Pick a lane

Whenever anyone gets behind the wheel of a car, one moment of indecision can be the cause of a near miss out an accidents. Whenever I’m at the wheel, I try to remember rushing can be dangerous to myself and others. In other words I attempt to ‘pick a lane’ and stick with it, when I’m driving, and in other areas of life.

We’ve all done it. Turn a corner a little too fast and veer into the incorrect lane, then need to change back. Change lanes without signalling for long enough. Forget which lane we need and change multiple times, without looking over our shoulder, swerving in front of a car who knows where they are going. It might be a lack of concentration, or simple forgetfulness, but it affects more than just ourselves. People around us need to know what we are doing so they can help, if they have the mind to. Seeing we know what we are doing will also help them stay out of our way if they wish to. When we give off confused vibes this can frustrate others, leading to poor decisions and possibly, heaven forbid, an accident. Concentration is key, so we can all get to where we’re going safely.

Something that will help us do this is a small amount of advance planning. Where is our destination? Are we travelling at peak time? Is it ok if we are a little late? What is the best alternate route or mode of transport if option one becomes unavailable? Spending a small amount of time the day before, or the morning before, will save a lot of hassle if we need the answer to any of these questions during our journey.

Life can require the same attention to detail. We fly by the seat of our pants at times, drifting around, looking for the thing that will light the fire in our belly. This works sometimes. A professional sportsperson would struggle to improve if they didn’t put in practice to know what to do in stressful in-game situations. A builder would struggle to make a legal construction if they didn’t keep up to date with what the requirements were. In these situations they will need to dedicate time educate themselves. For this part of their life they have chosen their lane and know how to get the best out of travelling in it. It’s up to them to put in the effort, to work hard, to get better at what they do, and show this to the world.

This weekend just ending I was tired before it even started. It feels like I’m playing the same broken record over and over. Every week I say to myself, “I’m going to go to sleep at the same time every day this week, get up, and stick to my writing routine.” Seven of the past eight weekends I have not been able to abide by this decision. Something has to change. Not because I can’t manage resting more during the weekends, but because I have so many story and song ideas I don’t have time to waste! The compulsive side of my personality meant I played The Witcher 3 for far too long. But, differently to usual I accepted I had made this decision and rolled with it. I did not read and respond to as many wonderful blog posts as I wanted. I did not write as much of my book as I wanted (which is difficult now anyway because there’s only two or three pages left to draft!) I have uploaded this blog post about twenty four hours later than I wished to. I did finish editing a short story with my dad for another competition, and thank him immensely for keeping me honest in terms of writing, and keeping my creativity engaged. I finished the last few chapters of my read-through of the bible in one year. This was an immense achievement, but not one I will sit on. I thank God every day for providing me the right message when I need it.

I’m not perfect and I never will be. But I need to pick the right lane to do the things I want to do, and get off my backside when I start to put myself in a rut. Again and again I keep finding the words of Jocko Willink:

Discipline equals freedom.

The way we live cultivates the life we have. It’s a bit of a circular truism, but at work, playing sport, hanging out with family and friends, we have choices. The way we make our choices can bleed into one another. The good ones. And the bad ones. If I choose to spend most of my time outside of work actively being unproductive I risk this happening at work too.

For me, choosing to be disciplined on the weekends is tough. I want to spend them writing as much as I can, because I love writing. Once I start, I fall into the worlds I have imagined, and will imagine, so easily and can write for hours. But getting started, therein lies the heart of the problem for me on the weekends. That’s where my effort needs to lie in the foreseeable future.

What acts of discipline do you need to put in place? How will you go about this?

Keep on keeping on making those good decisions, dear readers. Peace.

Cover photo by Burak K from Pexels.

Knock-on effects

What consequences are there for a particular decision we make? Right now? A week from now? A few months from now? A few years from now? I chase thoughts around in my head like this all the time. “If I’d only done this”, or “What if it goes wrong?” or “That can be for future Hamish to worry about”. What I don’t do very often is write these thoughts down to try and make sense of them. To make myself think about the long term consequences of “just one more YouTube video”, or the “Why” behind not wanting to go to sleep. It’s time I started to do that. I hope you’ll join me on my journey, and embark on one of your own too.

