The Meaning of Life

What is the true meaning of life? I have pondered this many times, often boarding the train of thought, “What is the actual point of living?”

Next stop, Procrastination Station (Image courtesy of @seteales)

Well, guess what. I’ve found it, but do you really want to know?

No-one reads content anymore, but we all want to know how to feel content. An awkward and cringe-worthy intro perhaps, but I’m going with it, and I’m even going to follow it with a big boast of never has a truer word been written.

Never a truer word was written (Image courtesy of @florianklauer)

We all want to be content and happy, but we have turned into a society of ‘skimmers’ and ‘glossers’. We’re in too much of a hurry, and too consumed with our own thoughts and lives to really read or listen to what others have to say, especially when it comes to advice from the much older generation, and I mean the much older ones. The ones near the end of their time on earth, not just the next generation up.

Big mistake

A lot of elderly people know what they are talking about – listen to them. They try and pass on their acquired wisdom and epiphanies, but usually get labelled as “doddery old fools”. The folly and pride of youth prevails, every time, and so the mystery of life continues.

It seems that all we really want in life is a quick fix and some filtered pics; a fact that was eloquently pointed out by my esteemed associate @copywritertay only the other day, but if you read to the end of this, I promise that it won’t be time wasted. I really do think that I’ve sussed out the meaning of life.

It’s not what you think

It’s not walking barefoot, however, though that’s a good guess, and it’s not going to cost you anything, but a couple of minutes of your time. You may well find yourself affronted and offended … but it may just change your life.

It may just change your life (Image courtesy of @austinchan)

I definitely know what the meaning of life isn’t. It isn’t being thin or beautiful. It isn’t money and it’s not things. I have no money, but I do have hundreds of things that I have lovingly collected/hoarded over the last 30 years. These things make great content, as such, but they do not make me truly happy, and are actually quite pointless. It’s just a load of old stuff that my children will have to get rid of when I die. At least it might make them some pocket money, or maybe even enough to cover my funeral!

This is only the tip of the iceburg! @blogdogandcopykat

It’s also not loving someone, or being a parent. These things can bring joy and fulfilment, but they can also cause pain, frustration and self-loathing. They are not a reason for being. Living through another, or placing the onus on someone else or somebody else’s achievements to make you happy, does not work. It is selfish and possibly psychologically damaging.

No, the meaning of life is a lot simpler and a lot more straightforward than you think considering that it is a question asked by many, the world over, over and over again.

I am not a religious person, spiritual perhaps at a push, but not religious, and yet I am jealous of people that are religious. Not because I want to find God, not at all, but because they have this blind, unyielding faith in stories. They believe in something so strongly that it gives their life meaning, however far-fetched that belief might be. (As an aside, as far as I’m concerned, if there is a God, I don’t think he/she would condemn anyone for not believing in them.)


Get your rewards sitting up on a cloud in the sky, looking down on the rest of us. @grakozy

No, for me religion is a fairy tale, a controlling device made up by people who could write, to help or hinder, and to explain things that were inexplicable to the uneducated. I tell my boys as much too, whilst their school tries to intoxicate them with Christian stories. Thunder was the roar of the angry gods. The locust infestation was human misdemeanour being punished. You’re on this earth, not to enjoy or be true to yourself, but because you’ll get your rewards sitting up on a cloud in the sky, looking down on the rest of us.

Nah, sorry. I don’t buy it.

But I’m still jealous of the fact that they believe in it. I’m jealous of the old lady who goes to do the flowers at the church every Sunday, and I’m really jealous of the fact that this simple act is enough for her. She’s happy. It gives her life joy.


She’s happy. It gives her life joy. (Image courtesy of @huyennguyen)

When I was young, I walked on my toes, and loved having nothing on my feet. I thought it was because I did a lot of ballet, but apparently it is a common sign of Autism. I’ve been told many times that I am unfeeling, “cold as ice” even, and that I say strange things, and ask inappropriate questions that seem quite normal to me. As a child, I used to measure whether I loved someone or not by imagining how upset I might be if they died. A lack of empathy, or undiagnosed Autism could be the reason why, but I also have an annoying trait of having to work out everything for myself. I must completely understand something to accept it, step by step. I just won’t be told, I need evidence!

