When you have done the best you can

Mon 7 – Sun 13 June 2021

A week defined by the heat with temperatures up to 30 degrees. And the Euros started. I’m not addicted but I love having big sport events on in the background to dip in and out of (bit like how to enjoy social media). Personally I have more fun watching early stages rather than the big finals. Generally, another busy week though perhaps not as frenetic as others have been. Indeed, you cannot be too industrious in this mini-heatwave. However, I am feeling quite chilled. Why? Because I am dong the best I can.

hot hot hot

I am mid fifties now and I am realising that, literally, the years I have ahead of me are limited. Limited in number and probably of declining physical (and perhaps mental) capacity as they pass. As such, I just need to enjoy what is to come and rest assured that I have done the best I can in so many different ways.

And if I have done the best I can then there is no benefit in punishing myself with thoughts of how I could have done better. But this does not come naturally to me. As with so many of us, I am terrible for dwelling on what might have been. I can say I am not like that but it is not totally true. And I can waste so much time and effort considering how things might have been different and better. But the reality is that I always did the best I could at that moment in time and that is what I continue to do now. ๐Ÿ™‚

โ€œThe trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, youโ€™re still a rat.โ€

Lily Tomlin

Tech for Good

Social Change Lab – (re)creating new networks

Great to have this theme back as a central part of my life. I continue to plug away at the big pro-bono offer to UK-based ‘not-for-profits’, the Social Change Lab. I really am doing the best I can to promote it; chasing up old contacts and making new connections to create networks. So many rewarding conversations and I love it when new contacts reach out to talk. Deadline to apply is 9 July. So if you know if an NFP that could benefit from working free-of-charge with one of the best global software consultancies then please contact us via the website.

Tech for Good

The Tech for Good community

Really great on Thurs to join the Tech For Good London meet-up. Always a good event (they have more than 10,000 members now!) and this time we had a presentation by the excellent Chayn – a social enterprise supporting women particularly those affected by Domestic Abuse.

And also great to be part of the online / Slack community that is Agencies For Good – aย gathering of tech for goodย agencies, consultancies, and freelancers with the aim of supporting each other. It is brilliant how many different Tech for Good support groupings there are now. So different from when we were starting the movement about 10 years ago. ๐Ÿ™‚

Health and Efficiency

Mental Health: Days off and work-life balance

Had Friday off as I need to take some absence leave before the half year point. It is absolutely vital that people take time out from work if they are going to perform to the best of their abilities. We all need time to rest. However, it is very hard (actually harder than ever) to put thick boundaries between home and work these days.

So sometimes I will work on my days off (like meetings that can’t happen any other time or emails to be dealt with). And on some work days I may have to pop out to do something or start / finish early. The key thing is always to work the number of hours you are paid for, not over-work those hours, and do the best you can to get the job done that you are paid to do. ๐Ÿ™‚

โ€œThe time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.โ€

Bertrand Russell

Weight

One area I am perhaps not doing the best I can is in trying to keep my weight down and do regular exercise. – see my previous blog here. My old mate Brian recommended a book (The Obesity Code) which I have bought and will read. I think it’s about intermittent fasting. I know some do not like this but, for me, the best way to lose weight is not to eat at certain times. My personal preferred time is normally mornings. I can skip breakfast but there is no way I could skip lunch and definitely not dinner.

Perhaps I have done OK this week as I have managed to lose a quarter pound (12 stone, 7.5 pounds). Could just be a one week anomaly. But it could also be the start of a pattern. ๐Ÿ™‚ I wonder if my better frame of mind is also helping me control my eating though I am sure there is a beneficial circle: good mental health = controlled eating = good mental health = controlled eating etc.

man weighing himself

Knee and wee problems – the art of falling apart

Is there anything more that screams ‘old age’ in men than talking about your knees and peeing problems?! ๐Ÿ™

Should have taken my own advice from the previous blog that medics aren’t magicians. They simply do the best they can. Saw my GP on Tuesday who was very nice but did not have all the answers I wanted. Basically knee isn’t arthritis he thinks but some sort of musculo-skeletal problem that can best be treated through physiotherapy and painkillers. While my need to constantly wee is probably related to too much caffeine – don’t drink caffeine after 2pm he warned. Alcohol is the same but I ain’t giving that up. But I also need to talk to my HIV doctor in July about tests to check my prostate.

