And so we set sail into year 2017 of the journey of mankind since we reset the clock at year zero. Where this year will take us is as yet unknown. Its path is to be set and its ultimate destination is yet to be determined. Year 2016 ended in fine style with the crew and a couple of friends that we met along the way enjoying each others company and stories of previous life adventures.
In year 2016, our general direction was known but we tended to take the ship around in circles to quite a great extent. We didn't know what we were doing, so at times tried to do everything, not a great plan for progress in our journey to the unknown destination.
So what of year 2017 ? Much of the same I suspect in the early days of our quest. The food stores are overflowing after our 2 weeks back at base camp. I look forward to getting those back to normal levels and so we can get the food that we love back on the captains table. The sugar based foods are fun for a while, but in the long run, this ship runs far better on a fat and meat based diet.The evidence for this is overwhelming as the ship ran so much better in year 2015 than last as its overall weight and efficiency fell and rose respectively.
So we leave port for a couple of quiet days of life's journey before we hit the choppier waters of life on day 3 of the trip. Until then, we need to work on the ship's food stores before we head for the straights of normality. At that point, we crank the gears up a level or 2 on our quest to wherever.
Captains Log Day 2.
Our final day of rest and recuperation before we set sail on our journey of 2017. Indeed whilst it is admirable to reach our final goals and targets for the year, it is in fact the journey and the people that we travel with that brings us true joy and life satisfaction.
I am positive that we will hit rough weather on our journey and it is likely that the Winter gales will be particularly challenging as we recover from the cost of resting over before the year commenced.
I gave part of the ship a bit of a clean down this afternoon. I figure if I start Spring Cleaning before we set sail, then I will be ahead of the game. It was only a small part to be fair, but it is better than it was before. For so much of my life, I have played the mug's game of making things perfect. I have now opted out of that game as I now aim for improvement. That is far better than doing nothing at all. Progress is an ongoing theme and general principle for the crew in 2017.
One big weakness I have is not responding well to adversity. I get fed up when that happens and then the even worse thing is to be fed up that I am fed up about some situation or person. This is like a black hole that can suck you down to an unhappy place where inactivity is often the regrettable outcome. Best to try something than be frozen into staying with the status quo.
So this evening is the last day in port with relaxation before we set sail onto the next stage of our journey in life. Our first aim is a smooth departure and a few steady days as we get back into the routine of life. We can then build on that and aim for the stars.
Captains Log Day 3.
We leave home this morning at 7am on a freezing cold Winters morning. Some stuff just has to be done. The day itself goes smoothly as the adjustment of normal life starts to kick in. Thoughts of dreams and targets take the backseat as it is just a day to
get through without incident. Being away from normality for a couple of weeks means that there is a lot of catch up to be done today. There is a certain satisfaction when the day to day tasks just get done so you can move on. Not everyday can be full of thrills, so many days you just have to get the stuff done calmly and efficiently. No medals for these tasks.
Our crew is slightly under numbered as part of it is joining us again next week further along our journey. The dark evenings give you the time for thought and working out your stategies going forward. I am a big fan of little wins and picking low hanging fruit. If you can see an opportunity and it is easy and it will move you forward, go for it. Not everything has to be mega ideas and big things to be done. The small things are important and can easily improve your feelings for life and make a contribution if maybe just a small one to moving along on your journey. Unsubscribe from 3 email lists today, the one that you have to delete from your phone everyday as you can't remember why you wanted information about that airline or that holiday company. When you are ready to travel, 15 minutes online digging will give you vast numbers of opportunities and you will have saved that much of your time each week constantly deleting emails. Your time is your time, do what you want to do in life and not what others constantly tell you / market at you to do. We only get one crack at this journey of human life, would be an awful shame to waste it on unmeaningful trivial tasks that don't enrich and add colour to your life. So much better to make positive decisions than sleep walk into click look delete repeat. Get some of those lists off your phone today and use that time doing what you love, even if that is just sleeping.
The ship is steady today as it heads for the open waters of life in 2017. Fingers crossed it stays that way until we decide and set our course settings for the coming year.
Captains Log Day 4.
