If there was ever a top prize awarded for guilty pleasures, I would have to award mine to making lists. Although dipping Rolos in sea salt and listening to Sean Paul both come close, when it comes to making lists, there is nothing better. I. LOVE. Lists.
I think we all have that love inside of us – there’s a fascination and allure to list making that has created something of an art form. In fact, there are books that we can purchase that help us create the perfect list; the Listography series by Lisa Nola is a great example of this. We can also read lists made by others, like in Shaun Usher’s ‘Lists of Note’ – a collection of 125 lists spanning from Ancient Egypt to F. Scott Fitzgerald.
We create lists for everything; things to do, possessions we own, schedules to keep, life goals to achieve, instructions to follow, recipes to make… the list of lists goes on!
But why do we love them so? What is it about making a list that is not only helps us to remember and achieve our goals, but also makes us feel more at peace, more secure, and better able to achieve?
The illusion of order in chaos
When I write a list it’s mainly because my memory is awful, and I need a helping hand keeping all my thoughts at the forefront of my mind. It’s a mess in there, cluttered up with tasks for the day, funny things I saw on the internet, groceries to pick up, projects to get started, new ideas, old ideas, things to tell my Mum etc etc. Chaotic.
By creating a list, we are essentially emptying all of that out, and clearing our mind of the chaos and noise so that we can think more clearly, and calm a storm of thousands of thoughts rushing through our heads. Yes it helps us remember, but that sense of calm and release of stress when we write things down comes from our brains not feeling the pressure to hold so many things right there and then. Instead of wasting brain power trying to keep these thoughts somewhere we’ll remember them, a list helps us to take that stress off our minds, and helps to work through the thoughts and questions we have.
Categorize and focus
So now our minds are quieter thanks to our handy scrap of paper we poured our brain onto. But if you have a lot of wild and crazy thoughts, or a lot to do in a day, it can seem overwhelming to have a till receipt of things to accomplish as long as your arm sitting on the desk.
By writing tasks down, we can hand select the most important things to do first, prioritize what we need to get done, and achieve our goals more efficiently, and with less stress. It also helps us break down bigger, scarier tasks into bite-size, manageable chunks that are more likely to get done. For example, you can write “destroy vampires” to get it out of your head. Then, when you break that down, you have a selection of more manageable tasks that don’t seem quite so daunting, and you can tick them off one at a time – “whittle steaks” / “patrol graveyard” / “engage in combat.”
If you’ve got a long list of things you want to do or goals you want to achieve in your head, then that’s usually where they stay. They get lost in the mix and never really turn into action. Putting a name to a thing makes it easier for us to process, and less likely to block it out – you know that annoying feeling when you’re sick, but you don’t know what’s wrong? Then the doctor says “it’s strep throat” and you say “I’m relieved I know what it is now!” – same thing.
Combat avoidance by having it written there in front of you, so you can’t shy away. Whatever the task, it stops being a dream, or a thought, and becomes an actual event to tick off. This reminds me of an awesome Zen Pencils comic that really rang true with me. Make some time to read it, and their other work!
See it, do it, achieve it
Writing a list of things to do around the house, goals in life, people to call, anything at all, gives us a visual target that we can see and adhere to. There is someone there in paper form to hold us accountable for our actions or inaction, and make sure we are aware of the things that aren’t getting completed or achieved.
Pete always tells me to do 3 things a day. My lists are endless, and sometimes I look at them and despair. Because even if I tick off 7 things, if the list is 10 things long, I feel like I’ve failed. This is not true. Achieving even one cross-off on a list means you’re heading in the right direction. If you set a sensible and easily manageable goal for the day – 3 things will be ticked off the list – not only will you feel great to accomplish your goal, but anything after that is extra credit.
More than a feeling
What a rush it is to grab that marker and pull a thick, heavy line through a completed task! I don’t know what it feels like to give birth to a child, or win an Olympic medal, but I gotta tell you, I think crossing off something on your to-do list comes pretty close.
