02/04

Happy second of April. And New Year. And Happy Birthday me for like…January. And happy unemployment! Also me. Welcome to the newest set of problems to overcome.

All right, enough whining. Normal service resumed. Preferably with less upheaval.

With all the free time I now find myself with, I’m noticing a lot more that I have some serious frickin’ issues with concentration. It’s feasible I could be smashing out hundreds of iterations of resumes or putting every ounce of my mental capacity into writing, or studying, or figuring out what the hell I enjoy and trying to make a career out of it. ‘Cos that’s another thing; I have no clue what I want to do.

I’m certain this isn’t something that’s unique to me at all, rather, it’s almost a niche that hits people in their 20’s who may not be as steady or happy or well off as some of their peers. I do know that every single person on this earth hides parts of themselves and gives off a better appearance than their mental health might suggest, but that’s like knowing ‘everything will improve with time’. Not exactly fuckin’ helpful. And also, given not everyone is as happy as it seems, it stands to reason that more people than originally thought are experiencing a similar doubting of self and purpose. Maybe I’m just the one daft enough to whinge about it, and put it into words (knowing full well someone else will already have done it better, and therefore maybe writing for a living isn’t something for me to pursue).

Eh, ah well. I’ll figure it out. Today’s post was brought to you by crippling boredom (™) and a mild effort to do something to oppose such.

19/12

Eloquence isn’t a natural habit of mind. Especially when I’m trying to put thoughts into words in a hurry, try to keep the shape of their meaning as well as convey the reasons and motivation behind it, etc etc. Whatever. I’m not a clever-type person.

But even I know that form follows function. It ain’t fucking hard. Make something that works, then make it pretty. You need to build the wheel before you start to build a better one. Jeez. And then when someone improves on function? Don’t shut them out because you’re scared of the change that might represent.

17/12 – In ink

One of the things I’ve done every year for maybe the past 5, showing a rare piece of consistency, is to make a list. I fucking love lists. But this list is a little more forward thinking; it basically serves as motivation, reminder and goal. I’ll explain.

So what I actually do is put 20 points on a piece of paper, and I fill in maybe half with stuff that I want. Yeah yeah, materialistic consumer over here, whatever, but each to their own. Not all of it is a thing, that you could go out and buy from the shop. Quite often it’s something for me to build myself, sometimes it’s a vacation, a place I want to go, a car I want to drive. Last year, since the number one thing on the list was a damn house, everything was built around that. And I’m sat here son one of the things, with another thing playing music at me, typing on a third, living in the fourth. And what I’m thinking is ‘hey, I made it here. I hit at least 20% of what I wanted to hit a year ago. I feel good.’

I check off stuff as/if I get it. Sometimes by the time the means arrive to reward myself with an object/experience from the list, I’ve outgrown what I initially wanted, and try to find another way, another thing to check off. Which is why I only initially fill in half of it.

As an example, currently on the new, 2019 list is a new camera. I enjoy taking pictures, seeing places. So what that theoretical camera represents is a new outlet, a new excuse to go travel, see new places, have fun with a hobby. It’s not just an object, it reflects what I want to do more of. So there is a goal aspect of it right there, working towards being able to pursue not just one thing, but several things in life that I love.

The motivation part is pretty easy to explain. Having a list of items, stuff, experiences, just gives you something to work towards. Sticking it down on ink and paper gives it a more tangible feel, rather than having some half formed idea nestled in the back of your mind that will never amount to anything. Which isn’t to say my idea is the ideal way to achieve your goals, this is just one the things I try to do ‘cos it helps me. But crossing something off your list and getting that feeling of victory, leads you to the next. And the next. And then you don’t stop all year. It might have been said before.

Goal part is also dead easy. You’ve written them down. And not in an abstract ‘I’d like to take more pictures’ or ‘I’d like to draw more’ kinda way. As in like ‘New camera’, ‘New charcoal pencil’. Solid. Concrete. You work hard, you enable yourself, you get what you wanted. Then you start thinking along the lines of you’ve acquired something you wanted. It would therefore be a waste for me to not use it. And all of a sudden, you’ve hit those little back-of-the-head goals anyway. Huh.

Right. Even in my own head the ‘reminder’ aspect of it is a bit vague and hard to put into words. Let’s say you’re 6 months into the year, you’ve filled out 20 or 25 points and you’ve smashed half of them. But now you’re looking at the rest and wondering what kind of person thought getting the fanciest bottle of champagne was a good idea? Now a day sat by the beach with a good, new book is the way to go. Speaking from very real experience. See in the 6 months (about two years ago now, actually) my desires had completely flipped based on what progress I’d made, how I’d been filling my time outside of work, the weather, etc. But I had that starting point to go from. It might be written down in ink, but it’s still amorphous, changing with your character. Learning, evolving. Growing, as you should be.