I start to write this at midnight as day 3 rolls into day 4. For an allegedly intelligent person, I can be pretty stupid at times. One of my weaknesses as I travel through life is my lack of judgement or rather at times forgetfulness at how I act around food. I have a good day, eat sensibly and go for a walk, but on my return, I remember that there is chocolate in the house from Christmas. Do I have one piece ? , no, I hit it hard. The way you wouldn't have alcohol in the house if you had a drink problem, I don't want Chocolate in the house to tempt me. But at this time of year, despite our best efforts, it is just there and it can sabotage my good work, and does. I know what I need to do to downsize myself to what I have always wished to be. It is a struggle and in truth, it always will be. Going public with these hopes and aims in theory could give me the tipping point to have a positive year. Fifty years in the background hasn't exactly worked, can being transparent and document the struggle bring results ?
So what of my journey. It has been decades of choppy seas, good years and bad. I get frustrated as It is not rocket science. We only have one go at the game of life and with the ups and downs along the way , I feel I never have really given it the best crack that I could do. Life can be harder than it needs to be if you tie one of your arms behind your back and then try to take on the world. Have I destroyed my health year tonight ? No , off course not, just feels like I have as I look at the chocolate wrappers. As I said the other day, this year is how I react to setbacks, even self imposed ones.
Why do we always zero in on the bad bits about ourselves and quietly forget the good that we do for ourselves and others. I did a decent bit of walking today but that in my mind is overshadowed by chocolategate. I can do better than this and will.
The rest of the crew all have their own food demons that they battle with year in and year out. When you look back over the long term, great results have been achieved, but we all want more , or less to be more accurate , and that is one of life's big frustrations and challenges. We have to enjoy the small wins, the drop of 5 pounds and recognise that over a year , to end slightly lower than you started the year is a result. On the other side of the coin, it would be so easy to end the year up 9 or 10 pounds. I know that for a fact, I did it last year. Why is our morale affected proportionally more than the reality of life implies that it should be ? Is it human nature or a feeling of failure that falls on us if we don't reach our goals again and again. For our purposes here, of course we conveniently forget the good years and hard work that we have done to get those good years.
Day 4 needs to be a day of progress and good food choices. Variable work hours do not help in our quest and so easy to eat poorly. To even be a couple of pounds down at the end of January would be a small statement of intent. It is so easy to skip back.
Be kind to yourself today, don't be so hard on yourself, enjoy the clouds , the planes flying over and the robin bobbing around the garden. He is thinking of today, we also must to live each day to the full. Life sometimes gets in the way of this , but look out for Mr Robin and smile.
The Captains Log Day 5.
As we drift along under the Wintery sky full of stars from far off constellations, my mind drifts back on the subject of loss. I realise as I think back, that my early years were pretty loss free apart from Grandparents at an age when I didn't really take in the gravity of what had happened. As I turned 40, the true reality of these events hit me twice as both parents departed in just under two years. As we were thrown into a caring role, I often wonder looking back if we allowed ourselves to grieve as we had to deal with the 24/7 in your face reality of the caring role that had landed at our feet. I think it was just a case of survival and getting through the day before we started the next day.
When we hit our second loss, it was very different. This was a case of being free from our responsibilities. Should we feel guilty at this stage as we let out a big sigh of relief that our life which had been on hold could now start again together ? Looking back, you appreciate that your life, your thoughts, everything had to be focused on the one that you are caring for. In recent years, I have listened to so many self help, make targets, dream and it will happen sort of books. We have also had a major declutter of our lives, more physically than mental to be fair , but 3 years down that road, it makes you realise how much stuff was in our lives and home. Such looking inside ourselves and even getting rid of things would have been an impractical extravagance in those caring years. I think you have to have done the role to really appreciate what effect it has on a person's life and the development of who you really are deep inside. I wouldn't wish the role on anybody, but I think it is a national scandal when you hear of children who are doing sterling work as carers to their family. How can that be fair on their own development ?
The caring years also taught me a big life lesson. Don't expect life to always work out how you expect. Things can be thrown up in the air and your life can change in a second. For us it was a phone call at 7am, and a week later we were living in a different house and launched into our new caring role. It was all so so wrong, this wasn't the plan of how it was meant to be. The parent carer who was to be rewarded for valiant service looking after her partner for 10 years was taken early. No, all wrong, she was meant to be rewarded at a later date with a few peaceful years of being taken out on shopping trips and afternoon teas after her service. Instead the roles were reversed and life and the worries of her part of the world caught up with her. To be fair, she was cheated out of life at the end, but she just did what she had to do. The role then fell onto us to carry the caring baton.