I kind of wish we’d never gone down that road

My seven-year-old son walks on his toes too, and has a similar ‘non-believer’ attitude. He is already out-arguing my logic… and I’m excruciatingly logical. You should have seen his incredulous and doubting young face when we first told him about Father Christmas’ existence and job description! I kind of wish we’d never gone down that road though, because not only did the lying feel wrong at the time, but now he really wants to believe in him, just like his younger brother unquestioningly does, although he was also a bit suspicious at first too. The older one will either be absolutely devastated, and feel totally betrayed when he does find out the truth, or he’ll just shrug and say “Knew it”.

You can tell a lot about a person from their socks

When we are born, naturally, we are naked. All parents will know that when you try and put socks on a baby, they don’t like it. They are constantly taking them off, curling their toes and trying to free their feet. (You can actually tell a lot about people from their socks. Parents with money and time, or good time-management skills I should say, have young children with matching socks. When adults’ socks don’t match, they either don’t care, or are highly unorganised, or more often than not, both!)

You can tell a lot about people from their socks! (Image courtesy of @lazybonesaustralia)

When my children, and my partner, first get in from school/work, the first thing they all do is to take off their non-matching socks. They are all yet to fathom where the laundry basket lives (it hasn’t moved in 3 years!), but that’s an issue for my next month’s blog, The Motherhood of Man (out the first week of June). Meghan … write it in your diary.

When I put socks on my seven year old (he still can’t do it for himself properly) his toes instantly curl in discomfort. Part of this is because he is hyper-sensitive; he feels and searches for things and interesting textures with his feet, but partly because it doesn’t feel natural.

Goose-step

When we buy our children their first pair of shoes, with the specially-designed soft sole, they look at you with utter confusion, and proceed to do a kind of goose-step type duck walk. Instinctively, it doesn’t feel right to them. We are encasing their feet in a brace, a trap, but because of the proud look on their parents’ faces, it’s accepted and celebrated.


Instinctively, it doesn’t feel right to them (Image courtesy of @seitamaaphotography)

From this moment onward, we are encouraged to encase our feet, and instantly, we lose our connection with the earth. Our instincts are capped.

When we run in bare feet, we run differently. @theurbanbarefoot explains this much better than me, but with shock-absorbing trainers that are designed for running, we run heel first. This creates all sorts of issues, shin splints, bad knees, arthritis, the list goes on … but naturally, and in bare feet, or shoes made to feel like bare feet, we run flat-footed or on our toes. Think Zola Budd.

There are other celebrities who advocate barefoot walking, Matthew Mcconaughey, Sandie Shaw, Joss Stone … they are all bunched into the ‘a bit weird’ bracket or labelled as ‘Hippies’.

They may be a bit weird, who knows, who cares, but they embrace a bohemian lifestyle and hippy ideals where they are in tune with the earth. They know the simple joy of having nothing on their feet, with the bare earth touching their skin. It is grounding, clarifying and feeds your inner being. But it’s not the meaning of life – no, that would be too simple.

” “I really regret working out” … said almost no-one ever!””

I went for my barefoot walk this morning. It was cold and I haven’t been for a little while because the weather wasn’t great, and I was also feeling a bit under the weather too. The words of my friend @sammiepilatesandcore came into my head, and she’s just won a Women’s Wellness Coach of the Year, so she knows a bit. She said in a post, ” “I really regret working out” … said almost no-one ever!””

CHanneLling my inner Barbara

So, off came my shoes and socks half way round my walk. (I needed to warm up a bit first.) Up to this point, my mind had been racing, words were flying around my head for this blog, and I was desperate to get back home and start writing. As a writer, this is of course great, but the moment I took off my footwear and placed my feet on the wet sand, it was like a switch went off in my head. I stopped thinking, and was just there, where I was, in the moment. I looked around me and the sun came out, shimmering on the water, the cliffs in the distance were as clear as day, and I could see the buildings on the isle of Lundy on the horizon. The words, “If you are not in the moment, there is a lack of truth.” said by Barbara Streisand on Radio Two recently, jumped into my head, and she was right.

