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Posts Tagged ‘habits’

This weekly update is a bit late. Oh well.

Last week was spent mostly receovering from whatever illness I had the week before. Maybe swine flu, maybe just normal flu passed on from a child. Jed and our flatmate seems to have avoided it, so maybe it was just a common English variant that L and I didn’t have immunity to. Which means I am now dreading winter.

On Thursday Jed and I had one of our adjustment blow-ups. Not an angry one, just a space where one of us emotionally cracks about a particular issue and then we talk, meaningfully, about why and what has triggered it, come to an understanding of the other person’s perspective and perhaps come up with a solution to the problem. Not surprisingly there’s been a number of these since March, as we sort out a relationship and living together. “Hot-housing” is the term I’ve come to use for our situation. Most relationships go through a steady build up, where each person gets to slowly learn the foibles of the other, their preferences and attitudes and there’s time-out space created through not living together. Not this situation, we have very little time-out space other than going to work. Emotional outbursts are not worrying, since our reactions are healthy, and we build from there.

Actually, in some respects this is my current lesson. Learning to identify when I am upset or when I feel that I should sacrifice myself for someone else’s (assumed) feelings, rather than speaking up and communicating what is wrong and either saying sorry if it’s my fault, or being able to say “this hurt me” if it wasn’t. I’ve spent most of my life trying to not rock the boat, trying to have as little impact as possible, avoiding conflict and subsuming problems, scared that I’d not be loved if I wasn’t nice and accommodating, or if I caused anyone any bother at all. This has been the benefit so far of this situation, learning when to state what is actually going on, and learning that I will still be loved. Lots.

The outburst was probably also caused by the 4 month crash. 4 months since I arrived and stuff is now mundane, not shiny and new. Habits and patterns have set in, as has a form of homesickness.

Bridge over the Avon
So, in order to escape from these patterns, and to give ourselves some adventure time together we booked a last minute weekend in Bath. It was lovely! We stayed in a guest house on Great Pulteney St, with a view over the cricket field. We visited the Roman Baths, lots of good history there, being able to walk through the excavations of the site was fantastic. We played River Pirates Adventure Golf (mini-golf for the Australians, the River Pirate stuff was the result of puddles on the pitch). We avoided the 30 minute talk in the Jane Austen centre, actually we avoided that entirely deciding to not jostle with die hard fans who secretly want to wed Mr Colin-Darcy-Firth, we had lunch by the weir and discussed the racist attitudes of seagulls to the lesser pigeon half-breeds (aka juvenile seagulls that had pigeon colourings) and came up with a way of talking about the root of the problem that caused the outburst on Thursday, so that should start getting better.

Just what we needed.

The photos will go up in a week or so, once the Lego ones have been processed. In the meantime, here’s one I took last time I was there in 2007.

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New Rhythms

During my final weeks in Australia, while living with my sister, I read a book on a woman who moved from Venice to a small town in Umbria and her reflections on life there. It was also a chronicle of the food of the region, which always intrigues me. One line in the book spoke of deliberately choosing to live a quieter life, and that therefore they were not anxious to quickly create habits and structures to their new life, but rather to let these build slowly and to find a new rhythm.

This struck a chord at the time, and still does.

I’m still building habits and structures for this life. Some have solidified through choice, some have been inherited as part of moving into someone else’s life, and some I have acquired through drift. I’m also at a stage of worn-outed-ness such that some positive habits I was creating have slipped back into my previous not-so-positive ones. I was getting good at meal planning and preparing myself for work before I went to bed. I was getting good at getting through to-do lists. These have slipped, although I suspect I’m a bit sick/exhausted at the moment, so this will pick up again.

Partially, I suspect these structures and habits will build once we’re in our own house, rather than sharing a flat, and all my stuff is out of boxes. Maybe.

On the other hand there’s been a lot of negotiation around the even more basic life assumptions, like communication between partners, how the past affects reactions in the present, how children are dealt with, what the expected levels of house maintenance are, and building knowledge and confidence in various areas that I really shouldn’t surprised that I’m worn-out.

The one habit I’m not acquiring, but would like to have, think I should have is correspondence. There’s many lovely people who have written me emails, and I have failed to respond. There’s many lovely people who have not written me emails, mostly as they don’t have my address (ex-work colleagues for instance). The problem is finding time and a voice. I don’t feel I can write these emails during work hours, DECC’s restriction on personal mail systems knocked that out of me, but I am tired and don’t feel like writing when I am at home. Anyway, if you have written me, thank you, I’ve loved the thought and reading about what’s going on. I’m really sorry for not responding, yet.

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Reflections on bedtime

One of the most interesting (to me) parts of becoming a responsible adult in a child’s life is observing the rules and rituals that go into giving that child’s life stability, health, freedom and boundaries. One of these is the regular bed-time rule.

Which got me thinking. As adults we impose rules on children as we know it is for their good, but they might specifically recognise this –

  • eat all your vegetables
  • clean your teeth
  • lights out by 9pm
  • etc.

But, then, we forget to do these things ourselves. (side note, this is an interesting post on how we don’t share as much as adults despite encouraging our children to do so)

During my 3 month ‘retirement’ I could sleep as long as I needed to. (Interestingly sometimes this was 12 hours straight). This also meant that I could go to bed later than I would have while I was working, especially as Jed is a bit of a night owl.

But, is this really a good idea? Especially now I am back at work. I need to be out of bed by 6.50 on a work day, which means an alarm at 6.30. I need 8-ish hours sleep to function properly, so I should really be in bed by 10.30. And yet, 3 nights this week I’ve gone to bed at midnight.

The difference? There’s no responsible adult telling me to get ready for bed. And perhaps a bit hypocritical to be telling a child she has to go to bed at a regular time, no matter what interesting things are happening, when we don’t follow that rule as well.

(this post is about someone’s else’s experiences on re-creating a sleep time habit. I’m not as logical-process oriented than him, but it’s been an interesting part of this reflection)

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