Monthly Musing – October 2017 – Hamster wheel

A friend and her family have recently been looking after some gerbils for her son’s friend.  Gerbils are busy little creatures, always ripping up cardboard, racing up and down the ladders in their cage or rocketing round and around on their wheel.  They have fascinated my friend, who has never kept hamsters or gerbils before, and despite her claims that she’ll be glad hand them back, I am sure it won’t be long before her family has gerbils of their own!

I had dropped small daughter off to play at their house and my friend encouraged me to stop for a while to watch the gerbils.
“I’m finding it quite therapeutic!” she told me. I used to keep hamsters when I was younger and they would also be very busy on their wheels, running faster and faster before deciding to get off and go and do something else. There’s something about
watching them on that wheel – mostly I joke about needing to hitch them up to the meter to save on electricity – but more recently, watching those little creatures running has felt more personal. We’re all good at running on a wheel of our own making, faster or slower depending on the demands of life. What we’re not always so good at doing is slowing it down once it’s going too fast, or remembering to get off once in a while.

It’s no mistake that this is October’s Monthly Musing posted now in November. It’s a reminder to me that every now and again, I need to get off that hamster wheel. To remember that it’s OK to stop “doing” because our in-trays will never be empty and all the jobs that we want or need to do will never be done. That sometimes, if I want to take the night off and do nothing at all apart from watch TV and knit then it’s absolutely fine. Those emails, the ironing, tweaks to my blog page will all wait until tomorrow. Nobody gets hurt, nothing is spoilt by waiting another few hours, or even a few days. The hamster wheel will keep spinning as fast as you run on it and the only one who can slow it down is you. I don’t want to stop being busy or being curious about the world, but I do need to remember that I only have the same 24 hours as everyone else and that sometimes I need a rest!

I spent yesterday in the garden.  The sky was blue, the leaves on the trees were shades of red, green and gold and it was one of those moments when you’re glad to be alive.  Oh, to bottle those moments!  I hadn’t been outside long when the battery ran out on my phone and as I was gardening away from home, there was nothing I could do about it.  No texts, no emails, no notifications about anything.  Just me, the fresh air and the garden.  And definitely no hamster wheel.  And it was liberating.  I should do this more often!

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6 Responses

  1. happy hooker says:

    Hear, hear! You're probably too young to remember the song "Stop the world, I want to get off", but I'm sure we all recognise that feeling!

  2. Christina says:

    I am taking a day annual leave on Friday 🙂 Glad you had a beautiful gardening day xx

  3. Lorraine says:

    All so true Christine!

  4. Susan Rayner says:

    A timely reminder! Also – many years ago I was babysitting a hamster for a friend's young daughter when the hamster died in my care – she was old – and so off to the local pet shop I went with a friend to choose a lookalike replacement – the little girl never knew but was a bit surprised that her hamster lived for about 6 years – quite a record!!

  5. Jane O'D says:

    A blog post close to my heart Christine. I often think that modern life tends to make us put too much pressure on ourselves to keep up with the frantic pace of everything going on around us. Two simple, but invaluable, things we can do for ourselves are to take time out every day (even 10 minutes will do!) and to learn how to say no. It's time we were all a little kinder to ourselves!

  6. Julie says:

    It's that time of year when the days seem quicker with the darkening of the afternoon and we retreat inside behind closed curtains to keep snug and warm and lots of things get left till tomorrow (if they can).

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