Footprints in the sand (Image courtesy of @chuttersnap)

At that moment of clarity, I knew that the beach is my church and nature sings the hymns, leads me and preaches to me. Cliched, I know, but as I watched the waves coming in and going out, the same way they have done since dinosaurs roamed the earth, the same way that they will tomorrow, and the next day, and the next (well, as long as humans get their act together and don’t ruin it all), I knew that at 47 I had actually found out the meaning of life. But it wasn’t just this.

My mind is rarely silent

My constantly whirling mind soon kicked in again. I narrate my own actions, don’t you? “Her head spun quickly round at the sound of a car revving impatiently behind her”, that kind of thing, and I always wake up with a song in my head. My mind is very rarely silent.

Anyway, the truth is that barefoot walking, being in your happy place, calmness, yoga, mindfulness, having a belief in something, The Law of Attraction, anything in the ‘zen’ zone … all of these things are merely tools for discovering what the meaning of life is.

Image courtesy of @theformfitness

So what is the true meaning of life, I hear you shout impatiently? #quickfix

The meaning of life is simply to find meaning within your own life. You have to find your own personal purpose, your reason for being here. Because you are here for a reason, and if that reason is to eradicate world poverty, to devise a way to rid the world of plastic, to write a book, learn to surf, rebuild a vintage car, knit, run, swim, paint, sculpt, dance, write songs, learn to play an instrument, learn pottery, to help others, to start a campaign, gardening, wood-turning, upholstery, poetry, or simply to rearrange the flowers in the church every Sunday, if it makes you truly happy, is not all-consuming and harmful, and importantly, doesn’t make others unhappy, then that is your purpose in life. That is your reason for being. Life is your destination, and if reincarnation exists, so what? You won’t remember your last life anyway, so happy days; carte blanche as a cat and just sleep a lot!

Heaven is a place on earth

Make the most of your life on this planet, now, while you are here. In the words of another songstress, Heaven is a place on earth, right now. You are alive. Stop being scared, take off shoes and harness that energy, infuse that clarity, find your purpose and your place within the human race. It’s something different for everyone, and therein lies the rub. It’s up to you to find out what it is, but find it you will. You just have to look.

Image courtesy of @johnschno

So that’s it. That’s the meaning of life. Basically a hobby, but if you can take that hobby and make it your life’s work, without tarnishing it, without letting it run away or get too big, cause harm, and without ruining the joy that it brings you, then you, my friend, have life well and truly sussed.

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What type of Creative are you? Let’s take a look.

This artwork is by the brilliant My Dog Sighs. Check out his other stuff.

In my book there are four types of creative people, or ‘Creatives’ as I’m going to call us. Some traits are interchangeable, and you may not completely identify with one particular type, but the majority of your creative being will definitely lean towards one of them more than the other. It is also possible to change from one into the other, as your creative journey progresses!

The Four Creative Biopsies

Have a look at the following ‘biopsies’ of the three fabulous artists that I have based my findings on. Two of them are anonymous, but you’ll probably know who you are … and then there’s little ol’ me. A biopsy, by the way, is my new word for a little bit of a bio with a touch of my own particular brand of oopsy! It’s me, telling about them, by extracting the bits I want to use to illustrate my point. I have a great propensity for putting my foot in my mouth quite regularly, so apologies in advance, but hopefully, totally unnecessary as I am in complete awe of all Creatives, but especially these ones.

The Pedantic Creative

My sister and her newborn. She was so happy with this it’s on her lounge wall, and it made her cry when I gave it to her. All I can see is errors.

This is, of course, me. I’m not in awe of me, but this is where I shall start, because, well, because it’s my blog. I am what is known as a Pedantic Creative, an oxymoron if ever there was one! I, and you? Is this you? We know that we have it in us, but we question and analyse every little thing, before, during and after the creative act. We can’t bear to look at our finished work again, we squint at it tentatively and cringe at the glaringly obvious mistakes that only we see, we expect everyone else to see, but of course, no-one else can see!

