Sod it: get on, do it, and have fun

Mon 16 – Sun 22 Dec 2019

Feel the fear and do it anyway

The title of this blog refers to the fact that life is really short and it is important to die with as few regrets as possible plus have as much fun as we can. I have been over-cautious in the past and this must change going forward. ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ is a classic self-help book by Susan Jeffers published in 1987. A lot of these type of books are crap but this one is brilliant, read it if you haven’t already done so.

Two little things made me think last week. Strange how little things can make big changes – very true in yoga where one little extra stretch can produce amazing feelings.

Smash the glass!

First, the fire alarm went off at work. If it goes on Fri morning, it’s a test. Outside that we are to treat it as real thing. However, it nearly always ends up being something stupid like burnt toast. Alarm went off and I led colleagues down the stairway to the nearest fire exit. This was locked with one of those glass door stops that requires you to break it to open but only in emergencies. People piling up behind me but whether to treat this as a real emergency knowing that it probably wasn’t?

A summary of 2016

So I smashed the glass, opened the door, and out we went. Clearly the right thing to do though against all the rules through life of not damaging property. Half expecting an email later advising not to damage property, etc. But nothing came and clearly I had done the right thing. It’s a very empowering thing to break open an entrance so people can get out in a potentially emergency situation. 🙂

Ask the question!

Our new CEO starts in March. She currently resides in Seattle with her family and has to go through the daunting process of finding a new home in London, moving her kids to a new school, and her husband needs to transfer his job. But she came in last week to do an all-staff talk and introduce herself. Clearly the right thing to do though the expectations people are already putting on her are high as with any new boss.

overwhelmed by notices

There were questions from the audience and silence ensued. I want to know what motivates her to help me understand how to work with her. So I simply asked ‘What other charities inspire you to give time or money, and why?’ An ‘ooh’ from the audience at an unexpected and deep question.

Her answer was good. She focused on themes and individuals that inspired rather than specific charities. Perhaps that reflects that many charities as organisations need to be more inspirational these days (compare to the wow of entrepreneurs and new start-ups). But it felt good to ask a question and I think I can appreciate more where she is coming from. 🙂

Time to go?

Whether to do it?

In terms of feel fear but do it anyway, I am considering my career especially as I am getting older – 20 years and I’m probably dead. 🙁 I like my work but I have been doing it over 10 years and have I done as much as I can? Do I need new experiences and challenges as well as to make new achievements? How to make this happen?

I have also been thinking about if I have been holding myself back in terms of dealing with my carer and health issues? And am I falling into the old trap of thinking only work can give legitimacy, success, and meaning to life? Definitely issues to consider as the new year arrives.

Books and Reading

Reading really is one of the things that gives me the greatest pleasure in life. one of my main ways of having fun. Two books read last week. 🙂

‘Wool’ by Hugh Howey

Ruins

I like sci-fi but find that a lot is very dark and apocalyptic. Suppose that just reflects how people feel about the times they live and write in. This book is the first part of a trilogy and has a bit of a cult status. It is set in an underground silo where the descendants of the survivors of a holocaust live.

Reminded me a lot of ‘Metro 2033’, the story of people living in the Moscow underground after a nuclear war as well as the Tom Baker Dr Who story where he firsts meets Leila living among the descendants of a crashed spaceship.

In ‘Wool’, the big plot line is that it turns out there are multiple silos and one is discovered by accident. But then we find that some people in the original silo did know this. It’s a good read though a bit clunky. Most annoying is the way that American writers impose American lifestyle on everything. These silos could be in America, but they might not be. But we have things like a sheriff to keep order whilst stereotype characters exist including unexpected female leaders and precocious children.

‘Autumn’ by Ali Smith

Actually, this is a book I have already read but quite a while ago. But it is the first part of a four book collection covering each season. I have ‘Winter’ and ‘Spring’ on loan from the library with ‘Summer’ being released in 2020. So I decided to read the first 3 books in the collection starting again with ‘Autumn’ as I can’t remember what happened in it. Obviously, as I read then bits came back to me. But it did feel very much like reading a book for the first time.

