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  • Writer's picture Irina

Living the Dream



The marathon is still six months away, yet I am already having the most bizarre marathon-related dreams. Twice this week I dreamt it was the day of the race. On one occasion I was in a huge parking lot with many coaches lined up to take runners to the starting point of the race. The atmosphere was lively with a growing sense of urgency. I had to find my coach and I had to do it quickly. I kept staring down at this little wrinkly piece of paper where I had scribbled the number of the coach I was supposed to get on, but no matter how hard I looked I couldn’t spot my bus. Time after time my eyes scanned the area, but my bus wasn’t there. My vision was getting more and more blurred. I couldn’t concentrate and felt like I was never sure I’d checked all the numbers correctly. In the meantime, runners were hopping on the coaches which one after the other drove off, leaving me stranded in an empty parking lot. Stress levels were really high and I was overwhelmed by a feeling of time running out and fear I was going to miss the race. I woke up relieved it was just a dream. Went back to sleep and it started again. It was a two-part dream and it was horrible.


Second dream was a couple of nights later. This time I had made it to the race (yey!) but was completely unprepared. I didn’t have a hairband, wrong bra, wrong shoes. Suffice to say, I was not dressed for the occasion. I was mid-race but had no idea how I got there. We were running inside abandoned buildings, up and down stairs, going through the fire escape exits. I was thinking to myself, this is it. Forget the bra and the shoes and just run. Start your watch to keep track of the distance. That’s when the real nightmare started. I kept pressing buttons again and again and again but it was just impossible to start the watch. It was one of those dreams where you try to run but you are always on the same spot. Everyone else was running past me and again I was left behind, pressing the buttons, alone, unable to move.


Woke up thinking, phew, thank god that was a dream. Next thought was, shit, the race is still a long way away, it’s too early to start worrying about it. Calm down woman. But is it the race I am worried about or is it just general stress ‘using’ the marathon as a convenient setting? Is it that Doug is suffering from a serious knee injury, and has just found out he will need an operation? I know he is gutted to have cut back on his running and miss his races including the marathon. Is it work? Lockdown? Missing my family? Friends who are poorly with Covid, General uncertainty? Too many things on my To Do List? Not being sure what size jeans to order from Zara and delaying the order with constant fear that they will be sold out by the time I make up my mind? Earthquakes in Greece? Is it ‘that’ time of the month? Who knows these days? ‘That’ time of the month could be any time of the month at my age!


What is stressing me? If this was a question on a multiple choice test, I would be looking for “Mark all correct answers” or “All of the above”. The plain truth is I don’t know. Why am I telling you this? I don’t know that either. I just felt the need to share it and get it off my chest. Thank you for listening. That’s what friends are for. Right?


Anxiety and worry comes in many shapes and forms and is my worst enemy, especially when I want to be focused, feel energized and get on with doing things. Which is most of the time. Evidently, my stress is related to all sorts of things, big or small; from Doug’s knee operation to jeans' sizes and everything in between. It starts with hints of stress, like specks of dust swirling in a light breeze, which can and usually do, evolve into chaotic, random and confusing thoughts violently spinning in a self-destructive cyclone.


I hate being in the cyclone. There’s too much noise in my head, I feel helpless and miserable, I suffer and make those around me suffer. And that’s horrible because it is the people I love the most in this world that are at the receiving end of my outbursts. Being more in control of the negative thoughts and the stress is one of my big goals on this journey to self-awareness and improvement and I am committed to exploring various routes to get there.


Positive words seem to work wonders. Words like inspiration, motivation, perseverance, gratitude, humour, appreciation, kindness, love, forgiveness, creativity, harmony, ability, strength… I let them flow and float around in my head. Slowly the words lead into vague but happy, relaxing thoughts and images and I allow my mind to drift wherever they take me as long as it’s away from the cyclone. Aaaah that’s better already.


Breathing to relax, calm and control emotions is something very new to me and I am actively exploring it through classes and exercises. I don’t know yet if it is the thing for me, though I do admit that a quick gain from breathing is that it gives me a few precious moments in which I think twice about how I choose to react. It’s all my choice at the end of the day.

Expressing what stresses me before it gets too much is crucial. If for instance I have one of those nights where I wake up and think about a million things at the same time, in a dark way that is only possible during nighttime, I need to talk about it when I wake up the next day.


This achieves two things. It alerts those around me that we are in the danger zone. You have been warned Doug. Second, by vocalising what is worrying me I can better assess it’s significance. Just order both sizes of jeans and return the one doesn’t fit. That’s what free returns are for! It’s not worth lying awake thinking about it. Make room for the important stuff that need more thought and attention.


You have been warned Doug!

When stressed, I go for a run. When really anxious I add in a few hills. I forget about pace or I make it my goal to break my personal record. I set off to discover a new route or go for a familiar, comforting one. I listen to music or the birds or the sound of my feet pounding the ground. I tune in to my breath, control it. I admire my surroundings. Maybe it’s nature, maybe it’s architecture, maybe it’s my street and I will look for something new, that I haven’t noticed before. I think of people I love, old and new friends, my mum and how I will hug her when I see her again. I think of carefree summer days in Greece with friends, on the beach. I think of our wedding, or of our next holiday with Doug. I think of an outfit and an occasion for it. I think of my grandmother and all the wonderful memories I have with her. I think of all the things we’ll be able to do soon. I think of the next trip with my Greek girlfriends. I think about what I am going to write about next. I think of breakfast after the run. I think about how I will wear those jeans that I finally ordered in both sizes. I run alone, I run with a friend or with a group. I will stop and take a photo, a souvenir from this run that is doing me more good than I realise. I greet people I meet. Most people are kind. They smile back, they encourage me. Others don’t, but they might next time. Oh I also think about shoes. A lot.


Group run!

Thinking of carefree days on the beach with friends! ...with Errika, Summer2020

I don’t want my mind to be my worst enemy. It’s too powerful a tool. I want it on my side so I will let it wonder and ponder on how great life is and how there is a solution to every problem.

I just need to find it. And I will.


Souvenir from today's run, March 6th 2021

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7件のコメント


camkavanagh
2021年3月14日

Hey Irina always good to talk about our thoughts especially in these bizarre days. You are no different to everyone else, be kind to yourself🤗

いいね!
 Irina
Irina
2021年3月14日
返信先

I never forget your advice Cam!!

いいね!

errietta.varvogli
errietta.varvogli
2021年3月07日

So many thoughts

いいね!

errietta.varvogli
errietta.varvogli
2021年3月07日

Ah!!irina ....you made me cry....

いいね!

antigoni.rapti
antigoni.rapti
2021年3月07日

It’s 7:00 a.m and I am off for my long (longer than usual) run and thank God I checked my mail and have already read thus post twice. I feel you Irina and this truth of yours... keep sharing.. I will be thinking your words while I will be fighting with my own stressful thoughts and run them away.. love you lots ❤️

いいね!

Julie McCarthy
Julie McCarthy
2021年3月07日

Wishing you sweet dreams ❤️

いいね!
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