My household sometimes watches the gameshow The Chase. The Beast, one of the Chasers the contestants can come up against, points out when teams get into a negative answering cycle. If you’re not an experienced quizzer it’s easy to keep worrying about a question you answered incorrectly, maybe one that you actually knew, instead of focussing on answering the next question. The past is the past. We can wish we made different choices as much as we want but the decision we made won’t change. The outcomes that have already happened won’t change. If we keep our focus in the past we risk damaging our future. What happens from today and onwards we can change – if we focus our energy on moulding the life we want. There’s no way to do that if we stay stuck in the past.

When I start getting anxious I think about all the things that seem to be going wrong. Not sleeping well, not playing the guitar enough, getting behind on writing projects, eating too much junkfood. It starts a negative cycle which can continue far into the future.

Funnily enough, one of the main causes is wanting to control every little facet of my life. To-do lists are great, and help me know what I want to achieve when my brain is foggy, but if I spend all my time documenting every single little thing, and trying to plan ways to avoid every single drawback, I get nothing done. This micro-managing leads to decision fatigue and, ultimately, burnout. Usually just for a day or two, but it’s unhelpful all the same.

A stark example is playing an RPG on my Xbox which requires making hundreds of choices. If I go through every iteration of every choice, turn to Google to ask for the ‘best’ outcome of every decision, it ceases to be fun. It is no longer me playing and enjoying it. I become almost a robot making the same choices others have, losing the excitement of discovering things fresh as I play and make those decisions for myself. I enjoy that game less, which can make me think I don’t enjoy video games at all, which leads to losing motivation for other things in my life.

For me there is alternative solution. When I turn worry and anxiety over to God I feel weight lifting off my shoulders. This is not because I don’t care anymore, or that I think now it’s up to God to do the hard work. My mind instead has a clear focus on the now, where I am able to think through decisions clearly with lingering too long on any potential negative outcomes. I make decisions more quickly which gives me energy to enjoy the things in doing without burning out. Sometimes things don’t work out the way I want them to. As I’ve said many times before, and many other people have too, this is the way we learn.

Don’t get caught in the trap of lamenting poor choices. Expending energy on what we ‘should’ have done, instead of focussing on what we can change in the now is just as debilitating as never making a choice!

Find your balance. Identify unhealthy cycles and find a way to limit the negative knock-on effects. There is a happy middle ground. This won’t mean being happy all the time, and that’s ok, but you’ll be on your way to achieving whatever big dreams you’re aiming for.

God’s peace to with you, dear readers.

UPDATE: Keep your eyes out for a short story here in the next fortnight. It will be a taste of the adventures within my book will be when it’s published. I’m excited to share a little of Keiyu’s search for balance with you! If you like what you read I hope to make sharing a story a regular fortnightly thing.

Cover photo from PixaBay, retrieved through Pexels.

The payoff

It has taken me a longer than I thought it would to finish the first draft of what I hope will turn into my first published book. The closer I get to finishing, the more resistance I have to fight to get back into the world each time. To help me push forward I focus on the finished product, getting those last words down on the page. And that is just the beginning.

My end goal for most of my time writing this book has been to have it published. Really, what I want is for people to have the opportunity to read this book and enjoy the adventures as much as I have. I think this would be the best outcome. The book can be published or not, but I must get it into the hands of keen readers. Now I am into editing, one of my favourite parts of the writing process, I will continue to craft the manuscript and make it into the best reading experience I possibly can. This means shedding the shackles of fear about what other people will think of the book, and committing to sharing it. Collaboration with others has helped me with other writing projects so I must be prepared to receive feedback with open arms and use it to improve this one. This will include implementing some suggestions as given, reading through confusing or ambiguous phrases and rewriting them, removing unnecessary scenes, shoring up loose characters, and general tidying up of grammar and spelling.

The last three days have been unproductive. I suffered some bad food poisoning on Wednesday night, spent most of Thursday in the bathroom, and all of Friday in bed resting. After getting over the worst of it I had a little time to think: What are the end goals of my current projects? I have decided to focus on three.

  1. Edit the manuscript of my book, working title “Balance of Honour”, until it is in a state I, and other critical readers, believe is ready to send to publishers.
  2. Finish recording, mixing, and mastering my three track EP. Send this to my supporters who helped me get to Cincinnati, along with a poem for their patience.
  3. Take definite steps towards my job being a writing position which involves plenty of typing. (It may be odd, but I love the act of typing.)