Again a very happy customer on the receiving end of this commission,
but do you see what I see?

Once our creative act is done, it is done. Never to be repeated. Pedantic Creatives never want to reproduce their work. It’s not really a conducive ‘biopsy’ for revenue-making! And having to put ourselves out there? Especially with the advent of social media where absolutely anyone can see and criticise it,well, it’s absolutely excruciating!!

The most insulting compliment I have ever received.

We know that deep down, we do have a degree of talent, but we don’t want anyone else to see our stuff, just in case they tell us what we also think deep down. That it is crap. The most insulting compliment I have ever received in my life as a Creative is that I was an “ideas person”. Truly gutting.

We have absolutely no belief in ourselves. We are pedantic, cynical and picky, and we have our own set of criteria and standards that something must reach, before general release. So much so, that it very often doesn’t get released. It takes a long time for a Pedantic Creative to actually create and do something.

The Happy Creative

This is my friend Paul and the biopsy I aspire to transform into. We did the same ‘A’ Levels at college , and once took a car trip together to Bath University where we both had an interview for a teaching degree. (Incidentally, that was the actual academic course that I should have chosen, but I was highly dismayed at the distance of the digs to the nearest pub, or any nightlife, to concentrate on the merits of the course. This will make sense to anyone who has read my other two blogs or follows me on Facebook!)

Oh Mister Porter! (one for the oldies)

Anyway, we got lost because I was navigating, and he was a new driver, and we almost ended up in Crewe! He, of course, doesn’t remember this, because he is a glass half-full type of person. He remembers getting offered a place and how beautiful Bath was. I also turned down the opportunity to be in one of his paintings once. My chance of fame, scuppered! I was to be dressed in horizontal stripes and my face painted and camouflaged against a stripey wall. I chickened out because I was too self-conscious about my, what was then, fit and perfectly decent, young body. Isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing? Blimey, if it was like it now I’d do it in a bikini!

Me circa 1990. Image courtesy of Bill Greenwell.

Paul is a now a highly successful artist who left his highly successful teaching career to be said highly successful Artist. He is an actual proper Artist who does it for a living.

He is a Happy Creative for the pure reason that he doesn’t know how good he actually is. He put this post on Facebook recently.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fmydogsighs%2Fposts%2F10157144602941468%3A0&width=500

He is genuinely pleasantly surprised and happy every time people like his work, and they do. In their thousands. He is creative for the simple joy of being creative. He has his off days, of course, but mainly, he loves doing it. He anonymously puts free pieces of artwork around his home town for people to find and take home with them. He makes their day. Free Art Friday I believe he calls it. Even his logo is called ‘The Happy Man’, pictured here below. It’s contagious, it’s an awesome way to be and it is intrinsic to his success.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fmydogsighs%2Fposts%2F10157161355611468&width=500

The Automatic Creative

This Creative has more innovation in their little finger than most people have in a lifetime. They are constantly on the pulse and ahead of the game. So much so, that sometimes, their work is misunderstood. They are ‘out there’ with their ideas, they always come up with the goods, they work extremely hard, and although they find this creative process exhausting and even detrimental to their own existence, they are driven by it. It is almost as if they have too much energy, too many ideas and have to keep going until all of their creativity is spent .

The trouble is, it never is. They are like the legendary magic porridge pot. No sooner has one idea come to fruition, then they are on to the next and the next. They have been known to work on several projects at the same time, often foregoing meals and well-being, they are so intent and intense. Annoyingly though, they are usually pretty good at most things other than being spontaneously creative too.

It should be easy to dislike them intently, but they are generally modest, sometimes self-effacing individuals who are kind and thoughtful. They are, however, at odds with their own genius, because it doesn’t always make them happy. In this respect, they have a lot in common with the Pedantic Creative, but where the PC is reluctant, the AC is prolific in their output. Catch 22, but I know which one I’d rather be.

Their creativity is what they are. It is part of their make up, their ‘biopsy’. They can’t help, but do it, and if they aren’t doing it, they don’t really know what to do with themselves. However, they aren’t very good at relaxing, but their art is phenomenal!

