Weeknotes 2022-02-04: Pigeons, those pigeons

Gloomy shot of the river Cuckmere wandering up a misty valley

Mental space

It’s Friday afternoon, and the weekend is nearly here. This week seems to have gone quickly but I’m not sure where it’s gone.

There is a small flock of pigeons outside, around 7 or 8 depending on when you look. They move as a pack, first there were a handful of them swaying in the rowan tree, pecking at the small red berries. Then they were crossing the grass in a line, like a police squad half-searching for evidence, half foraging for tea.

I can identify with that sense of casual picking this week. I’ve been poking at a few things in a small, half-hearted way, and can’t decide if I’m being productive, or scattered, or even whether I should be worried either way.

On the upside:

  • I definitely have clearer time in January, and this is helping me to get into different spaces and ideas.
  • I’ve been applying what I’ve been learning, and am a bit more okay that I know what I’m doing. Enough to get on with things, anyway.
  • I’ve been doing stuff I’m not used to, which has led me to thinking a lot more about my weaknesses.

On the downside:

  • Weaknesses are scary.
  • While tech learning is easy, my discomfort zone right now is more around putting myself "out there": getting over my own fear that people don’t want to talk to me, or aren’t interested in what I want to do, or there’s not enough demand for it. Sales funnel stuff, basically.

But, back to the upside. Or the … inside, or somewhere in between:

  • I’m able to reflect on this as a new journey, and so while a bit of me is fluctuating rapidly between excitement, depression, fear and fun, another bit of me is managing to keep an emotional head above water.
  • When I remind myself that I went down this route to make things interesting, I remember that I chose where I am, and that’s pretty cool.

This quote from Lama Anagarika Govinda seemed to line up with me this week:

"…a pilgrimage distinguishes itself from an ordinary journey by the fact that it does not follow a laid-out plan or itinerary, that it does not pursue a fixed aim or a limited purpose, but that it carries its meaning in itself, by relying on an inner urge which operates on two plans: on the physical as well as on the spiritual plane."

Some of that "scattered" feeling is much more than just different tasks, or balancing things with the family. More fundamentally, there is a pull towards something other than just capital-W "Work". A way of being, to put it ridiculously vaguely. As in, the control we have over our own ability to do things differently.

This isn’t some crazy mountain-hermit or hippy thing, it’s something I can feel affecting all of us – a large (if not global) collective consciousness that keeps feeling that something isn’t right. Doing things for profit. Devaluing people’s time and mental health. Forging ahead without thinking. These are all anti-patterns.

I started the week by writing up my own personal values, to try to orient my inner self:

Whatever happens, these bring me a sense of peace when I think about them.

I’ve been wondering something a lot this week: Did I just burn out? As in, did I push myself too far over the last 4-5 years? How can you tell? Is it as simple as a yes/no thing? I figure I’ll try writing up an answer to that, just to try finding out more about where I’ve been. Instinctively, I do think a bit of me is wary about "stepping back into the ring" and losing control again. It’s such a common 21st century practice.

I’ve also not been helped by having to rearrange the next few days (including a weekend away) after finding out today that I’ve finally caught the ol’ C-19. I feel okay – last week I felt pretty tired, but I haven’t been knocked out. Just, practicalities, y’know? Oomph.

Time space

I have three main aims currently:

  1. Build my network. Chat with more people.
  2. Write more. It helps me think and gets more visibility.
  3. Carry on revising my "offer", in terms of what I can do for people. (That bleeds a bit into who I am, and how I present _me.)

So I got in touch with someone looking for some support setting up an efficient WordPress instance, and so I chatted with California on Monday, and have been digging into some questions for her.

That resulted in experimenting further with this WordPress instance, which is a bit faster still now. And I wrote up notes on my under-used Hugo blog here:

I also learned a lot about the tag and using srcsets for responsive image loading. That included getting responsive images working for this page:

This is my site running on eleventy but which syncs content from my phone. I’m aiming to do a write up of the image processing process next week, but it took a day to pick up 11ty’s workings, code copied from a gist, and npm dependencies. The result is cool though, and it’s awesome what browsers can do these days. Every time I see an unoptimised image now, I shudder.

Also started up some notes and thoughts on some possible project ideas (more on those anotehr time), and had to take the car for a service and MOT.

Next Space

I really want to carry on in this direction – more writing, more little bits of networking. It feels like I’ve started out BIG SCALE a few months back, taking a huge systemic view, and now I’m back down in the details, but with all the context that surrounds it.

So – more getting in touch with people, more writing. And probably just jotting down some simple roadmaps for that, to keep myself on track. Currently it’s in my head, which isn’t the most accountable place.

I also know I need to get used to the excitement-worry-depression cycle that goes along with getting in touch with people and waiting/wanting to hear back. I need to think of it more like setting traps rather than dating people, or something.

Content Space

  • Enjoying the short bites of Zen Motoring on iplayer. Everyday details and calming thoughts, right up my (busy) street.

  • Finished off watching Around the World in 80 days, but still humming the original cartoon version.

  • Started reading "Lost Cities of China, Central Asia & India" by David Hatcher Childress – it’s half Indiana Jones, half travel diary so far. Very enjoyable.

And a whole bunch of Chinese New Year related Lego.

Links

OK, not many this week.

Til next time.

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