A creative’s Covid curiosity, that could have killed this cat!

I’ve been desperately trying to stay positive during lockdown and have kept myself occupied with a myriad of activities, such as webinars, workshops, research and reading, especially in the area of personal development, which has interested me for some time now. One such course that I signed up for was Darren Hardy’s “Jumpstart” course, specifically aimed at changing one element of a person’s life that was unsatisfactory and with a view to permanently turning things around for the better. My Jumpstart Goal was to get physically and mentally fit, and it was fab.

At the end of the 6-week course, I had managed to stick to my plan, I was focussed, had joined an accountability group that met online every Friday morning to discuss our respective progress, was running three times a week, eating a better diet, going to bed earlier, drinking loads more water, reading new books, watching lots of motivational videos and feeding my brain with informative and interesting stuff. Not only that, but I managed to maintain this regime and slowly but surely, the weight was not only coming off, but staying off!

It was all going so famously well ……… until the second lockdown kicked in and the gyms were closed down -again!

Now the pragmatic types will say, “what’s wrong with exercising outdoors?” Well, in actual fact my Jumpstart journey started during the early Summer months, therefore I was running outdoors. Even though I hate running outdoors!!! Despite this, I was doing quite well and with the help of a Couch to 5KM app on my phone, I was getting through the sessions far better than I could have imagined and thanks to some very nice weather, my early morning run was quite pleasant – did I just say that?? – and I felt a sense of achievement having completed each session.

Ironically, my gym membership had been suspended during lockdown (hence starting the running regime outdoors), but as things started to relax and places were reopening, my membership was reactivated at the start of October, coinciding with the weather taking a nasty turn for the worst and with the clocks changing. Dark, wet, cold and windy mornings suddenly reminded me why I didn’t like outdoor running. “No problem” I thought, “I’ll see how safe the gym is and give it a go”. First visit back and it was like the Marie Celeste. Excellent and my running improved as I found out how much easier (and cosier!) running indoors was, especially when you have the added distraction of assorted TV programmes to help you through your session!

The gym closure once again in December however, managed to to successfully knock all the enthusiasm and drive out of me and this was yet another kick in the teeth that was enough to derail all my hard work up to that point. The weight is starting to creep up, thanks to all the excesses of Christmas and the previous exercise disciplines seem but distant memories now, although it’s actually only around 4-5 weeks since I last went for a run!

The final hammer blow though, wasn’t anything to do with fitness or exercise, but was work-related and my senseless curiosity following a rather depressing conversation with a fellow musician regarding the restrictions not allowing musicians (especially brass and wind players) to gather and perform or even rehearse together. This morbid thirst for facts about my inactivity revealed what freelance work I’ve been able to do (legally and within the Covid regulations) since the restrictions were imposed last March (2020). Fatal mistake! From end of March 2020 – end of of January 2021, I’ve done 14 days paid work as a freelancer! Still more than many I fear!

My point in writing this blog however, is to share the other important lessons that I’ve learned during this tempestuous Covid journey. Not just from Darren Hardy, but also the likes of Jim Rohn and many others, including my fab Friday morning accountability group, who continue to inspire and motivate me, despite feeling like I can’t be bothered some days. These lessons are many, but that it’s ok to fall off the wagon and deviate off the straight and narrow, don’t beat yourself up with a big stick over it, dust yourself off and get back on the horse and finally, be grateful for what you have.

Gratitude is something I believe we all take for granted, but when you see what’s going on in the world on a daily basis, you have to take stock and be thankful. I have to be thankful! I have a roof over my head, a loving Wife, food in the cupboards and thanks to my other non-freelance work, the ability to pay my monthly bills (just!) and long may it continue!

So when you start compiling a list of moans and groans – like I often do – just stop and think about how much worse it could be and then everything seems a lot better!

I will get back to running. I will be fit and healthier. I will do it! In the meantime though, here’s to my 15th day of freelance work, whenever that may be?

Stay safe, stay well and try to stay positive!

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