It’s (hardly) Rock’n’Roll, but I choose to like it

UnknownI often spend months on end working away from home and staying in a budget hotel chain Monday to Friday. This statement alone elicits different responses. Some think that this is quite nice: no household chores; no cooking; no familial responsibilities. A strange new place to explore and the freedom to do exactly as you please. Others think that this is quite unpleasant: dining out at tables for one; not seeing loved ones; spending evenings in a bland room with only a small television set for company. A solitary and lonely existence.

Both viewpoints are of course completely valid. And completely wrong.

As I reflect back I can see that, especially in the early days, there were times when I felt aggrieved that I was obliged to be away, I missed family and friends and as a consequence became quite withdrawn and miserable. I ate alone in anonymous hotel restaurants, watched television in my room and counted the hours down to Friday.

More recently I’ve sought out colleagues to meet in the evening, avoided bland hotels and found family run eateries. I’ve made an effort to be more than a passing visitor and been rewarded with lasting friendships.

Often I use the evenings to run and swim, combating the tendency to gain weight when living this way. The extra time in the pool may not make me a great swimmer but I am undoubtedly improving. My runs let me discover a neighbourhood and help me feel a connection to this new place.

And on those evenings when I am alone with nothing to do I relish the prospect of reading a novel with a beer before an early night. Hardly Rock and Roll but I like it.

The only thing that has really changed is my attitude. I still miss my family, but being miserable makes it worse not better. I still crave company, but sitting alone in a room makes social interaction less likely. I still look forward to Thursday evening when I can pack my bag ready to go home on the Friday, but counting the hours down makes them pass no faster.

It’s all about choice. So much of life is, don’t you think?

I said can’t you see that this old boy has been a lonely?
If I could stick a knife in my heart
Suicide right on stage
Would it be enough for your teenage lust
Would it help to ease the pain? Ease your brain?
If I could dig down deep in my heart
Feelings would flood on the page
Would it satisfy ya, would it slide on by ya
Would ya think the boy’s insane? He’s insane
I said I know it’s only rock ‘n roll but I like it
I said I know it’s only rock’n roll but I like it, like it, yes, I do
Oh, well, I like it, I like it, I like it

It’s only rock’n’roll (but I like it) – Rolling Stones

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One hand in my pocket

On the one hand it has been a depressing week:

Firstly I have been waiting to hear from a potential client regarding a pitch for a large project.  The pitching process took months of effort. I’ve been on tenterhooks and can’t settle, checking my email constantly.  I can’t understand why they are delaying the result and am starting to be convinced we haven’t got it.

Secondly I heard that a number of friends have lost their jobs. This made me very angry at the people that did this and I spent a whole afternoon in a bad mood.

The incessant wind and rain and ever rising flood levels (I live by the River Thames) has been a real worry. I am increasingly frustrated by the politicians who seem to offer nothing but platitudes.

Finally I have an injury and after 6 weeks of rest I am still only able to run 3 – 4 miles a day very cautiously.

On the other hand it’s been a good week:

Firstly I have been waiting to hear from a potential client regarding a pitch for a large project.  We did great to get through to the final round and learned loads in the process.  I had weaned myself off constantly checking email and being on tenterhooks has lead me back into bad habits, it’s noticeable how it distracts you and prevents you from fully attending to the here and now which I hadn’t really appreciated before.

Secondly I heard that a number of friends have lost their jobs, I was quite angry for a while.  Of course once I calmly looked at it I realised that raging is pointless.  Having compassion and finding ways to help would be more useful.  So I contacted them and offered to help.  By reaching out they know I care.

The incessant wind and rain and ever rising flood levels (I live by the River Thames) is a concern.  Yet there is nothing I can do about the weather.  Accepting the issue and getting on with what needs to be done in the short term is more productive.  And maybe if we keep the pressure on this will help the climate change naysayers see the truth.

I have an injury and after 6 weeks of rest I am now able to run 3 – 4 miles a day albeit cautiously.  If I do some cross training and keep healing I’ll still make a spring race or two.  And today a gentle 4 miler in a rare burst of sunny, calm weather felt just great.

I know which week I chose to have.  What will you choose?

I’m broke but I’m happy
I’m poor but I’m kind
I’m short but I’m healthy, yeah
I’m high but I’m grounded
I’m sane but I’m overwhelmed
I’m lost but I’m hopeful baby
What it all comes down to
Is that everything’s gonna be fine fine fine
’cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is giving a high five

Alanis Morrisette