Sometimes, while you're busy trying to do things you like, like writing on your blog, life pulls gently on your sleeve to get your attention. Other times, it rips your arm right off.
Three months ago, we bought a house. Oh, I have fond memories of the time before that, when I could go for a whole minute without having something to do.
Buying an old house and having to renovate it by yourself takes time, and effort, and an emotional investment unlike anything I've experienced before. Our decisions matter, because this is our home now and the decisions we make – which colours we pick for our walls, which furniture we choose for the extra room we suddenly have, which trees, bushes and flowers will reshape our flat, uninspired garden – reflect who we are. And because we're not millionaires who can throw money at problems until someone else fixes them, we're stuck with the mistakes that we make, at least for a while.
Life has been trying to rip my arm off to get my attention to the house, while I've been looking for my running shoes, my crochet hook, my book. I paid attention and worked 12-13 hour days until I was too tired to think, to exercise, to function. I lost touch with friends – but thankfully, the good ones always stick around no matter how much of a shitty friend you've been. The other ones? They were probably not your friend to begin with. Some doors were closed forever.
All this is small potatoes, of course, in the grand scheme of things. It's a stressful period in our lives that will soon fade into a hopefully less stressful period, when we actually have time to reap what we sow. Because a home does not actually become a home, no matter how amazing the furniture and the wall colour and the garden, if you don't actually live and laugh in it. If you don't bake those cookies so the walls and floors and ceilings become saturated with the smell of them. If you don't accidentally make a dent in the upholstery while you're carrying a chair to the dining room so your dinner guests will have something to sit on. If you don't have time to go through the whole house, room by room, and discover all its hidden flaws and treasures.
So I wash the paint off my arms for the umpteenth time. Try to find some much needed balance between work and play. I picked up my crochet hook again last night for the first time in three months. My fingers remembered the drill, even if the pattern to the particular piece I was working on was hiding in a much more obscure part of my brain and I had to coax it into materialising.
My book was in a box with a pile of other books, some of them new and exciting, some of them old and beloved. I decided to make time for at least a couple of pages every day.
Running then? After a couple of months where little to no training took place, I stood on the starting line for this year's Rovön 6H with considerable apprehension. I had made up my mind to shoot for 33 km, no more. I hadn't put in the miles for more. But then, as I ran with some friends from AIK and the hours just passed, I found myself aching for those longer distances. I was tired but I didn't want to stop. I was still hungry for ultras when I finally did, after 44 km. It was a relief to get my mojo back after months of routine, unexciting runs. I started planning my next adventure within minutes. I now have two concrete plans, and that's just in July.
Summer is going to be intensive, with lots of work that still needs to be done on the house. But at least life isn't pulling on my arm quite so hard this time. And with all my running-related plans? I'll be playing as hard as I'll be working.