Sadly progress is rarely linear

Mon 3 – Sun 9 Dec 2018

Don't cling to a mistake
Brexit

Progress is not guaranteed to be easy, simple or straight forward

Clearly progress happens – things progress. Though the implicit assumption that this is always in a incrementally good way is not necessarily true. A crisis progresses. Hopefully leading to a good resolution but the end point of this progress being death and destruction is not impossible. 

We all want progress to lead to something better and, ideally, we all want it to be straightforward. Whether romance, career, or life in general – we hope for linear progress. Sadly this is not the case and expecting it not to be like this will make us all happier and less stressed. 

Making progress is about enjoying the journey

Indeed perhaps this is the  big thing to learn. That this may be more important than arriving at the destination and some destinations may never be reached or actually we may dread reaching. Travelling a course we don’t know the details of can be quite exciting and throw up events or people that we didn’t expect. It’s that aim in life of getting excited by whatever happens and living life to the full as at the end we die. 

Motivational picture - In the end we only regret the chances we didn't take

Health and Efficiency

Jog-run – some progress?

So my philosophical reflection on progress largely arises from last week’s jog-run. I had been looking forward to it primarily because it’s my main physical exertion these days with my gym still closed for re-development. And during the week I bought some new running trainers. £120 but the latest version of the ones I have been using for about 2 years. These now have holes in places. 

Jogger in silhouette

Up early Sat morning though not after a good night’s sleep. My sleep is a bit weird at the moment, I’m often waking around 4am and feeling awake. Warm-up coffee at the very early opening Starbucks then out in my new trainers. All went well until the penultimate kilometre which came in at 7.42 mins. Ultimately I ended up with a time of 1 hour 6.23 mins so about half a minute slower than last week. Setting out I really thought I was going to make progress and be faster particularly with my new trainers. 

Walking

I did get some good walks in during the week. Particularly on Fri when I walked from my place to Dave’s – about an hour and a half of walking across London. Haven’t done it in a while and it felt quite exhilarating.

Walker

Personal Development

I know what I am going to do with my sabbatical 🙂

So the big progress here was that I have decided I am definitely going to take a sabbatical staring in April and probably ending around June or July. And I am going to use that time to focus on some of the areas I really want to make progress in unhindered by work: lose weight, eat healthily, take regular exercise, read more, learn languages and practice coding. Perhaps here, perhaps abroad, perhaps a mixture of the two. It’s going to be a period of my life all about me and what I want to do. 🙂

Tired or thoughtful lion

The danger in planning is that you put off doing things until the planned moment. Obviously I can try to take measures to put myself in a better position when my sabbatical starts i.e. lose a bit of weight before then and keep on trying to learn languages. 

Language learning – a new app!

3/5 Some stuff on Duolingo but I’m also trying a new app that is being highly praised. Drops is based on learning words rather than grammar. It’s a bit repetitive but that is necessary for learning. I’m particularly enjoying using it to learn Russian with its completely different alphabet. 

Coding and emails

Coding practice: 0/5 Nothing as usual. This really is where I could make easy progress. Whereas Emails: 3.5/5 Genuine progress in this area. Particularly on personal ones where I feel more in control that I have done for a long time; only about 100 emails and a week behind at any one time! 🙂

Culture and Friends 

The Royal Festival Hall – a great public space

Sat evening, me and Dave went to the Royal Festival Hall using the offer of £10 tickets to see the London Philharmonic Orchestra. I do like the RFH, it’s got so many varied things going on and is a proper public space. Sitting up on the 5th floor overlooking the Thames and using their wifi is a pleasure. 🙂 

Royal Festival Hall (commons.wikimedia.org

The concert

I dabble in classical music but don’t fully understand it. This concert featured music by Stravinsky and Luciano Berio, all written in the 1960s and not your traditional classical. I liked it and it is fun to look back at what the 60s was trying to do in exploring and attempting to change society. Also some great vocal input. 

RFH - the main concert hall  (commons.wikimedia.org)

Films – Abre Los Ojos and Manchester by the Sea

I’ve also been wathcing a couple of films and flicking between them as I wish. ‘Abre los ojos’ (the original Spanish version of Open Your Eyes) and ‘Manchester by the Sea’. Two very different films but both immersive in that they take your mind away from the everyday.

Friends – Annika + Patrick & Stephen

Lovely to meet with Annika Small of Social Tech Trust on Fri afternoon for coffee. And then just as lovely on Sun morning when me and Dave met with our friends Patrick and Stephen. We all went to the Christmas Fair at Westminster Cathedral. A great fair especially the tombola where everyone else won brandy and champagne but I got soap. 🙁 Did manage to get some knick-knacks for my work tombola to raise money for charity.  

Innovation and Creativity

The away day

Big thing last week was our departmental away day on the themes of celebrating achievement, individual wellbeing, and planning ahead. Worked out well in all 3 areas particularly making sure the wellbeing bit didn’t just become a moanfest. The people who tell you work is fun are speaking crap. Bits of it might be but it is also sometimes unpleasant and drudgery – that is why we receive financial payment as compensation. Don’t let some thinkers take you for a ride.

How can we really make work better

The day before was one of those chocca full of meetings, back to back days. Exactly what work is about and exactly what drives us all so crazy. But does limiting the amount and length of meetings or saying emails can’t be sent or accessed at certain times really make us more productive and happy? It is probably a way of making progress. But I remain convinced that there is also work to do with us as individuals to make us feel better able to cope with the work environment; part of which is ensuring that we feel supported and empowered as individuals. 

Overwhelmed by notices

Sustainability

I continue to eat less meat and walk journeys whenever that is feasible. Enough to save the world? Probably not but worth trying. It is difficult as me and Dave are finding out by trying to book our travel next year to Berlin by train rather than flying. And walking on days when it is pouring with rain like a lot of last week. 🙁

Books and Reading

My current reading book about a mermaid

I’m in the middle of a very good book ‘The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock’ by Imogen Hermes Gowar. It’s been highly acclaimed and is good, a very eighteenth century novel. But it is also big and taking me a while to get through. 

The Exchange

Did pop some unwanted books to the Exchange on Tues. A result of trying to get rid of stuff not needed in the the new flat. I’m hoping my brother will put up shelves soon but I know he is very busy. 🙁 Hardly any cash for the books so I took the vouchers option and got some more books which is a bit self-defeating… 

Velvet Page

Thurs evening was the monthly meeting of the Velvet Page LGBTQ book club. We meet every 1st Thurs of the month at Waterstone’s on Londn’s Piccadilly. Our ‘leader’ Chris was away watching Steps’ Christmas concert (how gay). And we didn’t have a set book to discuss, rather we were free to talk about any gay book, fim or TV programme we had experienced recently. I spoke about ‘Postcards from London’ – pretty dire. But a nice evening overall with mulled wine, mince pies, and agreement on our reading list for the next 6 months. 

Velvet page at Waterstones

The Week Ahead

  • An extra half day in work in order to accommodate a team meeting as requested by members of the my team. And to be followed by a Xmas curry. 🙂
  • Wed the whole staff body is off to do a volunteering day together and share lunch. 
  • Fri, I’ve put myself forward for a day of First Aid training – why not and could be very useful; that idea of practise, practise and practise again to make sure you get it right when needed. 
  • Thurs night, me and Dave are off to see ‘Book of Mormon’ on stage. Be great to see if it is as laughingly shocking as people say. 
  • Big jog-run next Sat or Sun morning. 🙂
  • Personal development stuff continues as does my effort to help the planet survive 
  • Looking forward to continue reading the Mermaid book and then I think I might dip into some Terry Pratchett to remind me of his genius. 

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