that comes with it, I did. Many I knew didn't. And people often march/protest/represent a viewpoint for a decent cause. But at the end of the day, we all have to live on this big old rock together and I do think that the perpetrators in this case are falling short on respect and perspective. Maybe that's the way they relate to and engage with the world. Somehow, somewhere we've got to broaden everyone's perspective on the world - 'everyone' doesn't just mean the "vandals, thiefs and troublemakers". We can't just be in a space of disrepect and opportunism vs. victims and recrimination. We have to be bigger and better than that. I have no answers - I'm just hoping for more awareness all around.

Anyway, that's my bit of idle waffle on the subject and that's all you'll get on it from me....

Monday, 1 August 2011

Do It Again

I've had one of those weekends where I fell off the wagon, proverbally speaking. In recent months I have fine-tuned a daily routine that involves a bit of meditation, active engagement in specific life areas (e.g. reading a little bit on personal finance or doing some form of exercise/body conditioning, however small). Basically, discplining myself to do specific things each day. And I can genuinely say that I've seen improvements in certain parts of my life, such as applying myself at work.

However, this weekend saw my 'little and often' daily acts of progress go totally to the wall. I blame Friday's pool party. Actually, it was my visit to the gym on Thursday night ahead of the following day's event. Now, I'm not proud to say it but I figured that because my body no longer defaults to one of a 20-something year-old Adonis, it was worth going hell for leather on the crunches and back press ups, just to make sure I could vaguely hold my own. Obviously, I didn't warm up and obviously my body was in shock after the crazy work out. This should have been done over a period of weeks - not a mad power half hour. So by the time I hit the party my lower back was in all sorts of pain. Then, of course, I chose the only natural remedy - drink through it. And drink hard. And so it was I found myself post-party drifting home from a random club we headed onto, with the sound of morning song in my ear and the morning sun in my eyes. The knock on effect of all that, of course, was a Saturday in ruins and a Sunday shaped by the five stages of grief.

I'm not saying that I'm in line for a sainthood anytime soon but the daily discipline of 'little and often' has been good at moving me forward. Keeping me on the straight and narrow and not allowing myself to be too distracted. Okay, I might well have still been out to some ungodly hour, but had I kept my focus I may well have managed my night a bit better. And my back wouldn't be aching like hell now either...