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.

Even if I turn out to be wrong, I shall bet my life on the assump­tion that this world is not idi­ot­ic, nei­ther run by an absen­tee land­lord, but that today, this very day, some stroke is being added to the cos­mic can­vas that in due course I shall under­stand with joy as a stroke made by the archi­tect who calls him­self Alpha and Omega. 

10 Res­o­lu­tions for Men­tal Health by John Piper

30 Things I’ve learned in 30 years

When the year turned 2014 I began to reflect on my life, who I am, where I am and what I’m doing. Why should a sim­ple year change cause such a mood to dawn on me? At the end of Sep­tem­ber I turned 30, it also hap­pened to mark the 10 year anniver­sary since I left home and moved to uni­ver­si­ty here in Chel­tenham. These are two sig­nif­i­cant events in my life that mark the begin­ning and end of the last decade, one which has been full of hap­py times and inevitably it’s fair share of low times. Rather than this become a telling of the sto­ry that has been my twen­ties, I thought it more pro­duc­tive to look at, if I can, thir­ty things I’ve learned in the last thir­ty years.

  1. Faith is important.
    Where you put it and in whom you put it has the biggest influ­ence on your life and how you live it. Don’t waste it by putting it into things or peo­ple, they will only let you down. Instead, place it in Jesus, He is the only firm foun­da­tion that will nev­er go away or let you down. My Faith has helped me through both the highs and lows of the last 10 years in a way which is incred­i­bly hard to describe, but rest assured I will nev­er place it in any­thing oth­er than Christ.
  2. Fam­i­ly matters.
    In just over the last 10 years (I know I’m break­ing the rules slight­ly) I’ve lost 4 grand­par­ents, they are all missed great­ly and espe­cial­ly so when big events occur. If you have grand­par­ents spend time with them. Find out about their life before you exist­ed, who they were, what their dreams were when they were your age. Lis­ten to them and invest in them as much as you do your par­ents and broth­ers and sis­ters. One of the things I trea­sure most is a let­ter my Grand­dad wrote when I was 11 telling me his expe­ri­ences of the 2nd World War. When I read it I learn as much about my Grand­dad in that let­ter as I did when he was alive to speak to.

  3. Friends.
    They will come and go, you will keep in touch with some, you will drift away from oth­ers, there’s often noth­ing you can do about this (although often there is). Make the most of them while you can, go out of your way to help them, sup­port them in all they do and in any way you can. You may nev­er know how much it means to them.

  4. It’s ok to be an introvert.
    I used to, in fact I some­times still do, strug­gle with the fact that I am a nat­u­ral­ly qui­et per­son. At school, even at uni, I used to see peo­ple who can eas­i­ly strike up a con­ver­sa­tion with some­one they’ve nev­er met before and feel like there was some­thing wrong with me because I find it so hard to do. It’s tak­en many years, a lot of read­ing and think­ing, but the real­i­sa­tion that I get my ener­gy from deep­er friend­ships and not from a room full of strangers has been incred­i­bly free­ing. The trick is to not let this become a crutch when in a room full of strangers, I still need to work on step­ping out my com­fort zone, but at least I know what that zone is.

  5. Don’t be afraid to tell your friends what they don’t want to hear and don’t be offend­ed if they don’t take it on board
    My best mate has nev­er shied away from giv­ing the kind of advice I don’t want to hear. I’ve not always act­ed on it, but on reflec­tion months lat­er I often find it was very good advice. I hope I’ve returned the favour.

  6. Be vul­ner­a­ble
    I don’t mean go spilling your heart out for all and sundry, but get­ting to know peo­ple prop­er­ly means you have to be vul­ner­a­ble. It some­times means shar­ing ele­ments of your life you may not be very proud of, but it means your friends will be able to sup­port you in ways you real­ly need, and it means you’ll find out who your friends real­ly are.

  7. Smile
    Don’t be so wrapped up in your own world that if you ran­dom­ly make eye con­tact with some­one you pan­ic and look away. Instead, smile. Not a forced one, a gen­uine one. It’ll make peo­ple feel like they mat­ter and that they’re not a repul­sive monster.

