So as you can see from the above photo I quickly took on my mobile phone, I’m in Cornwall at long last. It probably took about 7 hours in the car which I know is a distance considered practically next door as far as my Yankee friends are concerned, but it’s one of the longest drives you can take from the centre of England without ending up in the ocean!
Before I kick off today’s post, I’ll explain what I mean by this post title. I realised in the car yesterday that I felt something was missing from my ‘baby’ (this blog, of course) and that was another journey I’m constantly on that runs parallel to my fitness journey, the never-ending journey of self improvement. Now those who check out my blog and stay for my posts about fitness and nutrition (and of course, the beautiful fitspo pics I find on the net and share) may think self-improvement is a farse, a little bit too new age for their tastes and would rather just be exactly who they are, the good bits and the bad. This is fine and I will understand if you feel it’s not for you, or maybe you’ve got too much going on in your life to even consider consciously walking down this road. However, to me, it is something that has been important for quite some time now and goes hand in hand with my on-going journey of physical improvement. For what it is that I want out of my life and out of myself, they are both as important as the other, though one is without doubt easier for me to remain focused on than the other.
I have been ‘into’ self-improvement since I was metaphorically catapulted head-first by my horse, landing right at the feet of the start of what would change my life profoundly. Lily was an extremely difficult and dangerous animal who needed me to be a much better person than the insecure, spoiled, negative and emotionally unfit sixteen year old I had been for a few years. Before I knew it, working on myself for my horse’s benefit quickly seeped into the rest of my life and I found patience, happiness, gratitude and – most importantly – an unshakeable love for myself, something everyone deserves but few have. However, as the road to self-improvement has no clear end destination and can be as short or as long as you want it to be, I am nowhere near done so long as I’m above ground.
So back to the topic of this post; the context of this particular problem that is requiring my attention and I have ignored for the longest time. But I am now in the perfect situation to tackle the issue head-on.
My home for the next few weeks is a beautiful 3-storey fisherman’s cottage which I will be sharing with my parents, my brother and his girlfriend. My boyfriend Thom will be joining us next week by train, in the mean time I am essentially left to my own devices.
My original plan was to look after our house and pets this week and travel down with Thom next Thursday, but my mum persuaded me to come down a week early. She argued that it was because I’ve been stressed lately and an extra week in Cornwall would do me the world of good – which is true – but knowing my mum is a terrible worrier, I knew this was for her benefit, too.
I was reluctant at first; the prospect of spending the first week as the fifth wheel was something of little appeal to me. In fact, the thought of being on my own a lot of the time was downright scary. Sure, I would have been alone at home during the day while Thom was at work, but it is the evenings and nights that have always gotten to me. It is too quiet and there is too much time for me to be alone with my thoughts.
To avoid this, once I have finished work on an average day, I will either surround myself with the company of my family or I will watch something new on TV, be it a documentary or a new film. There have even been times where I have worked overtime, not because I’ve needed to, but for want of something better to do. I’ve always made sure to keep myself distracted and this is a habit I have cemented over many years. It’s a fear-driven process I am not proud of, yet the irony is instead of dealing with it, I have attempted run further away from it. Until now.
All this time alone will provide me with the free time I’ve needed, along with the added bonus of being away from home and the habits I have formed there that hinder any progress being made. I have made a pact with myself, that I will be brave and out-persist my fear, even when it gets very tough. And of course, it will get tough because I will be well and truly out of my comfort zone.
It’s time to undo my bad habits and form healthier ones, just as I have with my fitness. While I’m here and after I’ve finished the few hours of work in the morning I plan to do, I will be walking a lot on my own, I will be sitting down at various places on my own, I will be exercising on my own (nothing new there though) and most importantly, I will listen to the ugliness and fear that will surface as a result.
One of my first big tasks will be to form a habit of meditating every day and sticking to it, just as if it were as much of my daily routine as brushing my teeth and washing my face. I’ve always started meditating and never made it a habit, instead allowing myself to forget about it because it made me anxious and uncomfortable.
Now I am admitting it to myself and posting it publicly on my blog, I am making myself accountable, just as I do with my fitness. I will meditate and I will learn to enjoy my own company without the distraction of mindless jibbering or technological distraction. It sounds so easy in principle, but I am prepared for an all-out war, considering how long I have been burying my head in the sand. I will be brave, I will listen to myself and I will address fears but not allow myself to indulge them.
I’ll be posting quick updates here and there on how I’m getting on, as well as my runs and how many times I’ve gotten lost. I’ve also found out the local swimming pool has a gym too, so I should be able to weightlift as well which makes me happy. I tell you what, I’ve got so many supplement pills and vitamins in my bag I probably would look very suspicious to authorities if I was trying to get through airport security! Ah the joys of being a fitness fanatic.