Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Always on my mind

The Facebook status box asks, rather intrusively if I stop and ponder it, what is on my mind. 

I don't really know where to start. 

Firstly, and probably most importantly, I've had a pretty successful day. I arrived in Edinburgh fresh as an ever so slightly wilted daisy, navigated my way around a largely unfamiliar station, net up with a colleague, chaired a consultation event, facilitated a break out group, found my way from a random bus stop to a never before visited hotel despite the best efforts of the local planners, and capped it all off with a pleasant dinner in a little place overlooking the water. 

All pretty good, you might think, and with good reason. Travelling alone can be stressful and challenging, until a year or so ago the thought of speaking at an event, let alone leading it, would have terrified me, and if there is one thing I really hate it is eating alone in a restaurant. So, on the basis of that I have really had a pretty good tiime. 

But then theirs the fact of where I am right now, enjoying the springyness of a Premier Inn bed beneath my body whilst penning this post rather than making the most of a night in Edinburgh during the Festival Fringe. Despite all that I have achieved today I have failed. I have failed because I have succumbed to the tidal wave of anxiety and fear that frequently threatens to overtake me when anticipating doing something challenging from a visual perspective, but which I mostly manage to hold back just long enough to do the things I want to. Right now, where I want to be is inside the Merchant Hall enjoying the Blues and Soul Review rather than hiding away in a nondescript hotel room miles from the city center, but the thought of navigating thronging crowds alone on dark, unfamiliar streets, first to find the box office, and then the venue itself, is just too much to contemplate.

The feeling won't last forever, I know. Indeed, from past experience I know that it will last just long enough to make me miss the event before subsiding sufficiently to allow me to rue my decision for the rest of the night, before the next wave of concern begins to build up. 

Tomorrow is a new day with new challenges. It has things I will enjoy, like travelling further north on the UK rail network than I have so far been to date. It will have things that will be enjoyable and worthwhile at the time, but which I will worry about beforehand, such as meeting stakeholders new to me.  And I dare say it will have challenges, as yet unforseen, which will test my resolve to keep going. I only hope I can push through this time around. 

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