How True Detective brought me True Romance

This blog is the first in a new blog series called “My Life in Balance” in which I share how successfully I achieved a good work life balance the preceding week. If you haven’t done so already, take a look at my earlier post “How I measure my work life balance and why you should do the same” to understand how I measure my work life balance, and why I recommend that you do the same. 

Sleep. Or perhaps I should say lack of it. This week has been an unintentional experiment in what happens when I break most of my Rules for Balanced Living – like making sure I’m in bed by 10.30 pm at least 4 nights of the week, and not drinking any type of alcohol Monday through Wednesday.

Well I broke them all this week. Wilfully, knowingly, disastrously.

I usually like to blame my husband Paul, and this time is no exception. Well, it was his idea that we watch the second series of True Detective, though some of the blame must go to the producers for creating such a brilliant show; and don’t get me started on the actors! Vince Vaughan as I have never seen him before – serious, deadly, oozing integrity; Colin Farrell – all bad moustache and roguish vulnerability; Taylor Kitsch – the more troubled he seemed, the better looking he became; and Rachel McAdams who plays the best female character I’ve seen in a long time (Oh to be that attractive and tough and cool!). I am not a fan of TV at all, and watch it only under duress when I recognise that it is the shortest and easiest route to bonding with Paul when he comes in after a hard day in the office and just wants to decompress in front of the TV.

My Life In Balance – week 1

Identity: 5
Relationship: 9
Work: 6.5
Kids: 7


So the reason for all this, other than to recommend True Detective to the uninitiated, is to explain why I scored a disgraceful 4 and 5 for Body and Identity this week. All that sitting around on the sofa binge-watching episode after episode messed up my sleep completely. Going to bed at close to midnight each night left me too tired to eat and exercise well (though I did make it to yoga and training this week) and too lazy to carve out some quality “me time”.

To put this into context you should remember that I have a strict morning routine that involves getting up at 5.30am. each morning. This is non-negotiable for me (for reasons I’ll explain at length in a future post) so if I don’t get to bed early enough, then “tough poop” as I say to my kids (sorry, only sometimes), I still have to be up at the usual time.

It’s amazing what a knock on effect it has when you don’t have enough sleep. I started every day feeling that I owed a debt to my body that I couldn’t repay. On Monday I felt grumpy and groggy, and on my commute home from London on Tuesday and Wednesday I fell into a commuter coma within seconds of muscling my way into a seat. Tiredness meant I all too frequently reached for the coffee cup, my secret stash of chocolate and, worst of all, the Rioja Reserva on what was supposed to be my non-drinking nights. The equation is always the same: lack of sleep = poor decision making. It was inevitable that it would all go down hill.

But I have to admit it: Body and Identity‘s loss was Relationship‘s gain. It made me so happy to lie snuggled up on the sofa with Paul, trying to outdo each other with predictions of where the plot would go next (I’m usually so good at this but unlike most episodes of Scandal, this show proved just too smart for me), and making each other laugh with our witty metaphors for the characters’ bad hairstyling. I would usually be the first one to complain that time in front of the TV does not constitute quality time, but this week was different. It felt fun and, dare I say it, romantic. Truly so.

There’s more that was good. I scored a very respectable 7 for quality time with the Kids this week. Reading  “Charlie’s Marvellous Medicine” to No.s 3 and 4 at bedtime has been brilliant and funny, and watching No. 3 gain confidence cycling up and down on his new bike filled me with utter joy. I can’t say it was fun doing 2 hospital visits with No. 1 this week after a mis-timed rugby tackle left him with a black eye and a suspected broken nose, but thankfully this turned out to be a false alarm.

32.5 out of 50 is not a bad score in a week where I threw the rule book out of the window. Which leads me to the idea that important though it is to have rules for successful living, perhaps every now and then it makes sense to break them.

How balanced was your life this week?