Sometimes it’s really difficult to know where to begin – because whilst I want to write about how I’m feeling and what’s going on in my life I’m also in one of those places where I have to self censor a little.
First of all – I’m feeling no small amount of relief that a recent blood test appears to be clear.
I had a health scare recently and without going into too much detail the worst case scenario appears to have been ruled out – which is nice – however I’m still none the wiser about the whole ‘event’ that caused me to visit my GP in the first place.
So far it’s not re-occurred (which is good) but I have no idea what caused it in the first place (which is not so good).
Still – if my car is anything to go by when you get to a certain age occasionally there are false alarms that clear themselves with no explanation.
My Passat’s dashboard lit up like a Christmas tree whilst driving to Coombe Abbey on New Year’s day and told me all traction control and ABS was offline. However once I’d ‘rebooted it’ (any tech worth his salt will try turning things off and on again) the issue disappeared without a trace and still seems reluctant to return.
I guess my body is the same.
Occasionally it will have ‘a senior moment’ and then get on with things as normal.
My advancing decrepitude means that I (like my car) will eventually leave more and more oil on the drive of life.
I may be paranoid – but one of the side effects of changing my body so dramatically (and having an occasionally pessimistic view of the world) is that I’m still waiting for the metaphorical piano to fall from the sky and flatten me.
Although life isn’t perfect there are times that I’m left breathless when I think about how many bullets I appear to have dodged over the years and that no-one who abused themselves as much as I did deserves the apparent good health that I now enjoy.
I do work hard for it mind you. It doesn’t just fall in my lap.
Although I’m out of target with Slimming World (and going nowhere fast this week with weight loss I’m sad to say) I still do a huge amount of exercise compared to most people that I know.
Since the 17th of December 2019 I’ve managed to go for a swim every day except on bank holidays (when the pool was closed) and walked almost 10 miles per day on average.
That has to be good right?
I’m over sixteen and a half stone at the moment and I’m constantly worried that I don’t do enough to maintain my health. However – when I look back to a time in 2018 when I was around the same weight but BEFORE I reached my target I did about a third less exercise than I do now.
I was still walking roughly the same amount but doing this alone meant that my average active daily calorie burn was much lower back then than it is now.
Back then I thought I was doing quite a lot – but it’s all relative and I was comparing myself to where I’d started.
In January 2018 I typically walked three miles to work, three miles back again and usually also took some kind of stroll at lunchtime or in the evening.
However when it came to January 2019 (after starting to swim in mid November 2018) things had noticeably changed.
Although my number of swims (and the distance I swam) tailed off a little (after my initial flurry of obsessive interest when I first started) I continued to swim at least 10 days a month.
More often than not I swim around 14 times a month (my record is 22) which is almost once every two days on average.
Mostly I motivate myself by using my obsessively frugal side to irritate me into action and try to drop the price per swim as low as possible.
A single dip in the pool without a membership costs £4.65 (or at least it used to – I can’t find the current price online) and a monthly swim only pass costs me £25.
If I swim 14 times it costs me £1.78 a go – but if I manage 22 visits it drops to £1.13 – which is a magical number because it’s cheaper than a £1.35 bottomless coffee in Wetherspoons!
I’m off to a flying start this year and my current energy output for 2020 reflects that fact.
As I type it’s 3am on the 9th of January and I’m going through one of those horrible nights when my mind is racing at 200 miles an hour.
I can’t sleep and my head is filled with numbers and words.
I’ve given up lying in bed trying to sleep and am instead attempting to calm my mind – by purging everything that’s flowing through it into spreadsheets and this blog.
I’m currently obsessed with balance sheets as well as this post because recently my bank account has only been heading in the wrong direction – and that’s downwards.
Thankfully that looks like it’s all about to change – because yesterday afternoon I finally found a job.
This is another area where self censorship conflicts with honest blogging because (like my health scare) the details of my employer and post have to remain private.
I don’t think it’s a good idea to blog about work or an employer whether one’s personal experience of them is good or bad – but I can say that (although it’s a temporary post) I’m hopeful it will lead to something more and I’m really happy that something has finally come up.
It’s also local (the holy grail!) and instead of having to drive I get to walk about six miles a day as I travel there and back!!!
The position is (once again) something relatively new to me in subject matter, so (once more) I have a lot to learn and a very short time to do so.
I want to be able to quickly demonstrate that I can be an effective member of my new team and whilst I’m sure I can do this there are always fears and worries at times like this that arrive to rob me of my sleep.
I start TOMORROW!
(Drums fingers whilst thinking…)
If nothing else my ‘outgoings’ spreadsheet looks a lot healthier now it has a rough projected take home salary on it – and since I decided not to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance whilst job seeking (I couldn’t face one more flipping time the way the whole process of signing on leaves me feeling) I’m no longer looking at monthly outgoings without any form of associated income.