The cross-off is our reward. It’s visible proof that we have accomplished something we set out to do, and that feels amazing. Even the little things feel good, because combining pleasure and duty makes us want to work more, because we feel good when we visibly achieve.
If you’re new to the power of lists, and have so far only used them to remember to get milk, bread and three tins of tuna, here are a few things to help you get started on loving the world of listing –
Make time for your lists, and as you get into the swing of it you'll be able to see just how much more you can get done, and how good if feels to do it.
Once again, the new year seems to have crept up on me without warning. It seems the older I get, the easier it is for time to slip by unnoticed, until one day I turn around mid-sip into my morning brew and BAM! There it is. Three years have gone by and I didn't even see... Ok, three years is quite the exaggeration, but you get my point.
I read a small quote by someone recently, I don't even know who said it originally, but it really blew me away - "How we live each day is how we live our lives". What an outstanding thought. That those days we let quietly slip by while we wait for something better is actually what life is made of. And as we all pull our purse strings a little tighter, it got me thinking about what it really costs when we spend our time.
I've been an over-subscriber of the "one day" school of thought for most of my life. One day, things will be clearer. One day, all of my dreams will come true. One day, Chris Evans is gonna sit on the bar stool right next to mine... But in the meantime, here I am sat around waiting for one day to get here, letting day after perfectly good day slip right by without a second thought. Until I just happen to look behind me and see a great pile of them stacked up high like expired tickets. That's all spent my friend, no returns and no store credit. And you have to ask yourself, with all this spending, what is it I actually got in return?
I went through all my old family photos this Christmas, as I unexpectedly found myself back in the UK for the holidays. It seems an odd and very human process to capture moments of life, then move swiftly on and forget how cherished they are until they find themselves out of the bottom drawer and spread all over the living room. Even more so these days, where capturing a moment seems to have gone so far that you miss the moment entirely. Capturing and preserving seems so significant, yet in the process the moment is never enjoyed, and so did it ever even exist? Yes I'm looking at you, guy with his iPhone up and at 'em for the entire concert...
One of the first things I did this new year was spend time at my Grandad's hospital bedside. I lamented all the time I had frivolously spent, waiting for my "one day" to get here, trying to wait out that perceived rain cloud that was a bad time in my life. All those days I wished away because something better was just around the corner. The age old thought we all play with when we lose someone we love - 'what would I give to get that time back?' - The hard truth of it is you will never get it back. It's gone. You're gone. A version of yourself from a time and place that you'll never be again. And so we lament, and carry on with our flippant spending habits until the next time we actually stop to check our balance a few years down the line.
It's the thing we feel most poor of, and yet the thing we have in abundance. It seems a foolish thing to continually underestimate the true value of time well spent.
Now I've never really been one of these "seize the day" sorts, where every morning has to bring a new adventure, and if you're not planet-hopping or throwing yourself out of planes your not really living - Geez, it's exhausting to even think about. But this year I have discovered a new-found appreciation for the day to day. Because really, that's what makes up a life.
Getting to "one day" does take work. Those dreams I have, that life I want. It's there and it's waiting for me. Some days that means work. Hard work, and lots of it. Some days it means taking a chance or being brave, and some days it means darkly sobbing into a tall, fat glass with a foamy rim and cool, honey bubbles. There will even be days when I just stay still, and do nothing. Sit and watch the Captain America films. Again. Or wash the dishes, scrub under the toilet, rearrange the bookshelf, argue with the radio and so on and so forth...
Some will be big. Some will be quite small. But each and every day that passes is an opportunity for me to be the best version of myself, and revel in all the thousands of big and little things that make up my existence on this planet.
And maybe my "one day" is tomorrow. Maybe it's not. Maybe it'll never come. But I know for certain that no matter what it brings, each day in-between is worth it's weight in gold.
Happy New Year guys. Whatever you end up doing, make it count.
Photo credit: Andrew Montgomery, Michael Quinn, and Tim Marshall
Last night I got a bit frustrated with myself and the inconsistencies in my drawing talents, and had what I like to call an "artistic outburst".