So, Ads, you handsome piece of bearded baller. Try it. Stick 20 odd Audemars Piguet on there if you want. But work to it, change it, achieve what you know you’re capable of.

This one’s for you.

16/12 – Sunday

It’s fucking Christmas time! Yeaaah! Though the more Christmases that pass the more the whole season becomes almost an ever-growing list of chores and stuff to accomplish before C-day comes and the jobs are replaced by socialising and visiting obligations. Which, it has to be said, isn’t as bad as I’m making out, since it’s hard to find a genuinely unhappy person when you’re there spreading cheer, alcohol, presents and, importantly, time.

‘cos the thing I’m the most excited about right now is having all that free time. Any one of my close friends will be able to tell you, I rarely sit still. Take today for example, a nondescript Sunday in December. I woke up late after a disturbed night sleep, about the latest I have in the past year, and since then I’ve done the washing, deep cleaned the oven, visited grandparents, prepped meals for the next three/four (depending on appetite levels) lunches, had a bath, skated (flatground only – the park is soaked…where it isn’t frozen over), made a separate lunch and dinner for today, came up with a variation on the flappy bird game, trained a little, researched stick’n’poke tattoo kits, and am now balls deep in my first blog post in a long ass while, all before 830pm. Crushing this ‘relaxed Sunday’ shit.

But yeah, tend not to sit on my ass a great deal. I have Plans over the Christmas period. Note the capital P. Plans. Puh-luh-ah-uhn-uhs. PLANS. Of course I still need to hit up all the family stuff, eat babies and kiss turkeys and so on, but this will be the first time I have an extended period of free time in my own home. So maybe 75% of the crap I need to do, for once there’s only me standing in the way.

The other 25%, unfortunately, will be postponed by a lack of funds, time, skills and freedom. All of which are attainable, only not in the time limit. I’m back on the ‘I want to crush all adventures and extreme sports’ mindset. Which doesn’t work when you’re on an office bitch salary, tied to the location, no option to work remotely (personal bug there), and (much as I love them) family ties. Like everyone I’ve thought of dropping it all and going AWOL, but I’d honestly prefer to stick some serious work in now, then maybe be able to jet off at leisure in a couple years time.

Which, let’s be honest, won’t happen as an office bitch, but that’s the main drive to smash as much as feasibly possible in my spare time, work at all these other hobbies and interests as much as possible, then maybe, maybe, one day with a whole load of effort, and an equal amount of luck, the hobby will become a job and I’ll never have to work again. I truly believe there’s no real limit to capability, it’ll just take a buttload of hard work.

So let’s get crackin’.

And Again

For what could be the 5th or 6th time, I find myself back in front of a keyboard with the inclination to make my fingers move for my own agenda. I’m not full of any promises of ‘yeah it’ll be one a week!’ or ‘this has been the hardest break of my life’ or any similar lines of bullshit to reason to myself that there was a good and just cause of me not writing, something I quite enjoy doing, as it turns out. Amazing how it comes back to you, right?

NaNoWriMo is back on, something I support in theory but have never had the wherewithal to carry through and complete. HEY MAYBE THIS TIME WILL BE DIF…no, probably not. Let’s be real. It’s a great idea, though, wish everybody who can actually do it the best of luck.

I have been pretty busy though, for a change. Since the last time I’ve been up and down the country a few times, zigzagged all around Germany (really, though, Munich-Regensburg-Bremen-Göttingen-Dusseldorf-Berlin), ragged a Fiat spider around the Amalfi coast, strolled up Vesuvius, waltzed round Pompei, sashayed through ice-cream parlours and even walked to Asda a couple of times. In style, of course.

What I feel I am missing in life is consistency in doing productive things to better myself. And it’s all my fault. Nobody else to blame. Starting small though; I’ll keep you posted.

05/08 – New Month

It’s Sunday evening and I’m sat here chilling my ass off, couple drinks deep and relaxed as I can be. Pretty damn awesome, compared to just four weeks ago when I was slowly withdrawing into myself, becoming more and more depressed, ready to go into a job I didn’t enjoy immediately following a fantastic vacation. Now, I’ve had a productive weekend, I’ve done preeeeeetty much everything I wanted to, as well as some stuff I didn’t previously envision, and excitement is building for a brand new job.

