I've always relished the break that the long Easter weekend provides. As much as I love Christmas, there is something compact about the ‘double’ weekend which forces you to be prioritise and be concise – with your time, plans, and aims – whilst also feeling rather decadent and generous. This Easter weekend, I gave myself plenty of space and time to reflect on where I was, what was going on in my life, and where I was heading. In fact, I found I was much more 'productive' over the four days than over the two weeks at Christmas.
What with one thing and another, I'd found the first quarter of this year slightly overwhelming. To be faced with the prospect of an Easter weekend that advertisers and retailers were suggesting I spend being super productive, undertaking several trips to DIY stores, redecorating a room or two, reviving the garden and purchasing then consuming my bodyweight in chocolate, before inviting hordes of people over for a roast. Sounds rather full and exhausting to me.
When I need my mind to quiet, I typically disappear to the seaside. Wide open vistas allow my mind to settle, switching off active thought and allowing creativity to flow. This Easter there were no plans to 'disappear'. Another good alternative is to get the bikes out and ride, perhaps even camp, but with a crumby forecast, I felt more inclined to hibernate than to adventure. Luckily it turns out I work the other way too, by focusing in on detail. Perhaps unsurprisingly, at this point of overwhelm and antisocial hibernation, tasks appeared that needed my focus, giving my mind the space and time to breathe. The serendipity of life never ceases to amaze me.
Strip things back
In sourcing a track bike for me, we picked up a ‘bargin’, which also created a project. Since nothing is too good to be true, this little beauty revealed its true nature the weekend before Easter – the frame was unsafe and needed replacing. Shame we'd almost got it ready to go! But now what? This would mean a serious investment of time.
Good Friday could have gone either way. It started with the engine on axel stands in the middle of our living room and all the constituent parts that make up a motorbike lying around. I'm not kidding ...
It took unwavering concentration. No fretting about work, family, clients, weather, business, shopping, food, money, etc. I might not know exactly what I was doing - although there was a trusty Haynes manual at hand - but with good (patient) guidance I was able to help rebuild this little beauty part by part. There was frustration and swearing, oil and petrol leaking but within less than 12 hours the thing started. Yep, still in the front room! The view over a beer that evening was more satisfying that any seascape I could think of.
The next day we did it all again with the boy’s new track bike, the one that is replacing the beast which spat him off last autumn (yep, again in the living room - the office was taken by my road bike!). Fingers’ crossed that this season is slightly less adventurous - bad pun, I know!!
Bikes and bodies
tripping a bike back to the bare bones of an engine (and even inside it) fascinates for me. Perhaps it’s the engineering part to my family tree, but I’m guessing its mostly because I see several similarities to my work. There were parts that didn’t need to go back fro track, but there were a lot that were vital to its future function and performance.
For example, we took the really irritating, battery draining alarm out. Well, I say ‘we’ … But this was a big job involving the entire wiring loom being unravelled. The cracked engine cover was replaced, revealing the beautiful alternator. We also took off the indicators and wing mirrors. Simple tasks which took less than 5 minutes in total. In the same way, I've a few biological quirks – a simple operation when I was 15 unburdened me of my grumpy appendix, whilst my 3 kidneys continue to function with uber-efficiency most of the time and occasionally having a wobble.
Bodies and bikes are more than the sum of their parts. The interconnectivity of our lives, our emotions, our experiences with our physical manifestation is part of what I love about my work. But we need to pay attention to the macro and the micro in balance.
Building on firm foundations
I believe that I’m getting quite good at finding the balance between bikes and business, but occasionally I have to put the oily, greasy, mucky, inquisitive, thrill seeking stuff aside and crunch some numbers. This Easter was one such time.
Last April, I announced my intention to expand Bristol Massage Therapy and invite a select number of practitioners join the team. The business model was developed based on personal experience and guesswork. Turns out it was good guesswork, but as with anything based on gut instinct, there was an incomplete picture.
Now we have data, which can be analysed (?!?) and from which a more educated plan can be made. Which included a daunting realisation of certain inalienable truths ... the speed of development means that the clock is ticking and we are swiftly approaching the VAT threshold (which I’m referring to as the Vanishing Assets Theory – at an arbitrary point in tim, a huge proportion of your income suddenly no longer belongs to your business).
As Easter progressed, the clocks moved us into British Summer Time - at the start of the 13th week of this year. A whole quarter of the year gone. Somehow I still felt as though I was being left behind.
However, with an extra week’s grace, I feel better. I recognise that I need to give myself space and time to let the results of such 'life admin' settle in my head and my heart before I am able to move forwards. Somehow, having taken the motorbikes, business and myself back to basics, in granular detail, I am now less overwhelmed and feel more in control as I look ahead.
The mental whirl I was experiencing has calmed as a result of having given myself the space and time to reflect. My mother has often reminded me that all work and no play makes me a very dull girl, but with a track bike on the scene and the plans we have afoot, I now feel ready to spring forward, to see what the next quarter of this year has to offer!