I feel like another species

Last week I had a moment of realisation and since that day I have looked at things in a new way. I don’t know if that’s a bad thing but I feel more positive and optimistic. I feel as though things in life are pretty silly and they should be treated that way. We all get carried away with things and if you take yourself out of that situation for long enough we can see we’re acting like fools.

That may sound like I’m being mean or dissmisive about the way people are and I guess I am. I see people acting in a way that they’re used to, thinking in a way that they’ve been conditioned and it’s weird. I have always found it hard to understand people but now I feel like another species. It’s so hard to explain. I see people walking around, looking at all the shiny things, giving people looks, acting selfishly and it’s amusing. At times I can’t help but actually laugh out loud.

I feel as though I want to give daily blogging a go again.

Technology isn’t bugging me

I recently took steps to distance myself from the internet and since then I feel much better about things. My phone has pissed me off significantly less than it used to. It is probably just mindset but I’ll take that.

It’s easy to jump on technology and blame it for making us unhappy but it’s only because we let it. We can also use it to make our lives easier and although it can take some time and effort to initially set things up it can make it better.

Most apps and social networks have settings that can be tweaked to suit you and there are also add-ons to the more popular web browsers to filter the crap out.

With all this in place, we can make the internet great for ourselves again.

Setting Myself Free

We live in a digital world. To avoid technology you need to make a real effort. It’s easier to just give yourself over to it and slowly let it take you over. I am someone who embraced the internet and slowly it began to control me. I’m so connected that I feel that I need to sever the ties.

Last night I received some emails sent to my personal email address from my boss. It was frustrating because I was at home and no longer at work. It was invading my personal time when I was “off the clock”. I work in a coffee shop and unless I’m at work, there’s nothing I can do about anything, especially not at 7pm after the shop has closed and I’m sitting in my pajamas watching TV. I work full-time so I like to switch off when I get home and this doesn’t help.

I also get a lot of WhatsApp messages from various people. I liked the idea of WhatsApp, however I feel it gets abused. People love it because it let’s them keep track of who’s read what message and the last time someone logged in so they know if their message is being screened. The most annoying thing about WhatsApp is the group chat function. Any of your contacts can add you to a group chat and there’s some unwritten rule that forbids you to leave a group without upsetting someone. I can honestly say that I’ve never received important, time sensitive information through WhatsApp.

So what have I done? I’ve set up a “work email” and any work related emails sent to my personal email address will get forwarded directly to that. I will only check that email address whilst I’m at work. I’ve also got rid of WhatsApp. I didn’t hesitate for a second with that one. People can still send me text messages and I’ve always said that if something is super important, the person would phone me.

It feels liberating. My phone has hardly pinged off today and I love it.

Treating days off like a tiny holiday

I had a week off and it showed me I need to treat any time off I have as an opportunity to relax and get on with being me. I’m not a complex person, I have simple needs. I don’t need much to make me happy. I need time to myself and that’s all. I’m not fussy.

My wife and I shared complete awareness of our surroundings

I was walking home a couple of days ago and I was chatting with my wife about the day I’d had. We were deep in conversation when out of the corner of my eye I saw a fox walking down the other side of the road. We both stood still and watched it as it went about its business.

David Anstiss [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
It was a moment my wife and I shared complete awareness of our surroundings. Being deep in conversation and the next moment we’re marvelling at nature. I didn’t even know that foxes were around so close to my house.

It reminded me of an analogy I once heard about people going through an event and it appearing to be happening in slow motion. Stories of people being in a car accident and being able to tell even the most smallest of detail of what happened (like the change in the ashtray etc). It’s because their mind isn’t distracted.

I can still see the fox casually walking down the side of the road. It was a very special moment.

Someone stole from me

As far as days go I’ve had a strange one. To cut a long story very short, whilst I was at work in the coffee shop today, someone came in and stole our tip jar. Cup and all. My back was turned for no more than five seconds so the guy knew exactly what he was doing. I checked CCTV and have informed the police. It sucks but other than that, there’s not much I can do.