The Commercial Creative

When I studied Illustration, I was amongst a large group of wannabe Creatives under one umbrella but, we were split into three splinter groups. The Fine Artists, The Ceramicists and the Illustrators. It was made very obvious to us from the start that Illustration was the commercial side of things and not really as ‘authentic’ or ‘artisan’ as the other two. It reminded me of a question we were once asked on the Critical Studies module of my teaching degree. That of “Is perfume a work of art?” It’s definitely a conundrum, and one that got me thinking. It still does.

Is perfume a work of art?

Remembering this obscure question from a life once lived, I very quickly came to the following conclusion. Illustration gave us Illustrators the freedom of choice. The Fine Artists were hemmed in by seemingly strict parameters that determined whether their blood, sweat and tears could be considered Art, with a capital ‘A’. The Ceramicists only really had one medium to work with and were happy in their clay bubble, but what of Illustration?

Illustration could be absolutely anything. It was a revelation. And not only that, it earns money. It’s commercial. People want to buy it and it is accessible. Affordable. The Fine Artist tutor looked contemptuously down his nose at me and at this concept, believing that it degraded art, but perhaps that is why he’s a tutor and not a successful artist?

High praise indeed!

I was unsure at first whether to include this sector, but I have decided that the Commercial Creative definitely does deserve their own category, and indeed, high praise. The fundamental thing is that there is a difference between the Commercial Creative and the Corporate Creative. Hear me out!

It sucks

There are a few frustrated Commercial Creatives who end up working faithfully within the corporate industry, which in turn slowly and surely sucks them dry of their creative juices. Working within such corporate parameters does not suit them at all. These limitations, paradoxically, are not unlike those of the Fine Artists’ shackles, in my mind.

Frustrated Commercial Creatives don’t get to go with their own flow in a corporate environment.

Some Creatives are more than happy to do this. It’s what they strive for and work hard for. They are successful, happy and paid well to do something that they enjoy. They are on the treadmill and there they will stay until they reach the top. These though, are Corporate Creatives, not to be confused with Commercial Creatives. Commercial Creatives are not really meant to be in this corporate world, but often find themselves in it out of necessity, or perhaps sometimes even greed.

2.4 children

If the Comm.s (Commercial Creatives) stay wedged in this corporate machine, this uneasiness eventually evolves in to a sort of acceptance, where they become settled and happy and willing to tow the comfortable, mortgage-providing, 2.4 children corporate line. They morph slowly and unknowingly in to Corp.s (see what I did there?)

Falling in to line.


Don’t get me wrong, there are many, very talented creatives within the corporate industry and the truly corporate ones should definitely stay there. It’s their thing. They are happy in their narrow nest with their clipped wings. And the rest of us can thank them and be truly grateful to them. They are like foot soldiers and without them, we wouldn’t be able to follow our Commercial, Automatic, Happy and/or Pedantic dreams. Someone has to tow the line, but it sure as hell is not me. Is it you? Thanks if so.

Which Creative are you? Please leave a comment. Click the link at the top.

Other images courtesy of Unsplash are by
Cody Davis , Rae Tian , Miranda Wipperfurth , Ehimetalor Unuabona , Alex Sajan , sylvie charron , Michael Prewett , Harmen Jelle van Mourik ,

Overcoming procrastination, chocolate oranges and destiny versus fate.

So, after rendering myself virtually unemployable following my first blog, my journey of self-discovery and self-employment continues!

There is an underlying implication for those of us who procrastinate, or faff, meaning we have a very strong belief in the power of fate. Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be,  mañana … We can flippantly ask of the stars above, “What’s the worst that can happen if I leave this until tomorrow?”


Mañana … man, mañana

Well, the upside and the best thing that can happen with this approach to life, is that everything is manageable, it’s tolerable, acceptable even. You can greet a challenge with a nonchalant shrug, you can recklessly eat a whole a doughnut, promising to exercise next week, all the while telling yourself that you just don’t care if you succeed or not. What will be, will be. If it gets done, it gets done … and similarly impractical and nonsensical phrases/excuses.

two ‘e’s? no wonder our educational system is screwed!?