Sometimes I can crack on with a sketch and everything is great. I feel confident in my abilities and proud of my achievements. Then there are those other times where I get so wound up with my disabling lack of talent that I throw my sketchbook across the room and sulk.
After a while sat staring at the lifeless book lying crumpled on the floor, I tried to explain my actions to Pete, who subtly moved from sitting at my side to hiding behind the sofa.
Trying to get through those times when no matter how hard I try that stupid pencil won't do what I bloody well want it to, it feels like I'll never be able to draw ever again. Like all the talent I've ever possessed is slipping through my fingers like sand.
That irritating little voice in my head yells like a ringing in my ears "this is what you're supposed to be able to do for a living!" It needles at my brain and my confidence until that little swell of pride I had in myself and my works bursts with a deafening bang.
The worst is the inconsistency. Being able to draw to my hearts content one day, and then the next not being able to even hold a pencil properly. The voice bullies me, screams "I know you can do this! I've seen you do it before!!" but alas, those shapes on the page just don't come together to form a whole.
My first anger-fueled reaction was blame. When you're angry, it always feels better to point the finger at someone else, rather than force all that negativity down your own gullet. I went on a long, hateful and completely illogical rant at the shortcomings of Coventry University's Illustration course before directing my aggression towards the old classic - my tools. My poor sketchbook had already taken a heavy beating, and the pencils were next in the line of fire. When anger and frustration drives you, you become blind and a little bit bonkers.
The truth is I can't really blame anything, not even myself. There is no blame in a situation like this. Sometimes, it just doesn't flow. And as crazily irritating that is, beating myself up for getting it wrong is not the way to go. Because when it comes to creativity, there is no wrong answer. And that's the part I love most. So be still tiny annoying voice in my head, I shall tolerate you no longer!
I wanted to write about this because I know for any type of artist it can be hell to have one of those days, weeks, months where you just can't get it right. Failure latches onto your soul and sucks away any good feelings you had for yourself and your capabilities. Even to the point where fear of failure prevents us from trying - not just in art, but in life - and that's never a good thing.
I made a list to encourage me to persist, looking back on all my creative endeavors to gather a few lessons that put things into perspective for me. If you're ever in that dark, angry, throwing-art-supplies kind of place I recommend the exercise, at the very least to save a mug or two from ending up against the wall…
The first thing to do if anger strikes is walk away. Clear your head and calm down before indulging in something completely stupid like sketchbook flinging. When we're angry the logical part of our brain gets cut off, and our decision making skills suffer. Leave it, go for a walk, get a cup of tea, relax. Try not to break anything expensive.
Don't give up! Just because you can't do it now, doesn't mean you'll never be able to. After having a break you can come back to it with fresh eyes. If you don't hit the mark the first time it's fine to give it another go, no matter how long the first try took. Persevere.
As skinning metaphorical cats has always taught us, if it's not working the way you're doing it, there are an infinite amount of brilliant and creative alternatives. That pesky box is dying to be stepped out of; outside it are so many weird and wonderful creative methods of execution, by the end we'll be dying to explore every last one. Try looking at it another way.
Why, after almost a year without character study and almost 7 years without life drawing experience, am I so shocked to find I can't really draw people all that well? Those skills need to be maintained, like any workman's tools. Time invested in creativity is time not spent hulking out and pulling this face D:<
My favourite part of creativity - there is no wrong answer. So even if at the very least you're just having a go, you're already achieving. You don't have to be a master, you don't have to be the same as everybody else and there's no need to compete. If you don't try, you'll never know. If you do try, you're already winning.
The suffering of my poor little sketchbook is perhaps a lesson to me in maintaining perspective. The squished and folded pages of what used to be a very lovely and crease-free log of my art shall forever be a reminder of the importance of clear thinking. May it be the last sketchbook to suffer such a fate...
I've had a good couple of trips to the thrift store this weekend and found some interesting bits and pieces to decorate our apartment with. Finding something amazing at the thrift store is such a satisfying feeling, like when you get a line in Tetris. There's no beating a good bargain.
