Breaking Promises

20190302-DSC_0009Stop looking outside for scraps of pleasure or fulfillment, for validation, security, or love – you have a treasure within that is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer.

Status: wide awake at 2:30 am and couldn’t get back to sleep. lazed around in bed until the alarm went off at 5am and then got up. Second night in a row with poor sleep and I’m worth nothing this morning. Immediately hit caffeine and YouTube because I was half asleep and needed an excuse to not start writing. Even the meditation didn’t help. All the discipline in the world wouldn’t have saved me, as soon as I’m tired I immediately give up and fold like a house of cards. And then the self-loathing starts because I didn’t keep my promise to myself.

I do that a lot.

Not keeping my promises to myself.

If I don’t treat myself like I’m a priority, then how can I expect other people to do it? If I don’t keep the promises I make to myself, then how I can expect other people to keep their promises? (Is that how that works?) All I know is I have zero tolerance for people who do that to me, yet I’ll do it to myself without even batting an eyelid.

I need to start treating myself better. Starting today.

Photography.

I’m stuck with the writing and procrastinating by raking my brain over hot coals with vapid YouTube videos, so decided to be productive instead and started processing photos from the weekend sessions. I’m actually really really pleased with how some of these have turned out. Not only are my compositional skills getting better, but so is my post-processing on Lightroom. I’m faster, I have a better eye for the style that’s going to fit the photo and my colour matching is progressing (which is saying something because I’m figuratively colour blind – if someone said, “match these two colours or you’re dead”, I’d be dead AF in two seconds). I’ll be posting these to IG over the coming weeks.

I’ve also been able to secure the services of an amateur model to help me with a few shots I’d like to take, and she isn’t too expensive. Will figure out where I’m going to slot it into the schedule. Was so out of it yesterday, I couldn’t even wrap my head around schedules and such, and today I’m not feeling much better, but I’m just going to suck it up and get it done.

Writing.

The short story goes to the editor this afternoon. I promise.

Nikon D3400
1/60 sec
f/5.3
48mm
ISO 800

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Safe Distance

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It is easy to be brave from a safe distance.

Status: good. I wonder how Aesop would feel if he knew that someone was using his name to sell skin care products? Disappointment or, show me the money? Maybe a little bit of both.

Career.

Had a mild anxiety attack yesterday thinking about all of the things I need to and want to do before starting the next chapter in my Finance career. I have 3 months left. Three months of freedom. I’ll be handsomely compensated in exchange for my freedom, but will I be happy? Can I go back to something that was making me miserable? Can I go back to the place which was making me unhappy? Appreciate that this is a practical choice. It’s also the safe choice. So, I’m essentially exchanging my freedom for security. My life mirroring an aspect of the current zeitgeist.

I’ve thought this through already and have made my choice. I suspect that I’ll continue to struggle with this…or, maybe I’ll like it. I won’t really know until I get there and experience it for myself. And, I’ve promised myself that I’m going to give it a year and see how it fits. If it’s making me miserable then I’ll take stock of where I am and re-rationalise the strategy. The good news is that I do know what I want to do long term, and I can continue to prepare for it while collecting a paycheque.

Writing.

I’ve had my best week yet, and my word count is getting progressively higher as each week goes by. Seven thousand words so far this week compared to four thousand last week compared to three thousand for the week previous to the last one. I’ve been able to build up some good momentum and some good habits which are allowing me to be productive. I’ll call that a job well done. For The Win.

I think it’s time to take the next step. I didn’t quite finish the first draft of The Patriot story this week as expected, but I’m close and should be able to complete it over the weekend. I’m finding that I’m very productive first thing in the morning if I wake up, meditate and then start writing, which is good, but then I’m fading in the afternoon. My energy levels drop and then I start procrastinating and then the ball starts rolling in the opposite direction. I need to figure out how to reverse this trend. I talked about using a temporary site-blocking app to help me stay focused, but never pulled the trigger on it. Perhaps now is the time to do that.

Date.

Spontaneous coffee date this afternoon. Out of the corner of my eye, I can see a red flag flapping in the distance. Girls from that dating app who are available to meet on short notice are typically bad news. Most people who have their shit together (and have a life) are not available to do that. In her photo she has wild hair and a mildly crazy look in her eyes. I bet she’s lying about her age.

(Then why you meeting her, bro?)

Because of the entertainment value. That’s it. The crazier they are, the better the stories.

