Hey! Quick post just to say I'm now using affiliate links through Bookshop.org, you can find my store with lists of recommendations. The aim is to make a little money while still supporting bookshops, so shop local where you can, but if you're struggling to find a specific book then maybe try Bookshop, as you'll be supporting me, the author and add to the fund for independent bookshops. I'll be keeping my profile up to date with books I've recommended on the blog, which you may find useful as a last minute present guide!
I attended a virtual course the other week, regarding wasting time. The course recommended that knee-jerk reaction emails acknowledging response were often unnecessary and the 30 seconds you spent writing them, and the 30 seconds the other person spent reading them added up to a huge amount of wasted time.
Okay, so I've made this sound super high level and advanced in the title, but really these are just three ways I'm trying to improve my relationship with technology, especially in "these days". I've been a little dismissive of the people who have complained about zoom fatigue, especially as I spent the majority of last year without a job. I couldn't understand why people were whining about having a stable and secure job in lockdown while I jumped from Tourism, to furlough, to waitressing, to unemployment (in time for Christmas!) and then finally got myself a dream role at the beginning of this year. But now that I'm a month in, I understand. This week I've spent almost all week in software land, learning commands online, staring at all the screens, before collapsing exhausted on the sofa to watch TV where I can't concentrate so I scroll Instagram between sections, zoning in and out. Ew. (Also 6-months ago me is screaming because I got the job and I'm now complaining?! So another reminder that feelings are hard and you can be and do both emotions). Without further ado, here are three things I'm trying to get some semblance of control over my technology, before I wake up inside a SIM card in some dystopian Black Mirror-esque drama...
BIG CAVEAT BEFORE YOU PROCEED: Hi. This paragraph is here to provide context and acknowledge that lockdown has been hard and devastating for many personally and professionally. This is an upbeat article about nice things that people (like me!) without caring responsibilities and with relatively stable housing/income/furlough had and still benefit from in Lockdown that we might want to cherish while it lasts. If you don't want to read about that kind of life, then don't read this. I wouldn't have wanted to read this three months ago when I'd lost my second job to the pandemic, so don't feel bad, just maybe give this one a miss. If you're keen to hear fun lockdown things you might want to make the most of until June 21st, carry on!
Minimalism is having a renaissance... is how I'm supposed to justify this post, but the truth is, it hasn't really ever gone away. every two-five years another wave of Marie Kondo's appear to take away your stuff in exchange for freedom, happiness and Feng Shui. Often they are accompanied with lofty sentiments. Items must now spark joy and the Minimalists sign off " love people, use things, the opposite never works" both preach about connection. I'm not here to criticise people for sharing ideas that work for some of the population - I have read and listened to many of these influencers over the years - but I personally believe that you can love and cherish objects for their purpose and love people, but it fits into my philosophy of choosing people over objects when the time comes. I have found it useful to both detach myself from the things I own to evaluate them, and to choose to surround myself items based on the joy I get from using them, This feeds into my environmental values, mending, polishing, and caring for objects that serve a function, before consciously letting go of them when I need to.
You may or may not already know that my undergraduate degree was in Physics, and I could spend this time telling you how a microwave forms waves that permeate through food and vibrate water molecules, heating them up. I could explain to you that it is therefore important to try and have an even distribution of water for the meal to cook at the same time - which is why a homogenous food like shepherd's pie cooks at the same time, but a meal of chicken and vegetables practically boils the vegetables while the chicken is still in that weird lukewarm phase. However, today I'm more interested in where physics meets cookery, at the discovery of a new meal! I don't particularly advocate for people reheating everything in a microwave as it can be a bit soggy - pizza should be reheated in an oven and a lot of things can be heated on a stove, and using an oven or a stove can make you feel more like you've actually cooked like a real adult. However, real adults must also wash up, and microwave meals often reduce or entirely negate this need (hurray!). What I'm continually surprised by, is that people don't realise that microwaves can be used to cook meals - especially in environments where there is limited space or time available. Here are three microwavable foods that people have genuinely told me they didn't know you could cook in a microwave!
One of the worlds sillier forms of poetry, here are some I made earlier, because hey, why not.
I've been spending the last two months in a state of job applications and interviews, on the brink of a new life direction that I'm quietly very excited about. Having taken time at home for Christmas, I've been locked down here (oh what a shame, having my mum cook for me in a remote and picturesque part of North Yorkshire - really such a tragedy!). While I'm here, I've collated all my unread books into a pile and began the thankless task of reading and enjoying them all. I know, my life is tough and I appreciate all the sympathy I can feel wafting towards me.
My first blog post back in May was a list of the books I'd read in 2019, and I'm bringing it back for a 2020 edition because it's nice to reminisce about something good that happened in 2020 and I love a good list. As usual, this list has been curated over my year of logging finished books on Goodreads - as such, it doesn't tend to include poetry or anything I dip in and out of, though those are fairly few and far between. I once again surpassed my reading challenge of a book a week (yay!) and added a good number of new faves to the shelf of fame.
I'll start this with the, now-trendy, caveat that I don't really agree with new years resolutions. The research shows that making new resolutions doesn't work when half the world is in the coldest and darkest time of the year, and where everyone is out of their usual routines. And who is surprised really?! I personally enjoy making long term goals in October, as it ties in with the season of change and gives me the winter to think about and prepare for an intentional summer. It's also close to the start of new school years in the UK, and I'm positive that the routine of school has stuck with me into my twenties. But my defence of reading resolutions for the new year is much more lazy. It's because Goodreads run their reading challenge from year to year, and that's how I track my reading. I've maintained the goal of 52 books a year for two years, beating it both years, and will probably aim for 60 in 2021. Listening to a new fave podcast, Literary Friction, I heard some great and noble ideas for reading resolutions which has inspired me to reflect on my personal resolutions for reading in 2021.
Famous singer Lizzo posted on her Instagram stories and feed about how she had been following a "green juice cleanse" under guidance from her dietician. This included before and after photos and a "what I eat in a day" video, prompting a small portion of the world to go into meltdown. Comments on her posts ranged from congratulatory ones to concern to outright anger and sadness. Overwhelmingly, the response illustrated that people felt they deserved a say. That Lizzo as an entity was something they thought they could control with a comment, and they might be right. Having had years of conditioning that fat bodies are the "before" picture and having been hounded off Twitter due to fatphobic comments aimed at her, is it surprising that someone would turn to a dietician for support? Lizzo hasn't actually claimed to be losing weight, however, the structure of the cleanse she was taking part in was designed for weight loss and the before and after full-body photos are synonymous with weight loss. These types of metrics also form part of the warning signs for disordered eating and body dysmorphia.