I am happiest when I am busy. Even at times where I feel overwhelmed, overworked and under slept, I know that no matter how much I crave downtime and sleep in those particular moments. I don’t actually want to rest for more than a day or so. I am normally pre-occupied with kayaking, training, filming, editing and reading. These are my five favourite things to do and normally they take up more hours than there are in the day. However, with the current lockdown in place some of my chosen activities are restricted or not possible. While I understand that I am happiest when I am busy, I also know that I am a miserable, stroppy little git if I don’t have something to do. In the interest of not turning into a troll I have been maintaining my strive towards my number one goal in life; to be the smartest, strongest, sickest kayaker that I can be. During the lockdown and in amidst the disruption; the goal is the same, maybe more so - I want to come out of this down period ready to Mo'fckn rock on the river!
You can take things lying down or you can get up and do something about them.
While I can’t go kayaking, I can still get a lot of things done.
Such as reading, I like to start and end my day reading a book. When I am busy with a project this is the first thing to go out of the window and fall by the wayside in the way of work. The lockdown has cleared a lot of my work from my todo list and stopped me from adding more to it, meaning I now have adequate time to read in the mornings and evenings. Currently I am reading Human Universe by Brian Cox. If you’re looking for book inspiration, dewerstone made a book list here –
To get the most out of a training programme, you need to be consistent with sessions, diet, sleep and recovery but good luck with that when you are on the road full time. I have often been curious about what improvements I could make in my training by having some consistency in my life. I guess you have to be careful what you wish for as I am now on week three of a savage six day training split with one active rest day. I think it’s too early to tell but I feel like I am getting stronger and I have made massive improvements with my running. Mainly by being smarter and forcing myself to go at a slower pace and focus on covering more distance, as opposed to my normal method of pushing to get to the “wall” as fast a possible and then fighting my way over it for as long as my will power and pain threshold would allow.
There are admittedly times where I wonder if chocolate is just as delicious as I remember, where I wish I was training in a gym and not in my nans kitchen and I question why I am bothering to push myself so hard but then I remember - kayaking! I want to be ready for the first opportunity I get to go kayaking again.
Until that day comes I have been google earth scouting, watching videos of kayaking and imaganing going kayaking. Sometimes I go outside and sit in my kayaks and imagine lines down rivers. I’m not kidding, it’s just not quite as desperate as it sounds… I think that by being in the kayak and having feedback from my body position in the kayak I can remember lines easier, try it - I think it’s true!
I have made a couple of videos but mostly I have been watching tutorials for rarely used editing techniques, it’s been fun working to improve on skills and I’m excited to bring them into play on the first edit I make when I am allowed to play outside again.
I have also been working to not be a "slacktavist" by getting involved with the latest Save Our Rivers campaign.
Asides from that, I have taken this time to work on things that so often I don’t have time for such as drawing, chess and yoga one note here - I always stretch but rarely do I do full Yoga sessions, and there is a big difference between the two.
It has been fun to find time to develop both of these under-utilised interests but with that being said. I realise more than ever that I am unlikely to fill the void that would be left in my life without kayaking. There have been times, when I am freezing cold, hungry and scared on class V, where I have wondered if I would perhaps enjoy a “normal” life instead. While there is nothing normal about the current lockdown situation, I have for the first time in years been forced to put aside my kayak and stay indoors. I am comfy, well slept and well fed, which I believe is a happy normality to the vast majority of the UK population. I believe at least it would go a long way in providing most people with a feeling of; if not satisfaction but at least contentment. I feel neither, all I have is an unsettling feeling that something is missing. I just cannot bloody wait to get back on the water!
I appreciate though that this is not a dire problem, I am bloody lucky to be in the position I am in and that many people will be struggling with the lockdown far more than myself.
I have been making sure to reach out to friends “just to chat” something that I am resoundingly not good at. I love my mates and the people in my life, even more so than kayaking, but I never feel the urge to call them up just to talk, I just don’t. They know I love hanging out and will be there for them in an instant in a time of need but they also know that I like to crack on and get things done. I do however appreciate that other people may be struggling more than myself, but like me they may not be comfortable expressing their feelings, and that makes me pick up the phone.
There are lots and lots of shit parts to this lockdown but there is a resoundingly good undertone in the reaction to it. We are not making these sacrifices for ourselves, we are doing them for the good of other people.
I hope that when the lockdown ends we all remember that commitment to other people. The goal for me remains the same but I also hope to come out of this thing with a little bit more patience and a little bit more compassion.
The good times will come again. The question is, will you and your mates be ready for them?
Hoping you are all staying happy, healthy and working to get ready to send again!
See you on the water (eventually),