without struggle success has no value
Here in England normal life has been on hold for 438 days. With varying degrees of severity we have been prohibited from doing most things that make life worth living; from meeting family and friends, to going to any and all places of business, entertainment, and worship, and even following our chosen trade or profession. Face it ~ most of us have been locked down at home, suffering that most terrible of punishments; imprisonment and solitary confinement.
And personally, not much good has come from that. On the upside I haven’t been sick with the coronavirus. On the downside the list of bad and really bad things is long, pathetic, disturbing, injurious to my health, and life-threatening. All in all, I would say that the policy of shutting down the entire country for over a year is the worst thing supposedly civilised and ‘liberal’ governments have done since 1914.
The worst of it is that I haven’t lifted myself above the morass, the slough of despond, and done something useful with my time. I haven’t had a robust programme to improve my physical, mental, and spiritual health and fitness. I haven’t written a book, taken up a new course of study, or routinely practiced something like meditation, tai chi, yoga, or even moon-walking. Basically I’ve felt sorry for myself, put on weight, got myself a prison pallor, and spent lots of time aimlessly staring at the TV. Some of the time I drank too much. I was utterly unmotivated.
BUT, now that there is a light at the end of the Stygian lockdown tunnel, I feel the need to get a hold of my life and make it better than it was before all this fucking coronavirus crap began. So what to do? Big, meaningful changes take a hell of a lot of effort.
Step One. Cut out all the bad things I’ve been doing just to fill in the empty hours.
Step Two. Get out of the garret into the fresh air and sunshine, lose the prison pallor, get some exercise. Yesterday I walked 8 miles, and meditative walking is really good for the body and soul.
Step Three. Make a plan, some lists, some aims, goals, targets, dreams and desires. Use all the skills and techniques I’ve learned about project planning and start a project to make myself and my life better than ever it was before.
travel and adventure are on the agenda
travel, get rich, get famous, innovate, lead
Here in England a most senior police officer has slammed the policy of only recruiting graduates into the police force, saying that; ‘they lack life experience’, and ‘they won’t commit to working unsocial hours’. He goes on to paint a picture of a graduate recruit as someone who believes they are invincible, know better than officers who have been on the force for years, and believes that policing is just an extension of university life.
I had to smile when I read this, as it agrees exactly with my experience of dealing with young graduate entrants into the far less stressful and much less dangerous business of banking. For a young person, banking involves a hell of a lot of routine drudgery, doing things the way they’ve always been done, and not going home until all the books are balanced at the end of the day. There’s also the whole drag of getting into the bank before 09:00, going to lunch when you are told you can, and not staying out at lunch for longer than an hour.
Some graduates of my experience also had problems with the dress code, which was a business suit for men, and smart sober attire for women. FFS, some male graduates didn’t even know how to tie a necktie, and had to have it done for them by a kindly person when they got into the office.
In my experience, new graduates tend to be idealists.
The world is more malleable than you think, and it’s waiting for you to hammer it into shape. ~ BONO
Actually, no it isn’t. The snag is; when you are working for someone else, you have to be prepared to put the ideals of the business ahead of your own. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one.
Many graduates also believe that they’re done with formal education when they leave university ~ and that’s another no. There is the tiresome business of obtaining a qualification from the people who run the profession a graduate has chosen. And I kid you not, the studies and exams set by people such as The Law Society are a bit more difficult than the average degree. It would take most graduates 4 to 6 years to qualify as a ‘lawyer’, and cost at least £4,500. (Other professional qualifications are similar.) However really bright graduates may find that the firm / business helps out with costs and gives them a little time off work to study.
Being a graduate is not a passport to riches and fame, rather it’s just another step on the hard road of life.
Oxford University graduates
All I want is to live a normal life
the beach at Cancun
As we gradually come out of lockdown, some normal things I haven’t been able to do for months have become possible ~ like getting my hair cut, or even booking a vacation.
One of the good things about having been in self-isolation for over a year is that I haven’t spent much money, so now I am almost out of lockdown I can afford to take my friend to anywhere we would like to go.
Should be fun.
this might be the route to normality
’emergencies’ have always been the pretext on which individual liberty has been eroded
the only casual sex allowed is phone sex
Here in England it’s Day 380 of the national coronavirus lockdown, and now that there may be some signs that some of the restrictions may be lifted in the foreseeable future, it is worth remembering just what has been taken away from us.
Just to focus on three of our inalienable rights;
- Freedom of Association. All through this lockdown we have been prohibited from meeting our friends and families. Two women sharing walk and a cup of coffee were arrested for ‘breaking the spirit of lockdown’. A lady was arrested just for being outside the care home of her elderly father. And while the Black Lives Matter ‘protests’ were allowed to go ahead, every other public gathering of more than six people was treated as a riot by our increasingly heavy handed police. Schools, Universities, and Churches have been closed, as have all other possible meeting places. Extramarital sex is out of the question unless you are part of the ‘governing elite.’
- Freedom of Movement. We have been told not to to go anywhere unless it was absolutely essential, not to leave home, not to travel more than a dozen miles from home, not to go to work unless you couldn’t possibly work from home….., and our increasingly Gestapo-like police force have happily arrested anyone seemingly breaking the rules. Airlines have been grounded, Wales and Scotland closed their borders, and do not even think about attempting to travel to the USA.
