Missed opportunities in personal development?

Mon 15 – Sun 21 April 2019

Last week started with Birmingham…

It began with me and Dave finishing off our trip to Birmingham. A great weekend away from London in another big city. All fine apart from my cold. Indeed, it lingered through the whole of last week. I wonder if it could be hayfever or a reaction to air pollution rather than a cold?

…and ended with Easter

Then last week ended with blessed Easter. My favourite bank holiday of the year because of the excitement it promises. A chilled few days focused very much on exercise – a jog-run and gym trips. Early mornings that I love when the rest of London seems to still be asleep and I feel almost alone in a deserted city. Good weather as well but that could be due to climate change. 🙁


I love Extinction Rebellion

Climate Change protestors closed bits of London last week. And yes it did cause me some inconvenience getting around town. But it also actually made it a far more civilised city. There was a lot less traffic and it was easier to walk around – we all need to walk more. Sure car owners complained but how many of their journeys are really necessary? At any time look at the number of cars on the road with just one person in them.

Why can’t London have at least one car free day per week?

This was my inspiration from the actions of Extinction Rebellion. It is not a crazy idea and a very practical response to climate change. If everyone knows when the car-free day is, then they will be able to build their lives around it i.e. not doing deliveries on that day.

I also love David Attenborough

One of the highlights of last week was the BBC documentary by David Attenborough on climate change. Totally reinforced the case that the Earth is warming and we must take action now. If you have not seen it then please do watch here on BBC i-player.

And take personal action!

  • REDUCE (your consumption)
  • REUSE (as much as you can)
  • RECYCLE (if that is an option)
  • REFUSE (if you don’t need it)

Health and Efficiency


A real disappointment. Went out on Good Friday as itching to go because missed last Sat in Birmingham with my cold. Really expected something pretty special with lost weight and yoga/pilates. But a bad time: 1 hour, 6 mins, 45 seconds. Pace of 6.40 mins per km and just on or over the dreaded 7 mins for some km stretches. I have realised that breaks don’t actually improve times, practice is more important. Perhaps I should do a 5km mid-week.

No point in dwelling on what has been; looking forward to a better time next week. Note next Sun is the London Marathon which always messes up my course even if I do it on the day before – various bits are cut off, etc. May go on the Friday again and do a totally different course, perhaps Hyde Park.


Weight sits around or just below 14 stone which is good considering I had a small blowout in Brum the previous weekend. Hard work to keep it up especially with my love of certain things like pastries and alcohol. I have almost got to build a new diet around these rather than pretend I can eliminate them.

Yoga, pilates, massage = the new going out

Yoga on Wed. Definitely feeling slightly more smoother in how I do movements which is progress. Also final pilates in my intro course on Thurs night. I really enjoy that the two combined together are making me more aware of my breathing and my muscles generally. I am looking to do another pilates session somewhere different to experience what that is like.


I realise more and more I would rather spend my money on a good 1:1 yoga, pilates, massage, or private training session rather than going out. In terms of massage, I am lucky to have a friend who needs someone to practice on; two sessions last week – Mon and Sun.


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I am so glad that my gym has reopened. To say it has changed my life is too great a claim. Indeed, I have easily fallen back into my lost routine before it closed for redevelopment over 6 months ago. The gym is a lot smaller but going there early I am often on my own, and I love just trying out different machines and working different parts of my body. There on the mornings of Tues, Sat and Sun last week. 🙂

Books and Reading

‘Revival’ by Stephen King

Famous author

I am totally in awe of this writer. He has produced some fantastic novels and his output is prodigious. Even his ‘mediocre’ stuff is fantastic though sadly most people see the films about his books rather than reading his actual writing. This is one of his latest novels and it is a delight to read. The story of a ‘typical’ American man down on his luck who recovers. A wholesome American story with a dominant role played by religion.

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But it’s also an incredibly disturbing story. You are sort of left wondering where it is going to go. Is it Frankenstein modernised? But then a complete curve ball such that you are left with dark images and ideas in your head that are hard to shake off even after the book has ended. Absolutely brilliant.

Personal Development

Only moderate success last week

Why is it so hard for me to carve out of each day sufficient time to do the personal development I particularly want to do during my sabbatical: learn languages, practice coding, and keep up-to-date with emails? Am I a bad timekeeper or am I trying to achieve too much. I think I need to find specific times to do everything but that feels really regimented and not fun at all. Indeed, can personal development always be fun?

woman using mobile

Truth be told, I love and find easier language learning more so than coding practice. The latter intrigues but doesn’t really stimulate me. Still being intrigued is a pretty good thing.

I finished the film I was viewing on YouTube about JavaScript and now I am onto one about Node.js which is similar but different. TBH, I do not always understand what these films are trying to tell me. But if I continue to immerse myself then at some point it might suddenly make sense. Don’t forget, every expert started as a beginner. 🙂

Nelson Mandela quotation

Art and Culture

Along with not making the progress in languages and coding I wanted to last week, neither did I make any progress on creating art which is another area of personal development for me. Nor did I have any real cultural experiences: no galleries, museums, or films. There’s a sort of assumption that these things will just happen. But, as with all personal development, if I don’t make the effort and the time then they don’t occur. 🙁

The Week Ahead

My ‘to do’ list:

  • Yoga on Tues
  • Gym at least twice
  • Jog-run
  • Try out a new version of pilates?
  • Haircut (on Tues?)
  • Return books to library (Tues again?)
  • Some language learning and coding practice everyday
  • Finish current book and read another – the one for the next Velvet Page book club meeting?
  • Some art and culture

And Finally…

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