There’s a Grand Stretch, Isn’t There?

I haven’t spent this much time outside in years. I run now, I do some work in the yard, I do work-outs out the back while the dog interrupts with requests for me to throw the ball. The wind would still rip through you, but by God, that sun is lovely when it’s out. I spent the weekend painting the gaff with my aul’ man and when we’ve come in out of it, the welcoming embrace of a well-earned nap awaits. You’d forget how tired you’d get after being outside for a morning or an afternoon. Doing an honest bit of work would shatter you.

It reminds me of childhood and not being allowed to set foot inside the house until t’was dinner time. Being inside back then was a luxury you grafted for and being outside, when the weather was nice, was expected. Now it seems to be that being inside is the default and going outside is to be avoided at all costs. I’m not sure when we turned that corner but it feels like we followed the wrong directions.

But now there’s plenty of time to be doing nothing. I’ve never had more free time in my years as an adult. There are no commitments. There are no matches to play, or friends to meet or gyms to go to or shops to browse in or cinemas to watch movies in. I have an unbound resource of free time here at the homestead. I have no choice but to force myself into action and I’ve found that spending as much time outside has helped me battle the low mood that would often swing by in my downtime, previously. Allowing myself to enjoy the fresh air and the exercise and taking time to be in the moment has allowed me gleam serotonin and appreciation from experiences that would have previously been taken for granted.

I have had moments of anxiety that arise when I allow myself to wonder about the uncertainty of our current circumstance. If you’ve experienced a similar anxiety that’s a perfectly justified reaction. But don’t dwell on it. Don’t let it eat you up because there is no amount of worrying you can do right now that will help to improve the situation. It’s out of your hands. Instead, be mindful of the moments you find yourself in. It’s easier than ever to be mindful now, because there is so much extra time available to take. You can appreciate the bitter energy of your morning coffee instead of getting it into ya and getting on with it. You can get to know yourself better and learn to thrive in your own company instead of filling your time with the company of other so that you don’t have to face your own thoughts alone.

There’s plenty of things to be doing and plenty of time to be doing them. We have more time now than ever to re-evaluate our lives and plan ahead. There’s not much else to be doing. There’s a grand stretch out there now and you have a grand stretch of time to be plotting and planning. I wouldn’t be spending all of it catching up on TV shows. Spend some time on this, of course. But also spend time outside, wearing yourself out like you did when you were 12 so that you can come in home after and get a good kip for yourself. I promise you that the anxiety will diminish and the low mood will evaporate if you fill your time instead of trying to kill your time.

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