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It’s Groundhog Day again.
In other words, it’s the beginning of the week, I feel bloated through weekend overindulgence, vaguely unworthy, and trying to think of a good enough excuse to duck out of doing any exercise today.
It doesn’t seem to matter HOW earnestly I pledge to make a difference to my life, how THIS TIME everything will be different and better… I always end up here again.
Patterns scare me generally. Even creative, beautiful, visual patterns. Don’t you find there’s something relentless and pitilessly rigid about a pattern – a fractal that continues to unwind into infinity; a repeating row of images that never ends and never changes?
Sometimes I suspect that we are just tiny, whirling dust motes in a tornado of intent - that we don’t make any decisions, that nothing is random, that our perception of control is just an illusion. But this train of thought is not a good one – it slides on a barely perceptible incline towards a much darker and unhelpful place.
It’s just that any study of human history or philosophy seems to prove that we are at the mercy of inevitable patterns. Every time our generational memory is lost, we seem doomed to repeat mistakes over and over again, regardless of the technological leaps we may or may not have made.
And here I am – a little micro-example of humanity’s essential inability to change the pattern.
Here’s how the pattern tends to go, more or less…
On Monday, I feel bloated through weekend overindulgence, vaguely unworthy and wish I felt bad ENOUGH that I could cancel crossfit with a clear conscience. I can’t though, so I drag myself there, headache and all. After killing the session, and chatting to friends, getting all sweaty and squeezing out some endorphins, I go home feeling fresh resolve and energy.
Yes! I will sit down and write a list of everything that will facilitate my transformation into a goddess – the menus for the whole week, a corresponding shopping list with healthy snacks, an itinerary of exercise, a plan to fit in 36 hours of stuff into 24! It can’t fail! This time it will work!
I flap around like a headless chicken, and wonder how my precious Monday seeped into the crack between the floorboards so QUICKLY? I don’t quite manage to do all the menus and I forget to order any shopping.
Tuesday and Wednesday – I realise we have no food because I forgot to do the shopping. I make something bizarre and possibly not that healthy because it’s all I have in the fridge – usually involves lots of melted cheese in some form or other. I’m not on top of my work, and work late in to the night. When I finish, I stay up even later, because I NEED time on my own, even if it’s to do nothing – even if it means I don’t sleep well, and wake up feeling low and tired the next day.
Thursday is nearly the end of the working week, so it takes an upturn. Buoyed by a little rush of optimism I may go to crossfit again, and reward myself with something calorific in the evening.
Friday is the day Hubby and I always meet for lunch. We actually have to put this in the diary, otherwise we are forever ships that pass in the night. We eat too much, because it’s like the last supper – we might not see each other again till NEXT Friday.
Saturday/Sunday – you can guarantee that it’s either someone’s birthday, Valentine’s Day, Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, or some such day. This means we go to Music Centre on Saturday morning, do something celebratory and go out for dinner in the evening. Sunday is either more of the same, or a sobering opportunity to gaze at my navel and consider how my week didn’t go to plan. And as I’m already dying under the wheels of the wagon, I may as well have one last good feed up, right?
The next day… Groundhog Day. Again.
I feel angry today though. Why must I trudge through this moronic farce week after week?? What is my problem?
It’s Monday evening right now, and I’m bang on schedule – having run out of time to write the menus, forgotten to do an online shop, and I’m just about to go hunting for hairpins to do my daughter’s ballet bun (where DO the wretched things go??) whilst simultaneously chucking stuff in the slow cooker, and hanging washing out to dry.
I need to find a way to break this cycle. It’s depressing and demoralising. Every time I feel myself getting sucked into the whirling inevitability of the pattern, I remember a Stephen King story about a couple who die in a plane crash, and end up in purgatory – neither heaven nor hell – a never-ending, repeating cycle of the same few hours.
I think there are probably 3 things that would really help.
1. Tell someone about it. OK. I just did.
2. Go to bed earlier. I am sleep-deprived. There’s no excuse for sleep deprivation now my kids aren’t teeny. Earlier bed time = earlier waking = more hours in the day. That’s the hypothesis.
3. Stop associating celebrations with ‘naughty’ food. Why can’t a celebration be healthy?
We went to a lovely restaurant on Mothers’ Day and I tangled myself up in knots trying to choose from the menu. The salmon fillet with broccoli puree and beetroot dauphinoise sounded delicious AND healthy, but something in my brain went nuts when I read ‘New York burger with cheese and bacon, chilli and garlic mayonnaise, and skinny fries.’ My own little personal tasmanian devil slobbered, drooled and gibbered in my head. How helpful.
When the waitress came over I ordered the burger, scarlet with shame at always making the wrong choice, KNOWING I’d regret it later, but almost deafened by the hungry, yipping growls of my inner devil. She finished jotting down our orders and walked out of the room.
Then something NEW happened. Something that might finally interrupt Groundhog Day.
I suddenly blurted out, “No! I wanted the salmon!”
Hubby leapt up and sprinted out of the room, chased down the waitress and changed the order, while my inner TD scowled and trudged crossly into a corner to sulk.
It was worth it. The salmon was done to perfection – crispy skin, and meltingly tender inside. And more importantly, I enjoyed every mouthful because I didn’t feel guilty, and I hadn’t slid down that familiar slope. For the first time, I’d found a handhold.
It might sound like a small victory, but I’ll take it.