Keeping your pecker up means to stick your courage to the sticking post. It means, to smile and carry on. Don't let yourself be discouraged. Keep that pecker up and follow through with determination. When all around you are saying words that amount to No point old chap. Give up, it is all hopeless, you will remember your Pecker Lessons in year one at school, and say No. I will not play that game. My pecker is set at top mast, and I shall keep it that way. I shall not give in to gloom and despair. Onwards and upwards, I say, onwards and upwards.
How do you keep your motivation going when you feel you would rather not? Feeling that you would rather not carry on is often enough for you to lie down and give in. It is quite hard to overcome feelings. But underneath those feelings is knowledge. I know I must keep going. I feel I cannot. I would rather lie on the sofa and stop, I feel it is time to eat a deep fried mars bar in a darkened room and not answer the phone, but I know, that I must not. Here are five ways in which I attempt to keep my pecker right on top, and I don't think these five ways are very dissimilar to yours.
- I have a plan. An overall plan, which on paper looks very exciting and do-able. It is easy to write down what I want to do, and what I hope to achieve, because that is not the same as doing it. It feels wonderful to write with a flourish Put on A Graceful Death in Buckingham Palace. Phone Queen and feel, well. I have written it down, therefore it will happen. But though I can enjoy the feelings, I must remember that writing it down is one thing, doing it is another. This is where keeping one's pecker up is very important. I need a spot of optimistic thinking in order to sort the plans into Can Do, and Up The Creek.
- Keep turning up. This can be very hard. I often feel very like doing what I am due to do, the day before I do it. Come the day itself, and I think - Good Lord, I have not had a day in bed eating cheese toasties and doing Facebook for ages! How about doing it now? And I have to get very stern with myself, and say that I can do that, of course, later. In the meantime, get your shoes on, clean your teeth, and turn up to wherever you have to be, and take it from there. This happens most when I have a deadline and there is work to be done in the studio. There is no way of completing the task other than actually doing it. So I want to go shopping instead, I want to have a long hot bath that lasts half a day, I want to watch an omnibus edition of One Born Every Minute on the laptop, but I know now, through painful experience of not turning up, that I must present myself not only at the door of the studio, but inside it and at my work stations. Once there, and once having started, I can carry on. And, of course, I can then stop. I can't stop something I have not even started, so not turning up means I can't stop to have a break. Not turning up means that I am in a limbo and have only myself to blame as the Queen calls someone else and offers them two weeks in Buckingham Palace instead.
- Meditate. I do this twice a day. I find the discipline of meditating very helpful. It grounds me and keeps me focused. That is not to say I go into orbit twice a day, nor do I connect with the transcendental overlord very much, if at all, if ever. I feel I must be a very down to earth meditator. I have said this before and will say it again, that most of my meditations are a muddle of imaginary conversations with my mother, a list of all the things I need to buy from Sainsburys, and a hysterical jumble of all the nursery rhymes I ever knew. But, for some reason, it does keep me grounded.
- Talk to friends. My friends know a lot of things. They tell me the truth, they read between the lines, and they know what I am talking about. We work in the same areas, in the end of life and creative fields, and so I find a great deal of understanding from them. They notice when my pecker is drooping. Aha, they say, come for afternoon tea, and tell me all about it. Let us raise your spirits and set you on your way again, let us have no more of this droopy pecker nonsense, let us sort it all out. For which I thank them, pull myself up to my full height, have another cake, and start all over again.
- Keep my surroundings lovely. Ahhh. My daughter does this too. I like cleanliness and a certain amount of order. I like to see my pretty things, my colourful rugs, blankets and cushions around me. I like to see my various bits and bobs all in their place, all there to make me smile. When I am cold, I wrap myself in one of my lovely spotty blankets, or my green mohair one from Avoca, that shop in which I would like to live, in Dublin. I like to fill jugs, vases and teapots with flowers, and my kitchen is full of spotty teapots and lovely teacups and saucers. It takes a bit of doing, because I have two teenage boys and three lodgers living here, and sometimes all I can do is clear a space on the kitchen table to ligh a smelly candle and put down a pretty bowl of sweets and imagine the whole house is like this.