The Bullet Journal

Hi Readers,

I just wanted to write briefly, to advise of a new video I have uploaded. If you are like me and can easily forget upcoming plans – or need a bit of structure in order to feel organised – you will benefit greatly from the idea of ‘The Bullet Journal’.

Basically, it is a quick reference diary where you can find plans at a glance. You can use the diary for songwriting, poetry, drawing – ANYTHING.

Watch the video for some ideas.

~ Stefan

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Cluttered Home, Cluttered Mind …

Among the many days of dark depression and crazy self-destructive thoughts, I have learned a thing or two about this thing called Life through my struggles.

I have realised – sooner than many (and some will never learn) – that happiness does not rely upon external measures, although the outer World can certainly affect the way one feels.

For instance, imagine winning the lottery or being taken hostage by some men wearing masks. Both would obviously make it difficult to remain unchanged. Both are also unlikely to ever occur to you.

During my depression, I accumulated a lot of things. It was never my goal to do this … It just kind of happened. I wasn’t very sociable and didn’t piss away my income on booze at the weekends, like many late-teens/20-somethings do. I probably should have saved the money … I would be thanking myself now.

At one point, in 2011, I did have about £6000 in my bank account. But with how I was feeling, I decided to stop working a dull job and sat around doing not-all-that-much for 5 months until it ran out and I had to take the first job that came about. I was 21 at the time and so didn’t feel any real sense of urgency to sort everything out.

Anyway … you’re probably aware of what minimalism is.

It’s a very typical thing for someone like me to gravitate towards. Did I mention I am Vegan and practice mindfulness? How fucking original am I?

I am a certain breed – beyond the highly sensitive person. I am one of those people who just doesn’t ‘get’ life. I don’t get why people want to work their asses off in jobs they despise, in order to buy a shiny car – for what? A way to impress people and feel desired? That seems pretty shallow to me. And you will still get stuck in traffic.

Maybe I had to become a hoarder to realise material things only get in the way – of self-expression, growth and creativity. Too many material things, at least.

I stopped my ‘must-buy-another-item’ addiction a couple of years ago, or longer. But much of the stuff remains, largely covered in dust and worth close to nothing.

I have had a few clear outs during the last year or so, but there’s still a lot of clutter and it’ll be a bitch to move.

So, what kind of things was I buying?

Books, DVD’s, Blu-ray’s, Video games, Clothes … nothing too weird … a couple of butt plugs (joking! I only needed one). At one point, I spent £5000 on Invisalign, which straightens your teeth. My teeth are much better looking for it, but I could probably have saved £30,000 by now if I had learned to manage my finances better. Corr, that’d be nice.

I wish I could bring myself to get rid of everything. Part of me knows it’d be very helpful for my mind. It’s hard to come home and feel the burden of all those things – staring at me with judgement. ‘I’ve been sat here for 5 years and I’m still in a wrapper. You paid £35 for me and now I am worth pennies – lol’.

The most important thing is to break the cycle. I rarely buy clothes now, because there is no need. Most days I have to wear a shirt and trousers, so why bother owning so many t-shirts and pairs of jeans? And with Netflix, who the fuck needs to buy DVDs? I still love going to the cinema, but why buy something you will only watch once or twice?

In honesty, I am happiest when I’m just outside in nature with my dog or watching Netflix with my girlfriend, or reading a book. Seeing that none of those really cost a great deal, and with my surplus of supply, I have everything I need to enjoy myself …

That’s when going to work gets in the way.

Spending most of your waking hours in an office that you hate is no way to live. So … now, having learned how happiness works … I am careful with what my money goes towards. I have been saving money for the last year and could afford to be off work for half a year if I quit tomorrow. I don’t want a repeat of 2011, though. My long term approach is to reduce the distractions in my life and come home to an almost empty house. Without having to hide books under my bed, or stuff my cupboards with clothes.

If you can relate, maybe you should think about doing the same.

I would much rather spend my money on things that are freeing. Clutter will keep you tied down in one place, never feeling like you have time to get to everything. I want to explore, and reduce hours spent doing boring things like sitting at a desk answering phone calls and staring at a screen.