Sometimes I don’t know the next step. Sometimes it’s about doing something little. Writing a short story with my dad to practice my craft and enter another competition. Practicing the guitar or singing for fifteen minutes every day to keep improving. Be active on this blog to receive what has been immensely helpful feedback and encouragement.

On days like the last three it’s tough. It seems life I’ve been pushed back to square one. All the progress I’ve made still exists but I am unable to acknowledge it. I pick up my Xbox controller and lose myself in a different world because that’s all I can do at that moment. I know this is partly caused by a lack of energy as I haven’t been able to eat as regularly as I normally would. Thankfully this is a temporary state.

InpsireChief reminded me recently on his blog that we will lose a battle every now and then. We all will. It’s how we each respond to these that define us. If, like me, you follow God, reach out. He’s always there to catch us when we stumble. Sometimes it seems impossible to get up off the ground. Sometimes we need that help to lift us out of our funk. Just know, the payoff is always worth it.

Peace to you dear friends. Through struggle and strife I pray you will find the light that awaits the hard work of your journey.

Here’s a link to InspireChief’s blog, there’s a lot of useful insights and information over there: https://inspirechief.com/i-lost-a-battle-yesterday/

Cover photo by Ana Arantes from Pexels.

Drive better

There have been times in my life I think to myself, “I drive well”. I pay attention to the road and other drivers, I’m not in a hurry, and I practice patience. Other times, I know I have not driven well. I let my concentration lapse, I make poor choices almost to the point of causing accidents, I try to rush through light phases, or I drive while I’m tired. None of these are good traits to espouse when driving a vehicle.

In a similar way there are times in my life I think, “I know where I’m going, and I’m looking forward to putting in the hard work to get there”. More often though, I feel lost and unsure of where to go, let alone how to steer my ship’s wheel to get there. I need to learn to pay attention all the time to keep myself and others safe while driving, and to listen to my instincts, especially when they tell me I shouldn’t be driving. This is not paying attention to the little voice telling me to stay up later or buy lunch more days than I need to, but the spark inside my soul which is always there, quietly guiding me.

Indicators on cars seem like they are becoming even more of an optional extra than they used to be. At least, it seems fewer people are taking the time to use them. Their purpose is right there in the name. Indicate. Proper use lets others know where we are going so they can adjust their driving accordingly to be safe. This is not the same as a token flick for barely a second after already having changed lanes or turned the corner. That is an afterthought. A potentially dangerous one. Yes, there are times when I miss turning my indicator on. BUT. I recognise this and make sure I don’t let my use of indicators lapse. Maybe it is a symptom of having driven for so long we think we can do it in autopilot? (There’s another whole blog post in there, and I think I may have even written one!)

What I need to focus on is maintaining vigilance in all the other aspects of driving too, not just the use of indicators.

One of my pet peeves with pedestrians also involves a lack of indication. Plenty of footpaths are skinny enough you can only have two people walking past each other, one in either direction. Sometimes a footpath is so skinny there is only enough space for one person to walk in either direction. Few people seem to be aware of others moving to pass them from in front of behind. Or they notice but don’t seem to care. The biggest culprits seem to be larger groups. They monopolise footpath space, even when the footpath is very wide, and look on with annoyance when they have to move even a few inches. During our first lockdown in New Zealand people were courteous and ensured there was enough space to walk past comfortably. (I say first because though we are doing well here that doesn’t mean we won’t require another.) People acknowledged others with a smile and made eye contact. I found walking to be much less stressful. Now the footpaths are full of people again, the concept of “keep left” has gone right back out the window. (In other countries which drive on the right hand side of the road I understand it may well be “keep right”, but in no situation is the, “I’m walking here so you can find somewhere else, like the road” appropriate pedestrian etiquette.)

This may sound petty but it is a small action which can help so many more people than we could ever be aware of. Friends, let us open our awareness and choose kindness.

Changing tack a bit, I used to find it difficult to know what I wanted to do in life. The spark inside my soul was alive but I had no idea where it was guiding me. This has meant I’ve become lost several times along the way. I followed the guidance of my parents and my friends, both through them explicitly telling me and seeing what they were doing. If my friends were studying a technology degree, surely it would be a good choice for me? The sector seems like it’s well paid with plenty of job openings, how could I go wrong?