The trouble is, even after 30 years, the words of my old ‘A’ Level English tutor, Bill, keep niggling around my head, and I feel compelled to address them after all this time, rather than shrug them off as I have previously. His response to my 2 ‘C’ results for Art and English Lit. was exactly as follows.

My inspirational tutors, Bill and Graham, I just didn’t realise it at the time! Bill is now a freelance writer after 30+ years in education and Graham is a successful artist. Graham told me to go to Art School, but I thought teaching would be an easier option?!

I had, of course, given up my third ‘A’ Level (French) in the first year because it was too much like hard graft, even though I had achieved an A grade at G.C.S.E. I had three offers of 2 ‘E’s in the bag for Teacher’s College, so go me, yes! … yes? No. There was no “Well done” or hearty handshake from Bill. Instead it was, “Yes! A total injustice! Just think what you could have got if you’d done some fucking work!” I was outwardly gob-smacked, but secretly I was guilt-ridden. I knew it, but I brushed it away. I’d worked quite hard on the exams, but I had barely been at college for the lead up to them.

“I’m sorry, I thought you asked me to do some work?”

In a similar vein, I chose the college I went to purely because my interview was on Valentine’s Day. As I waited in reception, bunches of flowers and single red roses kept arriving for the current students, and I thought “This is nice, I think I’ll come here”. I absolutely hated the course, but I had a great time socially, and managed to finish it with a respectable 2:2 and minimum effort. My tutor once called me in to his office and accused me of plagiarism and of being on the ‘periphery of the course’, to which I naturally feigned indignation, but later had to look up both of the big words beginning with ‘p’.

It was a bit of a ‘Blue’ period!

Once enlightened, I was genuinely pissed off about the plagiarism jibe, but the other was true. I basically promised them that I would never teach, so they let me continue the course, but drip-fed my guilt and low self-esteem with snide remarks, and by regularly telling me how I had ‘stolen’ my place from a genuine wannabe teacher, and how ashamed I should be. At the graduation ceremony a friend growled at me through gritted teeth and with thinly veiled disdain, “I can’t believe that you got the same as me. I worked really hard!”

kismet plays pop

And so I turned my life over to fate. When you believe that kismet has your back, the overall upset is less, the turmoil is calmer and the anxiety is, well, less … angsty. You can sweep everything under the carpet and put it all down to fate. It’s great! It’s the ultimate get-out clause and protection against failure. It sits comfortably in your head that it ‘wasn’t meant to be’. Whether it be a sandwich, a date, a relationship, a job, a career path, a baby … it’s the strongest bubble wrap there is against life’s popping fingers. The trouble is, that as wonderful as it is, it also makes you quite lazy.

Don’t worry, be happy.

Apply a little to the affected area

So, imagine my surprise at the feeling, and the results I got recently when did I actually apply myself a little. Don’t worry my fellow Faffers, I’m not getting all converted or preachy or anything, I will forever be a Faffer and a Dreamer, it’s in my DNA, it was just that it was such a surprisingly positive experience, that I’m suggesting perhaps, just maybe you should give it a little try too. Drifting through life is absolutely fine. I have no qualms. It’s easy. Doing the minimum to get by simply works. It negates the need for this alien activity of thinking beyond your own boundaries and of working hard, but it really was quite a euphoric experience and obviously, one I wanted to run far away from immediately!

Run away! Hide! I must faff!

The Year of the Pig

I didn’t though, because it seems that ‘applying oneself’ does actually work! Who knew? I worked, rather than faffed, or cleaned, and I got some work, and more to the point, I did that work well, and I got some more work! I was by no means organised, or even close to ‘prioritising’; my time-management is still a shambles, but I did feel accomplished and more importantly, worthy. It was a novel feeling. A nice feeling.