The thought of being able to live simply really appeals to me. Everyone is so stressed out because there is always something else to do. It’d be nice to step back to a time when people rode bike’s instead of just driving everything. Or played board-games instead of phone-apps. Or talked to each-other at a restaurant, instead of talking to people on Facebook.

A great quote I once came across was, ‘The Man who chases two rabbits catches none’ (Ancient Chinese Proverb). First of all, leave the rabbits alone. Secondly, the quote goes to show if you are striving to do so many things – you will only ever remain mediocre in each. You could be an amazing actor, singer, artist – whatever you want – if only you put in the time and committed to ONE THING. Maybe you need some degree of natural talent, but, more than anything, you need the staying power of practice.

Here’s a great video I watched yesterday about a guy who quit an $80K per year job to work part-time at a grocery store:

Thanks for reading and sorry I’ve not posted in a few weeks.

~ Alex.

 

 

 

Are you having fun yet?

Stefan 5

Hello and welcome to another post.

My last post on Veganism did surprisingly well, receiving many more views and shares than usual. That was nice.

I have been doing some thinking.

About what I should do with the rest of my life. I have too often given into fear and plodded along, feeling safe but dreadfully uninspired and listless – ‘going through the motions’, as they say.

Ever since I left High School at 16, I have felt lost and worked in jobs I despise. All for that small paycheck each month. After High School, I went to College and studied Business and Finance. I only picked the subject because it sounded safe and usable in the real World. Not to mention, I had no idea what else to do. I thought about doing Drama and Film Studies … that kind of thing. But the realist in me said it’d be a waste of time and would get me nowhere.

I did tremendously well in the Business & Finance course (a BTEC National Diploma), getting top grades, but I felt no sense of achievement because it was all meaningless and I was too busy worrying about my health and feeling depressed (having reacted badly to the medication, Roaccutane).

It is surprising how fast the years can go by. Let’s face it – there are things along the way that are changing and keeping you busy, so you don’t always notice what is happening and where you are headed. Suddenly it’s the start of another year, or your birthday, and you realise you are wasting time …

I have been working within Insurance for the past 3 years (working for 3 different employers). I can do it, easy enough. But the repetition, the stress, the workload … where is the pay off? What’s the sodding point?

I realised that part of the problem is feeling stagnant. I am no longer learning and I am terribly bored of it all. A job can suck all of your energy if it isn’t right for you and so I realise it is time to get my act together, before I end up trapped forever.

So, whilst I don’t have a precise plan yet – and I really should have figured all of this out sooner – I am going to learn new things. I am going to follow my heart, because I have rarely done so and it has left me a shadow, barely living.

I think my options are as follows:

  • Study part-time, selecting an Open University course. This would take six years.
  • Or – going to a University and getting a Bachelor’s degree. This would take three years.

I think I prefer the sound of Option B.

So, the next question is what would I study? It’s got to be something I actually WANT to learn and use. I am going to dig deeper, but my interests (that I think I could get a job out of at the end of it) are:

  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Philosophy
  • Social Work
  • English (Writing)
  • Journalism
  • Counselling
  • Psychotherapy
  • Animal Science

I think Psychology or Philosophy are the two that stick out the most for me. I don’t really know what job I could get from Philosophy, but I am very interested in ideologies surrounding our existence and around ethics. As I have explained before, and as you may gather with me being a HSP, ethics are very important to me.

But that’s good isn’t it? …

I’m thinking now. Instead of feeling like I can’t make a decision or feeling like my only option is to do what I have always done, I am actually looking into my options. I used to hope that there was an easier path. One where I didn’t have to study. But any time I look at jobs being posted, they are all … ahem, crap.

Without a degree, I can easily get a job in retail, insurance or admin.

But life is too short to sell your soul for a paycheck. I crave meaning and I want to care about the work I do.

I want to make a difference.

If I have to study for a few years in order to secure a better future, then so be it. And I am still terrified. I can still over-think it and worry that a degree isn’t enough to find a job afterwards. Or that I’ll struggle. Or people won’t like me on the course.

But sometimes you have to tell that cynical voice to keep it down and focus on what you want. And you need to have a bit of faith in yourself.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

~ Alex.

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