Browsing Tag

minimalism

Wintery Wooden Wonderland

Another season of cricket is coming to a close, this time with a new club. There are about five more games left, and inevitably I will hit that stage of the year where I will go “what the fuck do I do with 8 hours on a Saturday?”, and of course. During winter. I debated trying a winter sport, or some kind of activity out of the house. Photography only gets so far, if it’s raining I can’t take the camera out in it as it’ll ruin it. I can still go to the beach when it’s stormy, and I will because I enjoy the beach regardless of the weather.

I debated getting a mountain bike and going out with mates, but given my frame of mind lately. I’d like to start building things in the shed, I’ve refurbished some furniture before but haven’t built anything from scratch since I was in high school. I’d like to replace my computer desk which is currently a flimsy IKEA piece of cardboard with some legs on it. My entertainment unit is falling apart, and I’d like to replace my coffee table and dining table (not that I used it much) as they aren’t mine.

But I think spending some time away from a couch, or a screen, or binging Netflix would be good for me. I’ve done it before and I’m quite happy to light the fire outside and potter away in the shed for hours on cold nights with some good music.

Ketogenic Unknown

Another long weekend has rolled around and I’m using my Monday day off to continue with the binge watch of Anthony Bourdain’s, Parts Unknown.

While I’ve been watching it to reignite me going into the kitchen and cook, instead of hating the space. It’s also made me think a little more about the food we eat, and that’s besides that I’m trying ketogenic again.

There are a lot of other cultures that make everything from scratch, mostly with natural fresh ingredients. Cuba is essentially an organic country because they don’t have the economy to support pesticides and what not to keep bugs away. So they grow and use everything that’s seasonal. And not much is preserved either.

Some countries and cultures have a lot more time to cook and prepare food, and by having a simpler, slower way of life. They live longer and healthier. Their diets aren’t carbohydrate based like most of the western world.

First came 30 minute meals by Jamie Oliver, then 15 minute meals. Designed so people who wanted to cook still could around their busy schedule. But does any of these people slow down and spend hours cooking something from scratch? Do they grab a can or a jar for the convenience? And has it just become a reflex to do so? And I don’t think anyone ever really stops to think about what’s in that jar of sauce. It’s not hard to boil, peel and turn tomatoes into pasta sauce, add in some salt and pepper, basil and other stuff and you’ll have something that’s not filled with a whole bunch of names you can’t pronounce.

The same goes for that jar of honey soy sauce, have you thought of adding soy sauce and honey to your stir fry? It’s not hard and it’s probably quicker to do when you spend 5 minutes trying to open that jar.

I’m making more of an effort to give myself more free time and dedicate it to cooking better. Lets see how long that lasts though.

Riddle me this, riddle me that

Who’s afraid of the big, black, bat.

“New Year, New Me”. Fuck that shit. Same shit different day, and you shouldn’t need a new year to find motivation to make life changes.

However, my life changes have been slow. Almost caught up in too much thought about what I should be doing instead of taking the jump. Taking a jump, a plunge or just doing something that can step you out of your comfort zone can be completely daunting.

Life is at a crossroads.If I go down path A, I will no longer live the current lifestyle I have, which I find boring and depressive. Which sounds bad, but I have nothing to stimulate my mind or have much to be passionate about. But it means more freedom and probably better mental health. Or do I go down path B, where I would have less freedom, but be keeping myself busy, more productive and a potential career change and doing things I’ll be passionate about. Or at least something different than my usual day to day job. But how will that impact my mental health? And also my chronic illness?

I guess I’ll have to find out along the way. Both paths are enticing to go down, freedom versus doing something I really think I would enjoy. But may still give me the option of path A later down the road.

This is how my life works, a constant state of my head feeling like a washing machine going while full of scrambled eggs. The same goes for people and potential relationships, they say one thing but do another. Add that into all the other factors of those scrambled eggs spinning around and my head is just a place of violent, mushy clutter. My mind is set to “slow grind” and will leave me with a cluster of riddles to solve.

