Grabbing life by the balls

The New Year didn’t really begin for me until last Saturday. I was technically still on my Christmas holiday last week, and so the new year sort of blurred into the old one in a Baileys-and-Quality-Street-tinged fog. I found myself grumpy and complainy and feeling a bit overwhelmed with the whole bloody Christmas thing, and cross because that really wasn’t the feeling I’d wanted to carry into 2018 with me.

However, last weekend, something magical happened. I suddenly got an enormous burst of energy.

After a lovely restful day on Saturday, I woke up on Sunday morning ready to grab life by the balls. I dragged Lars out of bed and we went for an epic stomp out over the heath and down to the sea. It was beautifully frosty and we had enormous fun jumping in frozen puddles (we’re both six year-olds trapped in adult bodies) and saying hello to the llamas and the sheep which live on that patch of land. On the way home I suddenly felt like cooking (I rarely cook, if ever), and when we got home I cooked up a storm and made us a giant feast of bangers and mash, with green beans and onion gravy. God, it was delicious.

It sounds like such a simple thing; to go for a long walk and cook a tasty lunch, but things like that have just been completely beyond me for the last few months, and it felt SO GOOD to actually want to engage with life again.

The energy spurt has stayed with me since then, and my week so far has been an incredible, joyful, productive experience and I want it to stay like this forever. I am Peak Eli at the moment.

As a chronic self-analyser, I tried to pinpoint the shift – what triggered this amazing energy and lust for life again, all of a sudden? I came up with four major contributing factors:

1) I’ve been doing mostly bugger all for the last four months, and completely bugger all for the last two weeks. I reckon I’ve finally had enough rest. And it’s the New Year. A fresh start. Plus it started on a Monday, which is intensely pleasing.

2) I’ve been walking a lot lately. Usually around an hour, almost every day. More exercise than I’ve had for years. I’ve heard stories about regular exercise actually giving you more energy, but I always suspected that was a myth.

3) I had an amazing chat with my brother last week; about how everything in my life was pretty much how I wanted it now, but for some reason I kept picking holes in everything and finding things to be dissatisfied with. I hadn’t actually realised that that was what I was doing until I said it out loud. Whelp. He, very wisely, pointed out that that is what brains do if you don’t keep a close eye on them - create brand new shiny problems to solve. He’s so right – I know this, but I needed a reminder.

4) We’ve been watching a show by Anthony Bourdain on Netflix recently, called No Reservations, where he travels around the world eating and exploring and talking to people. The episode we watched on Saturday night was set in Haiti, just after the earthquake a few years ago. The whole show is incredibly inspiring, but this particular episode gave me a much-need dollop of perspective, and I realised that I had basically disappeared up my own bum and forgotten to remember how incredibly fortunate and privileged I am.

The result of all this is that I am on fire. I’m powering into 2018 full of joie de vivre and gratitude for my lovely, lovely life. I’ve been signing up to events notifications from all the galleries and museums I can find, and seeking out wonderful adventures to have in this gorgeous city I call home. I’m writing and drawing and stretching my creative muscles. I’ve also doubled down on all my self-care practices (i.e. keeping myself clean, well-fed, and well-rested) because that is where everything else is made possible, and I’m working to make my life an exquisite balance of work, rest and play.

I want to engage in life again, peacefully and joyfully.

Maybe grabbing life by the balls is the wrong analogy, it's a bit less violent than that - gently caressing life’s balls, perhaps? I'm not sure that exactly works, linguistically, but either way, I intend to live the crap out of life this year (and write about it all too!).

Photos by Lars.

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