Well, I finished the degree. However, this came with the realisation working somewhere which has the sole aim of making more money was not a place I wanted to be. I understand businesses need to make money to pay employees. If you work anywhere in the corporate world this is true. But people should always factor into the equation. Customers, clients, and colleagues will feel better and be more likely to help if they are treated well and fairly. The organisation I work for now has a strong motivation to help people so I feel good in this job. It also leaves (some) time to write my novels, enter story competitions with my dad, play and record music, play video games with a good story, and read books I’ve been meaning to for quite some time.

This is not the perfect job. In fact I want to move towards a more writing focussed working life which might be more along the self-employed track. Even with all this direction from that spark I still get lost a lot. The difference? It doesn’t scare me quite as much as it used to. I pray to God to show me a path through the difficulty, and I get to work to make it happen. I know there is a way to find the right path, even if I have to travel a few of the wrong ones to find it.

How is your driving of cars? Of life? Where might you wish to change direction? Have you got a plan on how to make the moves you want to?

Keeping on keeping on being awesome. Peace.

Cover photo by Taras Makarenko from Pexels.

Making a choice

I have seldom stopped to think: What goes into making a choice? What thought process do I go through to decide the best course of action? Research, talking to others who have taken similar actions, trial and error, deciding not to do a particular thing right now, breaking it down into smaller decisions. All of these can be part of making a particular choice.

When we’re in the midst of intense work, critically thinking about any of these things can go right out the window. Today we played ultimate frisbee against a couple of teams we don’t play against often. Some of the ways a few people were running seemed, at least in mind, a little bit dangerous which I thought could lead to unnecessary contact. This was my perception. I felt I was right to point it out, hopefully to ensure dangerous contact didn’t happen. This was a choice made from past experience of similar situations. I chose to point it out early in the day so there was opportunity for players to think about it and change their play if necessary.

Thinking back, even just a few hours later, I think there were probably better ways I could have handled the situation. The perception that players were running potentially dangerous lines was my perspective. I may have been the only one to have this perspective and everyone else was ok with the closeness of other players around them. Keeping an open mind and talking to others about my thoughts before taking action may have helped me broach the subject more effectively with the players I wanted to. I am certain no player was choosing to move unsafely around the court on purpose, but the way I chose to approach conversation may have led others to believe I thought they were playing intentionally unsafely.

I have found myself similar situations at work, not unsafe running but unintentionally letting little mistakes crop up here and there. No one at work is intentionally messing up to make more work for others. I firmly believe that. If a mistake is identified and communicated clearly to the person responsible they look for a way to fix the issue if possible. They are also genuinely apologetic if it was a mistake that could have been avoided. This is a great workplace ethos, and is not as common as I would have thought in places I’ve worked. This works best when it starts from management and is encouraged down throughout the organisation.

I’ve found myself being more introspective when it comes to making choices, especially ones made in stressful situations. I try to start by taking a deep breath, thinking through what might happen if I bring up the perceived issue, and what might happen if I let it slide. Is pointing this out beneficial right now? Or will it move things in the opposite direction? At the moment this process works sometimes but not all the time. If I realise more information is needed I seek out others who have different perspectives to talk through the situation with. In ultimate this involves talking to other experienced players. At work this involves talking to my manager, and others in our organisation with different areas of expertise.

Whatever the situation, wherever we are, the most important thing to remember is to communicate with respect. We won’t always agree but we can initiate discussion rather than confrontation. If we are the one starting a conversation, we are responsible for starting it in the best way possible.

What are some areas of your life where communication can be difficult? How can you encourage yourself to instigate conversation when it is necessary?

Go well into your week and look after each other. Peace.

Cover photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels.

Barriers to entry

Starting out at anything, it is difficult to break through and be noticed, even just a little bit. At present I have no desire to be famous, except to have influence to encourage those around me to show kindness in their actions. I am certainly not the first person to have this aspiration and I almost certainly will not be the last. But even with this outwardly focussed aspiration I find myself stopped by invisible roadblocks. Often ones that simply shouldn’t exist.

Our own minds hold us back. Imposter syndrome kicks in without us even realising. We think we hear it as a pragmatic voice but often it is actually fear. This causes us to give up at some things, even ones we really believe in and have aptitude for, because we believe we are not good enough to even try. This is a barrier put up by the society we live in, that there is a common path to follow which will lead us success, and one we can perpetuate with our thought patterns. Going to university is not the best choice for everyone. Working forty hours a week is not the best choice for everyone. There are alternatives in our current world. They have different barriers. Maybe we don’t fit in to any standard career pathways right now, maybe we earn less so have to be more careful about spending. These can often be scarier barriers because we’re forging a vastly different path to those around us. We might even find completey foreign barriers to overcome!

