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Brendan O'Connor: 'Oh lads! I took two weeks off for Christmas'


'I half-talk to the family, half-watch TV, half-consider Airbnbs in Italy'

'I half-talk to the family, half-watch TV, half-consider Airbnbs in Italy'

'I half-talk to the family, half-watch TV, half-consider Airbnbs in Italy'

Monday was a day of wonder. Wondering if this was really my life? Do I really do this? Do I really get up at this hour? In the pitch dark? Can I really swim in this pool in the dark like a caged animal, not like in the sea at a reasonable hour in that amazing weather and light we had over Christmas, with the sea carrying me along like an effortless superman? But I struggle along against the heavy water. And then I walk to work. I walked for pleasure over the holidays, roaming around chatting or listening to podcasts, bouncing along in new bouncy proper runners I got. So why does this walk to work, only half an hour, seem so interminable and pointless and grim?

And is this what I do? Do I sit here in front of this computer for this endless day? And how am I supposed to cope with all these emails? They keep coming. All these people dragging and pulling off me, demanding my attention, and wanting something from me, wanting me to do things. And how come it's only one o'clock?

And even when I made it home to the sanctuary of the house, dying to just flop down, there was a part of me asking, "When are we having a drink? What's happening? What's the next thing to look forward to?" Part of me had been dying to just come home and chill, but there was a part of me addicted to leisure and action at this point.

Tuesday was a little bit better. I tried to focus on intention. I have a half a stone to lose. A few pounds of it will presumably fall off straight away as my system reboots, but I need to get a grip or it will creep up. I feel literally sluggish. Sluglike. I feel slow and wobbly and shapeless, basic, pointless. I try to focus on the troika. Exercise or movement, eating proper food, and meditating.

Those are the three pillars on which my physical, mental and emotional health will rest. I have become addicted to junk over nearly six weeks. Since the start of December really. Not even quality gear. I pop lurid yellow Refresher chews and mini Mars bars as if they were crudites, little snacks to warm up for another meal of stodge.

I focus on my intention. Eat more plants, stop eating fake food-like substances, move as much as possible and try to meditate without drifting off into half-awake crazy daydreams.

Wednesday I was a little more alert and with it. And that almost made it worse. The day was slightly shorter but still long, but I was dealing with things better, moving slowly through to-do lists and more able to make decisions. I find myself accidentally looking at pictures from a few days we had in Italy in September and it sets off all kinds of cravings. In the evening, I half-talk to the family and half-watch TV while scrolling through Airbnbs in Italy.

I make it my mission to find the perfect place, which allows me to keep looking, technically forever.

Thursday I was almost back to myself and I accepted the fact that you pay a price for two weeks off at Christmas but it was worth it for the magic. I force myself up and swim again and I actually feel good about it. I force myself to be grateful for my health. The fog is starting to clear. I am getting the clarifying buzz of austerity, which has its own charms. And tomorrow I will feel better and the day after that better again.

Mainly though, I keep going. On the swim I don't feel like, I just do the next length. On the walk to work I don't want to do, I keep putting one foot in front of the other. In work I complete one more task. And I go one more minute without eating any crap. And here I put one word on to another. And I will get there. We will all get there.

Sunday Indo Living