At the beginning of this week I was faced with the prospect of getting on a plane on my own and I was not sure I was going to get on.
We’d successfully put Bookham to bed after a very long week. I was gently settling into holiday mood when I allowed something to upset me. It really shouldn’t have but I allowed it to, forgetting the adage that other people’s opinions of you are none of your business.
Anyway, by Monday morning I’d put my chances of getting on the plane at 50/50 but rationalised that if I did go, I could just as soon come back again.
At Gatwick, once through passport control I started to relax. For the first time in a very long time I was alone and embarking on an adventure. I had to rely on myself to make decisions but after what seems like an eternity of making decisions with others in mind, on Monday the outcome of those decisions affected only me. It was empowering. And empowerment was something I desired and needed.
The flight took off on time and was uneventful. I went to sleep just minutes after take off and then on waking, took the coffee offered me and read my book until we landed. I disembarked at Arrecife airport four hours later into bright sunshine and glorious warmth and immediately, I knew getting on the bloody plane had been worth it.
The first night we went out for dinner and then to our local bolt hole, Ruta66. In the past, I’ve drank excessively in a bid to drown out the noises I’d carried in my head from home. But that night, I found that I had no need. Something had changed, has changed and the voices were quiet.
Life is mostly governed by mindset. I feel I have so much joy and positivity to give. But it was now evident that the systems I had created to deliver such emotions no longer worked.
And even worse, they we’re draining rather than invigorating. In a turn of twisted logic, I thought it was me that was the problem.
The solution to this thought process was even more bizarre. I thought that by doing Ironman and marathons would to prove to the world I was a certain type of person. But actually, I have nothing to prove to the world or anyone in it and it did not provide the one I was looking for, or any solution at all in fact.
Because my thought processed were nonsensical (and therefore didn’t work), the support mechanisms I needed for my crumbling self esteem (crutches) were also nonsensical. Food, drink and other distractions became more important to just get me though the day. In fact, all of the crutches I had used in times previous were easy to resuscitate. And this was not a good thing.
As soon as I got off the plane in Lanzarote, I felt a metaphorical weight fall away from my shoulders, a result of decisions made and the heat of the sun relaxing my muscles and warming me to the core. It became apparent immediately that those control measures listed above were no longer necessary and therefore easier to shun.
I got into a taxi and made my way to the apartment my companions were occupying. The greeted me with happiness and I relaxed even more. After the initial settling in, we fell into a simple way of life for a few days. Sleep, healthy food, time to sit and reflect, being outdoors and most importantly, spending time with people who were positive and a joy to be with. We talked way into the night, we cried at the sadness that life had brought to us and more than anything we laughed until we could barely breathe.
It occurred to me during that time that life really is that simple. The pursuit of happiness is simple. As long as we have enough food, shelter, sleep, exercise and positivity we are content. That should be the real focus of our work. And yes, even simplicity needs work. Repetition, focus, positivity and the desire to DO. It struck me that all too often in the last few months I had experienced people with an irrational sense of entitlement but no willingness to work for it. Discipline is the key to happiness. Because through discipline you commit to your hearts desires rather than just telling people about them.
We talked about the above a lot on the holiday and so now I’ve returned back home, all of the thoughts that have been pondering over the last few months are coming together and starting to make sense. Now I just need to work on the practicalities of what it looks like in the everyday.