One nil to the… hang on a minute

Another brilliant performance by my beloved Sheffield United last night, full of commitment and hard work, set on a solid foundation of tactical genius, and backed up by 30,000 passionate South Yorkshire voices.

Some say that they could see it coming:

Arsenal have played more Premier League games at Bramall Lane without victory than they have any other ground in the competition (4 – D2 L2).

It was a great night to be a Blade and – for the moment at least – I’m rather enjoying this little Premiership adventure trip we’re on. I don’t know if people who support “big teams” really understand what it is like to have been playing Southend United (no offence, Southend fans) and Tranmere Rovers (offence, Tranmere fans) a couple of years ago and then find yourself playing the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal each week.

I’m in dreamland.

Sheffield United’s Dean Henderson has kept 25 clean sheets in the league since the start of last season; more than any other goalkeeper in England’s top four tiers.

That’s not to say that it’s always enjoyable watching the games. Sure, I’m loving seeing us pitted against the best that England (and often, Europe) has to offer week in, week out, but it still feels like every game is a cup final. That means that the pressure is constantly on and it seems that I am fully engaged, as my watch’s stress monitor showed me:

I love the way you can actually pinpoint kickoff at 9pm.

I feel like I aged 10 years in 90 minutes and I don’t even care, although I will be older than Medusa by the time the season’s over. Last night, only a celebratory brandy was enough to bring me back down from a near heart attack and I didn’t get to sleep until 3am.

Don’t even care…

Stress

I think I mentioned our friends who are travelling the world this year… [checks]…

Yes. Yes, I did.

I’ve been following their progress though South America, a bit of North America, Australasia and then on to Malaysia, Thailand and towards Vietnam. Their images and videos have been amazing, and their blogs have – entirely reasonably – been… hmm… can we say “infrequent”? 😉 but always interesting.

I particularly enjoyed St.John’s latest observations as he reflected on stress and the difference that traveling for 6 months has made to his view of it. (Spoiler: (or maybe not) it might not be quite what you expect):

I have come to the conclusion that what I have come to call “positive-stress” that drives the get-up and go urge, is innate. The brain will look for things to worry about and create must-do’s regardless of how inane or trivial. It needs to prioritise and feel important. It will try and fit a certain amount of stress into your life regardless of what one is doing.

Not many people have the opportunity of being able to conduct this sort of experimentation, so I was intrigued by his hypothesis. Now, I’m driven to  try to find a “beautiful remote resort, only accessible by boat, two tropical reefs 100m offshore, turtles nesting, friendly staff and cold beers” in order and reproduce his experimental conditions.

Facetiousness briefly aside though, it’s an intriguing idea that in a stress-free environment, we are compelled to create our own… discomfort(?) in order to actually get things done. Surely this is an entirely personal thing? There must be people out there with the ability to exist wholly stress-free in a stress-free environment?

But what of the rest of us? What of St.John? If his innate “positive stress” fails to kick in – what then? Can that even happen? And if it does, does the lack of “positive stress” and its benefits lead to a build up of “real”, negative stress?

The short-term stress of travel is real. I know that. But once you are there, once you are six months into a year-long round trip, surely that diminishes?

So many questions. And I don’t have the answers yet, I’m afraid. Too few beaches, too few turtles, (but a reasonable number of cold beers if I’m honest).

Hit the blogroll – sidebar right – for more on their year-long sabbatical.

Last minute rush

I’m going away for a while. Posts will continue on here, as they always do when I go away for a while.
I would hate to leave you hanging.

In the meantime, normal (work) life continues without me. And it goes a little something like this:

phd092809s

I’m just at that first red peak, descending happily into the yellow zone at the moment.

Which explains why this post is so very brief.

“The stress is crushing”

It’s amazing what I put myself through for you guys. I think that if I wasn’t the model specimen of prime physical fitness which I obviously am, then I would surely be suffering some sort of health issue or other related to producing this literary Manna which you so enjoy optically devouring. I put it down to my diet which consists solely of bananas, pizza and Castle Milk Stout and my rigorous exercise regime of Playstation football. I have thumbs of steel.

Anyway, why am I telling you this? Well, I went here and found this:

“The trouble with a personal brand is, you’re yoked to a machine,” said Paul Kedrosky, a friend of Mr. Malik’s who runs the Infectious Greed blog. “You feel huge pressure to not just do a lot, but to do a lot with your name on it. You have pressure to not just be the C.E.O., but at the same time to write, and to do it all on a shoestring. Put it all together, and it’s a recipe for stress through the roof.”

And Mr Malik claims that he suffered a heart attack due to blogging stress. Although:

Paul Walborsky, the chief operating officer for Mr. Malik’s company, Giga Omni Media, played down stress as a factor in Mr. Malik’s health. He noted Mr. Malik’s incessant smoking of cigars and cigarettes was a more likely cause.

I think that the astute Mr Walborsky has hit the nail on the head there. This blogging thing isn’t actually so difficult.

You should try getting Mansfield Town through to the Champions League final on FIFA 2007 while eating a banana. Then you’d know stress.