Monthly Archives: September 2016

Taking off the rose-tinted spectacles


YEEEEAAAAAHHHHH!!!!… no?  Oh, please yourselves!

The incot— inconter— incontrovit— can’t-argue-with-it-able fact is that my life is better now than ever before, especially since I started this blog; this manifests itself in two ways.

Firstly, I hardly ever write anything here, as I seldom find my “muse” (or I lose it by the time I get home, and spend ages playing The Witcher III instead).  Sorry, I know, but rest assured if I actually post here, it’s about something more significant than complaining about my gears being ground — and I said right at the start that this blog will come to an end once I have truly recovered from depression and sorted my life out, and maybe it’s happening at last.

Secondly, I no longer wish I could “turn back time” (like, ahem, Cher), and can see just how bad things were in the past, instead of viewing them through the lens of nostalgia.  I remember this feeling first coming upon me in July 2015, a few days after that particularly bad day, when I joined my fun yoga teacher and some friends on Primrose Hill for his birthday celebration, and despite my life not being particularly great at the time, knew I had potential for improvement and no longer regretted the past.

(Perhaps the cycle I’ve noted before starts in July rather than September?)

Oh, there are times I read my diary in — of all times — January 2012 and think about how much lay ahead of me at that time (like getting a smartphone and going to the western USA); perhaps I’m sending those happy thoughts back in time and keeping myself going through the horror.  Certainly, there’s no way I’d go back to my time at Caledonian Road to face all that misery again, even knowing how much better things would get afterwards.

More logically, there have been times I’ve thought fondly of, such as late 2013 — I’m sure I’ve said before how I’d gladly go through that mad Christmas journey home, especially in late 2014 when I was unemployed and hated my situation.  However, 2013 also saw massive work being done in our house to do up both bathrooms (which of course led to a rent increase), and that was after three weeks without an Internet connection!  Not to mention Schrödinger’s Fridge in 2014… and let’s be honest, I couldn’t go back to working at Camden as an admin boy, after all I’ve been through to escape that life.

Looking further back in time than this blog is no better: aside from Cally Road, I also don’t want to return to the dreadful house we had in Wood Green in 2004-6, and while I had a good year at university in 2003-4, there were also bad aspects, like the half-finished dorm we got moved into near the end, and the stress of my astrophysics course!  And before that I was living with my folks in Worthing, which I think speaks for itself: much as I’m grateful for my mother and grandmother taking care of me, I wasn’t happy living there, with no opportunity to do things I enjoyed or meet new people.

What about my undergrad days?  Much as I regret not getting a certain girlfriend in the summer of 1997, or finding a way to keep the one girlfriend of my life in September 1998, I still don’t want to go back to those times — the one because that house was COLD in winter (and I really grew to hate my course as well), and the other because, well, aside from having to face two family losses all over again (my grandfather and the dog I grew up with), I feel like I’d lose too much of the knowledge I’ve gained since then.

(Obviously I’d not go any further back than 1997, because I wouldn’t be a vegetarian any more!)

Don’t get me wrong, though: right now things aren’t exactly perfect, as our hot water supply has all but failed, despite four (or possibly five) visits from British Gas and its subsidiaries (yes, I’m naming and shaming again).  Tomorrow I’m going to have to call them up and vent my spleen, demanding to know why they haven’t already called us back to arrange another visit, and register an official complaint about how damn long it’s taking, especially since there was no hot water this evening at all!

Of course, I may end up viewing this time with rose-tinted spectacles anyway: not only do I now have a laptop (a castoff from work), on which I’m trying out Linux (I’m considering ditching Windows entirely thanks to Microsoft’s behaviour over 10), but I’m getting dates again, this time with women in their twenties… I’d love to think something good will finally happen to me, but after all the disappointments I’ve had in the past few years, we’ll just have to wait and see.

It certainly never helps if I try to see the future through rose-tinted spectacles, as all too often I forget to actually make things happen…

Back to school — er, work


Two mochas this morning, just to get back into the swing of things

Guess who’s back — I was actually glad to return to work today after my “staycation”, though this may be because I’m somewhere between worrying that my colleagues will discover I’m surplus to requirements, and worrying that my colleagues will screw everything up without me there to sort things out!

