‘Hang around. Let fate do the work’

Mon 17 – Sun 23 Jan 2021

The quotation that is the title of this blog comes from a book I have been reading (‘A Capitol Death’ by Lindsay Davis). It hit me in terms of how I need to be at the moment and what I have learnt in my life. I’m feeling down and tired, still pushing through January. But that is what life is often about, just getting through and letting fate take its course.

What does that mean ‘let fate do the work/take its course’. I think it means that we are often in a rush to do things , get things finished, or just make decisions. And we are impatient to know what is ahead of us. But life goes on whatever we do. So stop worrying about things and just let them ride. However you feel, it’s OK just stay to with it and see where it leads.

Sometimes I can just spare into space and not know what I’m thinking about. We all do it. Even animals – note how cats and dogs sometimes are just still and staring. It’s like meditating and being at peace with yourself. Obviously you can’t spend your life like that. But accepting fate is getting into that mindset of just letting things go and see where they land.

“I never lose sight of the fact that just being is fun.”

Katharine Hepburn

Health and Efficiency

The Gym

No matter what I am feeling, going to the gym makes me feel better. And fate has led me back to my old gay gym/sauna. My plan is to do two weekday mornings there on a normal week whilst I still work 3 days pw. That was what happened the week just gone and it felt so good to be back after 2 years away. Don’t think it helped me lose any weight last week but it made me feel content.

Really quiet on both occasions as it was a weekday morning. Did an hour plus in the gym each time. Indeed, I could quite happily just workout for hours – love pottering around the gym and trying out different machines, exercises, and weights. And so nice afterwards to chill in an equally peaceful jacuzzi and sauna. My gym/sauna can get very busy but I’m happy to be there when it’s quiet.

And I’m pleased to report that although my problematic knee has been hurting a bit, I don’t think the gym made it worse. Indeed, the jacuzzi felt great on my knee. So hopefully, by default, the gym is making it better by my legs getting stronger. Again leave it to fate and see how things pan out.

I had an idea to keep an eye on the amount of time I have been to the gym and what the cost is. So £500 for annual membership and I have been 3 times. Thus £167 per session so far. But that will go down the more I attend. Be nice to see how it works out in a year’s time.

Mental health

I’ve always suffered from depression and made a conscious decision to stick with my anti-depressants as a permanent med. Like many, my dark moods come and go ostensibly for no obvious explanation. I tell myself there is no good overall reason to be down. That fate gives us ups and downs to get through. Though you can always identify some of the things that make you sad. And the things that can then take that away.

What to do? Giving it over to fate

So why am I down?

If I unpick it then 3 main reason me thinks:

  • Seeing several people pass away and noting how it affects their partners. I look forward and think of all the people I love who will die. And that I may die without doing all I wanted to do.
  • Work is very busy. I love my job but I always want to do my best and so I probably put too much effort in. This is where I must learn to let fate flow.
  • Very likely me and Dave are going to cancel our annual Gran Canaria holiday in late Feb – the main photo accompanying this blog is me on the balcony at our favourite hotel there. Fate has intervened so that this date suits neither of us in terms of things that have come up in our paid work.

All this is transient. And death is inevitable which we just need to accept. As I wrote in my previous blog (read it here), I will be reducing the hours in my current job from the end of May. Very likely this will be my last job before I enter semi-retirement. Indeed, I had an idea for a not-too-onerous business to set-up. And there will be other holidays.

“Whatever you do, be different.”

Anita Roddick

Tech for Good

I am lucky to have an interesting job basically encouraging not-for-profit orgs to use tech more and better. But a knife cuts both ways and my role is also about helping the tech sector understand the charity/not-for-profit world. Some of the highlights at the moment:

  • Working on our current delivery project to ensure successful completion, a happy client, and better support for people who need help fast
  • Co-operating with a group of not-for-profit orgs to develop the funding pitch for a great environmental project – tech has a big role to play in trying to tackle the climate crisis
  • Developing our carbon reduction plan so we can get to net zero
  • Preparing for upcoming conference sessions
  • Ensuring that we are promoting ‘responsible tech’ – tech is not neutral and can be used for good or bad. Plus we need to consider how we can be ethical in everything we do; it does feel that Big Tech has stepped off this path in so many ways.
  • Looking at new ways we might provide pro-bono tech developer support to not-for-profit organisations
  • Helping the development of internal colleagues. Indeed, I am often asking colleagues for help in areas I don’t understand. Such a flow of mutual teaching and learning is vital in any successful agency.
progress being made

Family and Friends

Fate has given me a great family, a lovely partner, and some brilliant friends. Between them, they often pull me out of my dark periods by being supportive and just giving me space to get on with life. Leave me alone with a good book in a cafe or bar with a coffee or glass of wine watching the world go by and I will often cheer up.

