I’ve learnt from Tim, my love and best friend, that when it comes to climbing a good way to stay fit, strong and without injuries is to climb for two days and then rest for one day. For years I’ve been implementing the same scheme when freediving deep, letting my body adapt step by step. While long distance cycling, I have another routine. I often keep on biking every day, because the movement is not strenuous in the same way as when performing as a climber or a freediver. When cycling I just keep on rolling. If my knees feel sore I might bike only 100km one day instead of 150km, but I still get up an move on. I’ve discovered that that’s the way I like it.
Right now I’m in Takaka, New Zealand. Tim and I have been pretty good at sticking to the 2:1 routine, but the last week something else has been eating away at me, from the inside. I’m not physically tired, I’m a bit mentally tired.
After living together for five years it has become quite clear that I at times need to go somewhere quiet on my own for a few days, to sort out my own thoughts. This has got nothing to do with our relationship, this is just something I have done throughout my whole life. It’s a part of my private emotional and intelectual process. Since I’ve never before been maintaining a two-person relationship for this long, I just hadn’t previously noticed that pattern as clearly.
For this long 16-month-journey that we are now on, Tim and I therefor have an agreement: When I need a time out, I take a time out.
The challenge here, I’ve come to realize, is not only to understand when I need that time out, but to make sure that it’s not the same thing as one of our mutual rest-days. Yes, I need a physical rest at regular intervals. I also deeply need a mental rest every now and then, and slowly, slowly I am figuring out what that really means to me.
A mental rest requires solitude. I do not rest if I hang out with a bunch of random new friends. Chatting away I can not collect my thoughts, can not link together my recent arguments, observations and ideas into new understandings. Hence, a non climbing day spent with friends is foremost a physical resting day, not a mental resting day.
A mental resting day usually contains a clever book of some sort, and me reading it undisturbed. Today for example, I’m reading ”The Invention of Nature. The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt, The Lost Hero of Science” by Andrea Wulf. It’s a well written historical backdrop to the modern environmental movement. I thoroughly enjoy reading it, hour after hour, drinking a coffee, eating a snack. Undisturbed I’m loosing myself in the book. I let my own thoughts hoover on a higher level, taking note of interesting bits of the story, collecting information and attaching it to my already existing web of knowledge. This is a process that I hold in high regard, since it’s a way for me to keep on developing my own thinking. I’m not that interested in trivia, I love the depth of holistic thinking. A mental resting day is thus a day for me to advance my own thinking through the absence of conversations.
I like this. The more clearly I can describe my own needs, the more easily they can be met. I’m not done yet with this one, but I’m gonna take a rest for a bit.
Now, back to reading.