I had a weird moment of relief though. I was relived that it happened to me whilst I was on shift. I feel weird knowing that someone stole from me today. They stole from me and they stole from my members of staff. I don’t know the thief’s back story, why he did it or whatever. It saddens me that someone has to resort to doing that. I’m relieved it happened to me because I wouldn’t want it to happen to anyone else. I know that sounds weird but it’s an upsetting thing to happen to anybody and I’m glad it’s me because I can cope with it.

It’s a good example of karma. If you do bad things, bad things will happen to you. Something bad happening to me today isn’t my bad karma from something I’ve done previously, the bad karma belongs to the thief. I could react badly because of today, I could now take a cynical look at the world, like a pebble being thrown into still water. But I’m not going to do that. I’m a nice person and I believe that the karma will come bouncing back on the thief in some shape or other.

By Sergiu Bacioiu from Romania (Water Drop – Explored) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The stuff I get away with saying

I spend most of my time at work. I do what I can to not let it dominate my thoughts because otherwise it would dominate my “head space” when I’m not on the clock.

I work in a coffee shop and it means that I meet many different people each day. I find the people I meet very fascinating. What I enjoy is seeing what I can get away with saying to strangers. I’ve always been a firm believer that you can say what you like to people as long as you say it the right way. I don’t say horrible things but I like to push my luck. I like to treat people like I’ve known them years and I think it’s the main reason I can get on with most people.

It can backfire sometimes but not often. I can usually talk myself out of those situations when they arise.

I don’t want to sound like one of “those people” but I can honestly say, my customers are probably the best thing about my job. Most of them are a lot of fun and I’m even on first name terms with some of them.

I’m treating each post like it’s my last

I have actively not posted on my blog for a while because I wanted to see if I wanted to do it properly again. I’ve had ideas swirling around my head for what I want to do with it and I have decided that I want to give it another go. I’m treating each post like it’s my last because I know that I will give up on it eventually.

I don’t see giving up on something as bad. I think that it shows strength and courage to say “Do you know what? I’m done.” It’s not an easy decision to make but it is important.

I have a busy life. I say busy, I work as a manager in a coffee shop and I’m at work a lot. When I get home from work I want to veg out on the sofa and just get on with relaxing. It doesn’t leave me with much time for creativity. I am now going to set time aside for me to do that again. I have managed to set time aside to do my twice weekly podcast so I’ll do that for writing too. I need to work out what I am able to do and how I can better manage my time.

Time. That’s always an issue.

I never thought that I’d be someone who would have to set time aside for creativity or fun. Can an allocated time for fun truly be fun? It’s like school, you’re on your best behaviour when you’re there and when you leave it’s like you can flip a switch and you can let your hair down. I don’t want to sound like one of those pictures that people post on Facebook which reads something like “Make time to do the things you love” but that is exactly what I’m saying to myself.

So what is the plan? I don’t really have one. I’m not going to commit to a posting schedule unless I’m able to. I record my twice weekly podcast in advance and trickle out episodes. I’ll do that here too. Since I haven’t got anything ready to go yet I’ll have to work out the finer details.

I’m also back on Twitter. I am treating it like it’s the edited highlights of being around me. I’m going to curate. What a geek right? “I’m going to curate things that I think are worth sharing.” We all do it. Maybe not on a conscious level but when we talk to people we make sure that’s we’re sharing the important things. (Social networks are obviously a more extreme version of that.)

I’m still on my quest to become the best version of myself and that is what my blog is about; my journey of personal growth and hopefully it’ll be of some value to the people who read it too.

Meditation and mindfulness

It’s no secret that I fully endorse mindfulness and meditation. It changed my outlook on life and it bugs me that people assume it is to do with religion. But it doesn’t. Headspace shows that. I suffer from depression and it helps me see my mental illness for what it is, a mental illness. (I know that sounds stupid but so what.)

Crow-barring Christmas

When you work in the hospitality trade for 45 hours a week, it’s hard to feel festive. Occasionally I have a little spare time so I’m crow-barring as much Christmas as I can. I think it’s working.

I love George and Mildred. I knew they made a film but I have never seen it and luckily it was scheduled as part of Christmas television. A staple of Christmas TV is movies based on popular TV shows so this killed two birds with one stone. I feel more festive for it.