 

Your friends limit is exceeded

I came to the revelation the other day, that life itself has a limit for your friends list. I’m not talking about Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. But you’re actual real life, and occasionally if you stick your head up from your phone, you’ll see great graphics and dynamic game plays, difficulty setting on high and you can’t change it.

2017 has been one of those years where I’ve sat back more and observed, mainly the people in my life. Those who come, those who stay, and those who only drop in like it’s a pit-stop. I got tired of those who come and go as they please, the ones I’d text, call, or message on some format and see how they were doing. I got rid of Facebook nearly two years ago, barely anyone noticed and my parents still seem to think I’m on there despite multiple times telling them I’m not.

I’ve had people come and talk to me about their life problems, how crap it is for them, and ask for advice. Then leave, only to ignore anything I said in the first place and for me to watch idly on the sidelines while it happens over and over again. I stopped engaging with these people and now I don’t hear from them. There’s also the toxic ones who are no longer there as well.

But it feels like at some stage life got an error message “Your friends limit is exceeded”, and nothing was going to change from there. But by seeing what happens when I don’t be myself, who usually checks in on people and see’s how they are doing. I found no one goes out of their way to contact me, it’s been somewhat of a purge. But in that process I’ve removed people off that friends list, and been able to allow good, and great people come flooding in, and now I’m more selective about who I let in and who gets my time.

I guess this is my version of being selfish, I changed cricket clubs to a new environment where I’m enjoying a game that’s given me a lot of joy. When I’ve had no joy in it for such a long time. I’ve changed my environment to allow good people in, and those who pay no attention to the world around them, and make no effort have drifted out and unaware of what’s going on. They don’t understand there’s bigger stuff than themselves going on.  But sometimes we need to be selfish to those people.

I guess the other thing is, I’m only putting as much time into people as I feel they deserve. There’s only so much I can ask people about catching up until eventually, I give up and stop asking. Despite being told I shouldn’t be the person who gives up.

There is no spoon

Do not try and bend the spoon, that’s impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth…there is no spoon. Then you’ll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.

I think today is the first time I’ve thought to myself that I’ve run out of spoons. I’d almost forgotten about the spoon theory for those that have a chronic illness. Today couldn’t have been more shit, leaving the house at the crack of dawn to make my way to the hospital for a follow up to a blood test. Standard routine test for my calcium and PTH levels, and more than likely, as per the past three. It was going to be slightly elevated but nothing to worry about.

An hour wait after my appointment was scheduled, and mostly myself thinking it was that useless Doctor again who didn’t know his left from his right and probably got lost on the way in, and that’s just at the car park. I ended up with a different doctor, and instantly thought it would be downhill from here.

But I came in with the same attitude that’ll all be the same and I’l just head out and come back in twelve months. Then wham. All my levels were elevated, but why hadn’t I felt any of the symptoms like usual? Came from my vitamin D supplements that I was already taking were keeping them mostly under the radar.

I think I’ve managed my fibromyalgia, and hyperparathyroid okay for the last year. I’ve been active, not been hugely tired or out of spoons due to too much work, too much activity or too much interaction with people. But this time, I was so fucking drained early in the morning that I just didn’t know what to do with myself. I managed to stumble through the day and get some work done, but mostly zone out between jobs and forget about exisiting.

The only positive I can take out of it is that I have a different surgeon this time and a better plan of attack, he was able to explain to me that the constant bone pain comes from an over active parathyroid gland, which then tells my body I need more calcium in my blood stream and takes it out my bones. The only way to slow that parathyroid down is with vitamin D. So even though I’m taking 2,000 UI a day, my vitamin D levels haven’t changed over a year, and that’s with all the outside sunshine from being at the beach during summer as well, or playing/watching cricket. Essentially I’m doing to load myself with high levels of vitamin D and then taper it back to my regular dose and see how the body is in three months time. So yet, another time to put my body through a torture test, and also my mental health of going through all this shit again, much a likeness to recycled toilet paper.