I fall in love with this mug every time I see it, it's hands down the coolest thing I've ever seen in my life. It's a hand made German ceramic, missing the lid I think but I prefer it that way. It's. freaking. awesome.
I picked up this set of ceramic book-shaped shakers, although I'm missing volume three. But that's one of my favourite parts, searching for matching pieces to add to the collection.
I also got this Hazel Atlas creamer, which I've already promised Pete we'd use to ceremoniously pour milk on our cereal when we build our breakfast nook.
I'm on the look out for more Hazel Atlas stuff for the kitchen, I love the colours and patterns on the glassware.
You've got to be in the right mood for thrift store shopping. When you boil it down to the basics, it's a lot of scrounging through other people's junk...
I've tried to train myself not to just buy all the crazy things I find in thrift stores, just because they're amazingly cheap or so obscure I feel like I have to own them. The worst challenge I find is wanting to save things. I see an old, cherished book or a figurine you know someone once loved and it's hard to pull myself away. In my head I see the box of my great nan's trinkets in the hallway of her bungalow after she died and all I want to do is take those old rusty clocks and chipped porcelain rabbits home where I can make sure they're safe from the trash heap. Someone cared for these things once, and it's often sad to see where they end up.
If I gave into every impulse though, I'd be surrounded by so much bric-a-brac it'd be like living in a constant raffle...
Thrift store things I wish I had room in my life for...
For some reason lately I've had a particular obsession over salt and pepper shakers. I think it all started at the Seattle public market, in the basement there's a shop solely dedicated to antique salt and pepper shakers. We already have three sets, I have a feeling we're going to have to get a dedicated shelf one day very soon. On the same vein, I have become particularly partial to weird shaped ceramics.
We've all been there - we see something in the thrift store that is so amazingly unique, we've always wanted one and it's so cheap that we just have to get it or we'll DIE. And it's ok if we just do it that one time... but we don't. That happens every time and more than once in every store. Before you know it you're coming home with more stuff, taking up more space, spending more time dusting weird things on the shelves than actually enjoying them. Three months go by, it's time for a clear out and all that stuff goes right back where it came from. It's a vicious cycle.
I need to take some control over this habit, before it becomes an addiction.
When in doubt Seth, stick to the five Ws of thrift store shopping...
It's very much a double edged sword - I believe in surrounding yourself with good design and beautiful things, but I also think that filling your life with stuff won't make it magically better than before. A good balance is key. That's why I love thrift store shopping, and spending less money on more unique items. If there was some sort of disastrous Breville-related mishap that destroyed everything I own, it would be ok. I love these things, but they're just things. Possessions. Objects. They're not expensive, they're not irreplaceable and they're not the reason my life is happy and fulfilling. If I can just remind myself of that the next time I want to buy a 2 foot tall wolf's head bust to use as a doorstop, I'll be OK.
When I first started my blog, it was more of a quick way to update my website with all the little bits and pieces that didn't really belong in my portfolio. I wanted to share those weird little doodles and half-arsed pictures but had nowhere to put them. That was a fair few years ago now, and since then blogging has become so much bigger and bolder that it's turned into an art form in itself. Blogs seem to be demanding more and more out of their owners and it's hard to keep up.
In all honesty, I find the whole thing overwhelming. I just wanted to show off a few scribbles, but now it seems there is far more to it.
I have to write articles, push myself on social media, give advice, run competitions, give things away, answer questions, count keywords, be a constant presence... As someone with a full time job and an overreach of projects calling my name [and, if truth be told, a lazy bum] I find it hard to live up to the expectations of what it means to have a blog these days. With so much going on it's difficult to sit down and dedicate time to a well thought out and aesthetically pleasing article.
Time to write being a separate issue, my first real problems are as follows:
Every time I go to sit in front of the screen and type something to post, these glaring facts about myself stare me down like an angry swan at the park. Ready to strike, it knows that I don't belong...
