I'm a Christian, a designer, and a gadget fan who lives in Cheltenham, UK.

This is my blog, a creative outlet to mess around and play with as well as a place that logs my thoughts and inspirations.

Thanksgiving

Today is Thanks­giv­ing in Amer­i­ca, and despite being a Brit I thought it would be good to try and post some­thing I’m thank­ful for this year. I start­ed to write this post at lunchtime, and strug­gled, I couldn’t zero in on some­thing. This evening after my coun­selling ses­sion I realised what it is I’m thank­ful for this year. I’m thank­ful for all the peo­ple who have helped my fam­i­ly nav­i­gate through the year. The mem­bers of their church, some old friends from pre­vi­ous church­es, some new friends, some new col­leagues who have become friends. Some peo­ple who were friends and I’ve dis­cov­ered are now very good friends. For all of them I am thank­ful, we couldn’t have done it with­out you.

Roaming around

Since the end of August I’ve been using Roam Research as my notes appli­ca­tion. Hav­ing tried and played around with Notion but find­ing it to be too much work to man­age any­thing, I decid­ed to give Roam and it’s freeform notes a try.

I’ve found it to be one of the most intu­itive note tak­ing apps I’ve ever come across and have since begun using it for more and more things. It’s not just replaced the notes apps I was try­ing to use before, it’s become my jour­nal and task man­ag­er as well. In fact it’s even start­ing to grow into my per­son­al CRM as well and I believe it is behind the desire for me to start blog­ging more because I’m enjoy­ing writ­ing in it so much.

What I like is that is seems to fit the way I think. Despite being a visu­al per­son I often find myself tak­ing notes in the form of bul­let points. When I’m think­ing and work­ing through some­thing on paper I will often write a point and then riff off it with a series of bul­let points below.

The two way link­ing has also been a rev­e­la­tion. One of the things I was try­ing to use Notion for was a one stop shop for my notes and tasks that relat­ed to var­i­ous projects I’m work­ing on. The data­bas­es that make Notion so pow­er­ful seemed like a good fit for this, but I found it to be a lot of extra work to main­tain. In con­trast Roam’s Dai­ly Notes, which I use heav­i­ly, helps to give me both con­text in the form of when some­thing hap­pened as well as an easy way to auto­mat­i­cal­ly link to a project.

What has been sur­pris­ing for me has been how I’ve found it to help me on a deep­er lev­el. The fact that I have a dai­ly note open on my screen all day as I work means that when I find myself hav­ing to deal with some strong emo­tions I am able to write them down to help me process them. One thing I am hav­ing to learn is to not let my thought pat­terns spi­ral. I find it all too easy to get stuck in a par­tic­u­lar thought pat­tern that turns itself over and over in my mind. Hav­ing some­thing open all the time lets me process what I’m feel­ing when I become aware of it helps me to tack­le that spi­ral in a way I’ve not been able to before.

One of my favourite books this year comes from an artist called Char­lie Mack­esy. I dis­cov­ered it by acci­dent when I was look­ing for a Christ­mas present last Decem­ber. I bought it and gave that book as a gift for J and she loved it so much she bought me my own copy and I’ve since bought it for my Mum as well. For my birth­day this year I got giv­en a print of one the pages from the book. It con­tains a quote which is some­thing both a cou­ple of friends and my coun­sel­lor keep remind­ing me of:

“Being kind to your­self is one of the great­est kind­ness­es,” said the mole.

It struck me as I was writ­ing this that hav­ing the space to process my feel­ings and let myself feel them is being kind to myself and that per­haps we all need to be a bit kinder to ourselves.

An acknowledgement

I’ve had this blog in one form or anoth­er since I was 21, ear­li­er posts have been lost in the many tran­si­tions it has made but it’s always been there. A hob­by that taught me how to design and build web­sites that has since become my career.

At the moment I think I am in one of the longest streaks of not post­ing to the site that I’ve ever been on. For the last few weeks I’ve want­ed to start post­ing again, I’m seek­ing to revive a hob­by that was once very enjoy­able to me. The trou­ble is I don’t know where to start or what to write. So, I’m writ­ing this post as an acknowl­edge­ment of some very dif­fi­cult events.

The last two years have been two of the hard­est of my life. This time two years ago I was work­ing part-time in a spe­cial­i­ty cof­fee shop, doing some free­lance design work, and con­tract­ing in to a local stu­dio. There was a promise that my con­tract posi­tion would become full time in the next six months. At the begin­ning of April last year, a con­ver­sa­tion that I thought would be about going full time was a con­ver­sa­tion about the stu­dio chang­ing their mind. A month lat­er I was no longer work­ing there. A month after that the final client for my free­lance busi­ness, which I was wind­ing down due to the afore­men­tioned promise, under­stand­ably told me they had made oth­er arrange­ments for their website.

Along­side the work sit­u­a­tion I was deal­ing with some things in my per­son­al life. The cul­mi­na­tion of all these events, along­side an unsuc­cess­ful gru­elling sev­en week inter­view process, result­ed in a men­tal break­down and the return of my depres­sion in August last year.

One pos­i­tive is that some­how, in the mid­dle of that break­down I man­aged to think clear­ly enough for an hour-long inter­view that result­ed in the job I have now been in for over a year. I can only thank God for that.

Then 2020 hap­pened. A glob­al pan­dem­ic has thrown the world into chaos as Covid-19 has swept across the world. Nor­mal life has been tak­en away which for every­one has been a dif­fi­cult adjust­ment. In the midst of this my Mum has been under­go­ing treat­ment for can­cer and my Dad has had and recov­ered from a stroke.

I’m hop­ing that by writ­ing this post it will help to remove the block I have been strug­gling with when it comes to post­ing to this site. Through coun­selling I have come to realise the impor­tance of tak­ing care of your­self prop­er­ly. I have realised that I need hob­bies in my life and I would like to start blog­ging here again as a first ten­ta­tive step to build­ing some healthy habits. I didn’t feel I could get that going again with­out acknowl­edg­ing recent events, so here I am tak­ing a scary step and dar­ing to put into words some of the hard­est expe­ri­ences I have had to go through.

Any­one know of a mouse that can be paired with both a Mac and an iPad? I’m in need of a new mouse, my wrist is begin­ning to suf­fer after years of using a Mag­ic Mouse and I want one that works with both my Mac for work and iPad for per­son­al stuff. I’ve my eye on the MX3 but I can’t tell if it can pair with both devices…

Look­ing to sim­pli­fy all my web­sites. Since I’m no longer free­lanc­ing and don’t need a port­fo­lio online at the moment, I’m think­ing to move away to some­thing lighter than Word­Press. Trou­ble is I don’t know what. I don’t want to main­tain every­thing oth­er than the design and want to reduce costs.

Start­ed play­ing around with Notion a bit today. I’ve heard so many peo­ple talk­ing about it I fig­ured it was time to give it a go. Not quite sure where it fits yet. Ini­tial­ly I’ve set up a Watch List using one of their exist­ing tem­plates and a Week­ly Review tem­plate to try and get in the habit of that.

I’m try­ing to find some exer­cise that I can do eas­i­ly and slow­ly build up in to a habit. It occurred to me last night I could prob­a­bly find some free Pilates videos on YouTube to try. A small searched revealed some begin­ner videos for men, so giv­en one of those a try this morning.

It’s now been a week since I ran out of cof­fee beans. More are on the way, but I miss the morn­ing rit­u­al of brew­ing myself a coffee.