I would have normally, of course, put this down to the stars being perfectly aligned at the point of doing, or the fact that I was born in the Year of the Pig, that it was absolutely nothing to do with me … but now everything has shifted a little and I can actually believe that I am in charge of my own destiny. I can step out of my comfort zone. It is an empowering belief, especially when, as I am writing this, the power ballad by Bonnie Tyler, I Need a Hero is playing on Radio 2, loudly! Yuess!

A Blip and a whisper

Forward wind a few days, my house is a mess and my mood is a little more sombre. George Michael and Careless Whisper is now playing, hence, the following niggles and doubts. As a Libran, and a serial procrastinator, making a simple decision is so hard it is almost painful. Jumping off my comfortable and unyielding position on the fence into the unknown is wavering on utter insanity! Inner turmoil ensues. It just doesn’t compute. I can’t do it! Argh – I need to get a faffy and diverting job! Feel busy, feel diverted. Feel that things are just simply beyond my control and sit back and relax.

A few days later …

In a job I had quite recently, the Marketing Team, of which I was a member, were asked to fill in a character quiz ‘as a bit if fun’. (Hmmm?!) I came out as an Analyst. It hasn’t got the word ‘anal’ in it for nothing – pedantry and pickiness rule my world. Everyone else came out all dynamic, creative and caring. I’m most probably OCD, and almost definitely teetering along on the Autistic Spectrum. In fact, I think we all are to some degree, and I even have a theory about it, but that’s a whole other blog. This one isn’t mine, but it’s a really good explanation of Autism for now. I digress.

Did I mention that I’m a Painter and Decorator?

Anyway, so, yes, I have applied myself. I have had some success and acquired some writing work. I didn’t run and find a faff job. The writing is not enough to live on yet, but it’s a start, and thankfully, I have a very lovely and understanding partner and family, who are supporting me mentally, as well as literally!

They keep suddenly finding decorating jobs that desperately need doing. Thanks guys. Did I mention that I was a qualified Painter and Decorator and Interior Designer? No? Again, a whole other blog thing, to which I actually already have a title for as it has been swirling around in my head for years – surprise, surprise! Oooh, blatant blag coming up – Do you have any decorating/design problems you need advice on? Please contact me! *note to self – do it!)

Just do it already!

Annoyingly upbeat and wonderfully nice

Having ‘special people’ that have your back when starting out on your own is priceless. Having someone telling you that ‘you were born to do this’ and ‘it is your destiny’ definitely helps too, as does of course, the odd paid decorating job. My family are used to me, “you are a bit of a loose cannon”, my Mum says in a loving, but wholly exasperated manner. They all support me unreservedly, albeit with a knowing roll of their eyes.


My family are used to me, “you’re a bit of a loose cannon” my Mum says in a loving, but exasperated manner.

My partner, on the other hand, the one with the positive mantras and endless patience, is relatively new to the scene. He’s a very positive, annoyingly upbeat and wonderfully nice person. He totally, lovingly and innocently believes in me, and I owe it to them all to do so too.

Enough about me

So what the actual fuck is the difference between fate and destiny? Well, I’ve narrowed it down to this. I think it is like a Terry’s chocolate orange. Fate is the foil wrapper that keeps it all together. It is the life that goes on around you and keeps you all closed up, neat, safe and orb-like – spinning on a path that is already decided. Destiny, on the other hand is the chocolate segments inside that orb. It is you. It is your potential in handy bite-sized pieces, just waiting to be tapped, unwrapped and scattered in all directions.

and … back to me

Where am I with my chocolate orange you may well ask? Well, I haven’t dropped it wantonly on the floor yet, or even tapped it. I’m leading up to it though. I’ve definitely taken it out of the box and I have taken the securing sticker off.

My potential destiny is in the making, and I am at last ready and prepared for it. It tastes of orangey-chocolate, only with less faff and foil, and a lot more toil. Shit!

This is the second instalment of my blog. If you would like to read how this self-improvement and self-employment journey started, please click here. If you’re chomping at the bit to know what happens next, you can subscribe and the next one will wing it’s way to you next month via the magic of the mail of the E!

