How a bad-brain-day got brilliant.

Oh God, no sleep. Fucked-up my day before I’ve even left the bed and it’s my own fault cos … (brain lists yesterday’s actions to see which ones aggravated my insomnia). Supposed to be doing my birthday today and now will feel ill the whole way through.

Mind takes a surreal turn in trying to process arriving at three years away from sixty: ‘Heinz 57, Heinz 57!’ it repeats

Rachel, you need to get up.

Force self upright. Leave bed. Porridge. Black Coffee. Smile at ML whistling. Smile at Sefi mewing. But…feel so terri…get in shower. Put on clothes. Put things in bag. Open front door.

Ten minute walk to the Mindfulness Centre for my Compassion Course. The session is profound. I am soon weeping. I am met with soft, safe acceptance. My brain shifts out of its distress.

My eyes are wet as ML and sister-in-law collect me and sister from the class, but I am smiling. I’m handed sun-yellow flowers and a bag of gifts in orange and lemon wrapping paper.

We drive to the sea. We laugh loads on the way.

Down to the sand, place our gear by the rocks. Out of our clothes, into our costumes. Race to the water, free as toddlers should be, ready with my brand new, bright blue Bodyboard.

Sharp wind, warm water. ML shows me how to get tummy-down onto the board at just the right moment to meet the frothy head of the wave. I keep trying until…it happens – we catch the same wave. Side by side. Zoom into shore, squealing.

We are dancing with the sea. Rachel, remember how it feels far from the land of sleep deprivation and self-judgement.

We run up the beach. Get into our rainbow of robes.

We pile back into the car to our special place for chips. Salty, vinegary carbs, greasy fingers, more laughing.

Back home to watch the Lionesses change history. ML has played football since she was little. At school when they tried to stop her playing with the boys, her Mum sent in a news-clipping of a girl who sued her school for it. The game is a battle but the Lionesses triumph and we match their unfiltered joy.

Today I am old and young.

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