One year on…
It’s been over a year now since my visit to wilds of Northumberland National Park and the blissful isolation of the School House. With the blog up and running again now felt a good time to reflect on what’s been happening since.
I’m glad to say the changes I hoped to put into action did happen and did stick. In fact after an initial reduction in my hours with more time for blogging there came a further reduction. We always wanted to manage the school runs ourselves and finally this has been achieved by a further slight reduction.
My eyes are more open and I am much more ready for new opportunities, which has led to some great experiences. This year I attended my first technology conference called Thinking Digital. Held over 3 days at the Sage in Gateshead I got to meet and hear talks from some really inspiring people and made some contacts too. One of these was a fellow blogger Ruth who writes about fashion on her blog sheworechic . The beginning of smartwatches was a great opportunity to work together and Ruth cast her eye over the current batch of smartwatches before the Apple Watch arrived. This felt a great moment for me. Working with someone I met at a conference, which I would never have attended before my time away. It was a small step but it felt good. I enjoyed the experience so much I will be going next year.
For a while I was trying some Buddhist classes. The relaxation I felt was amazing and a good way of tapping into that calm feeling I felt whilst I was away. In the end the time pressure of attending almost felt it was defeating the point of going. There are many lessons I have learnt from attending those classes and try to keep reminding myself to practice in my life. A lot overlapped with the wonderful F*** It book I read whilst at the School House. Buying a copy of that book was one of the first things I did on returning home. It sits on my shelf and reminds of the way I felt reading it. Powerful. Unlimited potential. All those cheesy things you see in self-improvement books and websites.
I completed my first triathlon. This again was part of trying new experiences and not being so afraid to fail. I was very proud of completing it and being more fit and healthy than when I was younger. Now I am working on training for my next one with the goal not to just finish but put in a good time for me.
Life has a way of creeping back to how it was before.
Like a boat drifting to the banks of the river, every now and then it requires conscious dipping in of your oar to get back to the path you want.
Sometimes I and stop and read or watch something inspiring. I now sense the time when I feel overloaded with distractions and noise. So I stop going online, listening to music and podcasts in the car. Walk more. Let my mind speak quietly and gently and let it guide me to where it needs to be again.
A tougher aspect has been learning to live with less. Now I am not going to complain here. I don’t go without much and I am very grateful for that. As someone who loves gadgets its hard watching the latest and greatest come and go knowing you can’t get it. It’s taught me to be more sensible with my spending and whilst it’s dull and sensible it can feel good to have the control to say “I won’t get X today because next year I want Y” and then the pleasant experience when you get Y without still paying the price for previous impulsive purchases. Recently thanks to my blogging I have had the chance to use and write about two gadgets without me buying them first. This is my idea of heaven!
So life has improved. I have several days I don’t completely dread anymore and time to think and write. My goal still isn’t entirely clear but I am putting trust in life that if I keep experimenting, being less afraid and enjoying what I am doing then things will fall into place.
Maybe you can’t have the luxury I had of a week away alone. You might manage a day, an hour a day or whatever you can give to yourself. Without moments to stop and reflect you are just rolling from day to day.
I know someone who put it better than me…
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while you could miss it.”