Over time I’d managed to divide my spoons into certain areas, physically, mentally, spiritually etc. So some days I could be out of spoons physically, but still be okay as I had spoons in other areas. But if I didn’t take time to recharge the ones that were depleted, I would start to burn through the others faster. Eventually until I’d be out of them everywhere and struggle to function at all, which is when I’d be pushing into a flare up. Spend a weekend on the couch, not answering texts and just watching tv and napping until I’d be able to do start to build them back up.

But today hearing that news, they all dropped through the floor at the same time. It’s been a long time since that happened, let alone rung out of any spoons. I think given I’d simplified my life I was able to use them more wisely on things that wouldn’t be so taxing.

Cut my life into pizza

There’s a lot of things you don’t get taught in life, like doing your taxes or filling out a passport. There are a lot of things you’ll be told in life, like to “expect the unexpected”. There’s irony in expecting the unexpected, you can do everything in your power to be prepared but then it’ll hit you in some silly little way.

Saturday morning I slept in, one of the few times my body let me sleep long enough. Did my usual things around the house, then went to get my laptop out of my backpack to do some work on it. I couldn’t find it where I left it, I searched the house high and low. Drove to the office to check, checked the house again. Gone. So I logged into my Google account, and saw activity on the laptop while I was asleep, from an IP address that wasn’t mine.

Stolen.

Trace the IP, find it’s location via latitude and longitude. Call the police and follow up on the report I made when I first found it was gone. Give them the details, the CIB head off to the address given. No luck on finding the laptop, but sounds like it had been there.

I’m not worried about the physical laptop itself, or the cost or replacing it. But that people were going through my email, my bank accounts, searching my car registration details and number plate. It’s left me in a very anxious state knowing they could come back to try for my car, it left me on edge and unable to sleep.

Also in my backpack was some work stuff, so I had to contact clients and get them to revoke my security access. Change passwords to all my accounts, removing syncing on browsers. All this over the sake of a $60 backpack and 4 year old laptop I paid $400 for. Of which by the way, they were trying to load Windows 10 on it, and it doesn’t run it. Morons.

Never the less, it took me less than a few hours to get all the information needed to pass onto detectives for them to investigate and gain entry to the place of the IP address.

I also had my notepad in the backpack, which was used with my counselor. It contained two years of my thoughts and work with them and it was all written down for a stranger to read. It’s a massive invasion of my headspace, and honestly I don’t care about the laptop either. Just the breach of my own privacy and the stuff in the note pad. If I had the chance I’d smash it in front of them. I’m more attached to the photos I had on there (which are backed up anyway), and my blog posts and what not that were still in drafts. My emails etc. I don’t have anything to hide, but anyone just waltzing through my personal stuff isn’t great for the mental health. It’s left me rethinking a lot of things, and I don’t want to be one of those hypochondriacs who get bars all over the windows and security alarms. But now I do feel like I need something in place. Some contents insurance, a camera, and probably some tracking for my valuables (mainly my pc’s).

I’m not really sure how to handle it, or what to do. I’ve been anxious since it happens and all the doors end up locked and checked before I go to sleep or leave the house.

What if All I Want is A Mediocre Life?

I came across this post sometime early in 2017, and it made a lot of sense. I thought it’s worth reposting, not only for others but also to reference for myself at some stage. Just in case the post disappears I guess.


What if All I Want is A Mediocre Life?

What if I all I want is a small, slow, simple life? What if I am most happy in the space of in between. Where calm lives. What if I am mediocre and choose to be at peace with that?

The world is such a noisy place. Loud, haranguing voices lecturing me to hustle, to improve, build, strive, yearn, acquire, compete, and grasp for more. For bigger and better. Sacrifice sleep for productivity. Strive for excellence. Go big or go home. Have a huge impact in the world. Make your life count.