The world of blogging doesn't really seem to have a lot of space for me. As a grouchy, brutally honest British girl with a stiff upper lip and low tolerance for shenanigans I can't seem to find the right voice. All the popular blogs I've come across seem to be written by blissfully delusional stay-at-home-bake-and-sew-doting-housewife-mom-of-twelve types. Not saying that I have a problem with it, but it's just not me. And if that's the audience then what do they want with the opinions of a 26 year old ginger living in sin with her equally cantankerous boyfriend?
The answer is not much. But at the end of the day, everyone is different and the key is embracing who you are and what you have to say, rather than fighting to emulate other people. After reading a few issues of Artful Blogging and doing a bit more actual research, I jotted down a few good tips for getting a little more serious about writing articles for my blog.
I call them 'real articles' because some of my past attempts haven't really felt that way. They've been ploys to trick more traffic to my site, or lazy attempts at keeping my site fresh with content I don't really like. With these guidelines I wrote for myself I'm writing higher quality entries that make me feel better about my brand, which is what's important when trying to carve a space for yourself on the web.
Now that I've got a system in place that works for me, I've found my blog much more enjoyable to interact with. Before I saw it as a chore, something that loomed over me like overdue chemistry homework. It's still time consuming, and a struggle with myself to do something constructive rather than sit with my feet up and a cup of tea watching true crime documentaries. But with all this in place it's getting easier with every new entry, the difficulty now is how many witty metaphors I can come up with in a day...
A squeezing grip around your heart, no matter how hard you wish for artist's block to go away that freeze on the flow of your ideas just isn't going anywhere. Like being snowed in for a long winter, it can be dark, bleak and miserably lonely. For a while now I've been struggling with breaking down that wall and getting those ideas and creativity flowing, and it's definitely harder than it looks.
Creative block can happen to all of us, no matter what you do - draw, paint, write, cook, bubble gum sculptures, it can strike at any moment. The lights go out and suddenly you can't see the beauty or wonder in anything. Life is just blah. Being creative in a blah life is next to impossible. I'll sit in front of the computer, a sketch book, a bucket of lego and nothing will happen. Nothing will get created.
Have you ever experienced it? It's awful, and when creativity is such a huge part of who you are, it can seem like a piece of you just flew away. As I sit in front of a blank piece of paper I start to get the feeling that nothing is ever going to come, and this leads to an unwillingness to try. The notebooks get dusty and my sharpeners begin to rust, and I get blue watching all this time go by without a single thing to show for it - apart from perhaps a healthy right hand mouse click, and the highest number of rings I've ever collected as Sonic the Hedgehog...
In my journey through the proverbial wall, I discovered ways in which to equip myself with metaphorical tools that would help me break the barriers down. The best first step I could think of was going past the symptom to find the cause, and trying to solve the problems that may be building this wall around me.
These are my reasons. When I stopped and looked at everything I had on my plate, it was clear to see why I might not be feeling very creative. From this point I found it easier to navigate the next step and find a way of dealing with the problems, and pushing through them.
It's tricky to decide in which direction to go next. Although identifying the issues behind it made things a little easier, figuring out how to combat the block was still a hefty task. It's getting over that first hurdle that's the trouble, chipping away slowly and patiently until you can finally remove that first brick, and see the light on the other side.
The first thing I did, was nothing. As I was not able to think of ideas or feel in the mood to create, it seemed like a sensible move to embrace the lack of movement in my artistic life. I took a break from creating, and by choosing that break rather than trying to push through it, I was validating my own decision to not create. That felt miles better, particularly in this heat as it gave me the chance to really enjoy the summer and get parts of what some people might call a tan. I wasn't thinking "I should be using this time to create" and trying to be more productive, instead I was actually beginning to enjoy the lack of work and pushing myself. I became an art bum. Van Gogh would have been proud, the mooching layabout.
