The knowledge that my alarm doesn’t work if I switch my mobile off is best not discovered at 05:58 AKA two minutes before your exercise routine starts. I usually wake up at 05:30 naturally but I had an awful night’s sleep of tossing and turning. Each morning I’ve been getting up to join Manyan – my Japanese aunt – to do Raijo Taiso, the Japanese exercise done from school up until you cannot physically move any more. It’s so much fun and gives a much-needed energy boost at an ungodly hour. Next week, here in Nakano-ku, the community will exercise in the local park. Needless to say, I will join them and try to get some photographs of me doing the routinely (very badly).
Getting older has given me more focus and energy to find a place of peace. I’ve been reflecting more on what I want from life. If there’s only one thing I ‘discovered’ last year it’s that life is not endless. There I was, just going about my business, having fun, enjoying the moment and dreaming of this, that and the other when it suddenly occurred to me that these dreams need to be more than dreams. I have always subscribed to the notion that for people like me (those born and living in free and democratic countries) life is what you make it. You make mistakes but you learn from them. I certainly have. I’m pretty good at cutting negativity out of my world and not partaking in/interacting with anything/anybody I feel brings a darkness into my life but I’m not very good at focusing on what makes me happy on a day-to-day basis. I have to take control of my life. I was recently sent this quotation from L.P. Jacks:
The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.
So inspirational and meaningful. I’ve been reading it daily hoping that one day, I too will find myself in this position. I’ve been so tired and stressed which makes me unproductive and frustrated. Recently I met someone who is all about making the right decisions to suit their needs, their priorities and most importantly, their happiness. Being away from London has given me an opportunity to finish two projects I’ve been working on for about four months, to listen to my body and stop when I need a break, to read and just be. Upon the shared interest with someone special, I started yoga again. I’ve only done it twice in the last week but I feel as though my existence has somehow been enriched. I think it’s less about yoga and more about making time to do something I very much enjoy, though I feel a sadness that I lost so many years of doing something for myself. Making myself, my needs and my happiness a priority needs to become a daily thing rather than giving myself a couple of hours a week.
What I know for certain is that something will have give from October. There are some people fully capable (and happy) to manage work, study, relationships, family and a buzzing social life. I am not one of them. Between my ongoing academic pursuits, blogging, relationships and work, I’m struggling. I don’t want to fail or give up anything but I barely have a moment for myself to read a magazine. I needed an eleven hour flight to get through nine back issues of The Economist and three copies of the FT from March! I have no idea how this is going to work but for now, I am in Tokyo and all is right with the world.
This morning’s activities include a little yoga (so happy to find my favourite yoga magazine in Japanese), a pot of sencha and a lovely present from London: chocolate from Artisan du chocolat (British brand with a French name). Some favourites to start my Wednesday.