Coffee, tea, alcohol, normality and being happy

Mon 12 – Sun 18 July 2021

Your purpose in life is to be happy. Because if you ain’t happy then what is the point of the life you are living? Change it – you only get one shot.

Last week was one where I did a lot of stuff that made me happy. But I realised there are more things I can do that can make me even happier. It’s that thing about following your dreams. Apparently we are in the midst of ‘The Big Resignation’. More people than ever are quitting their jobs as a result of the pandemic. Who wants to go back to commuting and shit offices? Yeah we are craving human contact but we can do better than the normal crummy workplace.

Indeed, it is also unclear how far we can ever go back to what was. Sure it will happen at some point but it might take longer than we expect and the world will be changed. ‘Freedom Day’ and who really believes everything will be ‘normal’? Who has the total confidence to go to a packed club, concert hall, theatre, cinema, or sports event?

The important thing for me is to work out what makes you happy and live a life filled with that.

Things that made me happy last week

The coffee, tea and alcohol lifestyle

It’s not just that these liquids make me happy in their own right but also the lifestyle they are linked to. I love sitting outside a coffee shop chilling: checking out my mobile, reading a book, and people watching. It’s tea at home and that always makes me happy and relaxed. Do love a cup of tea before I go to bed though it’s one of the reasons I have to get up during the night to pee.

And wine (plus whiskey) are my tipples. Again they make me feel relaxed. Love sitting in the open air having an alcoholic drink and chilling. Probably the reason why I am so happy whenever I am in Spain on my own or with Dave. Not a great fan of traditional pubs though do like a nice bar especially hotel bars – they feel so sophisticated.

Wine

Thinking about the future

Regular readers will know I love being future-focused. No point on going back to the past like a dog to sick. What is exciting and makes me happy is thinking and planning for the future. Yep it might be shit and we could be on the point of a massive climate crisis. But things might also work themselves out especially if we plan and do something about it.

I do a lot to try and be sustainable. I continue to try to de-hoard my life and only buy what I need. The circular economy is something I really believe in. Plus being surrounded by nature and treating it well.

The other thing I think about in terms of the future and being happy is to plan my future work-life balance. Things are going well at my current role but it is time-fixed, due to end April. Basically I have had a quarter of my time there. It might go on after the end of my current contract, it might not. But I am thinking and planning for my future. Indeed, I think I am on the edge of semi-retirement. And that makes me happy. A time when I work because I want to and enjoy it rather than being on the career ladder.

The future - next exit

Tech for Good

I genuinely believe it is possible that ‘tech will save us’. The future can only be shaped for the best by technological advancement and changes in human behaviour. That is why I get excited by the concept of tech for good and why I am happy in my current role as it is based on this.

Last week was all about scoring applications to our Social Change Lab. In doing this we’ve been assisted by volunteers from across Thoughtworks. There are some fantastic projects that just make me realise how much we need to take big risks and make significant investments if we want change to happen. Plus it also makes me realise how much further we still have to go in supporting not-for-profit orgs to be good at using digital.

Very good on Wed to attend the launch of this year’s Charity Skills Digital Report, read more about it here. And then in the evening tune in for the announcement of the winners and highly commended for this year’s Tech4Good Awards, details here.

tech4good awards

Reading and books

Love getting lost in a book – this was the lead theme of my previous blog that you can read here. And as said earlier, nothing makes me more happy than chilling with a bevvy and a book. And I adore walking along dipping in and out of my kindle. Got two great books on the go at the mo. My traditional reading book is ‘The Glass Hotel’ by Emily St John Mandel. Contemporary fiction without a sci-fi / fantasy or gay element. But wonderfully written and engaging.

While my kindle book is ‘The Manningtree Witches’ by A.K. Blakemore. An excellent debut novel based on the evil bastard that was Matthew Hopkins, Witchfinder General. I can be happy reading another book by an author I already like (as with St John Mandel). Or discovering a new writer who makes my heart sing – like Blakemore.

