All that really matters is the future

Mon 11 – Sun 17 June 2018

My philosophy on life: focus on the future

There is a very strong school of thought at the moment that promotes mindfulness for good mental health. A fundamental part of that is the belief that we shouldn’t dwell in the past or the future, rather just focus on the now. I don’t buy this. I do accept the part about the negative impact of the past. Dwelling on the unalterable what has been is pointless. As is letting the past define where the future is (can you hear me Brexit Britain?).

I think the most important thing is to look to the future. The future is big and exciting full of untapped potential. Perhaps things may not end up well but we don’t know, and by planning and preparing for a better future as best we can that is what may happen. For the present, the most important thing must be to be happy in whatever way we want so long as it does not harm others.

And that also means two other things. Taking risks rather than constantly seeking the safe option that doesn’t lead to excitement and happiness. Think of the time you were afraid to do something, did it, and felt great afterwards.

Second, shrug bad things off and look to the future. Life is to short to dwell on stuff.

Last week in a nutshell

I don’t always achieve the happiness I seek. But last week was not a bad one. I created some time for myself and pretty much enjoyed things that happened as much as I could. And next week looks like a good one so that must make me feel happy.

Books and Reading

‘When the floods came’

Only one book fully read last week and it was this one by Clare Morrall that added to my philosophical mood. A good book but not a fantastic one. It’s apocalyptic which I find a bit tiring these days i.e. let’s all pretend the world is in ruins and everyone is dead apart from me. But it’s a clever, claustrophobic book about a family in a tower block in a Britain quarantined to the rest of the world due to a plague and rising waters everywhere due to global warming. But then a stranger appears. It’s almost a play with so few characters. Yes, I think it would make a better play than a novel.

Brighton

Me and Dave went off to see Bob on Thurs. A ‘there and back in a day job’. Indeed, we didn’t go to Brighton at all but rather to Portslade, the nearest and far less trendy train station near to Bob’s nursing home. Me and Dave can live quite separate lives, often doing our thing and not actually living together. So it is nice when we have times like this where we spend the day together.

seagull on a brighton railingTrain journey was fine and a pub lunch before seeing Bob. Appears my card telling of our visit hadn’t arrived. Down to the coffee shop to watch the world go by. I found him a bit less coherent than other times. Perhaps it was just the surprise of seeing us. And he is getting more deaf though I think I am as well.

Innovation and Creativity

Tech4Good Awards

cartoon character secret squirrelTues all-day I was at the BT Tower. In the morning I was with my brilliant colleagues Martha and Dilys for the announcement of the shortlists in each category of the Tech4Good Awards including our own Tech4Good for Africa Award. And speed networking which was great fun though very noisy and I had trouble hearing everything (old age?)

Afternoon, it was me and my old colleague Nissa on the very large judging panel deciding who should win in each category. It’s all secret squirrel until the 17 July Awards ceremony. But from 18 June until 9 July, voting for the People’s Award is open where the public can vote for any shortlisted project as the popular winner. Go and vote here.

Kate Adams

CybermanFri morning and it was lovely to have coffee with my former colleague Kate who now works at NESTA. We met at Somerset House and the weather was so lovely that we could sit outside for our coffee. Good to chat about tech in the future with me putting forward my very unfashionable theory that the merger of man and machines aka The Borg or Cybermen is inevitable and nothing to be feared.

Good advice

Health and Efficiency

Gym

Male body imageJust 2 gym sessions last week due to work commitments and going to see Bob. 🙁 Mon and Sat mornings. Both decent sessions including my new routine of including 10 mins each on cross-trainer, rowing machine, and inclined treadmill thus combining working my muscles and cardio.

Jog-run

As per usual, various bits of my body were telling me not to do this – right knee, left achilles, right calf, etc. But, again as per usual, once I went for it on Sun morning and got into the swing of things then I was perfectly fine. An OK time (just under 1 hour & 6 mins) though slower than last week. I really do need to work on my times per km being more consistent. At the moment, they can range from 6 to 8 mins. Video reports on my jog-runs here and details on my times here.

INR

warfarin tabletsCheck after a month on Wed and it was 1.8 which is under range and means I am prone to blood clots again. The tiring thing is that my dosage changes but I have to come back in just over a week’s time to have it checked again.

Personal Development

Only one real day off / non-work day last week

And that was Monday. Thurs was a day not at work but I spent the day travelling to and from Brighton to see Bob. I am so grateful to Sam Applebee for being fine about me not attending CogX with him last Mon. I would have loved to attend this big event about all things AI (Artificial Intelligence) but I just needed one of those days when nothing is happening for my own wellbeing.

Family get together

birthday cake to celebrate my half centuryReally nice to have a family meal on Sat night to celebrate mum’s birthday. An afternoon snooze before me and Dave made our way to the Union Jack Club. A perfectly decent and not too heavy meal. Mum had received lots of phone calls and cards which was great.

Duolingo, coding, emails

Two big successes last week around PD. First, Duolingo everyday including some of the new languages I am playing with – Italian, Polish & Russian. The latter is really hard with its completely different alphabet though Polish is no push-over either. Second, I sort of kept on top of emails. Particular success with shrinking my work inbox. I have created a new sub-folder ‘Archive’ to dump everything in that is old (i.e. received more than a fortnight ago) and I don’t know what to do with but feel I shouldn’t delete ‘just in case’. Therapeutic and recommended. Unfortunately, coding practice has been crap as usual.

This card really does sum me up

Sustainability

recycling symbol

Nothing major to reflect on. Rather the usual series of small things I do that, hopefully, cumulatively make a difference. Walking, using my reusable cup, trying not to use products with so much plastic, taking stuff to recycling and things to the charity shop, eating less meat, not over-using electricity. All the type of small changes that everyone can make.

Cinema

the iconic late 70s NY clubMe and Dave went off to the ICA to see the new film about ‘Studio 54’ on Sun. An older audience wallowing in their memories of this iconic late 70s decadent New York discotheque. It was a club very much of its time and this film adds to the whole sense of mythology around the place.

A great example of how a shining star can last through history and be a constant inspiration for the future.

The Week Ahead

  • I have 3 non-work weekdays next week that all look relatively clear. 🙂 How fucking brilliant is that?! 🙂 I have kept the usual 2 non-work days clear (Tues & Thurs) plus I’m taking 1 of the 2 TOIL days I am owed on Mon.
  • 2 busy work days on Wed & Fri plus an event on Mon afternoon. Lots of internal stuff but also some good meet-ups with interesting external people.
  • Evening event on Wed – the Apps for Good Awards. Hope I’m not too knacked to make it.
  • Thurs evening it’s the birthday meal for my old friend Daisy (David)
  • Exercise-wise the target is 4 gym sessions and a jog-run
  • INR to be re-checked Fri morning, fingers crossed for a good reading and a reasonable gap till the next test
  • PD focus on the usual: languages through Duolingo, coding practice (yeah right), and controlling emails
  • Gonna finish my current Chinese sci-fi reading book and move onto a new one. Might even get 2 books read in 1 week which always makes me happy. Hopefully will also get some more Dr Who audio listened to.

And Finally…

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