My quest for simplicity, it seems, started a couple of years back. At some point I had lost touch with this goal, and somehow managed to acquire yet more things.
Having since recently refocussed on this, I have eliminated a good amount of stuff already; however, there is still a way to go. For example, one of my desires is to be more mobile, so I considered my desktop computer. And then it hit me: clutter and complexity, in this day and age, extends beyond the mere physical accrual of things; we now have e-mail addresses that need managing, countless online accounts, thousands of files and objects on our computers. This is why my computer intimidates me; there is as much to purge, if not more, on my computer as there is in my physical habitat.
This revelation has left me somewhat ambivalent; pleased that I have identified yet another area for cleansing, yet exacerbated by the prospect of having to cut more emotional ties.
Curious though, that these emotional ties only exist when the thing is observed – ambiguous, I know. What I mean to say is that, day to day, these things we cling on to have no place in our minds, that is until we are reminded of them; sometimes they bring pride, perhaps in some cases underpinned by remorse… all of it though, superfluous. Our minds and memories have a certain capacity and the things that are important will remain, so why then force ourselves to recall that which our minds deem unimportant and irrelevant to the now?
Situation: Making tea this morning, having left the bag to brew while I ironed a shirt.
Dilemma: Whether or not there is sugar in the tea.
Hmmm… did I put sugar in this… I think so, I usually put sugar in. Perhaps I forgot.
Actually, I remember putting in the tea bag.
*I look at the sugar pot*
Yeah, I probably did.
*I open the drawer and get a teaspoon to remove the tea bag. I then start to strain the tea bag and my gaze shifts to the sugar pot once more; my eyes narrow into suspicious slits.*
Hang on a minute… if I only just got this spoon out, the only way I could have got that sugar in the cup is if I added it in pinches, and I would definitely remember that, but I don’t. I can’t have put sugar in.
*I add a teaspoon of sugar*
My deduction was correct: I had not put sugar in the cup.
Sounds so easy, doesn’t it!
Why do we, as humans, have this innate ability to lie to ourselves, to procrastinate and to put off what we can do now? Why do we have a habit of complicating our lives, under the belief that we are making them better?
I have recently decided to simplify my life; anything that it superfluous – by which, I mean anything that is not conducive to my core desires of writing, reading and fitness – I am looking to eliminate. I want to be more mobile, so I was telling myself that I should sell my desktop and get a laptop. My friend and I laughed about this, when he said it back to me and I heard, out loud, the absurdity of the statement. I want to sell my ‘thing’ to buy another ‘thing’ which is more expensive, so I can do the thing I can already do, but am not doing.
“Just write,” he says.
Yeah. Good advice, and I can’t really argue with it. So I am.
And guess what, I have turned off my computer and am using my iPad with my bluetooth keyboard to write this. What I didn’t expect, is that it is actually a very pleasant writing experience, as I don’t have all of the distraction that comes with the desktop. The added bonus, I can still get my iTunes and Spotify on the iPad and play music through my powered speakers.
When we talk to ourselves, we tend to convince ourselves of whatever seems to make sense at the time, finding more and more reasons why it makes sense, even if it is absurd. Only by talking with another person, one that has the balls to tell you how foolish you are being, can you really see things for what they are; my drive for simplicity was about to introduce yet another complication, yet there was an answer sitting in front of me the whole time…
How often do you complicate your own life? Are the answers you’re looking for staring you in the face, and are you just too tunnel visioned to see them?
I just drafted a post, one that I was very proud of. As I start tagging it, I try to enter a manual tag and accidentally click on one of the tags I have already entered. Then I lost my draft as the link directed me to all the posts with that tag.
What a stupid UI glitch. It would not have been half as bad had there been a periodic autosave but, alas, there is not. The old interface would not have done this.
This is one of those times where I genuinely feel as though precious time and creativity has been wasted.
To all reading this, I apologise on behalf of WordPress: you were supposed to have been incredibly inspired, but instead, fate chose to test me and I really do not have the time to attempt to type again what was spontaneously created.
WordPress, you suck. Stop trying to be so clever, you are failing. It’s like Seth Godin once said; you either have a shiny, good looking website, or a functional website. WordPress should definitely be the latter.
Oh, and as a warning, if you see this message:
“There’s now an easier way to create on WordPress.com! Switch to the improved posting experience.”
It is a big fat lie, unless you are looking for something shinier. It is not improved, just simply changed and ‘bluer’.
Does anyone actually read this blog anymore?? Please do say “hi” if you drop by!
Such talent. Such genius. Which came first? The chicken, or the egg…?
Such skill. Such a gift. Blind? Beaten?
Outside of the chaos I stand, observing. But only in those fleeting moments of freedom from my own cerebral circus, when the ring-master realises there is no audience, no demand for this freak show.
We are all given gifts. Some are fortunate enough to know what they are; others just naturally slot into their niche, or perhaps it is through nurture, that elusive concept so rarely seen. In the dictionary sense, that is. Psychologically, it is merely the cultivation of certain qualities and behaviours; this can be both positive and negative.
I know people – have known people – so gifted, but so troubled, and it truly pains me. For a long time, I wanted to help. I thought I could help. But eventually I learned; once a person gets to a certain age, the can no longer be taught, or even cared for; once a person gets to a certain age, they have to figure things out for themselves. It is the only way one can really learn.
It still saddens me to know that there are people with the talent and time to really flourish, but tormented by their own betraying minds.
I have my struggles – most of us do – but I have spent years trying to work on them; as the old adage goes:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
I heard this a good few years back, and although it was never in the forefront of my mind, it was certainly burned in the the back of it; this statement has helped me to recognise and accept my own qualities, as well as those of others; it has helped me to come to terms with the fact that it is hard enough work to work on one’s self, let alone trying to change other people, however much you might want to, and however much it might pain you to see them fuck up, again and again. One day they will learn.
