Pride Day honesty

“What you hide, owns you.”

I read this quote this week and it’s niggled at me. Especially after writing in my last post about how important it is for a meaningful life to tell your story honestly.

I have plenty of things in my life I don’t talk about openly. Plenty! I want to change that. Here’s one story I need to tell.

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One step forward, two steps back? From ‘the search for happiness’ to ‘a search for meaning’

So since my last post about ‘finding my mission’, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. About how to try and live a happier life, and how to reorient myself professionally towards a ‘mission’ that would be more fulfilling.

In the last couple of weeks, I did a bunch of reading and thinking about my search for ‘happiness’. It turns out, I didn’t really have this search framed quite right.

Let me explain.

What I realised belatedly in the last couple of weeks (I’m sure basically every philosopher in history and psychologist practising today, would have spotted this instantly!) is that what I was looking for wasn’t really happiness at all. Continue reading

Four books that changed my outlook on life this year

I love books. I love them so much.

Since I was three, I’ve sat in corners lost in books while the rest of the world carried on around me. (As a kid, I also had an annoying habit of tearing off the corners of pages and eating them…even books belonging to other people…sorry, childhood friends!)

Anyway. Obviously, your reading of a book very much reflects how you feel at the time, and you take away what you bring to it too, albeit in some sort of crystallised form.

I happened to read these four books while going through through a period of professional and personal change, and so they *pinged* on a few specific strings of mine that I was kind of already tuning up.

They might not resonate with you at all; or if you did, they might send you totally different messages. (If so, I would love to hear about what you took from these books in the comments!) Continue reading

I have a job. Now I need a mission

After the last couple of weeks hiatus (though I did go for a little walk), here I am back with a new blog about the changes taking place in my life.

This week I finally started my new job. To recap on what this is, after some false starts and random applications, I decided what I wanted was:

  • a job that I could do well without re-training, but that wouldn’t be deadly dull
  • for an organisation doing good work in the local community
  • something low-stress and less intense than my previous job
  • A job which didn’t pay loads, but covered my bills, with a little bit every month left over for hobbies
  • A part-time post, which I could leave on time every day- to leave space for my other goals. (That’s the important bit we’ll come back to!)

Having worked my first week at the new job, I’m feeling encouraged that I’ve found the right thing. The workplace seems friendly and not obviously a toxic workplace or sick system (see Issendai’s interesting blog post on sick systems  which has rang true for me several times, over my years in non-profits!). I’m also really moved and motivated by the results I see coming in from the colleagues working on the ground. They are doing good work, with people who really need it.

So no major red flags, and I can turn my attention to what’s next.

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Wanders near Bristol: Rowberrow and Dolebury Warren (Part 2)

(For part 1, see here.)

When I read the word ‘fort’ on a map, despite knowing that this is never going to be the case, a little part of me always hopes for (and maybe still actually expects) an enormous, forbidding stone tower with turrets and ramparts- perhaps with Game of Thrones characters wearing furs, striding around, shading their eyes from the sun and looking majestic.

Of course, this is never the case, and it wasn’t at Dolebury Warren. The fort was constructed in the Iron Age. This is quite a long time ago; so, even though it’s what the archaeologists call ‘very well preserved’, to an untrained casual observer like me, all there is to actually see at Dolebury Warren is a large grass-covered lump- or rather, two large grass-covered lumps (with some piled stones in the surrounds-I assume the stone piles are a more recent addition, though I’m not sure why they’re there).

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Wanders near Bristol: Rowberrow and Dolebury Warren (part 1)

I’m a huge fan of good travel writing. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about travel writing, and what makes travel writing enjoyable to read. (More musings on that at some point, probably).

In the process of that, I started thinking about how I feel when I travel, and explore a new place, and record the details in writing. It’s something that gives me a lot of joy. And yet, I don’t think I need to be anywhere special to have that feeling. A lot of travelling, let’s be honest, is about wandering around an unknown city centre looking for coffee or a toilet-  or else walking through outdoor spaces that nine times out of ten are beautiful, but not necessarily unique.

What makes travelling special, for me, is probably the sense that I am actively involved in my surroundings. I’m somewhere I might only be for a few hours and then never see again, so the experience of being there is something to treasure and experience fully.

When I thought about it that way, I realised there was no real reason not to make more effort to explore and write about my local neighbourhood a bit more. I often go for hikes and trips around Bristol, but it’s never occurred to me to document them. Yet the area in which I live has just as much to be seen and worthwhile to record as anywhere else I’ve travelled.

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