I used to post a lot about technology, sharing links to the latest releases etc. That’s kind of slipped by the way, although I’m still interested in these things there are a lot of other places to find them. That said, this morning I came across a new email app that’s in the works called Big Mail that I think is a really interesting approach to handling email. I’ve looked into Hey and Onmail recently and whilst I’m intrigued by some of the features they all require using a web app and I prefer to have an app for my email. Even better is that Big Mail handles everything on device and means I don’t have to transfer my email to a different provider. I look forward top giving it a try.
Today has been a grey and foggy day, it’s felt like a real reflection of the mood of the last month. As I’ve driven around Cheltenham today doing some bits and bobs, I’ve seen more and more people starting to put up Christmas trees and lights. It’s been nice to see them emerging out of the gloom.
Today marks the start of Advent, with the first candle being lit in churches across the country we are reminded of the hope that comes from Jesus. The arrival of the King.
At the start of this year I started to go to a new church, given the pandemic if might not have been the best time, but the services I’ve been attending online have been ones of great comfort. They have shown great care, sensitivity, and compassion throughout the year, and I’m incredibly thankful that God guided me to this church. I’m looking forward to being able to go to a service again, I hope it is sooner rather than later. I’m sure it will be.
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.
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.
I keep finding myself looking at the Apple Watch a lot lately, something about the Series 4 is making it a much more appealing device than previous versions.
Thinking about participating in Movember again this year, did it a couple of years ago and with today being Mental Health Awareness day it’s brought it back on my radar.
Ah man, all these macOS app updates are making me want to update to Mojave as soon as it’s available but I don’t want to break anything. #darkmode
There’s something about having the test match on in the background while I work. It’s as if it’s not a proper British summer without a bit of cricket going on while I work.
I love Unsplash. Whenever I need an image that I don’t have in my own library this is my first port of call. It has been for quite a while, but recently I’ve noticed that it’s library has grown so much I can regularly find images for specific locations in the UK.