Time alone can bring these thoughts back and maybe it is good to give them a bit of an airing. Loss can also be of friends who are no longer in our lives as people's lives change and develop, but I think that is best left for another time.
If I can leave you with one parting thought. Talk to elders about the good old days and if you can record them. We have now had almost a decade where those questions cannot be asked anymore and I think it has left big gaps in our knowledge of departed ones which in turn, affects how we look back on how we were brought up. Maybe life in the early years looks different if you saw your upbringing through your parents eyes and their worries about paying the mortgage and the milk bill.
Take Care and I hope your day has been relatively smooth sailing.
Captains Log Day 6.
After the pretty heavy nature of yesterdays post, I think it is time to have a lighter subject, but one that I believe will help our journey forward both in our hearts and our body. I am referring to the creation of a proper garden at HQ. We had hens for the last 5 years until the hen project was ended abruptly one Saturday evening recently by Mr Fox. It is fair to say our garden is now a blank canvas, and a very well manured one at that. It is now so so quiet which is sad.
In past years , we had a decent garden, so we have a fair idea of what to do. We have a large tub of wildflower seeds, so they will come into play. I like to uses tubs to grow veg , so we might get some potatoes going this year. Tomatoes are handy when grown outside, I love the little cherry ones. The main thing we want to do is to make the garden nature friendly. The challenge then is to get some decent bird photos. Mr Robin gets another mention.
Peace and quiet is an important part imo of keeping us grounded. In recent years, I would sit with the hens in the garden and chill whilst the worries of my world were buzzing around me and in my head. They were very important to me then and their honesty was refreshing. I liked them and they liked my hen food, it was a simple truthful relationship. Others likely get the same effect from fishing or watching a roaring fire. In recent weeks after they were taken, it hit me hard, part of my relaxation routine was taken from me. That will need replacing, a garden to spend time in with the family might do the trick. I feel that music is now becoming a larger part of my life as is the writing of this log. I feel long summer evenings looking at the stars and munching sausages could also be in order.
I believe it is the law that a garden shed has to be provided for a gentleman of a certain age so he can relax with a glass of shandy and listen to the cricket on the radio in the garden. We might have to think about that, but don't tell the good lady , it's not like she will read this.
The Captain's Log Day 7.
The start of the New Year has been relatively smooth on lifes ocean and the day to day tasks of life have been completed efficiently. Now for a couple of relaxed days over the weekend. But what to do ? Do I do what I always do ? Maybe it's time to try something different ? For me on this I do the latter which is a big step for me. It took me most of my life to realise that just because you can do something, and are qualified to do it, that you should do it. How many times have you defaulted to a yes response when asked to do something, when in the big picture a no would serve you so so much better. Always want to help others ? Well why not help yourself today ? Everything has consequences, so that unthought out easily spoken yes might cost you a day of your time and £25, but could that money and indeed time be better spent with a loved one instead of helping an acquaintance ? I am all for helping people, I have got myself into many long term commitments with that, some harder to get out of in time than get into !
Are you selfish enough with your time ? That quiet night in with the cat watching reality tv with your feet up might be much better for you in the long term than than night out spending money after Christmas that you really don't have. That recharge time makes a better you and guess what, then you are then stronger down the line to help whoever you choose to help at your time of choosing.
I can’t make the right decision every time, but I think the time is here to try and make a few better ones for right reasons, ie for me / us, it is the long term relationship and quality of life with loved ones that are my key targets. You will have a different major factor that controls the path your ship steers. No one can get everything right, just try and edge the percentages into the positive column. Maybe that is achieved by thinning out a few of the easy ones, actions and decisions that if you are honest with yourself, you know are not in your long term gain. Not always the big stuff here, but you know those three energy drinks you have routinely every day, those daily two packets of crisps, do they really get you looking like Mr Universe in 2020 .
So when a friend asks for this and that, you maybe will still help or go out, but first ask yourself a few questions, is this right for me, my family, where I want to be long term ? Just maybe that short term sacrifice will get you in a much better place down the journey of your life. Sorry online food ordering, you are not coming here this week, it's eat the freezer week. Often a no is so much harder than a yes.
Have a cool weekend and remember, you can say no.
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