The Vital Need to Simply Appreciate Time Passing

Mon 15 – Sun 21 August 2022

My previous blog outlined a week that was a bit of an epiphany – read it here. A combination of extreme hot weather, identifying life priorities, and deciding when I will be leaving my current job. As so often happens, the following week is almost inevitably quiet. This is what has happened and one of the main lessons I have learnt is to simply enjoy and appreciate time passing while you can.

Sometimes that means simply sitting and chilling. I suppose that sounds a bit like mindfulness or meditation. Perhaps they are all linked. But I have no problems in using time passing to think, plan, and hope for the future. Indeed, all time passes and we know it seems to go so much faster as we get older. Which is why it is vital to try to appreciate time and dream otherwise we wonder where it has gone.

Because the end point for all of us is death. Indeed, perhaps the whole point of living is to die. Who knows if there is an afterlife. But what we should try to do is make the most of this one. Perhaps the worst thing we can do is wish time away. If that is the case then it is better to stop whatever you are doing and shift to something where, at the very least, you can appreciate the short time you have on this planet.

Stop caring, death is inevitable

Sustainability

Why nature matters for me

Two of my main methods of relaxing are walking and simply sitting reading a book. Both of these work best in nature. I love walking through woods and forests – it reconnects me with nature. And I do like chilling at a cafe with a coffee and a book. But I also like sitting in a green space and spending time passing there.

Dave has a great little green space where he lives. And when I stay over, I love to spend moments during the day simply sitting there watching the people go by and the birds flying around. When you can turn off the crap thoughts in your head and just observe what is happening around you (plus think about nice things in the future) then it is lovely. I suppose it’s like the effect of a drug but, obviously, more healthy. Though like a drug, it can’t last forever and you have to re-enter real life at some point.

My love of simply spending time passing in nature is one of the reasons I feel so strongly about the need to tackle climate change. How can we not think the mindless consumption, pollution, and waste is going to have a negative impact on the Earth? We destroy wild areas and biodiversity without caring. And what will we be left with to stare at but oceans of flooding due to ice caps melting or cockroaches and rats scurrying across rubbish.

The throwaway society

Books and Reading

Good novels but disappointment at the Exchange

Spending time reading is never time wasted. And last week I managed to get through two very impactful and well written gay novels.

Also managed to get to the Notting Hill Exchange to do a trade on a load of books I have read and look for some new ones. Very disappointing in that they have combined the two separate books shops (one specialised in sci-fi, horror and comics) into one shop and locate it in the smaller of the two stores – crazy decision. So less books to look through and they don’t want to take as many books as they once did. Thus quite a few were rejected and ended up at the local Oxfam which is good news in itself.

book exchange

‘Lust’ by Geoff Ryman

One of those books I have had on my bookshelf for ages and I’ve been meaning to read. Mainly because the idea behind it is fascinating. The main character gains the ability to bring to life anybody he fancies with the guarantee that they will also find him desirable.

He brings forth ‘angels’ as he calls them that are past partners, failed lovers, historical characters, and unrequited desires. But be careful what you wish for. The relationships are all doomed to failure as they aren’t real life and many have failed before. However, he has the chance to work out why things have failed (often for good reasons) and where many of the problems in his current life stem from.

Let’s be honest, we would all love to have this gift. However, it can’t last as ultimately you need to find a real life lover – you can’t live off fantasy forever. But it’s also a stimulus that with our lives ever moving onwards and time passing, so we shouldn’t just put up with where we are but also try to work out the things from our past that continue to hold us back.

Fascinating to realise after I had finished reading this book that the author has written many other books. He is actually a renowned gay writer in the fields of science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction. You can read more about him here.

“Don’t take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.” 

Elbert Hubbard (an American writer, artist, and philosopher)

‘The Whale Tattoo’ by Jon Ransom

A very recent and much acclaimed first novel. It’s based in a derelict fishing town somewhere in the UK. Indeed, in a ways it’s a bit ‘misery lit’ with everyone living dysfunctional life. And I am pretty sure there isn’t so much gay sex happening in real life even if it is done surreptitiously.

Our main character is very much an anti-hero. Anyone this messed up in real life would be an absolute nightmare to live with. But the book persuades us to feel sympathy for him. You are also left wondering what is causing the voices he hears – poverty, alcohol, drugs, mental health problems, or perhaps they are real?

The story weaves and surprises but there is an element of hope at the end. It’s a short book and I think a brilliant first novel. But I wish the author had taken the book more slowly and expanded it. Ultimately, it whizzes by and writing sometimes needs to lay out time passing rather than going from event to event. I would have loved the characters to have been more developed with explanation on how they had arrived where they are.