Family

Spent a fair amount of time with mum as usual though often I was working whilst with her. But a bit less than usual as my brother spent some unplanned time with her. Dave is well and very happy with a big success at work. It’s linked to the probable cancellation of our Gran Can holiday but it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Don’t want to be Secret Squirrel forever and look forward to a grand reveal in the future.

Friends

The weekend was all about being with friends. Saturday afternoon I spent some time chilling and reading in the bar at the UJC. Then I was joined by Dave and our friend Pierce. We had a lovely meal and then retreated back to the bar. So nice just to spend time with people you like chilling and chewing the cud.

Then on Sunday, me and Dave met up with our two friends who have sadly recently lost their partners. Indeed, the funeral for one of them was on Wednesday and Dave attended for both of us. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the time off work.

It is inspirational the way people deal with adversity and continue to move their lives forward. Something for me to think about when I am too self-obsessed which is partly what depression can be about.

Personal Development

Duolingo

Took the opportunity to get a Spanish unit done every day last week. I make sure they happen in the morning before the main business of the day starts. Hopefully fate will give me even more time to devote to language learning in the future.

No Code

inter-connected tech

Still chugging on with the 100 Day Challenge. I’m pretty sure this is important int terms of things I might want to build in the future. But also its value for resource limited settings. It is amazing the type of digital products that can be built easily, cheaply, and in a lean way to explore if such products are what people want.

We’ve moved into a phase of deeper exploration of the main No Code software. Though it’s primarily been about me noting what the exercises are and filing them to do in the future. Fate that I discovered this challenge and it is providing me with a great library of video tutorials and exercises to do at some point in the future. You can have a look at the Airtable gallery recording my progress here.

Sustainability

In terms of what fate holds for us regarding the environment, it’s pretty depressing. An online group chat debate last week threw up the climate despair many of us feel. Not helped at all by something I read. Namely that we’ll probably be OK. However, our children will have it hard, our children’s children will have it very hard. And our children’s children’s children probably won’t be alive.

The importance of planting trees

So I continue my little efforts to try to mitigate the climate disaster – almost certainly too late to stop it. Particularly through reducing my consumption. Perhaps the cancellation of my holiday is a good thing. I need to cut down my use of planes to help the environment.

And I’ve come across a book I must read at some time, ‘Dostadning: The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning’ by Margareta Magnusson. Apparently it is all about decluttering your life and getting your affairs in order primarily, but not only, in the run-up to your death. Reviews say it is a joyous and fulfilling book.

Books and Reading / Art and Culture

It was fate in the previous blog that I had so much to write about these two themes. Three different and enjoyable books completed plus a fun trip to the theatre – read about it here. But for the week just gone I have no big news on either of these items. Three new books on the go but none finished yet. And no great cultural events. Perhaps different next week.

Rows and rows of beautiful books

Dave did manage a trip on his own to the The British Museum. He enjoyed it but made the good observation that there is no greenery within it. True of all museum and galleries – why can’t they have plants at least in the non-exhibit areas? Surely we all need to do our little bit for the environment no matter how small.

The Week Ahead

  • Regular routine: 3 days of paid work, gym twice, time with mum and Dave. Sometime routine is what you need to get you through.
  • Me and Dave need to make a decision on whether to cancel the holiday or not and get on with whatever we decide
  • Should finish at least 2 of the 3 books I have on the go at the moment
  • Will push on with personal development. Fate will decide if I make continued progress here and if I do any major cultural things.
  • Carry on with my little bits to try to be more sustainable

And Finally…

Quotation by Einstein about value

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