Game set and match!


First service

Tie break


This morning I awoke to find myself on the potential cusp of a whole new start. Not that there haven’t been many other occasions when I have made this exact same proclamation only for my good intentions to evaporate into the ether usually by lunchtime on the same day.

 This time, however,  the realisation (not exactly breaking news if I am honest) that time is no longer available to me in any great quantity now that I am approaching the Final set of my very own equivalent of SW19, has caused me to reflect on my tendency to procrastinate with a renewed sense of urgency.

Despite all that I have learned in my life up to this point about not wasting time, seizing the moment and living life to its fullest In reality, I have neglected this ethos for far longer than I should have.  Some of the reasons for this state of affairs have been beyond my control. The lockdowns during the Covid pandemic for, instance, turned out not to be the vacation from the slog of working towards my dreams and ambitions that I had briefly hoped it might be. When finally, we received our invitations to re-enter the earth’s atmosphere this was the point at which I learned exactly what the true cost of all those months of isolation would be to me personally.

My generation was brought up to believe, however, that ‘depression’ or ‘being a bit down’ was no excuse for wallowing. You simply took deep breaths and powered through until you felt better. Nowadays, mental health issues seem to be either more prevalent than they once were, or if they are not ( and it is hard to imagine that the mental health of the generations who lived through two world wars was not severely impacted by their experiences) they are certainly analysed and discussed more widely than ever before. Despite the sympathy I have with those for whom these types of issues are crushingly debilitating and for which professional help is the only sensible option, for me, pulling myself up by the bootstraps remains intrinsic to my nature and upbringing.

I am also of an age where I have lived through and experienced horrible losses in my life and all of this has affected my ability to be that Weeble that will wobble but won’t fall down. Only those of a similar age to me will understand that particular analogy!

The stark truth is simple enough, I still have much more I want to achieve in my life and the window of opportunity for me to do so is closing fast. I may not have the same motivation or energy that I once enjoyed but there is no excuse to surrender because of these deficits. I need to find ways in which to re-learn old tricks and work on improving both my mental and physical health in the process.

As I write this, it is fast approaching lunchtime and already my good intentions in respect of a healthier diet are under serious threat of abandonment.  Historically, once I have failed to clear that first hurdle by eating more food than you would find in the supermarket, it seems pointless to attempt to negotiate those that remain so I don’t bother. This then leads to Manana syndrome, which works in much the same way that a pub landlord knows that the sign on his wall offering free beer tomorrow will never put him at risk of actually having to serve any.

I am not much of a planner as some of you will not be shocked to hear, but today I do have an idea. I am going to ask you, dear reader, even though I am probably talking to a fairly small audience here for some help. There I did it I asked for help…gulp!

Below is a list of my stated aims and goals if any of you have tips or suggestions on how I might avoid falling into the more recent traps I set for myself during my period of self-sabotage? They will all be gratefully received.

1. To sustain a healthy eating/exercise plan ( for clarity I mean movement of the most forgiving kind to start with, maybe like waving?) which helps me lose weight and increases my energy levels. This by itself should help improve my prospects of success in achieving the next aim on my list.

2. To rediscover my former confidence and zest for life instead of watching the news on a 24hr loop and assuming as a result that there is little point in bothering with this one when we are all going to be nuked by a rogue Russian state or annihilated by the effects of climate change next week anyway.

3. To find ways to be more productive and bring to life the many half-finished projects I just can’t seem to push over the finishing line.

4. To rediscover the joy of music both listening to it and making it for myself. To find ways to indulge the latent thespian that lurks within just waiting for an opportunity to re-emerge from the wings that have held her captive for a tad too long.

5. Learn to say no. This one might seem at odds with the other items on this list which require me to be positive and say yes many more times than I am currently. But as with all things, there has to be a balance and it’s never too late to learn something new right?

Please leave your suggestions here or on Facebook @ Sandra E Manning. I look forward to reading them and saving a fortune on therapy too! I will provide updates on my progress, or indeed the lack of it here in the next edition of Game set and Match!