The Pink Heart Society is delighted to welcome back Jessica Gilmore as she searches for the perfect way to relax...
It’s always lovely to be asked to guest blog for the Pink Heart Society but I have to admit to a moment or two of trepidation about today’s blog. Thursday, you see, is a glimpse into a writer’s world, a chance to see the behind the keyboard. My worry was – what is there to show?
My twitter bio pretty much says it all: Charity working, child wrangling, pup walking, sleep craving, wine loving, obsessive bookworm and writer for M&B/Harlequin. I am all of these things – and they don’t leave much time for anything apart from collapsing in front of Say Yes to the Dress. Once writing was my all-consuming hobby - but now I’m writing professionally my hours spent at the keyboard fulfil a whole different function. Still immensely satisfying but the stakes are higher. And with high stakes comes tension.
Sure, I completely see that filling every second of the day with work, tasks and chores isn’t particularly healthy. That sinking onto the sofa at nine fifteen with a glass of something chilled and white and something undemanding on the TV is fine sometimes but not really a healthy or fulfilling lifestyle choice.
I keep meaning to sort out a hobby. The question is what? I can’t paint, sew or knit (a treasured school report states ‘everything that can go wrong when Jessica approaches a sewing machine does, plus things that I have never seen go wrong in twenty years of teaching.’). I love tennis but my RSI pretty much rules that out – and after eight hours at the other day job and an evening chauffeuring ballerina daughter to one of her six dance classes a week, cooking, doing household/writing admin and chores, the thought of adding another obligation, another place I have to be, to my week feels the opposite of relaxing.
Yet when I stop to reflect, there are moments, wonderful, life affirming moments… I’ve just come back from the RWA Conference in New York, a crazy, high octane, glamorous four days filled with workshops, cocktails and writing inspiration.
Ballerina daughter and I saw Taylor Swift in Hyde Park, we all went camping in May, spending unexpectedly sunny days on the beach. It’s not all work.
And there are smaller moments, the moments that populate each and every day, if we can just learn to recognise them. The charity I work for ran a campaign throughout June called Thirty Day Wild where we asked our members, followers and supporters to take a moment each day to connect with wildlife, photo it and tweet it.
It was a surprise to see just how many of those moments there were in each day; taking the longer route home through the park; the long dog walks where I take half an hour to breathe, to reflect, to enjoy the green spaces of my city; a coffee on a park bench enjoying the bird song whilst waiting for ballerina daughter to finish dance.
I will make time in my week for something more, something selfish, something that’s just me. But until I pinpoint what that thing will be I’ll remember to take each moment as it comes, to enjoy the dog walks, take pleasure in preparing dinner – and not to beat myself up over my lack of time or energy.
If you have any ideas about a fun, easy to fit in hobby then please do let me know in the comments!
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Max is used to women walking away when they realise they can't change him. But beautiful, vulnerable Ellie makes him want to be a different man, and with four little words he'll prove it!