Mental gymnastics

Mental gymnastics

When I was a child, I did gymnastics. Like many kids that have extramural activities, sometimes I didn’t want to go. Being a bit of a drama queen (clearly, I’ve outgrown it. Ah-hem…), I put on quite a performance to get out of it… But my brave mother had a really clever answer every time I begged to quit: “Okay. But just stick it out until the end of the year”. I don’t know why that tact worked, but it did. Anyway, by the time my mom came to pick me up after my lesson, she couldn’t get me in the car to go back home!

In retrospect, I realise my mom was teaching me perseverance. A lesson that now serves me very well. In fact, I’m especially reminded of this every month when it’s time to compile this very newsletter…

“But mooooo-oooooom!”, my whole being nags. Frankly, I’d rather just keep playing in the mud/drawing this pretty picture/chatting to my friends/having a nap/watching TV/building a fort, than going to gymnastics right now! I mean, work on my newsletter…

Just like gymnastics, creating a newsletter is often downright difficult:

The warm-up takes forever, and unleashes all kinds of aches and pains. Then I have to scrape together the energy to fling myself over and under all kinds of obstacles. I fall on my face. A LOT. And yet I have to somehow manage to constantly come up with something new, interesting, competitive, better, challenging, entertaining, beautiful… Over and over and over again.

Meanwhile, the final picture that the world sees is a poised, primped, proficient professional (oooh snap, alliteration!).

Hidden behind the smoke screen is a whole length of not-so-yellow-brick-road, littered with a myriad of struggles. The physical challenges of compiling a monthly newsletter may be less than what is required of a gymnast, but the mental demands bear a striking resemblance…

Every month when it’s newsletter time, I’d like to call my mom to tell her I quit. Every month, I can hear her infallible reply: “Okay. But just stick it out until the end of the year”. And every time I finish a newsletter, I’m so busy basking in the pure, exhausted-elation that is my accomplishment (you see - not dramatic anymore at all!), that I don’t feel like getting in the car to go home anymore…


newsletter gymnastics
Yup, that's me... About 18 years after my first gymnastics lesson! I was working on cruise ships as a photographer, but dancing in the crew talent show to earn some pocket money. Photo by my wonderfully talented friend, Jed Regala.
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Here is a selection of my favourite newsletters from the past few years of mental gymnastics:
Today's life lesson: Nobody cares (March 2019)
The year of NO! (January 2020)
The earth does not belong to man (May 2020)
The birds and the bananas (October 2020)
Gatvol and grateful (December 2020)
The year of the phoenix (January 2021)
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