Monday, 6 January 2020

Small objects of desire...

The lovely MrEH uses the phrase "desire path" to describe those wavering lines through patches of grass - the paths that are not really quite meant to be there, but are, simply because enough people want there to be a track there, and walk that way as a result, that gradually the line appears anyway.  It's a phrase which has chimed with me on another level too - when thinking about the things that you want to achieve, but you will only get there by forming habits, so things that you actually "want" to do, rather than things that you feel you "should do".

RSPB Rye Meads. Hertfordshire
Recently I decided to hijack the concept a little - so I wrote my first "Desire List" - quite simply a list of a few things that I wanted to achieve in the next week - to exercise a certain number of times, to drink plenty of water, to be conscious around the use of social media rather than habitual, aimless scrolling without really thinking about it...there are 8 things in total on there (including, as a point of interest "Write something for my blog" - although at the time I added that to the list I had NO idea that this would be the "something"!) In fact, for this week the full list looks like this:

This week I want to:
- Run 12 miles total
- Gym twice
- Drink enough water 
- Do plenty of stretching
- Be conscious about social media use
- write something for my blog
- read at lunchtimes more than using my phone/iPad

- Get out somewhere with my camera

The common theme through all the items is that they are all items that will make me feel good. Running (exercise generally) is great for my mental health, and I'm also a few days in to a challenge to cover 100km running in January - that is the reason for the prescribed distance there, also. Drinking lots of water and stretching makes my body feel better, more flexible and more comfortable. Social media is something that can so easily become a mindless habit - and while I have no wish to step aside from it (it's a huge part of my social life, for a start) I would like to make sure that when I am choosing to look at Instagram or Twitter, I'm doing it for a specific reason rather than just to kill time. Reading is something that I love to do, but I do less of now than I used to in part because of that mindless scrolling thing - there is a book in the bag I bring to work that has been there for probably over 6 months with barely a few chapters read, and that is ludicrous, especially allowing that it's a book I really want to read! Similarly I love writing, but this blog is sadly neglected and I would really like to make better use of it again. Reading back on posts I wrote a few years ago makes me slightly  sad because I feel that to an extent I've lost some of the ability to write that I had then - possibly partly because so much of what I write now is the "bite size" chunks that go to make up Instagram or twitter posts. Finally using the camera - something which I love, but which often takes a back seat during the colder, darker months of the year. By the end of September most year's I'm actively looking forward to a bit of a step back from it, but I would like to get back into the habit of picking it up regularly again after than initial month or so's break.

That last was inspired by a visit to our local RSPB reserve at the weekend. I did actually take the camera out with me, but realised too late that the battery charge was very low, so left it in the car. Fore general landscape shots I'm happy enough with the phone anyway as a rule, but in two different locations around the reserve we found ourselves watching Goldcrests at fairly close quarters, and it would have been fantastic to have had the camera and long lens to hand to have a go at photographing those beautiful little birds. As a result I now have a plan in mind to return and see if I can track them down again.

These lists probably won't be something I do every week, but I think I would like them to feature occasionally at least - just as a reminder that sometimes it can be good to do things for no other reason than we want to, and because they will bring us joy or simply make us feel better in our own skin. And also because - in a world oft "should" and "must" - there can still be a place for "want" too!



Groatie said...

I love that idea of desire paths, and desire lists, especially oriented to feeling good. Thanks for the inspiration! I'm not a runner, but I do swim, so my list would include that.

I'm off to flesh out my desire list for this week. What a great weekly focus, thank you again Robyn! And Mr EH too.

Scarlet said...

I like this idea Robyn, and think I'm going to compile my own list, starting with putting the computer down after typing this, and getting on the exercise bike!