But what if I just don’t have it in me. What if all the striving for excellence leaves me sad, worn out, depleted. Drained of joy. Am I simply not enough?

What if I never really amount to anything when I grow up – beyond mom and sister and wife. But these people in my primary circle of impact know they are loved and that I would choose them again, given the choice. Can this be enough?

What if I never build an orphanage in Africa but send bags of groceries to people here and there and support a couple of kids through sponsorship. What if I just offer the small gifts I have to the world and let that be enough.

What if I don’t want to write a cookbook or build a six-figure business or speak before thousands. But I write because I have something to say and I invest in a small community of women I care about and encourage them to love and care for themselves well. Because bigger isn’t always better and the individual matters. She is enough.

What if I just accept this mediocre body of mine that is neither big nor small. Just in between. And I embrace that I have no desire to work for rock hard abs or 18% body fat. And I make peace with it and decide that when I lie on my deathbed I will never regret having just been me. Take me or leave me.

What if I am a mediocre home manager who rarely dusts and mostly maintains order and makes real food but sometimes buys pizza and who is horrified at moments by the utter mess in some areas of her home. Who loves to menu plan and budget but then breaks her own rules and pushes back against rigidity. Who doesn’t care about decorating and fancy things. Whose home is humble but safe.

What if I am not cut out for the frantic pace of this society and cannot even begin to keep up. And see so many others with what appears to be boundless energy and stamina but know that I need tons of solitude and calm, an abundance of rest, and swaths of unscheduled time in order to be healthy. Body, Spirit, Soul healthy. Am I enough?

What if I am too religious for some and not spiritual enough for others. Non-evangelistic. Not bold enough. Yet willing to share in quiet ways, in genuine relationship, my deeply rooted faith. And my doubts and insecurities. This will have to be enough.

And if I have been married 21 years and love my husband more today than yesterday but have never had a fairy tale romance and break the “experts” marriage rules about doing a ton of activities together and having a bunch in common. And we don’t. And we like time apart and time together. Is our marriage good enough?

What if I am a mom who delights in her kids but needs time for herself and sometimes just wants to be first and doesn’t like to play but who hugs and affirms and supports her kids in their passions. A mediocre mom who can never live up to her own expectations of good enough, let alone yours.

What if I embrace my limitations and stop railing against them. Make peace with who I am and what I need and honor your right to do the same. Accept that all I really want is a small, slow, simple life. A mediocre life. A beautiful, quiet, gentle life. I think it is enough.


Source: https://www.alifeinprogress.ca/want-mediocre-life/

Grand Chancellor… of life, love, and all that comes with it

In 2016, I made the decision to see a counselor. A holistic one at that, I didn’t want to go and see a psych who would just shove me on some kind of anti-depressants and peddle me out the door “come see me next week”, and then talk about my childhood.

The seed was initially planted after several heated arguments with friends, one suggesting I get some help. Some people can take that on negatively, but I can only see someone that genuinely cares about the person and their mental health.

I don’t see going to a counselor or psych because some may have mental health issues, that’s where a bad stigma exists. Some people use them for a career change and seek advice, advice with families and relationships. Not just all those who have a mental health issue.

Seeing a counselor was the worst, and the best decision I’d ever made. It taught me and gave me the tools I needed to deal with the past, present and future problems. It helped me be more mindful of what I’m doing and the things around me. Like how much plastic goes into landfill, how much ends up in the ocean and from that, I worked to have less general waste. Everything now goes into recycling or compost. I haven’t had any general waste in over 6 months. It’s also made me more mindful of the people I have around me in my life. But it also presented me with new issues, events and feelings I hadn’t dealt with before. But it’s certainly made things a rollercoaster ride with everything new, and even old experiences when it comes to managing them.

Prior to seeing the counselor, I’d had a relationship that had ended very badly. Badly enough that I had mentally checked out for about six weeks or so. There are only three or four events during that time that I remember. I know I barely ate and lost a lot of weight, and I don’t have any other recollections of what happened during that time. I do, however, feel guilty that the people I care about and consider close, sat by and tried to help someone that wasn’t aware they were being helped or even walking on the face of the planet.