  8. Work isn’t the be all and end all that peo­ple make it out to be
    If you’re hap­py in it great, keep going. If you’re not, put your all into it no mat­ter how down you feel about it. You will prob­a­bly meet more peo­ple through work than through any­thing else in your life and peo­ple can tell if you don’t like your work, but peo­ple can tell more if you don’t like it and don’t care about it.

  9. Time Alone
    I’m not being anti-social when I dis­ap­pear off to my room/office. Time alone is incred­i­bly valu­able, too much of it can be a bad thing, but not enough of it can be very dan­ger­ous. It’s ok to want to just spend time alone, doing my own thing. In fact I crave it some­times, and when I don’t get it I can be touchy, cranky, less enthu­si­as­tic about things and just gen­er­al­ly drained.

  10. Not Know­ing is OK
    It’s ok to not know where you’re going. The world is full of peo­ple who give the impres­sion they know exact­ly what they’re doing and where they’re going. Real­i­ty is they’re prob­a­bly just as lost as you are and just bum­bling along in a slight­ly more con­cealed way than you feel you are.

  11. Hav­ing a Plan is OK
    Expect­ing that plan to work out exact­ly how you want it to and the world to be a nice fairy tale end­ing isn’t. That plan you had for your life at the age of 20 is very unlike­ly to work out, that’s ok. Recog­nis­ing you are not as in con­trol as you think you are is a good thing. Sur­ren­der­ing to God and his plan is even bet­ter. Often it will take a big event to make you realise this, but it will bring you out the oth­er side in a bet­ter position.

  12. Don’t be too introspective
    I realise this one is some­what iron­ic com­ing from a guy who is look­ing back at his life and inward at him­self as he reach­es what feels like a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone. It is impor­tant to reflect on life, the uni­verse and every­thing, but doing it too often is a bad thing. It sets you up for fail­ure as you inevitably com­pare your­self to your friends, the plan you had when you were 20… we are bro­ken peo­ple and we nat­u­ral­ly look at the neg­a­tive in these cir­cum­stances. For every intro­spec­tive moment, take a minute to look at the now, you’re healthy, God has blessed you with anoth­er day on his beau­ti­ful cre­ation, you have peo­ple you care about and who care about you. Dwell on that for a moment, then go and enjoy the day.

  13. Trust
    Trust peo­ple. This is, on some lev­el, linked with point 6. You can not be vul­ner­a­ble with peo­ple you don’t trust, but equal­ly you can not get to the point of vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty with­out trust­ing some­one first. So trust peo­ple. Don’t be naive, there are peo­ple out there who will abuse your trust to get some­thing they want. In my expe­ri­ence, you’ll work out who they are before it’s too late and the ones you don’t, you’ll learn a lot from. In those cas­es it will be painful for a while after, but in the long run prob­a­bly worth it.

  14. Don’t let fear beat you
    That girl you’ve got your eye on, go speak to her. Don’t let the fear of what might hap­pen, or the fear of fail­ing stop you from doing things. Stop think­ing of the neg­a­tive what if’s and focus on the pos­i­tives. Go, do and learn. This isn’t easy. In fact of all the things in this list it’s prob­a­bly the thing I strug­gle with most and it’s also prob­a­bly the thing I get most frus­trat­ed about because I have no clue how to beat it.

  15. Be dis­ci­plined
    You’ll nev­er get what you want done in life with­out being dis­ci­plined in some way. With­out a bit of dis­ci­pline you’ll spend most of your time doing what’s easy.

  16. Read
    When I was grow­ing up I used to read a lot. When I got to my twen­ties what I was read­ing changed from books to web­sites. The last cou­ple of years I’ve been active­ly try­ing to reverse that change. I still read blogs, but I’m picky about which ones and I make a lot more effort to read books (and my bible). Books have more sub­stance. They’ve tak­en hun­dreds of hours to write, been refined over and are writ­ten by peo­ple who are experts about the top­ic they’re on.

