Sunday Column (281)


Obsession and paranoia – I guess that’s another way of putting efficiency and perfectionism. I am saying that in remembrance of a quote I had on my dorm room wall, something along the lines that there is a fine line between genius and insanity.

I am obsessed with exercise lately, being paranoid with weight gain. Over the past months, I heavily increased my cardio exercise, cycling mainly. Yet cycling doesn’t burn as many calories as running, so I gained some weight, which is also due to muscle increase. However, lots of trips, no regular routine and media lunches didn’t help.

I wrote about this vicious cycle before and I am eager to break it. Not only if you drink a lot at night, you have greasy food the next day, don’t exercise and slump a bit. If you don’t pick yourself up, you end up on the downward spiral, gaining weight and get unfit. I was like that a few years ago.

Hence my paranoia leads me to healthier food, less fried things, more salad and more high intensity workouts, weight lifting, running, longer more intense bike rides. It must be done if I ever want to get rid of the gut and keep it off. Plus I really want to get fitter too.

Then the builders came back this week. New cladding, repointing and some minor tweaks to the house. Repointing is a sh@t job, no automation, monotone, dusty. Yet, it needs to be done. It reminds me of me working as a student having to remove the fascia/plaster from the outside of a house. 8 hours hitting a wall with a hammer. Persistence, similar to obsession I suppose.

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The amazing thing that happened this week was Colin finishing reception. His first year of (pre-) school is over. He was so excited to tell me about him having six weeks off, going camping, going to see nanny in Scotland and to go into first year after that. Bliss. It is great to see him so excited about school, learning and playing with friends.

I remember, vaguely, how my dad was off for 6 weeks during the summer, having been a teacher. We went on holidays for 2-3 weeks at a time, spend the rest at home with my mum. I am now the dad but I don’t have six weeks off. Not like my counterparts in France, Scandinavia, Italy or Spain. In other countries things just slow down, it is hot, people spend the summer with their family. That is nice. The main priority isn’t work but family.

And whilst I am writing all this another train was cancelled and I am sitting on an overcrowded Gatwick Express from Brighton. I am sitting, a lot of people are standing. Business people and holiday makers who arrive at Gatwick will end up having to stand or if they have too much luggage they might have to wait for the next train. A bit shocking really. What an impression are we giving people.

Let me finish with another thought. I remember the summers above, the summer holidays ones, to be spend with lots of ice cream, it being hot and me getting sun burned. I remember not being worried about the sun, not being paranoid about my weight and just naturally cycling and being active all day. Today I moan about the heat. The sweaty days, the fat food and almost force myself to exercise. Times have changed. But actually, we used to enjoy it. Today it seems more a bother than anything. Because our focus shifted so much towards our jobs, towards survival, we took on more responsibility, more burden. Our paranoia takes over. Slowly but surely. Our obsession with the weather gets us to complain about the heat rather than to enjoy it.

With those thoughts I leave you for another week. Enjoy the sun, exercise and stay happy. Nothing more, nothing less.

I am just back from a great weekend with friends. BBQ, fun. No worries, no paranoia, but some obsession with food ;-)

Happy Days!
Volker

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