I thought that my WordPress blog was looking particularly plain so I have just been fiddling about with it using the WordPress customizer (sic).
It was a little frustrating as extra widgets kept appearing when previewing different themes. For some reason, I still had these extra widgets within the unused widget area. These showed up when previewing different themes. (I’m not even trying to figure that out).
Anyway, this may not be the most eye shattering blog that you will find on the web nowadays but it’s not so plain as before.
I needed to take my mind from the dramas that are happening today. Believe me, when you have an ill wife and a daughter in her twenties with emotional problems, it might be a good idea to spend a little time messing with the WordPress customizer (sic).
That really is the question, isn’t it. Why have I been largely absent from WordPress, Google+ and Twitter for several months and, perhaps more importantly, what changes have I made to my life to prevent this from happening again in the future?
There are three reasons for my dismal level of social media interaction over recent months:
A lack of personal organisation
Suffering from ‘flu for the first few months of the year
The recent demise of my ageing budget laptop
All of us are given twenty four hours every day. Whilst some people use the time to create business empires or to be active within civil rights pressure groups, I was somehow struggling to even find time to vacuum the car on a regular basis. So, come October when I needed to find extra time for some studying on top of the tasks I was already failing to fulfil, I put myself under unnecessary pressure.
I needed to organise my time much better. After a lot of soul searching, I have (in theory) managed to find the necessary time to do everything. I listed everything that I need to achieve and now have time slots for all necessary tasks during the week. It means that WordPress and Google+ will get my attention on a Saturday, around the time that I back up my computer files to my external hard drive (I also sync to an online encrypted cloud account). I’ll delve into the Twitter account whenever I get a few moments during the working week.
Last year my health was great right up until November when I started to catch every cold or bug that was doing its rounds. Boxing Day was when I succumbed to one of the strains of ‘flu that ravished Britain last winter.
I had trouble to get the help that I needed from the NHS which I am certain lengthened the time that I suffered.
I was even sent back to work too early by one doctor and within two days was back off work worse than ever and needing another course of antibiotics to treat the return of the secondary bacterial infection that for weeks had taken my left lung hostage.
I never want to go through that again.
My fruit and vegetable intake has since vastly increased and I have promised myself a ‘flu jab every year. Paying about £20 a year is a small price to sacrifice if I can avoid a repeat. I know that it isn’t likely that I will catch ‘flu every year but avoiding one future battle with that virus is something I am desperate for.
I need to lose some weight again now. After the ‘flu went, I started eating more and exercising less; but I have started to turn this around.
And finally, my ageing budget laptop had become increasingly temperamental over recent months. (Can laptops catch ‘flu?) Eventually, a fortnight ago with two study assignments due within days, it stopped effective service. It logs in but stops working within about fifteen minutes. I could get it fixed no doubt but it looks to be a three figure sum repair bill, so a new machine became a reasonable option.
Anyway, I mentioned that I started studying and any delay would prevent submitting my final assignments whose deadlines were only days away.
I bought a cheap Windows laptop for immediate use and this will become my wife’s main laptop in the next few weeks. Gloria’s been after her own laptop for quite a while and so is looking forward to sole use of the PC. This will be her’s on receipt of the much beefier laptop I have treated myself to, which will come with Ubuntu-Mate installed as the operating system. Man, am I looking forward to that.
(Incidentally, I found that my old laptop running Ubuntu worked better at connecting to Adobe Connect rooms than some of my fellow students’ Windows machines when attending online study meetings. Linux is more software friendly than you may think.)
So, there were three reasons that affected my output to which I have sourced three solutions: planning how I will use my time better, an annual ‘flu jab and a new (as yet undelivered) Ubuntu-Mate laptop which should last me a decade or more with careful use.
I just hope no-one cursed me too much these last few months whilst I was mostly absent…or, maybe, these events were due to someone’s curse on me.
Last week, I wrote how I have begun to feel that I can start relying on myself.
An example of this is that I am blogging this week in spite of being booked for a late night of Thursday working for one of my employer’s larger clients. This might not sound much of an achievement. However, it was late night working for this same client during the course of last year which first interrupted my regular weekly blogging as a few of the jobs for them were on a Thursday night which, at that time was my routine blogging evening.
I’m starting to rely on myself as I am starting to manage my time a lot better.
One thing that has really helped is to stop focusing on end goals.
Traditional goal setting was not working for me. I found that setting a goal meant that I drifted away before reaching a goal post.