I’ve never been into the conventional views of relationships, like the man going to work to earn and provide. Nor have I been the same of people’s views of having a successful life and relationship, be it marriage, kids, car, house successful job/ well-payed career.

I’d like to be happy with who I am, where I am, and what I do. Not measured by other people’s standards. Marriage, a house, and all that pressure externally from others hadn’t been in my mind until my last relationship. I miss that relationship because I could be myself, there were no fears for the future, wanting to marry her and all of the above weren’t pressure from the outside world. They were on my own terms, and I wanted to see the relationship and those involved flourish because the deserved happiness, as much as I deserve happiness too.

When you spend time with someone and get to know them, you fall in love with every part of them. You only want them to have endless happiness, to give them things that make them happy. For me it was also a want, to give her happiness, inner peace, and contentment.

I would have happily given her a house, not just for a place to live. But a place of peace and content. Something that could be built to our own morals, and hearts. A place for a garden, a place for peaceful activities. While I like gardening, I don’t have many options in a rental. But I know it was her form of relaxation, and meditation, an off switch when she needed it most. I would have loved that chance to give her that space. For me, designing a house is something I’ve always wanted to do, and it’s an off switch for me, even watching tv shows about architecture. I can immerse myself and be lost in it. A house with recycled materials, big jetty pylons, and blocks of concrete. Earthy tones and a warm feeling, big windows to bring outside into the house so you never feel complete shut inside, or outside. If it was at all possible, I’d have tried to get the land that I grew up on, but now it’s part of a conservation park. It’s still a peaceful place for me to go.

Happiness and peace are important to my life, I never got a lot of it growing up. It was only until my late twenties that I was starting to experience it and felt I’d find that in a relationship. My mental health suffered during this time, and while I’m told I’m good at masking it. I should have been open about it, and not let it affect the relationship as it’s no excuse. It was my responsibility to look after it and I didn’t. It only got worse when the relationship ended with the most wonderful woman I’ve ever set my heart on.

The road to recovery will be long, hard, and confusing. I will have to find patience again. I’d like to find my passion again as I’ve lost it. There isn’t much that interests me anymore and I feel like I’m wasting away and wasting my time. I’m also not sure what I’m passionate about anymore either.

I do know I’d love to get a chance to be a husband, partner, sidekick, educator and role model, a Dad. But the word “father” never really comes to mind. Just because you can bring a child into this world does not make you a Father. Regardless of whoever’s child, it is, I’ll always take time to listen, educate and be a role model.

But where is my passion, and my heart supposed to go? If you observe the people around you, a lot of them are the same. Live the same lifestyle, do the same things over and over again without much thought to their own growth as a person. It’s the different ones I take notice of. Am I mean to stay in one place? Work in I.T. and do the same things over and over again? Am I meant for something different? Give up the rat race and live out a van like a nomad? Become someone who travels full time and blogs? Live in a different country as a writer about whatever the fuck that feels right? These are the people I take notice of, the “round peg in the square hole’.

 

That night, I thanked God for seeing me through that day of days and prayed I would make it through D plus 1. I also promised that if some way I could get home again, I would find a nice peaceful town and spend the rest of my life in peace.

Richard Winters

 

Swoots are for Snoots

Success… should mean never having to wear a suit. I hate suits, they are uncomfortable, expensive, impractical and wearing a tie is just plain horrible.

Why should success in a business-world be determined by what we wear? Why should our success be determined by likes, looks, or how much money we make? Maybe our success should be determined by our happiness, the value that one can get and give out of our day jobs. You could be earning millions, but still not be happy or find yourself fulfilled and satisfied with your job.
Maybe a dollar sign isn’t what drives you to do what you do, maybe seeing a smile on someone’s face is. We all do the nine to five grind because it is comfortable and familiar.