Being who we are does that.

I am a fortunate person. I live in a relatively safe country where expressing my beliefs is safe. I am a Christian, I follow Jesus, and my life is not in immediate danger by saying that. I am over six feet tall. This is useful in many situations; retrieving things from high shelves when shopping, having my head be visible above a crowd, and keeping me safe when walking by myself at night. I have positive memories of my education and home life from when I was younger. This means I dive into learning new things and I’m not afraid to make mistakes. It has been a process being comfortable making mistakes, and I’m still working on it, but I’m getting there. I also had the opportunity to choose what I wanted to do after I finished high school. Attend university, get a job, another trajectory? Some people don’t get that chance. Some people don’t even have the opportunity to finish school because they must start earning an income to survive. I have no personal knowledge of what that is like.

We all have obstacles between us and where we want to go. Sometimes it’s a matter of putting our head down, working hard, and we’ll work it out. Learning what we need to pass an exam for example. No one else is going to put that knowledge in our head for us. Sometimes we don’t need to overcome the obstacle at all, we can go around it. When I hit a mental block with writing I sometimes put a piece to the side and work on something else. I come back to it when I have more experience and the obstacle is no longer an obstacl, sometimes even years later. Playing sport against a team which performs one task better. Going toe-to-toe is playing to their strengths, maybe it’s about playing a completely different strategy they’re not expecting. Use our brain muscle.

Sometimes the obstacle needs to be completely removed from existence. Not just for us but for the entire world. If someone works hard and intelligently at something, who they are should be no barrier to their success. Experience is useful, but how will someone get that if no one gives them a chance to show what an amazing job they will do? Gender, age, where a person is from: none of these things should automatically afford anyone a better opportunity than anyone else. There are some things which a certain person will suit better, but hard work and results should speak for themselves without any second guessing.

I speak from a position of privilege with limited knowledge of what struggle in the working world is like. Ive been without a job and had to apply for plenty before getting one, but I was able to do that and feel I had a reasonable chance of being considered for most of them. I have my own struggles with depression and thinking I am not good enough. We all have our own struggles. Help others by lifting them up and encouraging them to work hard. If we do that we can provide each other the tools to overcome any obstacle in our path. Whether that’s working towards becoming self employed, or improving how well we flip a pancake.

Barriers are to be broken. Forge your path, and leave helpful markers for others so they can decide if it’s the right way for them to go.

What are some barriers in your life at the moment? How are you planning to overcome them to get where you want to go?

Keep on keeping on being awesome. Peace.

Cover photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels.

Wisdom

At a dentist appointment eight years ago I was told my wisdom teeth would need to be removed, and soon, to prevent further damage to my teeth. I did not go back to the dentist until this year because I lacked the money to pay for the surgery. This week my wisdom teeth were removed. Not one, not two, not three, but all four of them. I don’t mind going to the dentist, actually enjoy it sometimes, but whichever way you look at it surgery is a big life event.

Up until the morning of the surgery I had no strong feelings about it one way or the other. I looked at it as pragmatic self care; actively managing something that needed to be managed. My initial consultation had been pleasant and the dental surgeon explained why all four teeth needed to be removed very succinctly. Only on the morning of the surgery did I start to think about the fact of what was actually happening. I started to experience anxiety about whether it would be painful and how long recovery might be.

As well at I could I engaged the mentality that I am only able to control the controllables. I trusted the surgical team to make me as comfortable as possible before the surgery, and to look after me during it. I trusted my sister to pick me up afterwards and drive me home. I trusted that soup, soft rolls, porridge, and bananas would do for food while my gums healed.

This whole process has made me think how unfortunate it is that money can be something that holds us back from doing things what keeps us healthy. It is not the only thing. Thinking it is does not make for productive thought patterns. Often our own lack of perseverance can hold us back just as much. In both cases, wisdom is necessary to make the best decisions for our well-being and productivity. I could have budgeted differently when I found out having my wisdom teeth removed was a good idea. The past few days I have felt like I’ve had the energy to write, but have actively chosen to spend more of my time playing video games and watching TV, activities that can be more restful for me. This is ok. But I could have chosen to spend more time writing.