It’s a good thing I’m frugal and don’t spend money unless it’s necessary￼￼ because it’s been a lean (and sometimes worrying) few months.
Being unemployed (although by choice because I chose to leave my last post) for any period of time has not only had a destabilising impact on my bank balance but my mood too.
I’ve never been in any danger of real hardship – but the worry of what might happen if such a situation dragged on too long has meant that my moods have often been disproportionate to the true impact of the last few months.
I’ve managed to self-fund throughout my entire period of job searching and I’m proud that I’ve been a burden to no one but myself.
That at least has been something that’s made me feel good – but getting turned down a lot and not finding the work you want is tough going no matter what anyone tells you.
You question your personal worth all the time and how you’re perceived in the eyes of others.
More than anything I didn’t want to be watching my partner getting ready for work every day knowing that I wasn’t about to do the same.
This isn’t a man thing by the way – just in case anyone is wondering.
It’s a partnership thing.
I want to share the load, take the strain together in life and prove to her that she made the right choice when she took a chance on me.
I never want to be seen as a useless lazy lump on the sofa.
As much as I’ve made myself useful though I’ve not found that any amount of DIY, laundry, tidying or cooking for the home has made the persistent itch to be employed go away – and it’s been particularly acute now I no longer live on my own.
Back when I was first made redundant in 2016 (and my ‘crisis’ with what came next in life started) I was a bit more relaxed about this topic because the choices were mine to make and affected only me.
I can’t think that way any more though – because everything I do now affects my partner and I don’t want her to think negatively about our relationship for any reason.
I carry a lot of guilt about my failures in relationships as a younger man (although I’ve come to accept lately that problems in those were not entirely attributable to me) and I’m determined not to repeat my past screw ups.
Somehow though I need to simultaneously chart a course to being happily and gainfully employed again long term within the framework of US instead of just ME.
I hope this job is the one.
I really do.
It’s something small but it could grow into something really good – and there’s no way to find out whether it will or not without trying.
However – I digress – and run the risk of having a completely huge post (I’m probably already too late!) unless I pull myself back to the topic I originally intended to talk about.
The blood test I mentioned earlier had a dual purpose – and it’s secondary function was for my regular HbA1c test to see how my diabetic levels are doing.
For those new to the blog I started as a type two diabetic (at around 35 stone) taking five tablets of two different medications and had a reading of 94 on this scale – which was ridiculously high.
My daily pill planner at that weight (particularly for a man in his early 40’s) looked awful.
As well as diabetes I took medication for high cholesterol as well as significant amounts of pain killers.
By the same time in January last year (as an unmedicated and much fitter man) my HbA1c was stable at 26.
Now (at 4am in the frikkin morning) I’m wide awake and wondering what my increased exercise will means when it’s combined with being almost two stone heavier than I was the last time I held these results in my hand.
I’m hoping that I haven’t undone my progress in any way – but only time will tell.
Anyway. I need sleep.
I have to get up in under two hours to get to the pool for 6.30am and I doubt I’ll be breaking any records when I arrive. So far I have just over two hours of restless tossing and turning under my belt and it’s simply not been enough.
Back later today…
(Author goes back to bed)
Well – maybe unsurprisingly I didn’t get to the pool at 6.30am – and instead a joint decision was made to have a little lie in until 7.
I did manage to make it to the pool though and squeaked in at 8.30am (just under the wire – the session finishes at 9) and managed to fit a quick kilometre in before the school swimming groups arrived.
The rest of my day has been busy busy busy and I’ve managed to touch base with a lot of people. This is pretty fortuitous – since I’m probably not going to be able to see them during the day for a while.
As always these meetings involved twalking and (I’m now sitting in the doctor’s waiting room after my diabetic review) I’ve managed to use my last day of freedom very productively.
Even before I reach home I have 14 miles on the clock – so I feel pretty pleased with my efforts.
My current active calorie burn is a satisfying 2200 and on top of that I have the results in my hand.
So – despite gaining a bit of weight my emphasis on exercise and not eating processed food (or at least doing so very sparingly) is still paying dividends.
My HbA1c level is now twenty four!!!
Somewhat annoyingly my Cholesterol has crept up again now that I’m off statins – but that appears to be genetic according to the doctor and my good cholesterol levels are a cause for celebration.
According to the doctor because of my lifestyle changes and continual emphasis on health it’s unlikely that this on its own will raise my risk of coronary heart disease.
So her advice (bless her) is to ‘just carry on with what you’re doing!’
You can’t argue with advice like that!!!
So – it’s time to go home, cook something healthy and get ready for my first day at work tomorrow in my brand new job!
Let’s hope I can sleep!!!