Seriously, brand new. A lot of people will say brand new and mean like, a similar role in a similar industry. Nah, not me. This is gonna be something completely unfamiliar, in an unfamiliar industry, in a place I can’t even get to without a SatNav. I can’t wait. Feeling pretty damn positive right now.

My last post was all about spreading that around, and I’ve made some good progress doing that. The first little letter of appreciation I sent out got a reply, every bit as thankful and upbeat as I wanted it to be, and I got nothing out of it apart from pleasure at the response. Sometimes just words written in the right way can instil such a good feeling into a person the actual content of the message is immaterial. It’s definitely something I will continue with.

But yeah. New job. The biggest benefit of it is that it allows me to travel to really random, really upmarket places as part of my role. I’ll have to do work throughout, of course, but I’ll get to see so many new and interesting countries it will almost be worth the couple years of crap I’ve put up with. Plus the travel will give me plenty of time to write. About anything, but I’ll be having a fully travel- and lifestyle-focused blog in short order. I’ve even got an Instagram account going, something which I’ve previously sworn never to do. I reserve the right to be a massive hypocrite on occasion.

I do have a couple random thoughts on starting a new job though, something I’ve done a fair few times. Hell, I’ve switched life goals that often I’m practically accomplished at it.

  1. Be prepared for anything. By which I mean, prepare for nothing. You’ll be given a tour, a desk, a new email, maybe a phone, all sorts of shit, so it would be so easy to get overwhelmed. But never forget, this is your introduction to the company. They expect you to flounder a bit. Hell, they’ll be watching, testing, how you deal with what’s going on. So take a mental step back, breathe, and just accept it.
  2. Ask. You’re new right? So you don’t know the place. Is it better to be a little foolish with a stupid question now, or a massive screw-up in a couple months time when you’re expected to know the ropes? Your call.
  3. Take notes. Seriously, there’ll be so much information thrown at you in the coming week that nobody will expect everything to stick. So combat that assumption and impress people. The more you take in, the less questions you have to ask, the more capable you will seem. It’s almost like a cheap trick, but it will damn well pay off.
  4. Make friends. It’s a little bit of schoolyard advice, but it’s still pretty useful. Think about it; a friend might cover for a mistake you make, could give a good excuse when you’re late back form lunch (though of course you won’t be, you overachiever, you), and a dumb question you ask a friend is infinitely less embarrassing than a dumb question you ask your boss. It’s not using them, it’s just being sensible.
  5. Don’t hide. This is your given window to fuck up and make mistakes. It’s expected of you. Of course you should minimise the booboos you do do, but this is your week/fortnight/month to screw up and get away with it. So do it. Mistakes are the greatest teacher, and show you’re trying to push, which always will be respected. But it only works if you’re vocal and say ‘Yeah I thought it would work but I obviously misunderstood something….’ as then it puts the ownership back on the employer for maybe assuming you know something you don’t, as well as pointing out where you need training to improve.

Please don’t use this as an excuse to burn the building down, however.

Wish me luck tomorrow x

30/07 – Spreading Positivity

So the last couple of days I’ve felt pretty happy. Which is nice, not to mention a little bit strange. I decided today to spread it around a bit more, in a couple of different ways. One of them is the simplest thing; smiling. It’s bloody addictive, let me tell you that. And it often works. I mean, it’s a bit odd seeing someone just grinning at everything, but sometimes when you meet someone’s eyes and they smile back I imagine it makes both parties that little bit more pleased than they were before.

Another isn’t really positive per se, even though it does seem to have a positive effect on relationships; it is simply talking to people more. Being interested in what they have to say, and keeping a conversation going instead of letting it lapse into silence, something I’m often guilty of, being completely happy and comfortable in silence. Apparently it unnerves some people. And by conversation I’m not talking about what often tends to happen, whereupon two people just wait their turn to speak thinking of what they want to say next, no, I’m on about actually listening and engaging with another person. Share your thoughts on what they’re going through. Give helpful advice. Most importantly, wait until they finish, pause, and be mindful. Once they feel they’ve been listened to, they’ll be happy to do the same to you.

Possibly the most outlandish thing I’ve tried is something I’m calling letters of appreciation. Fanmail, essentially, but my way of saying it sounds a bit less tragic. It’s spreading positivity to people who have imparted some feeling of happiness, inspiration, confidence, whatever positive emotion fits, to you, but would not know it. I mentioned Jon Olsson  possibly last week, so I chose him to do first. If there’s any interest I’ll post exactly what I said.

Hey, I also started a little instagram which is gonna be related to my newest pet project. It will be 100% positive, not like some of the drivel I write on here. So if being upbeat and happy is your thing, you might like it.