Nikon D3400
1/15 sec
f/5.6
18mm
ISO 100

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On Writing

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I and me are always too deeply in conversation.

Status: good. better than yesterday. I don’t know exactly why I let Mondays derail me like that. I shouldn’t have been as tired as I was. Is age creaping up on me? Is the “OCD” getting worse? Need to mull this over some more. I’m lamenting the lost time and opportunity for doing something productive. I need to remind myself to not allow yesterday’s hiccups to colour today’s outlook. Today is looking good.

Writing.

On Friday I finished the first draft of the short story I was working on. I’ve written stuff and things in the past, notwithstanding this blog, but have never actually finished anything. Appreciate that this is just the first draft and I have one more draft to complete before it goes off for editing, but I think it’s important to recognise the completed milestone and celebrate the win. Go me.

Reward.

Browsing in Indigo, I came across a book of classic fantasy short stories aptly named, The Classic Fantasy Collection (should I be using quotations here?), for $12 bucks. Containing stores from Lovecraft, Robert E Howard, H G Wells and a bunch of other science fiction/fantasy authors I’ve never heard of, all from the early 20th century. No need to overthink this one, 800 pages of short stories from famous fantasy authors for 12 bucks? Yes please, I’ll take one (actually the last one on the shelf). So excited at my find, I tore through the book last night and then dived right back into it first thing this morning. Regular routine be damned (although I did meditate as normal). It’s left me feeling inspired and excited, which is what good fantasy books should do. Life is Good.

Ok, let’s get on with it…….

Nikon D3400
1/30 sec
f/5.6
24mm
ISO 100

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Monday Thoughts

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“Our life is what our thoughts make it” — Marcus Aurelius

Status: jesus, i’m tired. I’m more tired than I should be. I didn’t have a big weekend and I’m still not drinking at all. Was out Saturday night, but got a good night’s sleep. Or so I thought. Spent most of the day yesterday reading. I’ve slipped into lethargy, and perhaps it’s because I let my schedule slip and didn’t do any writing over the weekend? I’m thinking maybe I should do a little bit every day. Which brings me to….

Meditation.

I’ve arrived at the section of the How To book which addresses this very thing: lethargy. Timely. The Universe is sending me a message, heh. In any case, I’ll incorporate this into days where I’m feeling lethargic like this. I always blamed it on the hangover, but I’m seeing that’s actually not the case. So, what’s the cause? Don’t know at this stage. Need to explore this a little further.

Tenant.

Spent my Sunday getting abused by my tenant via email. The emails are now pure noise and the threats are getting more direct. I’ve scheduled the maintenance guy to access the unit this week to remediate the issues, or perceived issues, but that knowledge hasn’t placated the tenant at all. They only seem interested in making me feel uncomfortable. This is also something which is addressed in the meditation How To book, so this is also timely. The Universe, dropping knowledge, heh. Need to focus on the techniques in the book which show me how to separate signal from noise.

Date.

This was better than expected. During the course of the evening she told me that she had lied about her age on the dating app. You and everyone else on there, I thought to myself. It didn’t faze me, I’ve come to expect it from folks who pass a certain milestone in life. In any case, it was a great meal and great restaurant. She recommended it, so I’m super grateful for that. The conversation was pleasant enough; we got along well and there weren’t any awkward pauses or uncomfortable silences. I didn’t get her relationship backstory; I don’t know if she had been married in the past. She did say that she was trying to “put herself out there” after the last relationship ended a few years ago. Gut feel that this is a slight fib, suspect it may have ended more recently than that.

One thing that really impressed me was when I asked for the bill at the end of the evening she turned to the server and asked them to split it in half. I was actually going to pay for dinner, but she didn’t want that. She wanted to pay her own way. There was no belly aching or passive aggressive cold-shoulder punishment like I’ve had in the past when I’ve suggested we split the bill. It was like two friends having dinner and then automatically splitting the bill at the end of the evening, because that’s what you do. I can’t tell you how rare that is, and how refreshing.

I’m not going to pursue this any further, but still, it was a good date.

Nikon D3400
1/100 sec
f/9
55mm
ISO 100

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Buddhism and Meditation

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Be content to seem what you really are.

Status: good. really good. still. But, a little uncomfortable. I’ve been booted from my comfortable working space due to some upgrades and such. This will take about a week to complete. So, I’ve ensconced myself in an Indigo for today, tomorrow will be the Library, maybe. Want to do some reading on Buddhism and Meditation, so I think that will be the best place spend the day .

