A Quieter January

Back in December I said about planning to have things being quieter and calmer in 2020, and I’m working on it. But it’s decidedly odd in some ways.

Each weekend of January has had a day “off”, where I’m not doing as much.  I usually prefer to at least get out and do something (even if, like today, ‘something’ is just going to the cinema to see stuff) but there’ve even been a couple where I didn’t leave the house – and they definitely felt weird.

It’s actually something that is – for me – very hard to do. It’s taking time to think of it as being “OK” to have days like these.  What makes it harder is that I’m physically used to being out and doing stuff – the days of doing Not Much actually leave me feeling achy, tired and grouchy. I honestly don’t yet know how long it’ll take for that to stop happening, or at least get easier.

I’m still working on it though. February is currently planned to be similar – I’ve only got one weekend where there are things booked for both days. So we’ll see how things have progressed in that time, and whether I’m doing better on Not Much days than I currently am…


Into 2020

It’s been interesting (for no good reason other than that this is a year that ends in a zero) to look back at what was going on this time ten years ago.

It’s fair to say that a lot has changed in that time – albeit none of it recently.

Back then I was still in Norfolk, and working in Bury St Edmunds (and I did keep the promise to stick with the one workplace for the full year of 2010)  I’d just had the first (and still only) accident of my driving career, sliding on ice onto a set of concrete fence posts, which did a blinding job of twatting the front nearside.

So in that ten years, I’ve

  • split with Herself, had another shorter-term relationship, and been single now for much longer than either one.
  • moved four times – and been in one place (the current one) for far longer than anywhere else I’ve ever lived since leaving home
  • changed jobs more times than I care to think about (I could work it out, but truly can’t be chuffed) and been doing the current one for far longer than I ever expected
  • been through the whole bankruptcy process, and come out the other side
  • been to more plays and theatre things than I’d ever have thought I’d have been to
  • and the same for restaurants – Michelin-starred and otherwise. This time ten years ago, I’d not been to any Michelin places – that happened in mid-2010, and I wasn’t impressed at the time. Maybe I should go back there, maybe not.
  • changed car twice, and rented a bundle of others as needs directed

There’s a lot of other stuff – it’s interesting to see how a lot of the things I wanted to change then that I still want to change now, for example – and I’ll write more about that elsewhere/elsewhen.

It’s a whole new decade out there (and I can’t be arsed with the argument about whether that’s 2020 or 2021, so don’t bother) and it’ll be interesting to see what happens next.


2019/20 – Doing Less – Plans

In the comments on the post about doing less, Gordon said

For your ‘busy’ do you get anxious when the calendar is empty, do you just like having ‘a plan’? Would it work if you planned an afternoon of deliberately doing nothing? (the challenge being to stick to it?)

It’s a bit more – and less – complicated than that.

I don’t need a full plan of “I’ll do [x], then [y], then [z]” for either a day or a weekend.  In general I’m happy with an outline idea, even if it’s just “I’ll go to London” or whatever.

However, I do like having at least that idea. A blank space in the calendar is an oddity, and it does leave me feeling uncomfortable.

The other side of it is that my time off is precious to me, my weekends are important. I make sure that I do all my domestic stuff during the week, I refuse to spend half of those important two days doing cleaning, laundry, shopping and so on. They’re my own days, and if I do nothing with them, I feel they’ve been wasted.

So long as I do *something* with them, I’m OK. And even ‘just’ spending a day at the cinema catching up on films counts as “doing something”, so my criteria are quite low on that basis.

It’s that balance I need to find, somewhere between going out – day trips and time away, seeing friends, that kind of thing – and just doing enough to appease my work ethic. I also probably should find a way to be able to class days of doing nothing as also somehow counting as doing something.

It’s not an easy balance to find, and I’m not quite sure how I’ll get it right, but I think it’s time to at least try…


Equinoctual

Today is the Autumn Equinox, when the day and night are equal in length.

What that means is the from now until next March, the nights will be longer than the days.