- Freedom of Trade. Apart from some ‘essential’ food stores and pharmacies, everything has been shut. Factories have been lying idle because nobody could buy anything they made. Agriculture has been badly hit because farm workers were told to stay at home, or in the case of ‘foreign casual labourers’ weren’t even allowed into the UK. And, of course, any business where people could gather together has been closed for the duration. Forget getting a pint with your mates down the pub.
Some say that losing our freedom was a necessary part of staying safe and protecting the Health Service. And that those who complained should be gagged. (Well, there goes Freedom of Speech.) All I know is that we have all lost more than just our basic liberties to combat a mild ‘flu epidemic.
all doors have been firmly closed
by order of some power-mad unelected officials
first of all stop being a willing victim
if that’s you then perhaps you need to change
The first step in my total makeover plan New Age ~ New Me is giving up alcohol; or to say it a better way Living a Sober Life. If you misuse and abuse any substance; alcohol, drugs, prescription medication, over the counter medication, sugar, tobacco….. then your life revolves around that and it’s almost impossible to do anything else that matters a damn. And trust me, if you drink, smoke, or take drugs ~ then whatever you think or believe you are an addict. The same goes if you gamble, are promiscuous, steal, cheat, lie….. you are an addict and a victim of your own need for instant gratification.
If you ever want to be better, to become self-aware, self-controlled, self-disciplined, empowered, and truly happy, then first of all you have to give up your addictions. No that’s not true, first of all you truly have to admit to yourself that you have a problem. Only when you really believe that you need to give up hanging around in bars, or drinking a bottle of wine at home every night, or smoking a pack of cigarettes a day can you begin to become a better version of yourself.
And giving up isn’t easy. For years I was a binge-drinker ~ every time I got upset, unhappy, or dissatisfied I would retreat into a bottle of booze to make myself feel better. It never worked. And yet I haven’t touched a drop since Christmas last year.
Here’s how did I did that;
- I came to believe that booze was ruining my life.
- I made a decision to stop drinking alcohol.
- I stopped buying and drinking booze.
It was an instant decision followed by instant action; and I believe that it has to be that way. There has been no help, no 12 step group, no counselors, no complicated programs, no tricks, no searching the internet to find an easy way to be sober, no anything ~ just me and some self-discipline. It’s easy; decide to stop whatever destructive behaviour gives you instant gratification, and then stop.
Except we know that it isn’t easy at all ~ it’s fucking hard.
But what would I rather become? A drooling incontinent who lives just for the next drink? Or a self-aware Renaissance Man who lives a very full and rewarding life?
So, every hour of every day I stay away from that first drink.
the things you think you like the most
are the things that will ruin your life
and then kill you
you get nothing without hard work
hanging out in bars is self-destructive
It was my birthday a couple of days ago ~ another year older and deeper into lockdown. Given the premise that this is a new age for me I’ve decided to give myself a complete makeover. And I mean doing it all for myself because there’s nobody to do it for me ~ and anything someone else does for you never lasts. Any real and beneficial change I want to make has to come from within.
This makeover will be directed at significant improvements of my body, mind, emotions, and spirit. It’s also going to include looking better and having a much nicer, kinder, more effective, and more likable persona.
The truth is that I started this big self-improvement programme just after Christmas when I gave up alcohol. If you drink, smoke, take drugs, gamble, or suffer from any of the other life-destroying addictions, then the first step on any self-improvement / self-development / makeover is to quit your addiction(s). And trust me, if you do drink, smoke, take drugs, (including stuff like Xanax), or gamble ~ then you are addicted. (The list of life-destroying things people can become addicted to is long and inclusive.)
My plan for becoming the very best version of Jack Collier that I can possibly be is very simple;
- stay away from alcohol
- have a good daily exercise routine
- eat and drink healthily, (mine is a Paleo / Mediterranean diet)
- get enough good sleep, retire and rise at the same time every day
- cut out a lot of mindless, time-wasting stuff; TV, internet, social media
- look as good as I can all the time; bathed, shaved, hair, decent clean clothes
- study and learn interesting challenging stuff, from proper books by real writers
It should be easy, given some self-discipline and determination.
none of this crap
who could like that guy?
first of all stop dicking around
Not so long ago I was miserable, irritable, and utterly ineffective. I didn’t ever leave the garret, except to buy booze, I never spoke to anyone, and I didn’t do anything interesting. Every day was the same as the day before. I was sick in body, mind, and spirit. From time to time I had dark suicidal thoughts. Even though my life was a mess, it was a mess with an efficient daily routine behind it. I was very good at doing nothing except wasting the time I had on this earth.
There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all. ~ Peter Drucker
There are lots of ways and a myriad of techniques that I could have used to turn my life around, but before everything else I had to have the strong and unshakable desire to change myself and make my life better. No Fairy Godmother was going to appear and make everything all right. I wasn’t suddenly going to find an attractive woman who would give me the magical motivation to improve myself and my life. Nothing good happens in life unless we make it so.