When a person abandons their own hope, what other hope is there?
Ironically, just hours after cursing myself for my usage of Facebook, having previously ‘quit’, I came across one of those ‘inspiring’ quote images that I also curse. Well, I’ll be damned if it wasn’t one the most personally inspiring statements I have ever seen:
You can do anything,
But not everything.
– David Allen
Before I ramble, I want to thank fellow blogger MySpokenHeart for sharing.
All my thoughts today have been around gearing myself towards a single focus, because this statement is something that has been becoming more apparent; I am very aware that I spread myself too thin – the curse of a curious and capable mind.
My decision has been to focus on writing. Still not exactly sure what that entails, but I am trying not to force things too much – so today I ordered some photo prints and had a nap, then washed my car; it really feels like I am being unproductive, but the reality is, I am trying to allow my mind to settle – a busy mind is an unhealthy mind.
As Andrea says: “It’s deciding on your anything that’s the hard part…”
Beyond merely deciding on what to pursue, the next thing in all this is having to give up the other things I enjoy.
Chances are you will see a bit more of me in the coming months; if not, then something has gone horribly wrong.
Yesterday, the Daily Prompt asked if I had accomplished all I wanted to in the previous week; applying this to last week, the short answer is no.
I like to think I am goal setting machine, but truth be known, I just write daily to-do lists composed of the most basic things in order to make myself feel better:
- Don’t smoke
- Daily exercise
- Cook dinner
- Go to work
Of course, this is an exaggeration. I actually take my goal setting quite seriously, but more recently my to-do list has felt a little mundane; I am getting things done, but I am lacking specific direction, an actual goal, to be precise.
I roughly know what I want to do, but I need to break it down and get something of an action plan together. The other thing, of course, is that the goals I set myself for this month are a little… loose, I suppose is the best way to put it; they are not overly challenging in essence, but, at the same time, very challenging as they are not specific.
The main thing that has been preventing me from achieving all I set myself, is spreading myself too thin by taking on too many projects and pursuing too many interests; my main aim this month, is to simplify my pursuits and narrow my focus. Fortunately, as I have written so much over the years and spent so much time considering the things that bring me happiness and fulfilment, I have nailed what it is I love doing. All other activities are superfluous.
The second thing that holds me back, is forgetting to chill the f*$k out; I get so focussed on ‘getting things done’ that I neglect my social life and fail to leave free time for pure leisure. This is something I clocked earlier this year and I have become much better at accommodating this.
I like to make my personal goals deliberately challenging, so that I do not get complacent and, if I do get in from work and am too tired to get certain things done, I accept that without feeling guilty, because I know that I only have so much energy.
What I do need to do is refocus on my direction and get a game plan; but that can only come after I have simplified my current pursuits and eliminated those things which are superfluous in relation to the end vision.
I bet you wish you’d never asked now…
Is anyone else this militant about goal setting??
Idea inspired by the daily prompt: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/obstacle-course/
Saturday’s daily prompt asked about my “favourite book as a child” and how it influenced who I am now.
I didn’t read much when I was a child, though there was one book that really stuck with me: Salamandastron. Written by author Brian Jacques, it was the first novel I ever read; I must have been around nine years old.
Salamandastron was a story like nothing I’d heard before. It was only on television that I had seen such epic tales prior to reading this book. Although I was a slow reader, I loved the story so much that I read it several times; oddly, although this was part of a series of books called “Tales Of Redwall,” I never did read any of the other books. I say “oddly,” I was nine, so it was not as though I could just saunter on down to the local Waterstones to get the next one – Mum, Dad, I’m looking at you.
There was one phrase from the book that really stuck with me: “ate with relish.” Rather than influence me as a person, remembering this, out of all the things I could have remembered, helps me to realise just how early my neurosis set in; I remembered this tiny little phrase because I struggled with it. I knew “relish” was a condiment, but I did not know, at that time, that it also meant to ‘have a liking for/take enjoyment from.’ And so, my tiny little mind went into overdrive, baffled as to why relish was such an integral part of the meal. Poor choice of words, Mr. Jacques, in my humble, nine-year-old opinion.
I was arrogant even back then.
Idea taken from the daily prompt: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/bedtime-stories/
Yesterday I wished my fourteen year old self a good day.
Today, I am to write a letter to be received by myself in twenty years; this is actually possible and slightly safer given that there is no chance of destroying the fabric of space time by giving myself clues.
Firstly, I’m not sure I would even get the letter; who’s to say I will even be alive:
Are you even still alive?
More optimistically, I though about writing something substantial, but I have nothing to say to myself in twenty years aside from questions like ‘how many dreams have you failed to realise,’ ‘are you still seeing that Katie chick, or did she finally see through you,’ or ‘why am I even asking you questions given that you can’t write back, and what have I got to tell you that you don’t already know?’
So, with all that in mind, my letter would be as follows:
Alright, old man.
You’re 52 next month, loser; have you gone grey yet?
Thought I’d just rub in the fact that you’re getting older; but you’re ok with that, aren’t you? Of course you are, because I’m preparing you for it now, and am making sure I make the most of my younger years so you don’t have to look back with remorse. You are welcome.
I would ask you to write me back and tell me if things have worked out, but I know you won’t, so I shan’t bother; or, if you did, you’d probably just send some sarcastic note telling me to “mind my own business,” or to “have a nice day.”
You’re such a dick sometimes.
Anyway, hope your health is holding out. Don’t moan too much.
Yours in the truest possible sense,
Post idea from the daily prompt: From You to You
I do like the almost abstract aspect of a flat ground shot. These are some I took recently.
Idea from the Weekly Photo Challenge: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/beneath-your-feet/