Accepting my forced hiatus gave me some breathing room, and a little perspective. It refreshed me and took a load off my mind, and felt like the first domino had finally began to fall. After that, I took some steps to ensure I maintained that positivity as I began to break through. These were my guidelines, I don't like to call them "rules" because it sounds too rigid. Rigidity is what got me here in the first place...
Sitting staring at the screen feeling sorry for myself I took a big gulp from my mug and thought to myself how deliciously comforting a cup of tea can be. Warm and wet, washing away all of life's distractions with one milky wave. It's like a snuggly duvet on the inside. Tea. Glorious Tea. I got out my sketchbook and drew a cup. Then a pot. Then ten pots. Then a room with a teacup in it, and a typographic poster about how amazing tea is and before you know it, ideas are sliding in thick and fast, and piling up in my head like love letters on Ryan Gosling's door mat. I had broken through, and finally I could feel the flow begin again.
Having lived my whole life knowing that a brew will always see you through, I don't know how I could have missed it being the key to combating artists block. I guess the fact that it's been too hot to drink it for the last 3 months has been a contributing factor...
Now that I'm back in the game I'm churning out decent ideas by the bucketload. The past week or so I've been thoroughly enjoying creating new things, coming up with new ideas and exploring just how far I can push my creativity. But like a cold hard case of jury duty, it can come at any time, and last for as little or as long as it chooses. All an artist can do is be prepared.
Creative block is a struggle. I'm not saying it's a fight for your life or anything, I'm not in talks with Lance Armstrong about any wristbands. But it is something that can affect an artist and their work. It makes them moody, at the very least. Take some time to validate and appreciate your creative process and flow, you never know when it'll dry up. And if you're ever in any doubt, put the kettle on.
"New Year's Day... now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions.
Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual" - Mark Twain
This new year definitely started off with a bang. Foolish ways, naughty behaviour and a pile of people with terrible headaches and great stories on January 1st. Traditionally I started this year as any other; pissed as a fart, kissing strangers and having the time of my life. And as I crawled into bed at 7.30am not really knowing what I'd got up to for seven hours after midnight, I had a warm tingly feeling about 2013, and was excited about getting it underway.
I'm not normally one for new years resolutions. I figure if I want to change something in my life, what's stopping me from doing it at any point on the calendar? But this time round I've had a change of heart. I can already feel a belter of a year coming our way, and as new years eve was such a hoot, I thought I'd use that good vibe to make a few alterations here and there. There's no point in trying to give up twenty things at once and start a strict regime of three and a half carrot sticks half way between lunch and dinner with a side of 6am boot camps and two hours of bikram yoga a day. That's how resolutions fail, and we all end up slouching in front of the tv in our brand new cycling shorts stuffing our faces with wagon wheels three weeks before Valentine's day. The way I see it, if this is going to work, it's got to be something I really want, and not just for now. If you're going to make a resolution or two, do it because you want to change bad behaviour, or work towards bettering yourself. Don't give up booze for a month just to 'prove to yourself that you can', then do nothing but bitch about how strenuous it is to not have a glass of chardonnay on a slow tuesday night. That'll never get you anywhere.
The honest truth of it is we're never going to be as perfect as we want to be. Everyone sets themselves up for failure by telling themselves they're worthless in the first place. Yes, you probably shouldn't smoke 20 cigarettes a day. But if that's what you really want to do, who's to say you're less of a human being for not being able to stop cold turkey every January 1st? Coffee, cigarettes, booze, mars bars, married men, swearing; whatever your vice is, if you're happy and it's working for you, stick with it. If the only reason you're giving it up is because you think it's expected of you, your heart will never really be in it. Then when you inevitably fail, you'll feel worse than you did before this whole resolution thing even started. We need some real - life resolutions to help us all feel less like losers...
These are some of the things I've decided to work on this year...
I tried to work out what the best course of action would be for me this year, but there were so many different things I wanted to work on, I knew that if I tried to do them all it would be too much, and I'd spend another year staring at the computer screen in my pj's losing hours in front of pinterest wondering why my life is not as colourful and intricately staged as the images I added to my boards. The answer is because you're a lazy bitch. You'd rather sit and stare at things other people do than put the effort in and actually try it yourself.