Hindsight is 20/20. If it isn’t there is usually something wrong.

This week has been eye opening in terms of the choices I make. We have the power to be productive. We have the power to create wonderful things. We have the power to put one foot in front of the other, even when taking copious amounts of painkillers and coming to terms with having four less teeth. I guess what I’m trying to say in a roundabout way is we can make tomorrow as successful as we want it to be. Orient our perspective intelligently. Organise our environment to encourage productive choices. Ask for help when we need it. Actively take a sabbath. Doing these things will give usthe best possible chance to achieve what we set out to and not fall into old habits.

I’m not going to have my wisdom teeth out every week. For this I am thankful. I just hope the majority of my wisdom wasn’t removed with them!

Keep on keeping on being awesome friends. Peace.

Cover photo by Jean van der Meulen from Pexels.

Ideal Inspiration Blogger Award

I would like to thank Divine-Royalty for nominating me for the Ideal Inspiration Blogger Award. They have a wonderfully thought provoking blog which inspires positive and pragmatic discussion.

Divine-Royalty’s blog can be found here: https://divineroyalty2.wordpress.com/

Rules for the award:

  • Thank the person who has nominated you and provide a link back to their blog.
  • Answer their questions.
  • Nominate up to 9 other bloggers and ask them 5 new questions.
  • Notify the nominees through their blog by visiting and commenting on their blog.
  • List the rules and display the “Ideal Inspiration Blogger Award” logo.

Questions from Divine-Royalty:

1. How did you start blogging?

Since my late teenage years I have been struggling with and managing depression. Around that time I also started playing ultimate frisbee. One is not the result of the other, just coincidental timing. In 2018 I represented my local club at the World Ultimate Club Championships. I started my blog as a way to share my experiences of playing ultimate while managing depression, especially the way physical exercise helps my mental health.

2. What is your best inspiration source?

God. My wonderful family and amazing friends. More succinctly: strong emotion, the uplifting and terrifying. Words organise and orient themselves in my mind and I simply write them down.

3. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve found in blogging?

The community. The motivation and inspiration people offer one another is a amazing. Seeing people encourage one another is humbling and I feel blessed knowing I am a part of that.

4. How often do you write?

I write every day. My current novel project, characters and dungeons for my Dungeons and Dragons games, poetry, short stories (currently for competitions with my dad), music (lyrics and music), and I publish two blog posts a week.

5. How long do you think you could blog?

As long as I have something worthwhile to say and feel called to offer what little help I can to others.

If these questions inspire you to write your own post, consider yourself nominated! Beloware links to four bloggers that have inspired me. If you would like to make a post and answer the questions, please do. If not, that’s A-OK. 👌 Please know that you provide inspiration. For that I feel blessed to have connected with you.

Here are my questions:

1. What is the best thing you like about blogging?

2. If there was a film about your life, what would its title be?

3. How do you decide what to blog about?

4. Who or what are some of your sources of inspiration?

5 What is one aspiration you hope to achieve by the end of 2020?

Curious to know what life is like as a teenager in a wheelchair? Wondering how to represent disabled characters in your writing? Head over to this wonderful blog to read about this, and more: https://thewheelchairteen.home.blog/

Interested in deep thought encouraged by concise and effortless poetry? Follow this link to mjf sheehan’s insightful blog: https://knowhowtobecool.wordpress.com/

Looking for motivation and encouragement to help you fly? Head on over here: https://clear-air-turbulence.com/

Looking for support to help with healthy introspection and positive mental health? Find that and more awesomeness here: https://karlien09.wordpress.com/

Lost

A few days ago the film ‘The Intern’ played on television. My sister and I watched it, both having seen it previously, and we remarked how relatable the characters were. They are not who most of us would consider every day people, but neither are they people with ridiculously over the top abilities. Robert De Niro plays a retired man, widowed within the past few years, who subsequently finds himself with a lot of time on his hands. One way he keeps himself busy is travelling, to see the world, but every time he returns home to his empty house, he feels a little bit at a loose end.

We do not have the luxury of travelling right now, but I still found myself strongly relating to the feeling of being lost. Some days I feel a sense of purpose. The rest I feel like I’m floundering to try and figure out how to achieve anything at all.

