Acceptance or struggle – the constant debate

Mon 1 – Sun 7 Feb 2021

A bit demoralising last week. Me and Dave should have been flying to Gran Can for our winter break… 🙁 Meanwhile in the dimension we call ‘reality’, things seem to be slowly getting better with the virus. Deaths and infections are gradually going down. But we can’t risk getting out of lockdown yet. I also had a setback in trying to get a new job. And I’ve been watching more art and culture online. From all this, I’m noting a common theme in my life about how far to settle for acceptance and how far to strive for better?

Reflecting and chilling

Went for a job that I was sure I could do very well. Didn’t even get an interview. 🙁 Looks like getting a decent new job is going to be harder than I expected. Should I just accept that I might not have as good a job as I did previously or, that at the very least, it’s going to take a lot longer than expected?

Checked in with my Job Centre Plus officer last week. She was really pleased with how much I was doing to try to get a new job. And I also checked in with the self-employment adviser. Unfortunately she’s only there to help people with definite business ideas. Not just to have discussions around potential ideas. I haven’t given up on applying for jobs yet so I will have a think about firming up potential business ventures and perhaps go back to her in the future.

Personal Development

Still doing my language learning and trying to improve my tech skills. For the latter, I am attempting to do a few exercises each evening. However, I must be honest and acknowledge my use of the language learning apps has dipped a bit recently. 🙁 As I’ve already stated in previous blogs, putting emphasis on looking for work is crowding out other things.

I am starting to think that you spend more time and effort looking for work than you do in actually working when you’ve got a job. 🙂 Suppose I’m just going to have to accept the fact that I’m doing less language learning. 🙁 I have changed the setting on my Drops app so that I only need to do one 5 min exercise per day to keep up with the 90 day challenge I am on.

Art and Culture

‘Survivors’

This great 70s TV classic continues to grip me. It shows its age in many ways. But the theme is very much about people trying to deal with acceptance of their situation but learning to survive because there is no other choice. The insularity of their life is always there especially with so few people left. But death comes quite easily and even when it comes, people have to move on quickly. Recommended. 🙂

‘The Cockettes’

No European cinema last week but rather a queer film documentary about a radical drag collective in late 60s / early 70s San Francisco. The epitome of non-acceptance of the norm. But was it worth it? Did it change anything? Does it matter if it didn’t but was brilliant whilst it lasted? All interesting questions that flowed through my head whilst watching.

‘My candle burns at both ends; it will not last the night; but ah, my foes, and oh, my friends – it gives a lovely light!’

Edna St. Vincent Millay

It’s fascinating how drag has become such a ‘normal’ in everyday culture. You only need to think of the success of RuPaul’s Drag Race particularly with its widespread acceptance among Gen Zs and Millenials. Though I can remember some of the great drag from my teens and 20s. People like the brilliant Lily Savage (aka Paul O’Grady) and Regina Fong. They were such a part of the gay culture of the 80s and 90s that aggressively challenged the hetero-norm.

This is the future that Liberals want
A seat on the train for everyone 🙂

‘It Happened Here’

I have a love for alternative history. ‘What ifs?’ are the most pointless thing in terms of personal life. But there’s a fun in thinking how the world might have been altered if big historical events had turned out differently.

This movie was made in 1964 by a couple of teenagers. It theorises about life in 1944 England occupied by the Nazis. You can read more about it on Wikipedia here. What is fascinating is the widespread acceptance of the occupation. We like to think we would fight back against oppression but so often in history it is about acceptance of evil in order to survive.

One of the main risks with counterfactuals is that we only focus on how things could have been a lot worse. But the reality is that things could also have been a lot better. For instance, think about a world in which we handled the Covid pandemic well so that over 110,000 didn’t die and people weren’t plunged into poverty.

Some men see things as they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were, and ask why not.’

Robert Kennedy

‘It’s a Sin’

Watched the 3rd episode on Fri night of this wonderful programme about the horror of the 80s HIV pandemic. And this episode was so sad with the death of a main character. Someone quite inexperienced but I knew people like that who died at the time. There was nothing ‘fair’ about AIDS in the 80s.

Indeed, as ‘It’s a Sin’ illustrates, life at that time for LGBT people was a clear story of non-acceptance. And thank God we didn’t accept things. The prejudice and discrimination was horrendous. If we had all just accepted and got on with it then it would have led to people being locked up. As it was, we still had to deal with the government discrimination (aka Section 28) forbidding the funding of anything considered to be possibly promoting or normalising homosexuality.

