Almost two years ago I was in Austria for my 22nd birthday. The day after we arrived we were due to go on a canyoning trip. Due to a head-splitting migraine the previous night (which had me running around the resort in my pyjamas begging tourists for pills) I'd had next to no sleep. I managed the canyon pretty well considering everything but as we were walking up the hill at the end I felt myself floating backwards. Floating soon turned into rolling and, well, I collided face-first with a rock. I'd better make this an advert for Specsavers because if I hadn't been wearing my glasses I think my nose would've broken. As it was, I was lucky the rock was there since the alternative would've been a dip in a fast-flowing river. This is what I looked like afterwards anyway:
Last night I fell down the stairs. I was going to get a cup of fruity tea to drink while working on a character bio and my head was obviously more in the story than it was in my footing. I took off about two thirds of the way up, thumped down eight or so stairs and - miraculously - landed on my feet. Though that isn't to say I didn't wake up with a few bruises this morning.
What struck me on both occasions, though, was the feeling of relief I got in the seconds I was falling. I remember thinking in Austria 'oh, well' as I began rolling in an undignified manner. It was as if because the worst had happened I no longer cared about anything. It was bliss. And last night, in the two or three seconds before I hit the bottom, I was intensely content. There was nothing I could do to stop my tumble so everything switched off and left me to it.
I'm in constant danger of thinking too much. I'm always doing something, even when I'm doing something else. When I go out into town I have my headphones on and I'm plotting a chapter in my head. When I'm watching a film I usually have a notebook on my lap. If I'm watching one at the cinema I feel bereft without something else to do. I don't sleep well, I don't even eat without something on the screen in front of me to concentrate on.
Those two falls gave me an overwhelming sense of peace, even for just a few seconds. I don't think chucking myself down a set of stairs at every opportunity is the correct course of action (I know people who would severely frown on that) but I need to find something that switches my mind off completely. A sport maybe? When I jog my mind is active, when I swim as well. If sport won't do the trick can I have a volunteer to throw me down stairs in a controlled environment, perhaps once a month? Don't all shout at once.