Rows and rows of beautiful books

Dr Who

This is a constant in my life and always makes me happy. Total escapism – I adore catching up on old TV episodes as well as listening to new stories or reading books. I mention this as last week I finished reading a Dr Who book. ‘Steel Skies’ – the fifth volume in a series of short stories from the cult publisher Big Finish. Stories about enclosed and artificial environments. I can’t remember all the stories but I know they made me feel good.

Don’t forget you can see details of all the books I have read here. I have to use it as a reference myself quite frequently. Especially if I see a book and have to check whether I have read it before I borrow it or purchase secondhand.

Exercise

Love, love, love going for a long walk. Especially if it’s purposeful i.e. there is a reason to do it. A few long walks last week between visiting mum and visiting Dave. Making me happy as I walk and read my kindle broken up with coffee chill particularly when the weather is good. As it was over the weekend, getting up to high 20s temperatures.

Gotta make a decision soon about returning to my gay gym. It reopens on Monday. And I have missed it big time. Not been to the gym for nearly 18 months. But there will come a time when I can’t go physically so no harm in learning to live without it. But I used to love going to the gym and then the sauna afterwards because it made me so happy. However, I know so many people getting pinged at the mo and I worry about that happening if I go back to the gym straight away. Also want to make sure that we don’t go into another lockdown before I buy a new annual membership.

Be happy and grateful about nice things

Personal development: languages and coding

I love things that make me think and develop my mind. Thus my commitment to personal development makes me happy. Still doing minimum of a daily lesson each in German and Spanish on Duolingo. Did significant more time overall on it last week than the previous week. Plus did some more learning around Python on the Mimo app.

Dave and family

Dave and my family make me very happy. Though I wish that they could always be happy (and not have such low boredom thresholds). Happiness is the gift you wish you could give people to make their lives easier. Me and Dave are thinking more about our future in terms of post-work / semi-retirement. Great to eat out at our favourite Portuguese cafe on Fri night which does feel like being on holiday. Dave himself had a couple of days last week out of London visiting Tunbridge Wells and Bognor Regis.

Meanwhile, his mum is feeling better after being ill. And mine is OK though I hope she can feel confident in the new normality to get out a bit more.

Stunning half naked man - how could you not smile?

Happy things I want to do more of

Friends

Did manage my regular phone catch-up with Phyllis last week and his adventures always make me smile. Was hoping to see my friend Irene towards the end of the week but our diaries didn’t match. I love my friends (why would I stay friends with them if I didn’t?) and I want to share more happy times with them. Perhaps it comes in the post-work / semi-retirement phase of my near future life.

Art and culture

I am happy with this theme when I am not just consuming but also creating. I am not doing enough of either at the moment. I want more culture in my life – galleries, museums, theatres, cinema, concerts. But can we really easily go back to the normality of dropping in on these whenever we want? Watching more films would be an easy and quick win. My creator phase again may be further in the future.

Travel

Let’s be honest, we are all gagging for a holiday abroad right now. But the travel regulations are still a dog’s dinner. Me and Dave do not want to take the risk of visiting somewhere and getting kicked out or needing to race back early to avoid quarantine. Plus there are still restrictions on normal activities in some or our favourite places. But when travel starts again, I plan to do more because it makes me happy. Though, as I have said before, I want to try to do so without relying on flying.

Let life wash over you and be happy

The week ahead

  • Me and Dave have booked into a hotel in London for next weekend. This will make us happy by giving a similar feeling to going away on holiday. And we can spend time together making plans for the future. 🙂
  • Gonna enjoy the good weather and make sure I have opportunities to sit out and drink coffee or wine 🙂
  • See how normality pans out with the stupidly named ‘Freedom Day’ – ‘FreeDumb Day’? Will wait before going back to the gym.
  • Should make a decision this week on who to invite for interview in the Social Change Lab initiative. Ultimately we will end up with some amazing projects. 🙂 But I am also going to have to explain to lots of people why they were not selected. 🙁
  • Will carry on reading the two good books I have on the go, might complete one or both during the week
  • Lots of lovely walking 🙂
  • Must, must, must spend some more time watching movies

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