Are people too caught up in producing a brand that they have forgotten about identity? Have we forgotten what a human touch is? There is too much in the world now that has a lack of face, a lack of humanity to it. It’s a sterile and uncomfortable environment.

“Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.” – Horace Mann

Don’t be ashamed to be selfless and do something that makes you happy. If sitting in front of the white backlight of a computer screen no longer makes you happy, then change the things around you. People sacrifice doing what makes them happy to do what they think is right. That job as an accountant might pay well, but you’re busy dreaming about building things in your shed out of timber and getting paid to do it. The smells of the hardwoods, the oils and machinery, every time you cut into the grains and ready to create your next piece that lasts a lifetime. Now back to the reality of that co-worker who marinated in cologne this morning, people demanding you like you have a clone so you can be in two places at once. It’s nice being in demand, but not too unrealistic expectations. This is not Star Wars and this is not Attack of the Clones, there is only one of us.

When I was five years old, my Mom told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I wrote down “happy”. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment and I told them they didn’t understand life.” [-]

With an impending career change on the horizon, the motivation behind it comes from personal experience. I no longer want to meet peoples unrealistic demands, but I’d rather do something I enjoy that has a positive impact on those I want to work with. I want to make people smile when they feel like they are helping the greater good, and reaching their full potential. It’s my own personal agenda, to help everyone reduce today’s footprint for tomorrows little feet.

The whole idea of a career change is to cultivate a career around my wants and needs of a lifestyle. The wants of a career to what and who I deal with, as well as the needs to be flexible for my health and working with like-minded passionate people. At the end of it, I’ll feel happy when I can work contently in a location that does not have the interruptions of the busy city, nine to five grind. Somewhere I can work quietly amongst the green scenery.  I prefer the quiet over chaos, I want my own time and not to be everyone else’s time. The perfect fit, not the perfect result.

Minimalism, for art thou savior!

Dear Friends, Do you have a moment to talk about Minimalism?

Dear Friends,

I love you. I’m picky with my friends. I’m picky about who I spend my time, and my efforts on. Is it from getting old and becoming wise? From the repeated disappointment that comes from the expectations placed on one another? You are my friends, you are a place I can bury my thoughts, my insecurities, to vent when I have a bad day, to seek advice from when I need it.

You all do the same, to vent, to ask advice, to bury your thoughts and insecurities. You are all capable of doing much more, you are in control of your life. If there is something that no longer makes you happy or suits its purpose, change it. It may feel like you have a lot at stake, but the fear of what is on the other side is holding you back. The “what if’s”. Change it anyway. Only until you make a change will you see the benefits after, regardless of the risk.

“If you no longer go for a gap which exists you are no longer a racing driver” – Ayrton Senna

My friends, do you have a moment to talk about minimalism?

Do you ever feel weighed down? And I’m not talking about the big things, the small things, the ones that each time something happens it adds a little bit more to the pile. More weight, more problems (Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems). It will keep adding and adding until eventually, you break. The straw that broke the Camels back.

Life is complicated, life is stressful. But it doesn’t have to be, you’re allowed to make it simple. You are allowed to have a simple, loving, fulfilling life. You are allowed to simplify everything. This includes your friends, family, work, and your commitments. You are allowed to say no.

Minimalism has its benefits, and I’m not going to go all ‘preachy, preachy’ praise minimalism, on you. We, as humans, are only equipped to handle so much, and some things we are not able to handle at all. Simplify a number of aspects of your life that you need to manage and then learn ways to manage the aspects you can’t. You will have extra time to do so, it’s time to start investing in yourself and your well-being. Invest in your growth, and make investments with your time. Don’t waste the time on people who do not help you grow, or stomp on your voice.

People are a great stressor in life, regardless of who a person is to you. There are always complications regardless of the type of relationship. If the relationship is no longer making you happy, reassess if it is right for you and then remember. You do have a voice.