weeknotes #5: watching time pass while looking at the sky is quite nice, actually.

This morning I had what was probably the most cathartic, re-energising, calming, and relaxing walks I’ve had in a very long time. In perhaps over two years. As I walked back home, I couldn’t even exactly remember the last time I had a walk that felt like that. The thing is, what made it feel that way was not so much the walk, but the entire experience itself.

Since starting a four-days-a-week strength program at the gym, it means I have more time on the other days of the week to do something other than train. At first, I thought this wasn’t going to bode well, but it turns out, it’s really nice not feeling like I have to work really hard and get exhausted trying to burn 300 calories in a workout. I try to stay active on the days I’m not training, mostly by walking.

Walking got really boring over lockdown #2, and before lockdown ended, I thought I was pretty doomed. I thought I would never have the motivation to walk again because everything felt so damn boring. I’d seen the same soccer field perhaps a thousand times because I walked the same routes, and I lacked the inspiration – or perhaps the energy – to walk anywhere else. I had walked to the post office perhaps several times a week for a couple of months, returning items I’d bought but also selling off a whole bunch of clothes and other items for both myself and Nick. I think most people would get bored of seeing the same shit. I often relish in the mundane, but I think that it only feels invigorating if you find a way to make the mundane beautiful. (And let’s face it, that can be too much fuckin’ effort sometimes.)

On Friday, I had a day off work, but I went for a walk with a friend whom I had not seen in six months. We went to Centennial Park, which I had been avoiding all of lockdown because I feared it would have a lot of people and their families trying to get their exercise and fresh air. It wasn’t really all that bad, and I missed just seeing something different.

Yesterday I went for a walk which was half the route I take to walk to work, then crossed a bridge I’d never actually crossed before, and walked along Bourke Street in Surry Hills, where I actually hadn’t walked in a while. It’s not really that it was too far, or far away, but there are multiple ways for me to get to that area, and many of them had gotten boring. But I spotted a cafe I hadn’t really paid attention to before. Even the whole idea of taking this route I’d normally take to work – that was completely different to walking around the same bloody soccer field.

Today I went to the top of a hill, the one I pictured in my last weeknote. So I guess this had really only been my second time there. There were some people sitting at the top of the hill, but the wooden benches there were vacant. I sat down for a rest, but then I decided to lie on the bench with my knees bent, and look at the sky.

A view of blue sky with many clouds
The sky as I saw it today

There was enough of a breeze that the temperature was nice. There were so many rapidly moving clouds that the sun didn’t have a chance to feel too hot. I kept my sunglasses on and they shielded my eyes enough.

I stared into the blue, and switched the music I was listening to to something calmer. Death Cab For Cutie. I let my eyes half close and enjoy the sound of the wind and my music through my AirPods. As I paid more attention to the blue sky, I could see my little eye floaters, and if I shifted my focus, it looked like the blue sky was sparkling through my vision.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been taking a few minutes out of each morning to pay attention to my breath with the help of my Apple Watch. But for some reason I forgot to do it yesterday and today. As I looked at the sky I felt relaxed. I wondered how much time passed. I could guess by how many songs I’d listened to while I was lying there. But it made me think about how we feel time passes slower when we have new experiences. I wondered if this was a new experience.

I thought about how much I do like being outdoors, but when I’m outdoors I’m not always relaxing or just letting life and time go by. Sometimes I’m walking, going some place. Sometimes I’m playing games with a friend. Having a picnic. Going for a run (although I don’t really run anymore). As I write this, I remember my time in Portland and how nature took my breath away.

I think I am slowly bringing meaning back into my life. We have gone out for brunch a couple of times. Tonight Nick and I are celebrating our four year wedding anniversary and we’ll get to eat at a nice restaurant and have some drinks. I‘ve walked to different places. I’ve got a more structured fitness routine. I’m looking after myself a bit better, as I make better and more varied food choices. Part of that has to do with being able to go and eat at different places now, heh.

A pond in a park, with some ducks and geese on the water. In the background are lots of high bushes and trees. It is a sunny day and the sky is bright blue
Ducks and geese at Centennial Park

I don’t care much for how slow or fast I’m going, or how people think I’m going. The way I am trying to see the world is avoiding any comparison with the past, or this notion that things are “going back” to normal. I believe that the optimistic way forward – at least for me – is to experience things with fresh eyes. I have to admit that the idea of things being “pretty much the same as they were before” doesn’t give me an idea of progression. In fact, it more likely fills me with dread and anxiety. (Sorry, Nick. He is a logical person, and it’s not his fault, but thinking that way removes my emotions from the picture and doesn’t always help.) I think the reality is that nothing is really going to be “the same” as it was before.

Many many of us have come out of lockdowns and the pains of the pandemic as a different person, with different intentions. Whatever those intentions may be, I think we can only feel more positive about change if we are staying with those intentions, undisturbed by the pains of the past. That’s not to say, forget the past, or anything like that, but more to focus on right now, without deliberately comparing it to the past, and to let what’s happening now gently remind us how we feel about the memories we already have.

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