Burning through a book by Dan Harris called 10% Happier which is about his journey to discover peace of mind/focus through meditation. I started meditating in April of last year, and while I’ve found it useful I think I need to take the next step in order to optimise it for my purposes. He also talks a lot about Buddhism, which is where the meditation comes from, and the whole philosophy around it. I’m intrigued. Not interested in the more mystical aspects, but embracing change and the impermanence of life seems like a good approach. And as a bonus it compliments my interest in minimalism.

My date yesterday texted me 10 minutes before we were due to meet, which was after I left the house, and said that she was running late. No problem, I responded, what’s your ETA? She said, 30 minutes-ish later than our original meeting time. I’m standing in the hallway outside my unit and the elevator has just arrived. I pause. The elevator leaves. I tell her that I have a limited amount of time. She asks if we should reschedule, to which I agree. She then apologises, which I appreciated.

I have to admit: I have zero tolerance for people who are cavalier with my time. I’m trying to be a bit more forgiving and a bit more “zen” about these things, however from past experience this has never been a good sign. If she’s late on the very first date, then this is going to be an ongoing trend. The issue with this is that I’m basically being told that she is the most important person in this interaction, and that my time is not valuable. In other words, she has no respect for my time and therefore has no respect for me. If she has no respect then making a good impression on the first date becomes irrelevant. It’s incidental to the process.

I don’t want to devote time and energy to this situation and this kind of behaviour. So, I accepted the apology and left it at that. If she’s really interested in meeting and it really was an accident then I think she should be the one to initiate a conversation around making arrangements to try and meet again. If she reaches out to me then I’ll agree to meet with her. If not, then I’ll take it as disinterest and therefore will not devote any more time to this. After all, I can make better use of my time with the other options on the table………….

Nikon D3400
1/60 sec
f/3.8
22mm
ISO 1600

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Even More Christmas

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Status: dragging my feet, so it must be Monday. The instant gratification monkey is distracting me this morning, which means I’m not getting on with it.

In any case, I did complete one of the photography projects over the weekend and started post-processing the photos from the completed projects last week. All in all, I have quite a few usable pictures from the last few sessions including some really nice slow shutter speed blur motion captures of the train in the subway. Topped that off with some really nice pictures of a couple of musicians playing Christmas tunes in one of the shopping centres. So, progress.

Carousing around town on Saturday night, stopped into one of the chain restaurants because I hadn’t done any prior planning for the really nice ones. Keep forgetting how they view their frontline staff as salespeople and how they’re trained to engage and relate to customers in order to win their loyalty and keep them coming back. Fair enough, it’s good business to do this. Got quite a bit of attention from one of the female bartenders who saw the camera and kicked off a conversation about photography which ended with a, “you’ll have to show me more of your photographs next time”.

That immediately started me thinking about going back to the restaurant. Well played. I mean, the attention is appreciated and I do like the engagement, but I’m a little bit uncomfortable with being manipulated. You’re playing off my natural instincts to connect with attractive woman in order to drive sales.

I’ll probably go back there in a couple of weeks.

Nikon D3400
1/100 sec
f/3.5
18mm
ISO 1600

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Christmas

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Christmas.

Status: Good. Ok. Cold lingering, but zen and chill.

I’m not convinced that the meditation is actually helping me anymore. I’m basically drifting for 5 minutes while I go through the guided meditation app, and I think that defeats the purpose. It’s supposed to help me focus, or at least I’m supposed to be focusing on specific things while going through the process and that’s meant to strengthen my ability to be present in the moment during the day. But, not so much. Have I seen some improvement? Yes. So, two choices: set it to the side or lean into it and take the next step. Suspect that I’ll do the latter.

Decided to get back onto the dating apps after a 6 month absence. Realise that it is not the optimal time of year for this, but it felt right and I was ready. Connected with one lady and we quickly agreed to meet for a coffee and chat last night. In the course of finalising plans, she didn’t like the venue I had suggested so she proceeded to be antagonistic and rude. Trying to draw me into conflict. I thought I handled it quite well; I didn’t take the bait, I stayed polite and chill in the face of some really rude texts, and then wished her all the best and luck with her search. A parting barb of invective from her to which I did not respond.

Maybe the meditation is helping after all.

Nikon D3400
1/100 sec
f/3.5
18mm
ISO 1600

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