Distractions and awareness

A lot of what I have been doing lately has been a distraction.

Not my trip.  God, no.  That was something that was long overdue and something I have desperately needed to do since I was in my early 20s.  I have no regrets about that.  My trip showed me what I can work for.  In a weird way I have been going through trip withdrawals.

It took me two weeks to clean my house.  I would just hit a point of the day, where I was tired and out of time and realized I still had packing cubes full of rolled up clothes.  All of which were clean, and some I had even take to my parents’ house last weekend, but none of them had any business being in my pack any longer.

At 9pm last night, I hung up the last of my clothes and sat down to finish three paid blogs on boat parts, ropes, and sailing which were due in a couple hours.  I finished them with 45 minutes to spare.

I should have written them four days ago, but I didn’t.

I should have put away my clothes and vacuumed the floor and cleaned the house, but I didn’t.

My life is starting to sound like a Mercer Meyer “Lil Critter” book.

I scrapped my trip to climb a 14er on Saturday because I needed to get things done around the house.  Saturday barely scratched the surface.  Turns out, there was a lot of snow on Quandary Peak I would have had to fight.  Still early in the season. So I’m not even mad about that.

What I did accomplish was writing 5 paid blogs on boats and boating equipment.  Then I cleaned my house.  Rearranged my bedroom.  I also had dinner and breakfast with friends. These were all necessary things.

But the rest of my time has just been filled with distractions.

Distractions are not what fill the empty pockets of my soul.  Distractions allow me to resist what needs to be done because I am filling my life up with “stuff” to do, because it’s easier to do that than experience any real growth.  If you are running and running and busy, you don’t have a chance to just be.  To listen to your own breath or heartbeat.  To just be Still.

On my London trip, I had a Meh day.  I was in a lot of physical pain from walking and some of my plans had to change because some things exceeded the expectations of my budget. There would be no day trip to Brussels.  There wouldn’t even be a bus ride to Stratford-Upon-Avon. This was before I ever suspected a freak snow storm would cancel my flight home and give me another day in the UK.

I had a lot of time to let my brain work at the things that bothered me.  The old demons and the ways the past has haunted me.

At the end of that day, I decided to not let it be a total wash.  I hopped on a double-decker bus because I hadn’t done that yet and I promised my son I would.  The bus took me on a Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride around Central London, and just at the edge of what I suspected my Oyster Card zone limit to be, I hopped off and made my way home on Tube and on foot at 11pm.

I walked past a statue of Sherlock Holmes on Baker Street.  Past the Music Conservatory.  Past an enormous hospital.  I found an open Tube station and worked my way from the Bakerloo line to Piccadilly again and walked from Green Park to Knightsbridge along Hyde Park at night.  Feet aching.  Legs shaking.

Sometimes that is hard.  I’m usually good at self-awareness, but lately, being distracted is so much easier.  I don’t have to be myself.  But I miss being myself.  I miss that man.  I really got to like him, and I haven’t been him for a while.  On my trip, I was him, because there were no distractions. You would think the opposite to be true, being in a strange place and having to figure things out, all the things to see, etc.  No, I had to be aware of where I was and what I was doing at all times.  I had to have direction and purpose. It was almost complete focus on goals and self-awareness. I didn’t have to be someone for somebody else.

The day I let myself be distracted from the importance of the moment was my tough day.  A day I let the regrets of my past bleed through.  It was a day in which I was tough on myself over things I had no power to change.

That is also a way to distract yourself.

It was a decent enough weekend to get re-synchronized, but I do realize a lot of what I have been doing has just been a distraction. Distractions don’t give me joy.  “Any work done without intention is an empty thing.” I need to live more like that. To not fill my time with empty things. Life is too short for that.

Now that I am no longer distracting myself, it’s time to get to work.