It was nice having lie-ins, but I somehow felt like I should be doing something instead; unfortunately, when the weather finally became decent on Wednesday and Thursday, instead of going for walks or sunbathing, I had to receive a man from the gas board to ascertain why our hot water doesn’t get very, er, hot.  After two visits he’d only eliminated the pump, and today he and a man from the boiler manufacturer also eliminated the new boiler we got installed in February, so someone’s gotta be in this Thursday so a plumber can see if we’ve got airlocks in our pipes.  Fortunately the next few days will be scorching hot, so we won’t need to worry about having hot showers (or put the heating on), but I hope we get this resolved before Friday, when the Indian mini-summer ends and the slide towards winter belatedly begins…

Hey, let’s not get depressed: September is the time when, thanks to the academic year beginning, I always feel like things are starting rather than drawing to a close (as opposed to spring, when I’m just relieved the days are getting longer and it’s less cold) — much as I said last year when I’d just started this job.  Yeah, I’ll be 39 next month, but I’m under no obligation to face some unpleasant society-inflicted “truth”: I’m still young inside, where it counts, and while I may not be as naive and foolish as I was, I still see the world with a sense of wonder and surprise (though also disappointment, especially when it comes to the USA’s presidential candidates).

And one aspect of my behaviour isn’t necessarily childlike: while I definitely don’t want to rent forever (especially here, which gets cold in winter), I know there’s nothing to be gained by risking everything on the hope of buying a house (or a mortgage) with everything in turmoil right now, thanks to Brexit, austerity etc., so I might as well relax for now and keep doing what I enjoy (climbing, video games, you know the drill by now).  Patience is a virtue, and I’ve got to hope that Fate once again provides and that I’m savvy enough to spot opportunities… and in the meantime, why not have fun?

Perhaps my renewed energy and enthusiasm will mean I post here more frequently — not least to complain about the “man box”, and the notion that all men of working age should be wage slaves with no happiness of their own — but hey, I’ve made promises before…

Time off for good behaviour


“On my planet, to rest is to rest: to cease using energy. To me, it is quite illogical to run up and down on green grass, using energy instead of saving it.”

I’ve finally done it, I’ve booked some actual, appreciable time off work: an entire week.  This is more significant than the three days I took off in July to keep my grandmother company while my mother was working in Germany, as I intend to do whatever I please (though I will of course go to visit my folks next weekend), and while it’s partly to use up some of my annual leave before it expires at the end of the year, it’s also necessary so I can finally rest, something I’ve not done nearly enough since starting this job.

And although I took a day off last week after hurting my ankle, and a day off the previous week for a fever, those were hardly holidays, as I felt rotten.  No, this time I’m going to relax and enjoy having a lie-in every day.

(Okay, so normally I only need to get out of bed around half-past seven every working day, but don’t think I’m not grateful — especially considering the horrendous commutes I had in late 2014!)

A lady at work was nagging me last week to not just sit at home playing video games during my break, but to get out there and do exciting things.  If I was taking two weeks off, I’d probably be looking at a short holiday abroad (somewhere sunny); however, as this would require a lot of bother (and travel time), it’s not worth it for just a couple of days away, unless I go on a day trip to Paris (like I did this time in 2012).  Next year, maybe, but for now, I just want to relax and de-stress, and not feel obligated to “make the most” of my spare time.

I certainly do intend to do a lot of video gaming: specifically I want to complete The Witcher III, as I’ve put a lot in (over 90 hours and counting), and I never finished the similarly-huge Skyrim in 2012.  However, I will still try to do other things every day — including but not limited to:

  • Seeing the dentist for a checkup and hygiene work (my employer should reimburse me), something I should have done months ago;
  • Walking to Waitrose every day for lunch, instead of Tesco (as a means of keeping my daily steps up);
  • Sunbathing (though the predicted heatwave seems to have shrunk to just Thursday), and walking in the park;
  • Working on a laptop I’ve inherited from work, and on which I’ve installed Linux Mint (and selling the Nexus 7 I inherited from my mother when she got a decent tablet instead);
  • Detoxing, after eating too many Fisherman’s Friend lozenges to combat my autumnal catarrh.

One thing I fully intend to do this week is get back into climbing and salsa dancing, both of which I’ve neglected for weeks (though in the latter case it’s because the guy who runs the classes has been away).  Since I’ll be at home and can thus make dinner beforehand, I don’t have to worry about going straight to the venue from work, and thus having to eat out, or coming home to eat and then rushing out again (which wouldn’t be possible with the Castle anyway).

I went climbing successfully today, my right ankle not giving me even as much trouble as my left ankle did after I rolled on it in early 2013, so I reckon I’m ready to properly exercise my legs again, and not worry that my days of activity are over… even if I do intend to laze about most of the time!

(Starting tomorrow morning, as I’m up extra-late writing this…)