Now I have found that creating a daily routine which will help me work towards my aims is working. My goals now are to complete my daily routine items for ten consecutive days and I reward myself each time i achieve this.
I am finding myself getting healthier, dealing with emails and paperwork, studying towards a qualification, doing things around the house and more.
I didn’t think of this myself but read about it on this blog post by this blogger James Clear.
I’m starting to believe that I can do some of those things that I wished I was capable of but never believed in myself enough to achieve them.
Hopefully, in the years to come, you will share in my success.
This past year has been a disappointment for many.
You may be tempted to muse on what are the tragic circumstances to which I allude.
Is that Harry Scriven chap acknowledging one of the various referendum or election results that have occurred around the world over the last twelve or so months? Are these the source of tragic disappointment that this blogger is referring to?
Or maybe, you might think to yourself, Harry is completely mad and is crying over the sporting failures of some sporting hero of his?
What if Harry’s favourite television show stopped transmitting and he has trouble coming to terms with this loss?
The first thing for me to write here is that I should stop speaking about myself in the third person. It’s annoying to read if I do it too much, I suspect.
And anyway, the answer is no to all three of these possibilities. Sport and television don’t bother me too much, and referendum or election results need to be accepted whether you agree with the results or not.
So what is the cause of this disappointment to the masses?
Well, of course, few people have been able to cope with the absence of my once regular weekly blog posts.
Okay, I am joking about the importance of my own blog posts.
I was a little nervous about the quality of my first posting on my return to regular blogging.
Although I have kept myself connected with social media through sporadic Tweets or the odd Google+ output, I especially worried about the quality of my first longer weekly social media posting for several months.
Will I be able to post something remarkable enough to announce my return to the regular blogging world?
I am confident that this post will result in one of the following three scenarios:
This post will become an essential text to the British English Literature school curriculum
This will be one of the written outputs leading to my being short listed for the Nobel Prize for Literature
This post will get a few likes and maybe a comment or two
In a number of ways, life for me is the same as it was last year when my posts started to become less frequent. My family situation is the same as it was then and I’m still driving the same beaten up third-hand car. A few of my life priorities have been amended over this time but you will find me much as I was before.
I write that little has changed, but I also think that I am more reliable now than then.
And how do I quantify that my reliability has increased? Well, now I am starting to feel that I can rely on myself which is something that I have ever felt previously in my life.
So, I might even spend the second half of my life actually liking myself.
Maybe that will be reflected within the contents of my future blog posts.
If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got – Henry Ford
I was amazed (probably, I shouldn’t have been) that on the Internet this quote is attributed to other people besides Henry Ford. One business website attributes the quote to Albert Einstein, for instance.
Anyway, I digress.
I think last year I mentioned that February and March is a sad time for me and I end up taking time off work with illness. In February 2015 I was absent from work with sickness for four days and the same thing happened again in March last year.
March 2009 was when my father passed away, whilst I lost contact with someone special to me during March 2014. February is connected to that same person for a special reason which I won’t go into right now.
In November last year, I planned ahead and booked some time off. My leave started Thursday last week and I returned to work yesterday. It meant that I would be home on my own to grasp time for myself to think about the two people I mentioned in the previous paragraph.
I was pretty ineffectual as a human being last weekend. Sunday saw me biting Gloria’s head off at the slightest thing.
During my week of leave from work, I had chance to sort a few things out around the house; those DIY (Do It Yourself) items that I have been putting off for a number of months.
One thing was to sort out a box of paperwork that I kept ignoring week after week for…I don’t know how many months. Some of the post in the box was my late father’s which dated back as far as 1984. That box is no longer making the place look untidy, so I scored a success there.
Seeing that post and realising how quick each task I completed was, I lamented how I have been putting things off. If I keep on putting things off, I will never get to finish my studying for that IT exam, for example.
This week – and every week – I have a choice. If I carry on as before, I know what will happen. I will die without making an impression on the world.
For all of the anger in my heart at the evil out there, I will have helped to change nothing. At present, my ideals are not resulting in enough action.
The realisation came to me of how scared I am to be bold.
I am sure that if I were to die today, there are people that will remember me as someone with a kind heart. I’m not mocking that, that is fantastic.
However, I want to look down from heaven and be able to see at least one person living a better life because of something that I have done whilst still alive. I want to admire myself. I hope that expression isn’t too clumsy.