With the summer heat and being unwell, I’ve fallen off the running wagon a little in the last few weeks. I feel a little lost, although since the world has apparently been turned upside down and America is on fire, I’m probably not the only one. I do need to keep my running practice up, because running keeps my anxiety in check. For about a week I had to mute half the accounts I follow on twitter to keep from losing my mind with all the political news. Every time I hear the BBC app notification I think “oh lord, what now?”
Being sick also tends to turn the knob of my fibromyalgia up a little, and I’m more weak and tired than I have been in almost a year. That makes the running a bit more difficult, but I know things will only snowball if I don’t try to get out there a couple of times a week. I have to pace myself until I feel better, which is not something I’ve ever been very good at, but I suppose practice makes perfect.
All this makes it sound like I’m in a terrible place. I’m not, but I am feeling a bit… pulled in multiple directions, I suppose. Distractable. Listless. I’ve been sleeping strange hours and not getting much done, and that bothers me. The hours of my day seem to leak away somehow. I want my mornings back. Running has a tendency to keep me focused – or perhaps that’s wrong and backwards, and I’m just more likely to keep up a schedule of running regularly when I’m in a more focused state. Perhaps it’s both. Both is good, because I can start with the one that’s easier to put one’s finger on – the running – and hope the other gets kick-started and feeds back into the cycle. I have been reminding myself of the old line “you never regret a run” to get myself out on the road. It is nearly always true.
Running and yoga have become those parts of my day when I don’t have to think about anything else. I don’t need to think about what that idiot said on twitter that’s been niggling away at me all day because I know there’s no point in engaging but it still really bothers me. I don’t need to worry about what’s going on in the world or what the future holds. I don’t need to stress about the housing market or antibiotic resistance or the impending collapse of civilisation. I have half an hour to an hour each day where all I focus on is myself. This is my time, and outside influences can wait for my attention until it’s over. It is very therapeutic.
Januaries are months where nothing much seems to get done, because people are still mentally (and often physically) on holiday. Februaries are the awkward month in which people realise that the excuse that the year hasn’t really started yet is no longer going to fly. Slowly, everyone works themselves back into their groove, and around mid-February the trains start running on time again. It is fitting that this awkwardness takes place in the awkward month; poor February, with its tail lopped off. My birthday month, too. Did you have me pegged as an Aquarian? Does it show?
My February groove is meant to be editing, which is going all right on the days I don’t put it off or forget it entirely. More importantly, I have two new notebooks, one of which exists solely as a place to write writerly things. Last night I sat down with the notebook I have just finished and a set of page flags to mark off the pieces that might, with some work, become poems. But not yet, because they still have to sit there and percolate a little. Or decay down into their composite words and imagery, so I can take them and use them to grow roses. My “half-starved darlings with tarnished rings” might become a protest poem, if they’ll let me use them thus. I am sure they will. They like to yell.