Images courtesy of Unsplash. Thank you to the talents of Brenda Godinez, Phoenix Han, Joshua Rawson-Harris, Social Cut, Rawpixel, Joseph Gruenthal, Nathan Dumlao, Everton Vila, Jazmin Quaynor, Plush Design Studio, Daniel and Pedro da Silva.

Blogs, pandas and the art of procrastination

It is very easy when you have a full or even a part time job, to think, ‘I want to work for myself’. You have the safety net of a salary.

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You convince yourself. ‘I can write a blog and make some money, spend my precious time at home, listen to Radio 2 in the background whilst I craft away in my studio. The children are at school now, I’m good at managing my time… right?’ Wrong, well for me at least.

Time management at work or in life has never been my strong point, so what on earth gave me the inkling that I could do it from home with the welcome distractions of piles of washing and Jeremy Vine?

Some multi-tasks just don’t go together!

unsplash-logoAlice Achterhof

So far, so blah, blah, blah …

So this is what has really happened to me so far. I’ve tried to read the ‘How To‘ blogs, (this one in the link is quite good actually and I nearly read all of it), the inspiring Mindfulness ones (I just can’t! My mind wonders and then wanders), the ‘Let me share my secrets of success‘ webinars by the beautiful people… I just feel more and more defunct. You too? I feel ya Sis/Bro *fist punch (cringe, stop that).

A Defunct Panda Employee

I’ve never really had a career as such. Just great jobs for a bit! On paper I look fabulous! Teacher, Lecturer, Masters Degree in Design, Copywriter … the list goes on. I’ve never had a problem getting a job. The problem is, that when the going gets a wee bit tough, I get packing. I’m gone, leaving a trail of mess and half-baked ideas behind me for someone else to clear up.

The annoying ‘panda’ employee.

unsplash-logoOzgu Ozden

I’m that annoying ‘panda’ employee. The one that looks great on the surface, black and white, straightforward, all fluffy and promising, but then eats, shoots and leaves with very little procreation! Responsibility comes a-knocking, I lock the door and put the kettle on.

The Trouble with Alice

Alice likes tea, but it’s me that suffers.

unsplash-logoJason Leung

The trouble is, I’m now in my late-forties (when did that happen?) and frustratingly, I know a little bit about a lot of things. My inner career woman (I’m sure she does exist somewhere in there, below the sternum and above my bladder and drinks far too much tea. I think she is called Alice) is crying out to be a Specialist, an Expert, a Very Knowledgeable Person… well Self-Employed at least! ‘I’m Special’ she screams.

Procrastination Station

She can paint, she can make, she can write, she can teach. To be fair, I can actually do all of these things too, but when push comes to shove and I now actually have the time to actually do it … I’m do the washing, walking the dog, having some lunch, changing the beds, vacuuming and then lamenting my lack of time as, lo and behold, it’s time to pick up the kids from school.

Where did I find the time to work?

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I have to do this, I’ve quit my main job and yet it’s taken me 4 weeks to get to this stage. You’d think that the panic would have set in by now. The rent is looming, yes, it is starting to! (And yes, rent, in my forties. I don’t even own a house. I’m useless.)

How do you do it makers, crafters, writers and doers?

Well, that is exactly it isn’t it? Doers – that is the key. I look longingly at Country Living magazine and covet the lifestyle of such talented people who started out on their kitchen table with a button and some Play-Doh. I look at their products and think, ‘£250 for that! I can do that’, but that’s just it. I can’t. I’m permanently waiting for the train to come to Procrastination Station to carry me to the next stop, tea and magazine in hand.

Nope, not coming.

unsplash-logoLuke Stackpoole

It’s not coming.


We have to walk there folks, even crawl there. One foot or hand in front of the other, on our own. No First Class, ticket, or even a bag to sit on in the corridor.

So here I am…

With all the technical know-how of a weevil, I have started a website and I have written my first blog. I’ve yet to do the making and crafting bit though. That is all in my head and I can visualise it perfectly. One step at a time though eh… ooh, I need a cup of tea.

If you like this blog and you would like something written for you, I can actually write in styles other than this self-pitying cynicism, so please get in touch. I have started a Portfolio, but got stuck on the techno bits, so watch this space … or rather that space!