Health and Efficiency

Jog-run and long walks

So just one jog-run last week. I strive to do two each week but have to accept that doesn’t always happen. Went out on Fri morning – a dry and pleasant day. Indeed, wore my hat to keep warm and had to take it off as I was getting too warm. Nice, slow time though slightly faster than the previous week. It’s so hard to deliberately slow down.

But did have a couple of good long walks. A walk of over an hour and a half on both Wed and Thurs. Do love such walks where I either read my kindle or listen to a Big Finish adventure. Danger is that I don’t just enjoy being in the world and appreciating what is happening around me.

Weight loss

lose weight now

My weight is a classic example of where I constantly move between acceptance and striving for better. Last week it basically stayed the same. However, the trend may be going up. Do I accept to stay between 13 and 13 & a half stone or do I make the hard effort to get under 13 stone?

Details on weight and jog-runs here 🙂

Books and Reading

I love reading and one of my big frustrations is not being able to read all the books that I want to. There is simply not enough time. 🙁 But I need to have acceptance that is just the reality of where I am. Unfortunately, no books completed last week. I’m still getting through another collection of Dr Who short stories and ‘The Massacre of Mankind’ – the follow-up to ‘The War of the Worlds’.

Velvet Page

Velvet page book club

Wasn’t sure I would make my book club. And it came to pass on Thurs night that I skipped mainly because I hadn’t read the book (The Proof of Love by Catherine Hall). Plus the 7-8 pm slot was good for going after work when we met at Waterstones in Piccadilly. But now, by that time I have eaten and am settling down to watch the soaps.

Sustainability – downsizing

Not spending much as there isn’t anything to do apart from go to the supermarket. 🙁 However, I am doing more sorting out stuff I don’t need. This is sorted into for the charity shop when it reopens (suspect they will be avalanched). Or selling online to get some money.

I don’t think of myself as a hoarder, rather a collector. 🙂 But retaining stuff you don’t need is a form of poisonous acceptance. Why passively keep stuff you don’t need and won’t use? I am definitely feeling better in myself by getting rid of stuff. Ultimately I just want to travel light as I progress through the final few decades of my life. 🙂

Friends

Two main catch-ups last week.

Phyllis

Yep, my weekly check in with Philip in Andalucia. Thankfully he is still doing well in his recovery from Covid. He is someone who is not into accepting things. And I admire that particularly the way he has moved around. Reminds me of my old friend Brian who wasn’t into accepting his slow decline in ageing and moved to Spain in his 60s. 🙂

Spanish flag

Philip is in Torremolinos and it seems so much better than here. The UK clearly is doing well with vaccinations. But no other country in Europe has had as many deaths. And in Spain gyms, cafes and beaches are open. Albeit with masks, social distancing, and curfews – a small price for some normality.

Sue

Another old work colleague catch-up. Sue is someone I worked with at Comic for 11 years. She started just before me and is one of the best people I have ever worked with. Great to find out that after redundancy, she has managed to get a great new job. It’s a different job to what she was doing before but the key thing for her was the ethos of the organisation she would be working for.

She inspired me to not fall into the acceptance trap and explore other options for possible employment beyond what I have always done. And it was heartening to hear how even someone as brilliant as her had failed to get interviews for some jobs she had gone for. Plus how getting the new job was not a piece of cake with several interviews. 🙂

The Week Ahead

  • Acceptance of life as it is but planning for it to get better in the future. If you haven’t got hope and ambition then what have you got?
  • Seen a new job I’m going to focus on applying for. Not gonna spread myself too thinly or end up accidentally doing something that I’m not excited by.
  • Meanwhile, going to continue exploring my self-employment business ideas as well as doing development around languages and tech. Have signed up to attend the Third Sector Tech Summit on Thurs (details here – registration is free).
  • Will definitely continue my immersion in online art and culture as well as decluttering my life of stuff I don’t need
  • Don’t think I’m into acceptance of not getting under 13 stone just yet. So going to keep my food intake under control, do at least one slow jog-run, and a couple of good long walks.
  • Definitely finish one book and start something new 🙂
  • A couple of interesting friend catch-ups next week. First, the regular check in with Phyllis. Second, a chat with someone I don’t really know but we’ve reached out to each other on LinkedIn. The way to go forward me thinks otherwise how can we meet new people at the moment?

And Finally…

Acceptance or struggle

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