If you’ve been keeping up with my blog you’ll know I’m in the process of finishing writing my first book. It’s a lot of fun! I love learning new words and honing my craft. I feel like I get to know my characters the more I write about them. I’m really excited to share this with people! The problem: I’ve not done this before so I am struggling to push past the resistance which tells me there’s no point trying. Maybe I’m not very good at writing? Why would anyone would want to read a story I’ve written?

I’m getting better at putting one foot in front of the other, even if I’m walking around in a circle with no idea of where my next destination will be.

For a significant portion of my adult life I’ve been fond of the idea of having a place to live which is most definitely home. I hope the next place will be one I live for a significant length of time, make many happy memories with my wife (I am not currently married), and where my children grow into wonderful humans (I don’t have children either). I don’t currently have the plan for putting myself in places where this is likely to happen. I feel lost at sea with no land in swimming distance. It seems like there’s no way for me to bridge this gap between where I am and these things becoming reality.

Every day I pray for the peace of mind to lay these worries down. I can only control what I can control. Acknowledging this has been a revelation. It has always been true, but I haven’t always been good at believing it, because having faith things will work out when I’m struggling is tough. But if I keep working hard, knowing the destination I am working towards, the way will be made clear.

Is there anything in your life which you are yearning for? How can you put yourself in a position to work towards it?

Keep on keeping on being awesome. Peace.

Cover photo by Andrew Neel from Pexels.

Make time

My schedule feels completely full at the moment. Being honest, to you and myself, it is a little bit more full than I can handle. Mostly this is because I’ve added things to it. I’ve added and added, but not taken much away to make time for these new things in my schedule. I feel called to write, to improve my musical aptitude, and to share joy with others, but I’m either not removing unnecessary things from my life or actively choosing to spend too long doing things that are unhealthy time sinks.

We make time for what we want to make time for.

This statement is one that rings true for me every day. It is difficult to remind ourselves that if we really want to do something it might mean sacrificing something else. Time is a finite resource, one we can never get back once it is used. (At least until a means to travel through time is invented this will be true.) Therefore we have to be intelligent with how we spend our time.

For at least the past twelve I have played ultimate frisbee at least twice a week, for a minimum of one hour each time. Of course there have been injuries which meant taking time off to recover, and a small number of holidays that were not based around playing ultimate frisbee. Apart from these ‘pauses’ it was never an option in my mind to choose not to play in the local leagues if I was able to. This was a choice. However automatic the habit of saying yes to playing ultimate became it was still a choice. Only during the Covid-19 pandemic have I started to think that not playing ultimate, at least for a time, would be a choice I could be comfortable with. For half of each year I committed eight hours to playing and practicing, not including the several weekend tournaments I played. That doesn’t seem an awfully large amount, but with full-time work and hours required for sleeping effectively that eight hours certainly eats into available time.

The ultimate I play at the moment equates to four hours on the court. Factoring in travel time to and from the venue, the amount of time this choice commits me to is between six to nine hours. I have been ok with this for almost all the time I have played ultimate. Even when struggling deeply with depression I had been ok with this choice. Even when getting to games and practices seemed the most difficult thing I could do, I knew it was good for my mental health so I did it.

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A new season has arrived in my life. Ultimate is no longer the biggest boon for a healthy mind for me. It is still useful, as regular exercise is for anyone, but my brain does not automatically think of the answer ‘yes’ when asked to join a team. I want to spend more time writing. In the past three months I have entered two short story competitions with my dad. Though stressful at times, as any project we care about can be, it has been great to spend that time together. This has encouraged me to improve my craft and keep writing. Thus I am inching the first draft of my first book ever closer to completion. I have recorded almost all the music for the first EP I aim to release into the world.

It has been difficult to fit these things around the time constraints of ultimate, work, sleep, church, and bible study. As I have increased the time spent on playing music at church, reading scripture, praying, writing, and practicing the guitar, I had not removed anything to manage this. I am realising to maintain good mental and physical health I need to balance my time. This includes choosing taking sufficient time to rest, not doing anything which has the potential to drain my energy. No video games, no ultimate frisbee, no playing guitar, no writing. Deep breaths, a comfortable position, relaxing rain sounds, a restful book, listening to God.

Make time for what you want to make time for.

What do you want to make time for? How does your schedule look at the moment? Would you benefit from dropping a few things, even just for a few weeks? How could you manage this?

I pray you actively find what you need this week. Peace to you, dear friends.

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