But still a great book and highly recommended.

Health and Efficiency

Inspiration from the European Championships

I have been enthralled in the week gone by watching the European Championships from Munich and Rome. I am actually finding them more gripping than the Commonwealth Games. Not interested from a nationalist angle but I am inspired in terms of my own attempts to be more healthy and do more exercise. The most inspiration is coming for me from the athletics, gymnastics, and diving – all just make me think ‘wow!’

Gym

It’s always a good week when I can get 3 sessions done at the gym. And basically I was pretty much there everyday on my own. Although, of course, it is mid-morning midweek. I love being at the gym and I really appreciate time passing there – trying out new machines and pushing the weights up. Particularly targeting areas I need to boost like the strengthening of my legs to counteract the osteoarthritis.

dumbells in the gym

Running total: 56 gym sessions since the start of the year divided by the annual membership = £8.80 per session.

Walking, jogging, swimming

These are all forms of exercise I love. And they are very linked to appreciating time passing as I am doing them. I do lots of walking which is often my main thinking time when I have ideas. I adore looking at things going on around me and dipping into a good book on my kindle as I am on the move.

Managed to get caught in one of the post-heatwave downpours on Wednesday as I walked from seeing mum over to seeing Dave. It’s one of those situations where you are in the middle of a long walk and it pours down. You have to carry on as it would take as long to go back.

walking person

I aspire to return to jogging and swimming. I have plans for both once I finish work in December. You really shouldn’t put everything onto some mythical date where everything will be better. But you also need to be realistic about what you can achieve at any moment in time. I can imagine myself getting back to slow jogs and lazy lanes in the pool though with the latter I can get frustrated just going backwards and forwards with the same view.

Family and Friends

Dave in Berlin

My beloved partner has gone off to Berlin (though he bottled going by coach as planned). It is a city he loves, where he can happily spend and appreciate time passing. I would have loved to go with him but I couldn’t afford to take the time off work; oh well, another thing to look forward to when I finish.

Dave just loves being in a city that is easy going and historical with loads of places to chill, eat and party. Particularly he enjoys a gay scene which is much more chilled around things such as age. Indeed, sadly I’m not sure there really is much of a London gay scene these days with so many clubs gone.

Monument of Prussian victories

Old friends: Dom and Irene

Really good to catch up with two good old friends last week. Tuesday night and I met up with my old mate Dom for dinner. A couple of hours of chatting and catching up over a decent meal and bottle of wine.

Then so nice to meet up with my old work colleague Irene on Thursday. We went off to the Union Jack Club to simply spend time having a drink and lunch, catching up on news.

Both Dom and Irene are doing well; it was lovely to just spend time passing with both of them socialising and thinking about life. We are all people getting older together. So it is nice to discuss what we are planning for the future.

It’s important as you get older to stay future focused. Yep you may have less time then when you are younger but there is still lots to do. If you aren’t doing stuff then why not just give up now? Time is passing so make the most of every second of it.

Be happy and grateful about nice things

Work Life Balance / Tech For Good

I have acknowledged that I will leave my current job at the end of December. And my life will move onto a new and challenging phase. But I am not just sitting there waiting for the end date to come – treading water with time passing. Rather I am making the most to ensure I do a good job. Indeed, if you can’t be bothered to give a job your best then why are you there?

Lots of things happening at work at the moment:

  • Me and my colleague Jeantine are making plans for what could happen in 2023. Things will be handed over in an organised and good manner.
  • Meanwhile, we continue with a great pro-bono project that is benefiting both the charity who we are working for and our own staff getting good experience
  • We also had a very good catch-up with a domestic abuse not for profit org who are going to talk to our staff in September about the work they do
  • A project we thought probably wouldn’t go ahead has been given a potential funding lifeline so that it may still happen – fingers crossed
  • A useful meeting lined up for September about developing a potentially exciting external relationship

The Week Ahead

  • Dave is back on Wednesday – hooray!
  • Normal routine so non-work days on Mon, Tues, Thurs with gym on each of those days. Work on Wed and Fri. Lots of walking on all days.
  • Reading an old collection of ghost stories by great writers such as Lovecraft, Dickens, and Poe. And my other reading book is the latest by Kazuo Ishiguro ‘Klara and the Sun’ which is very good.
  • Gonna enjoy time passing in the various things I do. I am wondering if I can get to Tate Modern to see ‘Surrealism Beyond Borders’ as it is the last week?
  • Back for INR check on Tuesday
  • Must stick with my daily dose of language learning on Duolingo

And Finally…

Only 3 things

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