We are very lucky to have some great contemporary female authors (Rowling, Barker, Mantel, Davies) and Ali Smith is one of those. The book follows the relationship of a young woman and an older man. There are various stories interwoven along with damning commentary on modern life in Britain post that awful referendum in 2016. How many curses did that unlock, not least the perceived ‘right’ of many to be open racists. 🙁

Health and Efficiency

Jog-run

lady going for jog-run in cold weather

Out to do it early on Sat morning, the shortest day; dark and drizzly. An OK run: around 1 hour, 2 & a half minutes. Been getting slightly slower for each of the last 4 runs but still below the psychologically important 1 hour and 3 mins.

All good till the 2nd 5K when I had a couple of km stretches that were between 6 mins 30 and 45 seconds. All details here.

Gym

Success again in getting 4 gym trips done last week – this makes me so happy. As soon as I get to the gym, I just want to spend ages there. Usually do about an hour and a half working on all my different body parts. 🙂 Membership will soon be up and need to decide whether to renew in current small gay gym or move to a new bigger one.

Yoga

woman doing yoga

Fri it was back to my community yoga group after the break previous week due to being too tired after the election. I wanted to do it as it is the final session before the Christmas / New Year break. Next one is not till 10 Jan. A good one, we focused particularly on abs and core as well as a very good meditation / relaxation in the ‘corpse’ position.

Work-life balance

Tombola – making work fun

I really don’t go for the school of thought that says working should only be about having fun. It’s called work cos it ain’t always fun. But we all need as much fun and levity in our lives as possible to make life bearable. Work is a bit more relaxed at the moment as the holidays come although there have been some tight deadlines to meet.

One of the things that can be done at work is to use opportunities to bond as a team to help others. Particularly through doing fun fundraising activities. I actually enjoy fundraising, wonder if I should try my hand at doing more of this?

Tombola prizes

Each year we have a Christmas Fair and I run a tombola with prizes begged off other work colleagues. There is always a mixture – some good stuff and some shit. Things worth winning and things that make you wonder. But everyone has a laugh. We raised £322 to be shared between Crisis and Nomad.

Friends

Christmas is a great time to make contact with old friends and I am blessed to have some very good friends. Assuming they are still around (my mate Dom has gone to Thailand, lucky sod) and not too busy with Christmas fun.

Daisy

Holiday wine in Torremolinos

Mon night, me after work with my old pal David (Daisy). He’s retired and used seeing me as an excuse to trawl the charity shops in Kensington / Notting Hill as well as checking out the Exchange. I must make a trip there myself soon, got some vouchers to spend. David was on good form and we had fun chat over a nice meal and a bottle of wine.

Pete

Then on Wed night, again after work, to see my old school friend Pete. He’s been a bit under the weather so it was good to have a nice meal and a chat. Both talked about work a lot as well as looking after parents. Plus we compared Christmas/New Year plans. 🙂

The Week Ahead

  • On the graveyard shift at work – Mon, Tues, and Fri. I am the Leadership Team member who is there to deal with emergencies over the Christmas/New Year period. Oh well, just need to get on and do it hoping that nothing awful comes up.
  • Christmas day will see me walking from Olympia to Waterloo (then all the way back) for lunch with Dave and his mum. Will also see my mother-in-law on Boxing Day along with my mum 🙂
  • Hoping to finish Ali Smith’s ‘Winter’ and ‘Spring’ plus start on the Velvet Page book as we meet on 2 Jan
  • No yoga and gym attendance disturbed by holiday closures. Plan is 3 gym sessions and the weekend 10K jog-run, weather permitting
  • Am gonna get on top of work emails, keep on top of personal ones, and do some language learning via the apps 🙂

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