As most readers will know by now I believe we all create our own universe. Think about it – that is how you got to be reading this blog – you created it for yourself. You made hundreds of little decisions over the course of your life which ended up with you sitting wherever you are sitting right now reading this!
I have believed we create our own universe for a long time – but it is only recently I have come to believe that I do my best work when I am kind to myself and build in a little relaxation and re-creation! I was reflecting on this on Saturday night and I decided to put the two beliefs together and have a go at creating a perfect day!
I am at my little beach house in Portugal doing some quiet work. I have been working hard for a few days and I decided that tomorrow – Sunday – was the perfect day to be kind to myself and make it the best day I possibly could. I thought it would be fun to write this blog as the day goes on.
So today – Sunday – I awake naturally at 4am. That is an hour earlier than planned (my alarm was set for 5am – even on a perfect day I don’t want to change my hard fought for sleeping pattern). Wow! What a perfect start to my perfect day – a whole extra hour to work on my book! I love getting up early – particularly here as in August it is so hot in the daytime.
I get up and brew some coffee and switch on my laptop being very careful not to check my emails. The first few hours of the day are always for my own priorities – I am on the phone if anyone really needs me. My mind is full of ideas and I work quietly in the dark. Just after 6am I raise the shutter – the dawn is just breaking. I can see the lights of the sardine fishing boats out at sea and I love watching the lights disappear as the sun rises. I work on till about 7.30am.
At 7.30 I put on my running gear and head down to ‘my’ beach. The tide is perfect today – a lovely low Spring tide at about 8am – there will be lots of hard sand for a barefoot run on the beach. I make my way around a couple of coves to the long Falesia beach. I say ‘good morning’ to Soznic Rock (so named because it looks like our old tortoise – all the best rocks have names) and start to run along the beach. I run to ‘sharks fin bush’ (it isn’t only rocks that have names!). Then as is my usual practice I reward myself for my run with a leisurely walk back home with my toes in the sea. I pause to take a few photos of the cliffs in the early sunlight for my website. These cliffs really are stunning I never tire of looking at the rock patterns.
There are a lot of shells on the beach today – and unusually a lot of broken scallop shells. I haven’t seen many of these here before – has there been a big storm further out in the Atlantic where the Scallops live? I notice that the small shells are black – and the large ones pink. Are these two different types or are the black ones babies? I must google it later! I find a lovely big pink shell and it reminds me of a day over 50 years ago when I found an even bigger one when we were having a family picnic on the beach at Lindisfarne – a happy memory.
By the time I get back to ‘my’ beach I am looking forward to a swim in the sea – the perfect way to cool down from my run and walk. The sea is cold and I jump the waves as I get in – that is fun. Then comes the moment when I lower my body and the cold water washes over me – is that pleasure or pain – who cares it is joy!
Back home and time for a shower. It is now 10am. Time for more coffee. I decide to google ‘scallop shell’ – I can’t find any evidence to support the black ones being babies so I guess they are different species. However I do learn that what I thought was the bottom (the flat bit) is in fact the top – it is the curved half of the shell that sits on the sand to allow it to be less visible to predators. We learn something every day – and this felt like a perfect thing to learn on my perfect day.
No Andrew Marr today – I normally watch him on catch up if I have missed the 9am Sunday morning slot – but I am really looking forward to watching the Men’s marathon from the World Athletics championship in London today at 11am. How long will it be before the 2 hours is broken? I feel sure it will happen in my lifetime – I hope so. Amazing feats of achievement are so motivating!
As I am creating my perfect day and it is Sunday it must be time for brunch – bacon, eggs and tomatoes! A fry up – brilliant – even though the temperature is already 27 degrees! We’re having a heatwave here – the thermometer in my house reached 36 degrees yesterday!
It’s now 11.30 and it’s hot – but the tree is shading my patio so I am sitting outside in the shade with a coffee (this really must be my last one today!) and reflecting in my journal – this really is one of my favourite daily tasks – a little time just for me to think about me and my life. My journal is where I talk to myself. I get distracted by the athletics and the final stages of the men’s marathon on TV – no records today.
1.30pm – what can I do now to contribute to this perfect day? It’s too hot to lie in the sun so I decide to pull a sunbed cushion down from the roof and put it under the tree – maybe have a little snooze – that would be a very rare midday treat. I drift to thinking about my upcoming holiday. I am going walking in October in the Western USA – I am going to see the Grand Canyon – a big tick on my bucket list. I fly in and out of Las Vegas – a place I have never had any desire to see – but there is one thing I want to do in Vegas and that is a tour of Zappos headquarters. Zappos.com is an online shoe store It was started in 1999 and 10 years later bought by Amazon for $1.2b!!! It is constantly quoted in management books for its amazing culture – perhaps most famously for offering employees $1,000 to leave at the end of the induction period so that no one stays who does not really want to work there. I have always thought that was a great idea. Anyway I have recently bought Tony Hsieh’s book, Delivering Happiness, on audiobooks so that I could listen to it on the plane. Today I decide not to wait and so I enjoy a very happy couple of hours under the tree listing to the book. I am enthralled! Can’t wait for the next instalment.
3pm now and a bit peckish – I find a couple of slightly under ripe nectarines in the fridge – exactly how I like them – delicious!
Time to do something more productive now. I am feeling motivated so decide I will play with my book again for a couple of hours before dinner. I have a strange love-hate relationship with this book I am writing. I have stuff I really want to say – history – legacy – our story. But I really am not enjoying the writing. I wish I could just spew out the words and they would rearrange themselves perfectly on the paper. I did think about a ghost writer but no. For me these need to be my words. Luckily determination is my strong suit. So I bribe myself – exactly 2 hours writing and then it will be time for a swim, a G&T and dinner – sounds like a good bargain.
The swim is perfect and so is the very small G&T.
On a perfect day there can only be one possible choice for dinner and so I head down to ‘my’ café for my favourite meal – ‘Fried Shrimps’ (anywhere else would call them King Prawns fried with Garlic) with potatoes and salad and a glass of Vino Verde. The café is called ‘O Caxiote’ and for the first time I wonder what that means – Google translate to the rescue – The Crate! I expect something to do with it being a small wooden shack! How strange I have not done this before! I have a chat with my favourite waiter Manel – even though I love being on my own one good social connection every day is a good thing.
I have a little stroll on the beach before going home to watch a bit more of the athletics and by 8.30 it is time for bed. As it is my perfect day I watch a little bit of my perfect film – a guilty pleasure – Pride and Prejudice! I think Keira Knightley is the perfect Elizabeth Bennet. By 10pm I am asleep ready for the 5am alarm call.
It was indeed a perfect day.