Different blog style – the importance of doing things differently

Mon 14 – Sun 20 June 2021

We should do stuff because ultimately it makes us happy. But that’s not a licence to hurt others or the planet. So if you are doing something that doesn’t make you happy then change it. That doesn’t always mean trashing things completely. Sometimes it just means doing them differently.

I started this blog (and website) for a couple of reasons. One was to give me somewhere to practice my WordPress skills – which still aren’t that great LOL. The other was to support my own mental health. It was about moving on from just a written diary started originally as part of my post-breakdown therapy. The blog continues to enable me to appreciate good and bad things in my life as well as go back and look at what was. Plus if other people find it interesting to read then happy days. πŸ™‚

Do things differently to avoid them feeling like a chore

However, I find myself sometimes perceiving writing the blog as a drag. I could just stop doing it but the time doesn’t feel right to do that yet. I enjoy writing and being able to look back on my life. Also, it continues to help me make sense of existence and what I want out of it. And I am very aware others enjoy reading it.

So the issue is to produce a blog each week that does not feel either daunting or tiring. Thus, I need to do it differently. Indeed, I feel the style (braced under the same headings each week) is getting a bit stale. So it is a different blog style this week. I might keep it, I might not. I might go back to previous style, I might try new styles. This is an agile mind-set: trying different things till they ‘work’. In this context ‘work’ = a blog I can write relatively quickly that still helps me and interests others. Don’t hesitate if you want to comment on this.

Green – good stuff last week

Friends: Catch-ups with Matt, Julie, Simon, Megan, Sona, and Phyllis

  • Monday it was my old colleague Matt who lives in France now. A really clever guy who gave me some great thinking around the Social Change Lab. Similar stuff on Friday when I spoke to Julie who wrote the brilliant New Reality (Tech for Good) research study several years ago and is now returning to consultancy. And on the same day Simon and Megan who are both doing some interesting freelancing. Plus also on Friday, a video chat with my old workmate Sona who also lives in France now with her partner and animals including pygmy goats. And, of course, Phyllis on Tuesday in Torremolinos who is living the vida loca. πŸ™‚
progress being made

Friends: Lunch with Jane

  • The above catch-ups were zoom or phonecall – the latter would have been a very different thing to do pre-lockdown whereas now it is normality. Different now is to meet people face to face. And that is what me and Dave did with our friend Jane on Friday afternoon (I had a half-day off work). Met Jane at lunch at one of mine and Dave’s favourite places, the Union Jack Club UJC – a wonderful example of faded British grandeur.

Family: mum and Dave

  • They are both well. Dave is like me, thinking about how we can do things differently to enjoy life more. Had a family meal on Saturday night at the UJC (again) including my brother and his partner. Really nice to see them all plus a good meal and nice drinks in the bar (with the footie on the big TV). πŸ™‚

Art and Culture

  • Me and Dave went to see the free exhibition about Noel Coward at the Guild Hall on Monday. Amazing to walk through a deserted City of London – it was like being there on a Sunday in the old days. Fun exhibition and stuff I didn’t know about this brilliantly talented man. This included his secret work during WWII, his post-war life in Jamaica, and the establishment put off awarding him a knighthood till 1970 – just 3 years before he died. πŸ™

Tech for Good

  • I carry on plugging the Social Tech Lab – the brilliant big pro-bono tech advice and development offer to UK-based not-for-profit organisations that I am overseeing. Lots of great conversations with organisations that are thinking of applying which is exactly what we want rather than too many speculative bids. πŸ™‚

Books: Doctor Who

  • Only one book finished last week. And it was a collection of Dr Who short stories: ‘Short Trips #4 – The Muses’. A short story anthology linked to the nine muses of Greek mythology. Ultimately all quite disposable and non-memorable. But there is a comfort in reading this for me. πŸ™‚
Rows and rows of beautiful books

Amber – in the middle

Exercise

  • Some good long walks especially on Tues, Thurs, and Sat. Note non-work days. Work days I am often simply tied to the pooter. πŸ™ But no slow jog-runs; I’m thinking more and more that I must get back to this.

Personal Development

  • Better week than normal. Kept up with the usual Duolingo learning. Indeed, according to the update they send each Saturday, I have been spending more time on it consecutively each week for the last 3 weeks. Different to normal in that I also managed to do some coding learning around JavaScript. I’ll never be a developer but it’s nice to sort of know what is going on. πŸ™‚
innovation labs

Sustainability

  • I carry on doing the good stuff to make a different and better world including looking after the plants at my place and Dave’s place, supporting local charity shops, and spending time with nature. Also trying not to buy stuff as well as offload possessions. I’m struggling with the fact that I want to travel again after lockdown ends proper but how to do that without contributing to climate change? πŸ™

Work life balance

  • I am really enjoying my new job. And I try hard to keep just to my 24 paid hours each week. This does mean sometimes I work on days off and then reduce the number of hours on my official work days. Took off a day and a half last week to fit with the need to take off a certain number of days before the half-year point. But I did do a little bit of work on those days. My work life balance is good at the moment but I need to take care not just to define my existence by work and pace myself. Indeed, I think we all need to do this.

‘The graveyards are full of people the world could not do without.’

Football

  • Loving the Euros particularly the ability to have it on in the background and dip in-out as I want to. Hate the whole corporatism of it (players being told not to removed dodgy advertising in front of them) and nasty nationalism when it rears its ugly head.
The negative force that is nationalism

Red – bad stuff

Weight

  • Nothing different to report here. Still at 13 stone, 7.5 pounds so no increase but also no decrease. You can see the recent pattern of slow gain here. πŸ™

Gym

  • Moving to a different national ‘opening up’ date means my little private gym’s re-opening is delayed yet again. Part of me thinks it is not going to ever reopen. πŸ™

Weather

  • A week of two different extremes. Scorching hot and dry through to Wednesday with temperatures up to high twenties. Then poured down and on-off rain + cool temperatures from Wed evening onwards.

β€œOne never notices what has been done. One can only see what remains to be done.”

Marie Curie

The Week Ahead

  • Reading 2 new books – both very different. ‘Out of the Woods’ by Luke Turner, a real-life story of how connecting with nature helped a young man deal with his mental health and sexuality issues. ‘The Obesity Code’ by Dr Jason Fung, an alternative but medically based investigation into the causes of obesity.
  • Lots more promotion of the Social Change Lab and conversations with people considering applying. Indeed, we are hosting a webinar on Monday. πŸ™‚
  • Got 6 month consultation with my HIV doctor on Thurs afternoon, should be routine
  • Good catch ups to come with friends including my old work colleague Sue – and Phyllis of course
  • Good Tech for Good chats with John and Debbie plus the second part of the Tech for Good London meet-up on open source on Thursday
  • Will get in some more long walks and push down my weight. Must think how to get in more exercise on my work days in particular.
  • Try not to work (too much) on my days off and follow the new policy of ensuring my work inbox does not exceed 50 emails

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