  17. Think
    Think about things. Think about top­ics of impor­tance, take time to dwell on them and to under­stand them.

  18. Don’t apol­o­gise for who you are
    You’re who you are because God made you that way, don’t be ashamed of that. I’m thir­ty and have grey hair. I’ve nev­er once, despite the rec­om­men­da­tions of some of the youth I’ve worked with on beach mis­sion in Wales, been tempt­ed to dye it. God made me and He said I was “very good”. Why would I try and change that?

  19. Drink lots of water
    The last cou­ple of months I’ve con­scious­ly been try­ing to drink more water. It’s had an inter­est­ing effect, I’ve felt more alert and able to con­cen­trate much bet­ter. My skin has been clear­er and I’ve lost weight as well.

  20. Stop check­ing Face­book at every avail­able opportunity
    Just don’t. Your life will be bet­ter off with­out the con­stant stream of peo­ple fil­ter­ing their lives to make them­selves feel better.

  21. Keep a journal
    I wish some­one had encour­aged me at the age of 20 to keep a near dai­ly jour­nal. There have been sev­er­al spells over the last few years where I’ve kept a jour­nal. Most of those times have been to help me through dif­fi­cult times. One day I might read them, but I’d much rather read them and be remind­ed of hap­py times and fun times that will help me when I’m going through the dif­fi­cult times.

  22. Speak to your friends
    That might seem like some­thing that goes with­out say­ing, but bare with me. We live in a world that relies on tech­nol­o­gy so much that it’s tempt­ing to fall into the trap that it’s the best method of com­mu­ni­ca­tion. My best mate lives 4 hours dri­ve away, in fact for the 9 years that I’ve known him we’ve only lived in the same place for 2 years. Had we just relied on tech­nol­o­gy (Face­book, Twit­ter, Insta­gram and the odd text) to keep in touch we like­ly wouldn’t still be the friends we are. Friend­ships can only be main­tained over a dis­tance by putting in effort to speak reg­u­lar­ly. Pick up the phone and give your friends a call. Speak to them.

  23. Laugh
    Find peo­ple who make you laugh. Find peo­ple who will laugh with (at) you when you do some­thing stu­pid. Find peo­ple who will do things stu­pid that you can laugh with (at).

  24. Exer­cise
    Don’t just sit on your back­side all day, get the endor­phins going. Get on your bike, go for a run, walk real­ly quick, what­ev­er, just exercise.

  25. Pray
    You spend time with friends, so spend time with God.

  26. Have per­spec­tive
    Don’t just look down at your feet. If you’re so focussed on the now, you’ll for­get what’s been and miss what’s to come.

Look up. Look back. Look forward.

This was the phrase I end­ed the stu­dent bible study with last week. Look up at God because you belong to Him for He bought you at great cost. Look back at Christ and remem­ber what He did for you on the cross. Look for­ward to the day when Christ will return in glory.

  1. Sleep
    Get enough sleep. If I don’t get enough sleep I get tired (well duh). I can’t con­cen­trate on my work, I lose focus when talk­ing to friends, it affects me in many oth­er ways and I see it in oth­ers as well.

  2. Organ­ise yourself
    Make lists or use a todo app, but do what­ev­er it takes for you to be organ­ised. You’ll nev­er do all the things you want to do if you don’t know what you’ve got to do.

  3. Shoul­ders back, head up
    It’s amaz­ing how many peo­ple I see walk­ing down the street look­ing at the ground or star­ing at their phones. Get your shoul­ders back and your head up, be con­fi­dant and move with pur­pose, the very least it will do is make you feel con­fi­dant. It also means those peo­ple with clip­boards are less like­ly to both­er you.

  4. Lis­ten
    Be will­ing to lis­ten to oth­er people’s thoughts and opin­ions, espe­cial­ly if they are oppo­site to yours. Show respect to what they are say­ing and they will show respect to you when you share your opin­ion. Nev­er shut peo­ple down with a blan­ket state­ment that dis­miss­es their opin­ion as wrong and clos­es down any dis­cus­sion, it is nei­ther pro­duc­tive nor constructive.