Today I feel great. Really great. This morning I felt like lightning in a bottle when I woke up.
Although I’m relatively footloose and fancy free I think its important to get up at a good time, and try not to sleep in at all – regardless of what day it is. I got dressed (making a slightly longer than usual trip to the bathroom sink for reasons that will become apparent later), did my usual browsing for jobs with strong coffee, chewed through my employment agency mails, reviewed all of the positions available on the job centre portal and then stared out of the window for a minute or two.
It was disappointing.
There wasn’t anything new out there that I could see and no replies from anyone with good or bad feedback. The whole process of finding a job can at times feel like you’re throwing applications into a huge void where no-one reads anything you send them or is even the slightest bit interested. But I’m not letting it get to me. I refuse.
If you do then you’ve already lost the battle – so it’s important to find a reason to feel good every day.
If I couldn’t find one in my e-mail or on the job centre site then I’d damn well hunt for one somewhere else.
I’d planned to dig up the bush stump in my front garden today with the next door neighbour – but not only was the ground completely sodden (I didn’t fancy a mud bath today) but there were several other things I needed to do in town and elsewhere.
I also needed to get some walking in. I have been trying to get under eighteen minutes a mile for weeks now and on the way into Leamington the other day I came within touching distance of it – but got stuck at some traffic lights which irritatingly de-railed my attempt.
I decided that I’d see what I could do on the flat surface of the park and have a look for the Swanling while I was at it.
I arrived at the park, chose some appropriately loud and socially unacceptable music on my phone (the kind that causes bad driving and teenage pregnancies) and started walking as fast as I could.
Initially my legs didn’t want to play ball. They ached and quickly cramped – but I’ve learned that rather than stopping when I feel like this the best thing to do is ease off the pace a little, bear with the feeling and eventually it will fade. At this point I can speed back up again, and each time I don’t stop my stamina increases a little for the next attempt.
This whole process is a real learning curve for me – and I’m constantly amazed at what my body can do when I push it regularly.
I looked at my watch half way through my lap. It didn’t look like I was going to do it – but what the heck, I wasn’t going to stop trying. I poured it on for the second half.
As I strode on I passed a group of women I see regularly and greeted them.
‘Hello ladies!’ I called – as I breezed by them. I wasn’t stopping to chat today – but waved behind me as I continued onwards.
‘You’re looking good!’ one of them shouted as I pounded into the distance. ‘Thanks!” I called back. Maybe I’d see them on the next lap and stop for a natter – but today this was more important. I wanted a win.
By the time I got close to the end of the first mile I realised that I was actually ahead of schedule. I put my head down. Maybe I could do this!
I finally felt the double tap on my wrist from my watch to tell me I’d done a mile. I didn’t want to look down. Maybe I’d just carry on and look afterwards. Maybe I could do the second lap at the same pace. Then I’d look.
I heard the voice vaguely over the sound of my exercise playlist, and looked up. In front of me, walking with his dog in the opposite direction was a friend I used to work with. I hadn’t seen him since we were both made redundant at the end of July.
‘Bloody hell!’ He said looking me up and down. ‘I thought that was you but I didn’t recognise you at first!’
I smiled and shook his hand, but not before stopping my watch’s workout app. I noticed he was stopping his Apple Watch too.
‘Wow.’ He said – looking me up and down again. ‘You’ve really changed.’
‘I’ve lost a bit of weight.’ I smiled. ‘Ten stone now.’
He looked really impressed. I smiled and stroked his dog, who timidly hid behind his right leg. ‘She’s shy.’ he said. I held out my hand and she gingerly sniffed me before finally letting me pat and stroke her head.
‘Things are good.’ I said, ‘I’ve been doing well with losing weight – in fact you stopped me at an important moment!’ I checked my watch again. ‘I just got my mile time under 18 minutes for the fist time!’
(I’d not only managed to get under 18 minutes. I’d smashed it. 17.23!)
‘Are you doing more laps?’ I asked. ‘Yep’ he replied.
‘Mind if I join you?’ I asked ‘Sure!’ he said. So for the next hour we (after starting our workout apps again) walked and talked for another three miles, sharing what had been going on with each of us since we’d last spoken six months or so ago. He was enjoying his new job and life seemed good – in fact he was in training for the Stratford marathon in May and was walking because he’d hurt his knee doing this.
It seemed that both of us were working towards fitness goals.
I can’t overstate how nice it is to meet people from my past and be proud of how I look and who I am now. Those close to me will know how much I’ve shied away from people in my past simply because of the embarrassment of being bigger or feeling like a cumulative collection of failures.
Now I no longer feel like this. Each meeting – especially the unexpected ones like this just spur me ever onwards and give me the impetus to carry on.
As we walked I also had the opportunity to introduce him to the swanling – who looked a little lonely today, but as always – a teeny bit more grown up. It’s beak is definitely turning orange now, and it’s tail feathers are almost completely white.
As we continued doing laps of the park we discussed setting goals and the mental challenge of working towards something like a marathon – and I told him that I was always looking for the next thing to drive me forward. Often it wasn’t about the milestone I was about to reach – but what was next on the horizon. I’m always thinking about what will come after what I am doing – and what will keep the impetus up.
So, after we’d said our goodbyes and shared some good wishes for each other’s endeavours I decided to try something new.
I went to a shop with 2xl clothes and picked a jacket off the peg. This isn’t something that’s easy for me to do (when things don’t fit it can be very demoralising) but I decided I needed to know how far I had to go before this was a possibility.
I undid the zip and swung it over my shoulders, expecting the arms and shoulders to be tight.
Only they weren’t.
In fact the ONLY problem was at the waist, which was probably about 4-6 inches away from me being able to do the zip up!!! Otherwise the jacket felt like it would fit!
There are also mainstream shops now that do 3xl clothes, so I need to find one and try one of those on. I’m able to wear 4xl shirts now – so maybe I don’t have as far to go as I first thought! This means a significant decrease in the cost of clothes compared to specialist shops that cater for 4xl and above men.
Shirts and trousers suddenly become more than 50% cheaper!
So – today I’m laser focused, and that makes me happy. I have several objectives, and they’re ALL do-able. All they need is time, effort and positivity – which I either currently possess or can manufacture in unlimited quantities.
Although my chin feels a little chillier today. I decided this morning that I’ve been hiding my fat face behind a beard for so long (that’s actually why I grew it in the first place) that I needed to know what I really look like underneath – and get used to the real me for a little while, even if I grow it back afterwards.
So internet – here’s bald Davey. He’s smoother than a baby’s bottom and is being unveiled in public for the first time since 2009 – having just managed to get under 18 minutes a mile.
The beard will probably be back soon – but for the moment I’m enjoying the baristas in Starbucks doing a double take when they see me 🙂