Culture from the Saatchi Gallery graduate show

Books and Reading

‘The Paper Menagerie’ by Ken Liu

Finished two books last week. This was a the first. I know Ken Liu as the translator for the amazing sci-fi writing by the brilliant Chinese author Cixin Liu (read the trilogy starting with ‘The Three-Body Problem’ – mind-blowing). But this was the first time I had read his own stuff and it is some of the best contemporary sci-fi I have come across. ๐Ÿ™‚

This book is a collection of short stories. Think big sci-fi – concepts like the future evolution of humanity, how different alien species function, and being able to physically revisit history. Merged with reflections on cutting-edge new tech in everyday life as well as aspects of being Chinese, American, and Japanese in the modern world.

‘All the Young Men’ by Ruth Coker Burks

Totally different to the book by Liu. It is always good to read two different books at the same time so you can compare and contrast. My kindle book as I walk about. This is the personal reflections of a straight woman who volunteered to help people dying with AIDS in conservative Arkansas during the 80s. Such a bleak time where people did the best they could to simply get through. And get through we did. But let’s never forget how dark a time it was – the worst of times, the best of times. Simply brings back so many memories for me both good and bad. ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ™‚

Tired man asleep

Art and Culture

The V&A

On my Friday day-off, me and and Dave went to one of our happy places – the Victoria and Albert Museum. Definitely one of the best museums in London if not the UK and the world. It’s a place full of wonderful design and art. I just love wandering around. Plus the glorious weather meant we could chill out in the lovely central garden – unbelievable to think now but once upon a time just a storage area.

Culture at the V&A

Epic Iran

Three big exhibitions on at the V&A currently: Alice in Wonderland, Bags, and Epic Iran. All are completely sold out online. But the latter looked quiet when we went past it so we asked if, as members, we could go in. And apparently they do hold some tickets back each day for members so they were able to say ‘yes’. What a stunningly beautiful exhibition. An epic exploration of Persian / Iranian history and culture. Keeps the right side of being too ambitious and covers so many different angles. Highly recommended. ๐Ÿ™‚

European cinema

Moved on from the Belgian ‘comedy’ of ‘Patrick’ to a classic film by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Loved the biopic about him recently, ‘Enfant Terrible’. Probably not that nice as a person but a great gay German film-maker. I have started to watch his film ‘Fox and Friends’. A bit staged but it is also a film about snobbery and is amazing that gay stuff is treated so normally despite its mid 70s setting.

Other Stuff

  • Sustainability Usual. Still getting over my hoarding habit by selling off / donating stuff. And lots of water for the plants to try to help them survive the heat.
  • Personal Development Usual here as well. Progress on language learning through Duolingo. But no other real PD on anything else and particularly not coding. ๐Ÿ™
  • Family and Friends Quality time spent with mum and Dave though often I am working when I am with them. Main ‘friend’ contacts last week were catching up with old Tech For Good friends / colleagues to talk about the Social Change Lab. No chat with Phyllis as he was ill with sun-burn ๐Ÿ™

The Week Ahead

  • Day off on Mon and half day Fri afternoon. May well still do some work stuff on both days like tidying up and messaging.
  • Me and Dave to the new Noel Coward exhibition on Monday. I’m not a big Noel fan but he’s a seminary figure in European 20th century culture.
  • Should be catching up with several friends next week (and not just to talk about Social Change Lab): Matt, Jane, and Irene
  • Also some great catch-ups to come with people interested in knowing more about the Social Change Lab. My colleague Jeantine is doing some of these on her own when I’m not around – we’re a good team ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Family meal on Sat night including mum, brother and his partner ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Will start to read ‘The Obesity Code’ by Jaosn Fung. And put some focus on weight loss through intermittent fasting / reduced and more healthy eating, exercise (walking), and maintaining the best possible frame of mind
  • New reading books – one of the best feelings is when you start to read a new book ๐Ÿ™‚
be grateful for books

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