Released On 30th Sep 2021
Ruban's blog: Falling down
I lay crumpled in my seat, my head buried in my lap, blocking out all visual evidence of what had just taken place. However, my ears were open and what I could not see, I could hear. Unravelling myself, I stood tall, and the scene slowly came back into focus. England had just lost in the final of the European Championships on penalties and as I stared into the abyss of the Wembley sky, I just broke down into a flood of tears.
A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, but it did get me thinking about why it meant so much for me to watch our national team lift a trophy. Was it because I wanted to see country rejoice? Was it because I had spent a large amount of money, air miles and time following the team around the world over the last 17 years? Or was it because I just wanted something good to come out of what has been a truly dog’s dinner of a year?
While I’d choose a little from Column A, and a little from Column B, I came to the realisation that a win for England would in some way alleviate me from the pressures of life I was facing at that moment. I had ‘attached’ my wellbeing to the success of the England football team which upon writing, seems folly given they have not achieved anything since 1966.
Wellbeing, broadly speaking, could be defined as a state of being happy, healthy, or comfortable. However, it is how we define the ‘being’ happy where the wheels could potentially start to fall off before we have even left the starting line. Could we attach our wellness to things that we think give us that state of being happy, healthy, and comfortable, when in reality they are not what we actually need mentally and/or physically?
Over the course of the last 18 months, we have all faced struggles of a varying nature which have started to take its toll on us ((if it hasn’t already). Personally, having faced the unexpected loss of my mother-in-law last November, the sudden stroke that hit my father-in-law shortly after, and the estrangement from my parents, all whilst navigating our 3- and 1-year old sons through it under the dark shadow of a pandemic, meant I was looking for anything to hang my ‘wellbeing hat’ on.
For years I have binged drunk my way through cups of tea to make me feel better, when all I seem to be doing was finding a new shade of brown for my teeth and propping up my dentist’s mortgage. I convinced myself that if I were to watch one more ‘last’ episode, I would have successfully made my evening fantastic and I would be able to proudly declare to friends and all that I now have professor-level knowledge of ‘The Mandalorian’, gained a diploma in policing by binging on ‘Line of Duty’ and am moving onto watching ‘Game of Thrones’ again from scratch for the ‘challenge’. Checking my phone for new messages or news every 2 minutes has put my neck and thumb on a crash course for arthritis which was fine so long as it connected me to the world outside my four walls. Do I like doing these things? Yes. Am I conscious that it is a periodic relief from the real world and probably not beneficial for my state of wellbeing? Yes. Will it stop me from doing these things? No.
I do not think that it is new for us to know when something is not good for us or by doing something excessively that may be counterproductive. By being conscious that we have convinced ourselves that our wellbeing will be better off because of ‘it’, hopefully it will mean that while I will still enjoy doing those things, I won’t tell myself that I will be better within myself because of it. It is probably being conscious of it that is more powerful than knowing what to do with it.
While we’re all in a rush to find out what wellbeing means to each of us individually, let’s be kind to ourselves when it all falls to pot and you find yourself simultaneously gorging on a tub of ice cream watching other people watch tv, burning the dinner and neglecting the territorial advantage the kids have gained whilst all this was going on when they were feigning sleep.
To quote a beloved film, “why do we fall Bruce? So, we can learn to pick ourselves up……”
Ruban is a husband to one amazing wife, father to two wonderful young boys, and a willing slave to all three. When he is not dancing around with a child on his shoulders or ferrying them around on piggyback, he can be seen attempting to kick footballs, save worlds on his Playstation and occasionally audit some things for a lucky City insurance firm.