The Art of Exploration · a diary of day trips, natural places, and miscellaneous adventures

Milton Keynes Central

Saturday, January 5th, 2013 in Buckinghamshire
Milton Keynes Central

The first week of 2013 is hectic. I try to ease gently back into a routine after the New Year, but that effort is soon dashed. On my first day back, I find myself under a landslide of work. The number of new tasks I acquire on my list of to-dos quickly out-numbers those that I complete. I stumble into a half-dozen messy situations and I resurface time and again with the vague feeling I’m being duped into taking on responsibilities that aren’t mine.

The end result unfurls as a familiar, neck-wrenching stress. Consequently, my shoulders lodge themselves in my ears and my teeth loosen from clenching my jaw when I sleep. I have far too much to do and way too little time in which to do it. To make matters worse, I can’t get through a solid ten minutes without a multitude of interruptions—phone calls, instant messages, emails, reminders, questions, suggestions, corrections, goals, game changers. It’s never-ending.

Platform at Milton Keynes Central train station.

My inbox gathers a layer of email detritus six-feet deep. Messages cry for my attention and I cringe at the volume of correspondences I must read, review, delete, ignore, sort, or respond to. I lose information in the nooks and crannies because I forget if someone told me some fact by email or instant message or in the description of a meeting invitation. The information I receive comes at me in fifty different formats. I try, in vain, to recall what to do with each item, who sent it to me, and how it arrived.

I’m organized but there are limits. I lack sufficient energy for this. It feels like someone figured out my capacity for keeping my head above water and then they opened the floodgates another two-hundred fold beyond that. I bob on a sea of expectations, I grow seasick.

Others, too, suffers from burnout, I hear it in the voices of friends and family. I see it in their eyes of strangers texting and calling as they sit on trains or walk down the street. Like them, I don’t know what to do, how to catch up, how to keep up, how to cope. I try my best each day to work to a high standard, to meet expectations and to retain my sanity. I maintain an awkward juggling act and strain to improve.

If you can’t meditate in a boiler room, you can’t meditate.

For now, I deal with my stress as best as I can. Hence, I meditate, I concentrate, I do yoga. And I walk each day, rain or shine. Today, for example, I stroll past the Milton Keynes Central train station. The station is normally bustling, but today it is calm, empty. Although I like the view of the train station my walk offers me, I crave greenery. Tomorrow, perhaps, I will instead walk to Lodge Lake or South Loughton Valley Park.

Platform at Milton Keynes Central train station.
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Assortment

Lichen Loop
Lichen Loop
Today I made a quick exploratory visit to Heil Valley Ranch. This was my first visit to this park and I was pleased to find that it is yet another nearby area that offers plenty of beautiful landscape, interesting geology, and many miles of trails.
Slimbridge
Slimbridge
Rabbit Mountain
Rabbit Mountain
Rabbit Mountain has become my default hiking location. If I don’t have time to drive up into the mountains, then I go to the foothills to Rabbit Mountain where I can still get a leg-burner of a hike in a short period of time.