Harsh, but true.
I am SO lazy. About everything. Procrastination is my expert field, and if there's something important that I really have to do, you can bet your bottom dollar I'll be taking a nap instead. All the things I want to achieve this year lead back to one simple action. BE LESS LAZY.
Every time I need to do something like the washing up, draw a picture or put clothes on that aren't grey and baggy and smell like socks, if I actually just stop thinking about how much of an effort or a pain in the ass it is and just do it, I get like ten extra things done a day.
So that's what I'm attempting to do. It's going well so far, although it is January 14th and I'm writing about new year's resolutions... one step at a time...
I've come up with a bunch of ways to help me cheat when it comes to laziness. I've found that cutting corners is an amazing way to get things done and have time to slob out in your slippers with a cup of tea. I'll keep you informed on some good lazy girl techniques for easy living.
The other day I horrified myself with horrendous behaviour towards a complete stranger, and it made me realize that the kind of person I want to be is going to take work.
I was unlocking my bike outside the wine shop on Davie when I noticed out of the corner of my eye a guy and his dog in the middle of the sidewalk. The dog was squatting away right in the middle, and his owner was looking around desperately to see if anyone had spotted it. I won't go into detail, but what the dog left was more of a puddle than anything else, there was no way anyone could pick that up, and the owner knew it. He looked bashfully my way and rather embarrassed, began to walk away.
"So you're just going to leave that there?" was my question, in a catty voice I shamefully have much practice in.
He shrugged, looked even more embarrassed and expressed his dismay in not being able to remedy the situation without the help of a hose or some sort of disgusting vacuum.
At this point I turned on my heels with my nose in the air and left him with a nasty judgmental comment that sat in my mouth like tar for the rest of the day. As soon as I said it I was disgusted with myself and the idea that it was instinct to me to chastise the poor man, not help him out.
That is what I want to change. That knee-jerk reaction to be a pain to complete strangers in a jam. Lending a helping hand, a kind word, or even just understanding someone else's circumstances can be the make or break of a stranger's day. Sometimes what's happening isn't their fault, and we've all had days like that. It all goes wrong, and then some arsehole comes and gives you a hard time for it, leaving you metaphorically huddled on the ground in the fetal position close to tears. Or not metaphorically, depending on your day.
I decided I didn't want to be that arsehole anymore. I started the other day when we went to the pub for lunch. My first reaction was to internally judge the lack of table clearing and poor service, but after I noticed that the bar tender was on his own, instead I cleared a few tables for him. It makes no difference to me, but a big difference to his day.
I have a nasty habit of taking my body for granted. Thinking that it'll always carry my weight, look this good and keep my juicy parts on the inside is a bit naive if I'm not looking out for it. It's a partnership, like that crap part of star wars about the metachlorians. Mind and body depend on each other, and if I'm not careful I could wind up screwing them both up.
Before christmas I went through a really low phase. I was always tired, had zero motivation to do even the simplest of tasks, and couldn't really reach a level of happiness to put me in a good mood. Nothing was making a difference, no matter what I did or who I saw, I was unamused by everything.
Then I stopped drinking soda, and drank two litres of water a day instead. The transformation was incredible, and I was all of a sudden back to my usual self. It made me realize that a poor diet can ruin more than just my figure, which is something else I need to work on after all those ferrero rocher on christmas eve.
I'm going back to the paleo diet on weekdays. If I give myself the weekends off, what I usually find is that I don't want to cheat anyway, because I feel good about what I'm doing to my body and want to carry on. The difference it's already making to my hair and skin is making me wonder why I ever gave it up in the first place...oh right, so I could stuff my face with bagels. Good choice.
I figured out a decent measurable goal for each of these, but I won't bore you with the details. if i start to think about it too much, the old ways are starting to look pretty damn good...
Whatever resolutions you come up with, good luck with it all. I'm sure you're perfect just the way you are, but hey, what's a little tweaking here and there?