You can start to read lots of books, sign up for lots of expensive courses, and find tons of stuff on the internet that will say; ‘change your life around by following this advice’ ~ and they are all utterly useless unless first you have the willingness and determination to change. Changing your life for the better takes every hour of every day of the rest of your life. Being a better person needs willpower, and if you don’t have any willpower then create an unbreakable routine towards becoming the very best version of yourself you can possibly be. If you can’t do that, then fake it to make it.
First of all I had to decide what I didn’t want. What were the very worst things in my life. What was I doing that was negative and self-destructive? Think about it ~ what are the very worst things in your life? What do you want the least? What is killing you? For me that began with agoraphobia and booze. I had to stop drinking, and I had to get out of the garret, physically, mentally, and emotionally I had to get out of this place.
None of this was easy, but this blog is some small evidence of how far I’ve come since those dark days.
If I can become a better person, then you can too.
you don’t need a gym to exercise effectively
tradesmen are not good at listening
Yet again I’ve been faced with examples of men who work with their hands treating female customers badly. I’m never surprised when I hear that some garage mechanic hasn’t done whatever it was a woman has asked them to fix on her car. Nor am I shocked if a car shop has done something very badly, half a job, and then charged their lady customer three times the going rate for a proper job.
I have heard tales of half-assed plumbers totally flooding a female friend’s home, making the place uninhabitable for months. I’ve seen electrical work done so badly that a woman was lucky not to have her home burn down around her, and building work that was an utter joke. The same goes for bathroom and kitchen fitters, gardeners, roofers….. all of them do shoddy work for women and then overcharge them for it.
The thing is that the average tradesman learns a trade, (if you’re lucky), but never learns interpersonal skills ~ they do not listen. Most tradesmen are very bad at their jobs ~ face it, most car mechanics are only car mechanics because it’s a step up from flipping burgers. Almost all tradesmen learn how to do one thing, and never learn anything else. In general, men who work with their hands are lazy, goof off at every opportunity, are sexist, misogynistic, and lecherous. Add in to the mix that many so called ‘tradesmen’ are immigrant casual day labourers, who have never actually learned a trade, and you have a recipe for disaster for any woman who wants anything fixed, serviced, repaired, fettled, or built.
All women should be suspicious of mechanics, plumbers, electricians, roofers, gardeners, builders, kitchen and bathroom fitters….. and you should never, ever leave them alone in your home, not for an instant. Always ask to see their appropriate qualifications, on paper, there are trade associations for every single damn trade. For example; here every gas fitter is obliged to be ‘Gas Safe Registered’ and show their customers their registration number. Never ever employ a tradesman or use a garage based solely on the recommendation of a friend ~ look them up on the internet. Always thoroughly check their work, or better still get a competent male friend to check their work before handing over any money. Better than that, learn some basic trade skills yourself.
Some say that they trust their gardener / plumber / electrician / car mechanic. And that it’s impolite to think they might have done a shoddy job. All I know is that I don’t trust tradesmen, and I’m a very competent guy.
this isn’t finished
women need and desire to be cherished, understood, loved
men want sex
Men evolved as solitary hunters, and their main contribution to the human race was the ability to hit a moving target so that everybody could eat. Sometimes several men from the same tribe gathered together as a cooperative team so they could kill something bigger so that more people could eat.
Any woman reading that will immediately see where the male fascination with sports comes from. Sports are all about the ability of one man to hit a moving target, often with the help of the other players on his team. Cricket, baseball, football, basketball ~ lady, you name it and it’s the same thing ~ personal responsibility, hand-eye coordination, spacial awareness, calmness under pressure, hitting a moving target, instant gratification, win / lose. And it comes from tens of thousands of years of evolution.
This is one reason why men like to wear uniforms, hats, colours, insignia that indicates their personal competence and membership of a successful team. Teams are not discussion groups, a sports team is really a hunting and killing machine. Every man feels that he is perfectly capable of solving his own problems and does not see any reason to talk about them with anybody else; up to and including you. This is the reason a man will never ask for directions ~ real men do not use in-car satellite navigation because the damn woman keeps on offering advice.
Nowhere in there does it say anything about feelings, discussion, emotion, nurturing, understanding, socialising, and asking for help. Men are not wired to discuss, listen, feel, accept, empathise, or talk just for the sake of talking. Most of the time when a woman really wants her guy to show some empathy and understanding what he will do is offer her a solution. He thinks he is being caring and loving by solving her problems, and she knows he is being uncaring and indifferent, trivialising her feelings by not listening to her.
Actually most good men try to listen to their lady, but what he hears is the blah blah blah of moaning, nagging, complaining, and talking just for the sake of talking.
When men do talk it’s usually in a language women do not easily understand; either because it’s technical or it sounds like monosyllabic grunting.
A woman may dream of and desire a perfect man, but smart women know that ‘perfect man’ is an oxymoron. In many ways her perfect man would be gay, or at least metrosexual ~ and what real woman would want that?
Real men just don’t do non-sexual relationships ~ unless they are prepared to try, try, and try again.
Marmaduke is a male bear
he likes sitting all by himself
thinking about nothing much