It’s 6am on Monday morning (I know, far too early!) and I am wrapped up in my meditation blanket, listening to the rain outside the window whilst I focus on my breathing. Across the room, my husband is also meditating – we are together, but not together as we each take a few quiet moments before the day starts.
I know this might sound a bit “out there” for some – even the idea of meditation can cause very different reactions! – but we both get something immensely positive from our morning stillness and, best of all, doing it together makes it much more likely that we will do it at all.
I’ve never really got the whole “gym buddy” thing; the idea of a partner who shouts encouragement (or orders, depending on your preference) whilst you sweat away on a piece of equipment. I think that’s probably because I’ve never been a big fan of the gym – I’d much rather be walking outside or, even better, sitting at home knitting and preferably with a cup of tea and a shortbread biscuit. It all felt a bit too regimental for me, I didn’t like the idea of the pressure (I’ve never been very good at being told what to do) and if I am honest, I’m probably a bit lazy when it comes to that kind of exercise!
However, during lockdown a friend and I agreed that we would use our time to start getting into a decluttering routine. It was something that we had both talked about for a while and it made sense for us to do it together, especially given the circumstances when neither of us were going out and there really was no excuse not to get started! We agreed there would be no pressure, no barked orders, just gentle encouragement and, it turns out, a desire not to let the other down. It’s been a good reason to stay in touch with daily text updates of where we’re up to and we have celebrated every week that we have made improvements to our homes. (We’re into our 18th week of lockdown now, can you believe it?!) I have finally understood the purpose of having an accountability partner, and I have been amazed and delighted at what a difference it has made to me actually getting something done.
So when my husband said that he’d like to start meditating again after a long absence, it was easy to say that I would do it with him. Not quite so easy to get up at 6am, although I know that it will be far harder once the Winter comes, but knowing the benefits (we first learnt to meditate a long time ago although we haven’t stuck at it all that time) makes it easier to resist hitting the alarm snooze button and having five more minutes … several times.
This experience has changed my view on accountability partners, and I am definitely a fan. It’s always nicer to do something with a friend than alone, and that includes the things you would rather ignore and hope went away (it doesn’t work with decluttering, trust me!). I still probably won’t change my mind about taking on a gym buddy though - although I might reconsider if there are shortbread biscuits involved!