It has been 5 months since my last blog entry and I wish I could say that I was too busy, spending my time doing the things I love in life, to even consider posting; sadly this is not the case.
The job I had at the coffee shop utterly consumed me, with the expectations of doing 45 – 50 hour weeks, waking up at 5am to have to go to work and generally feeling exhausted even on my days off, I think it’s safe to say that this is not what I need in life. It killed my love for reading, blogging, exploring and I noticed it even increased my frivolous spending just so I could deal with my unhappiness at work.
I am glad to say that my days with this company are over, and despite my harsh feelings towards them, I do wish my manager and my colleagues all the best in the future! I have a new part-time job lined up for myself that offers more pay whilst simultaneously clocking in less hours, so I can achieve my financial goals without sacrificing the time needed to spend with my friends and family.
I think it’s time to get back to basics. It’s going to be a little grueling but I’ve decided to start tracking my spending each week, which I’ve been doing for the past five days, to uncover what a large proportion of my money is going on. I’m already not liking what I’ve seen!! Junk junk junk. I’ll report back in a couple of days about that though.
I suppose this just goes to show that you can never truly ‘achieve’ minimalism, a constant re-evaluation is always needed before unwanted habits start to creep back into your life; an important point I should definitely keep in mind!
So here I am, World. I’m back. More willing than ever to redefine, recapture and resuscitate my life!
This weekend I managed to attend the second year of the UK Green Film Festival at several venues around the country including the Chapter Arts Centre here in Cardiff. They showcased a series of environmental documentaries that varied in theme from what makes us happy? (Happy), The benefits of living vegan (Vegucated), How much food we waste as a society (Taste the Waste) and my personal favourite of the festival about the levels of light pollution we admit as a people and what affect this has on our own body, mind and soul as well as the affects seen on other species living on the planet (The City Dark). I managed to attend only two films during the weekend, Happy and the City Dark, and both were incredibly eye opening and I think will resonate my mind for quite some time.
The first that I saw, Happy, explored what it meant to be truly happy and (particularly in the UK, US and Japan) how a growing percentage of the population are increasingly growing unhappier with higher levels of depression; largely attributed to overworking and a general lack of fulfilment in their lives. The themes of minimalism were high prevalent throughout the movie and could not help comparing my life to some of those involved in the film, asking myself how happy am I? I would like to say I’m pretty happy in most cases but I still think there is a lack of self-actualisation; I just don’t know what it is that’s missing yet. Dr Stephen Stanley, a social psychology lecturer at Cardiff University, made an excellent introduction to the film, questioning “What is it to be happy?” and how exactly can we measure how happy a person truly is? Most say that happiness is just a fleeting moment and that we can’t extend that happiness to last continuously, there must be cycles of unhappiness in there to allow for those fleeting moments. To a large extent I do agree with this but I do think there is more to happiness than just those short bursts of ecstatic energy and I think it largely comes down to being at peace with ourselves and the world around us; and I think this can largely be achieved by not being so materialistic and opening yourself to the wonders of the natural world. This ties in nicely with the other film I managed to see at the UK Film Festival – The City Dark.
I have a fascination with stars and the night sky and often spend up to an hour just gazing up in wonderment at the lustrous canvas above my head. I don’t get many opportunities to do this, which is largely down to the light pollution of the city as well as the regular cloud cover hanging over Wales but there are some spots that I know of that can give me some pretty great views that I usually stop off at for 10 minutes whilst walking home from a friend’s house in the middle of the night. Looking at the sky does make you consider your place in the universe and can put yourself and your ego into perspective and I feel it’s an important part of being human and to a certain extent, being happy.
I’ve had a fantastic time and I’m thankful that Chapter Arts was able to take part in the festival and I’m greatly looking forward to it next year. I’ve met some fantastic people, some of whom already do some amazing work within the Cardiff to slowly transition into a greener, healthier city. I managed to chat to Canton Green Council candidate, Nigel Pugh who has brought to my attention an initiative this Wednesday to try and come up with some creative solutions to making that Green Transition. I’ll hope to be getting more involved in the coming months on how I can play my part!
Did you attend one of the venues for the festival around the UK? What were your thoughts on the movies you saw? Maybe you’ve already seen them and want to share your views? Please feel free to comment!
We’re now into the second month of 2012 and boy has the time flown by! I thought I’d give you guys an update on how things are going with my New Years resolutions. Generally speaking, we’re almost at the stage where lots of people start breaking their resolutions and going back to the same old daily routine. I’d love to say that I’m far from that… but one of the biggest, most tasking changes I wanted to make I’ve barely even started on; swimming.
I’ve been meaning to get back into a routine of exercising but this has yet to materialise and so I’m sad that I’ve missed out on a whole months worth of swimming but I do have 11 more months to make up for it. None of us are perfect, but we do have the ability to make a decision on what we want to do as of NOW. So I’m not going to let this resolution slip away.
That’s enough of the bad, lets talk about the good!
As my readers will know I pledged that I would read a target of 50 books this year (about a book a week), a task that I would find difficult as I read a measly 3 books in 2011. Within the first month of 2012 I have read 5 books! Huzzah! I’m going to put up a page at the top of my reading list so you guys can keep track of what I’ve read and maybe give some suggestions about what to read next. Maybe you’ve just read a really interesting book that you want to share? Or if you fancy reading a book at the same time that would be fun as well!
A website that I’ve found very useful for keeping track on my reading is Goodreads - check it out!
I haven’t visited any new countries yet although me and my good friend Chris are booking a trip to Paris to fly in the Easter break so that should be an exciting adventure! I shall keep you posted when the time comes. I also plan on visiting Scotland soon. I shall be taking the train up from Cardiff to Edinburgh so the views shall be magnificent and whether that technically counts as visiting a new country I shall leave that up to you!
How have your new years resolutions going? Are you finding any old habits impossible to break?