009 waves

You may have noticed I’ve been dormant for a while. There’s some reasons for that. 

Whenever you make a big change, it’s a bit like dropping a mountain into the ocean. Huge waves spring up. There’s tumult and turmoil. Things are stirred up from the dark deep.

After a while though the waves calm down and the water settles into a new equilibrium. The energy dissipates.

I’m my case, the stormy sea has consisted of my need to find a new job, improve my fitness and health, and support my family through the ongoing crisis with my daughter. Along the way I want to become a better person, and to break out of the negative ruts that our lives have fallen into. 

I’ve dropped a mountain of change into those dark waters, as dramatic action was called for. Creating big waves, will hopefully propel us to a new and better place.

So what do the changes look like?

Firstly, I replaced some time-wasting activities with library visits. I’ve been exposing myself to loads of new topics outside my normal interests. Making time for reading led me to a book which inspired a challenging goal for my family: cycling from Switzerland to the Netherlands over 4 weeks – a distance of over 1,200 km. At the end we’ll meet up with some dear friends that moved back to Holland a few years ago. 

To achieve our goal we are now cycling regularly – working towards doing 350 km per week. Finding time for this is challenging (especially as the days are getting shorter, colder and wetter). The old body doesn’t recover like it used to either!

All this training is having a lot of side effects:

  1. Less Free Time – blogging is taking a hit.
  2. Tiredness – needing to go to bed earlier, but it’s helping us avoid too much TV time.
  3. Hunger – definitely eating more. We haven’t lost much weight, but after riding 1,000 km already we’re much fitter and becoming slimmer.
  4. More Confident – working towards a really difficult but achievable goal is boosting our self esteem. Other things seem easier. Achieving a new maximum distance for example helps convince us that we can do anything if we put our minds to it. Our lives feel more interesting and purposeful, and to some, inspirational, which feels great!

Coincident with all of the above, I’ve been job hunting, and have found a new permanent job. Woohoo! During that process I’ve been telling prospective employers about our ambitious goal, and I think it’s actually helped land the job. Being fitter and more confident clearly helps make a good first impression.

The timing is great, as my current employer recently advised me (and most of our colleagues) that we will all be “let go” around the middle of the year. It’s great to be able to stop worrying about that, and to know that my new employer is aware and supportive of my goal.

So I’m settling into a new routine, and hoping for calmer waters ahead.

Ciao for now.

008 – less is more

Houston. We have a problem.

My son walks in and asks “Dad, where’s the measuring tape?”. I think about that for a few seconds.

“Aaaah…” I say. “I think there’s one in the tool chest. Or the big tool box. Or the smaller one. Or…” Or in that cardboard box on the shelf. Or maybe it’s in the kitchen or study drawers. Or the car glovebox. Or maybe in more than one of those places. Sigh… 

We must have at least 5 or 6 measuring tapes. We pick up new ones from time, because we can’t find the other ones when we need to.

Houston, if you’re listening. We definitely have a problem.

I guess this is an example of how life can be harder than it should be. Ideally, we would have one measuring tape. When it’s required, it could be found, immediately in its place, and easily returned. So why do we have more? I’m not aware it’s a sign of my success in life. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s a sign of my mindless consumption and attachment to things. What a waste of money and resources. At least one of the measuring tapes was broken and could not be repaired, so why did I have it?!

Whenever I encounter an object in my life I now ask:

  1. Do I need it? I mean, really need it. Is it adding value to my life, or is it just another thing that will sit unused (or unfound) gathering dust and rust.
  2. If I don’t need it, who else might need or want it? Can I sell it, donate it or give it away?
  3. If I can’t give it a new home, can I repurpose it, or recycle it? Could it become part of a piece of art?

Worst case, it goes in the trash. At least then it’s relinquished some space and reduced the stress in my life ­čÖé

P.S. If any of the above has resonated with you, then you might enjoy reading this great book: “The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own” – by Joshua Becker

006 the mysterious box – part 1

On the side of the road was a box. Just sitting there. It had appeared one morning without warning.

Throughout the day, many people passed┬áby. Some slowed down or stopped to look at the box. Some read the writing. They all appeared to hesitate and consider the possibilities before┬áreluctantly moving on. The box waited patiently…

Continue reading “006 the mysterious box – part 1”