Winter is coming, my friends, winter is coming


Nasturtia

So far this week, I have been Unwell.  It was very similar to the episode in February where I was also spectacularly Unwell – thankfully this time wasn’t as bad, but it’s still been no fun.  Well, I say it’s been better, whereas actually it’s been just as nasty, but in different ways – and I’ve been more prepared this time to deal with the warning signs early.

In February I wasn’t sure what had caused it – I’d had a meal at a (now closed) Michelin-starred restaurant, and was pretty certain that it wasn’t food-poisoning in any way that I recognised.  This weekend was the same, no real idea of causation – although I’d had another couple of spectacular meals in the preceding days.

However, there’s only been a couple of common ingredients through the various meals, and with the whole set of symptoms being so similar, they’re what I’m looking at in particular.  (And this is also where it’s really useful to have taken photos of the stuff I’ve eaten, to be able to use them for reference on stuff like this)

The conclusion I’m being drawn to is that I have a *really* unpleasant reaction to either nasturtiums or marigolds. It takes about 24-36 hours to kick in, and then yeah, no fun at all.  In the case of this week, the lunch I had in Manchester on Saturday was very heavy in nasturtium garnishes, and I think that’s what triggered everything.  And looking at WebMD (via a Google search) I found that nasturtium can cause stomach upsets (look in the “side effects” tab) – which is one nice term for what’s affected me on both occasions.

I may at some point decide to experiment a bit, by trying another meal with nasturtium garnishes and see if the results are the same – but it’s not something I’m going to be eager to do.

In the meantime, it’s not an allergic reaction – and I’ll never be dramatic enough as to claim it as one – but at the same time I think it’s going to be something I might need to start mentioning to restaurants when I book in. Which sucks, but when all’s said and done, it could be a lot worse.  And at least I’ve now got a fairly good idea of what’s going on.


Friendship Gap

Something odd occurred to me the other day, and it’s been bouncing round my skull a bit since.

Basically, it’s pretty simple – I realised that I don’t have any real friends or connections still in my life from the time I was with Herself, or her successor. Nothing. It’s like there’s this eight year hiatus, from 2004 through to 2012.

Plenty from before 2004, plenty from after 2012.  Just a complete blind-spot over those years.  In some ways it’s like they simply never happened.

I find I feel like that with a lot of the stuff that went on – a lot happened, a lot changed, and by the end of it, there were very few positive memories at all.

Of course, hindsight has shown that period proved to have some massive mistakes in it – but at the same time, it looks now like I sort of knew that even while they were going on, even while they were good (or at least OK) I wasn’t leaving any anchors or connections to it all.

What annoys me most is that I don’t quite know why or how that happened.


2017/18 – What’s Next? The Coming Year

As is traditional round these D4D parts, I lay out my hopes and/or plans for the coming year on my birthday. Like New Year’s Resolutions (and as likely to be completed, it seems) but on a different arbitrary date. Because why not? It’s as good a day as any.

That list for last year (2016/17) wasn’t massively successful, mainly due to my inability to get out less, so I’m hoping to be slightly more realistic this year…

So, the plan for the coming year is…

  1. Keep rebuilding the finances, adding to savings and so on.
    By the end of this year, I’ll have completed the whole bankruptcy process, and it should be off my credit history. (As I understand it. Some people have said it only comes off at six years from the end of the bankruptcy period, which’d make it September 2019. We’ll see)
  2. Exercise more, lose weight, improve health
    Another ongoing process, carried over from 2016/17
  3. Complete September’s walking marathon
    This imploded epically in 2017, so it’s another carry-over.  And this year I’ll do some more training, and not destroy my feet four weeks before it…
  4. Write more
    Actually complete some stuff, and see what to do with it from there.
    I’ve also got some tech answers to this, giving me more time and space for writing (I hope)
  5. Do less
    I’ve written about this before, but I am *really* bad at doing nothing. Lazy days do my head in, and I end up feeling stupidly guilty about “wasting” a day.  But conversely, I’m acknowledging that I do need downtime for other things. So I need this as a reminder.
  6. Business ideas
    Look at completing some of the business ideas and plans, and see what I can do with them from there.

And for now, that’s it.  I’m hoping it’ll be a bit more successful than last year’s list!