Somebody’s Watching Me

Occasionally, someone will retweet something into my Twitter feed I can’t see. If that person is someone really liked, and there’s a desire to read it, it’ll be time to fire up the Internet of Words feed for a quick shufty. Some people arbitrarily share the block filters of others (which is easily done via the default interface if you know how) and it has become a common tool, for example, to allow the more extremist ends of the discussion spectrum to identify and highlight those people who might be worth provoking for a reaction.

Having pissed off a few people in my time, when a block happens it is no real surprise. I know the people responsible for that ire, and that’s totally fine.

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You won’t end up being friends with everybody in life. This is something I’m still trying to get my daughter to grasp: the popularity contest vibe that places like Instagram create is all well and good, right up to the point that something divisive comes up in conversation. When historical and often unpalatable social beliefs surface in tandem, you know what’s coming. People use blocks in many different ways, but by far the most popular reason now appears to involve excluding large groups of people from conversations that the individual wishes to maintain control over, whilst still presenting a public front.

Effectively, life becomes a public conversation where the responses are edited.

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If I started arbitrarily deleting responses to my blog posts, I’d become a pariah overnight. I know this because I walked that path and it happened: lessons were summarily learnt. Assuming the people concerned still exist as active posters, there is never a desire to go out of my way to check whether that’s the case: obsessing over shit like this makes you as bad, if not worse than the people already doing just that. If you encounter someone who’s got a block on and it makes no sense, the chances are they just took someone else’s list for a quiet life. Except, by doing so, they create an impression of the truth that only works for so long, or in the particular sphere they inhabit.

Ironically, this becomes a good way to work out who are the decent people on Social media.

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I go through cyclical phases of blocks and mutes: the latter tends to happen when it is obvious that a person’s life is more important than being interactive in yours. If, after someone is muted and their voice isn’t missed, that’s when I’ll go ahead and unfollow. However, there are a handful of people that if this were done to they’d 100% make drama out of my choice, which used to cause something of a quandary… because these people create drama out of everything, and I’d like my choices not to be a part of that.

One day, perhaps the lesson will be learnt, but until then it will be someone else’s task to present.

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If you live in communities, there has to be give and take. All of us, like it or not, are not without faults and shortcomings. Managing yours whilst at the same time maintaining the illusion of being inclusive is not the way to live. The key must be to change, adapt and accept that, like it or not you have to take the good with the bad.

In time, I hope to find the means to do this more effectively.

The Pleasure Principle

There’s a blog post I could write this morning about how all of us have short memories and fixate on the things that often don’t need fixing at all. Instead of that, there’s a bit of writing, then it is high time some weights were lifted, some cardio undertaken and my own shortcomings taken care of. If we all took as much time correcting the faults in our own lives as was consumed by the critical assassination of others, the World would undoubtedly be a better place.

In fact, that’s what matters more than anything else. Fix myself, as well as is possible (and if that’s not attempt to find someone who can help) and when that’s done to a standard that is acceptable, then there’s the opportunity to consider something else.

Life is too short to obsess about things that are out of your hands.

Something Changed

I’m not the same person I was yesterday. 

There’s a very good reason why some individuals avoid the past. It shows up all the failings and flaws. Once you are able to view things without the filters, or restrictions placed upon existence by others, life becomes a vastly different proposition. Placing you back into those situations, when they were previously restrictive and enclosed, does not hold the same power. Freedom is understanding. That’s not a shitty motivational speech either, but 100% solid, unavoidable truth.

You are the arbiter of individual destiny.

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Watch out, kids. Things are likely to get funky for a while.

Singularity

Yesterday was my first session with the new PT, and BOY was it a revelation. I’ve never used a Bosu for anything other than the odd exercise and yesterday, the whole thing evolved past being ‘just another piece of equipment’ and became… well, something quite transformative.

Hang on, you don’t know what a Bosu is?

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If I had said balance board you’ll have probably got the idea: two sides, either is capable of being used as a way of engaging more muscles than just arms or legs. In fact, use one of these to balance on (one leg only, please) and then add some light weights to the mix and BAM there is no need for intense workouts. My new trainer knows I do cardio on my own, without a need to be prompted. Weights are now not a frightening concept either, so what is needed in this new relationship is cerebral plus the effort.

The Bosu requires a level of concentration that I’d previously have struggled with, were it not for meditation via Mindfulness. However, now it is not only possible but incredibly satisfying to stand on the board for protracted periods of time and simply exist. I’ve always watched with awe the guys who use a full balance ball to weightlift on (there’s a rugby player at the Gym who makes it look effortless) but now there’s fledgeling understanding of how that can and would work for me.

Three guesses what I’m doing when I get to the Gym later.

I’m already looking forward to training, and it’s been a while since that happened :D

Becoming More Like Alfie

Into the Inbox this morning dropped an email from those people who service my car, asking for a response regarding their most recent efforts. When the only answer you’re given to the question ‘would you recommend us to anyone else’ is yes/no, someone like me stops, thinks, and then deletes the e-mail. Forced to give an honest answer or there’s no point in using the feedback (no I wouldn’t) a box is then provided asking why and suddenly comes the realisation that this is not worth the effort.

It is not the fault of this high end, luxury car supplier that I feel intimidated even going there, that the second-hand, dirty car owned isn’t a lifestyle accessory but simply a container on wheels. They are not to blame for feelings of inferiority, that treating me like a valued and special customer is completely pointless. The only reason why this brand was chosen was reliability and the fact that once the car was finally sold, it would hold some residual value.

The fact remains, it will be great when there’s no more need to go there.

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What broke the camel’s back and why my new car will not be from this group of people, was their horribly aggressive need to try and sell me a new vehicle that wasn’t required and could not be afforded. It got so bad I had to write physical mail asking for a cessation of the phone calls and promotional literature, as unsubscribing from their online mailing list had no effect at all. The upcoming change in data laws cannot have come soon enough. Of course, most of the discomfort is not their issue, and that’s why feedback is a complete waste of time for everybody.

However, this morning has given considerable pause for thought.

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Feedback is only as good as the people who write it. More importantly, if your moral indignation at perceived wrong-doing isn’t based on genuine failings or faults, it can become potentially quite dangerous. In my case, the tech servicing my car left a piece of socket set in the engine cavity, which was only noticed when the car was at home, but the issue was dealt with professionally. I don’t want to point this out on a feedback form, because the tech was clearly stressed and upset at her failure, and doesn’t need it pointed out officially.

In this case deleting the request is, after considered reflection, the right course of action.

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Sometimes, saying nothing is the smarter move.

Round and Round

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Last week wasn’t meant to be a line in the sand, but ended up that way regardless. It means that starting today, there needs to be an awful lot of steps and exercise to maintain momentum.

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That top number’s not accurate either, by the end of yesterday I’d managed 22k steps. Today I’m planning to walk to the Gym after lunch, do an hour of weights then come back, with an hour of cycling in the evening. I start with my new PT on Thursday so it would be useful to look as if there’s an effort being made before then. Most importantly of all, my arm’s now at a stage where exercise is simply an inconvenience and not either painful or an effort.

It is time to get working.

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That first week was when the old drugs were switched for new and body was just exhausted. After that, there has been a slow and steady increase in both effort and ability. I don’t think 12k steps a day is at all unrealistic. I’m not sure 23k a day is doable if there has to be work involved, but that’s a decent point to aim for. There’s half a plan to leave my car in the Gym car park after dropping off my daughter each day next week, exercising and then walking home, before coming back to pick it up for the return School Run.

I doubt anyone would notice that if I did.

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Right, I need to be exercising and now writing now.

Memories of Green

The cultivation of my Happy Place continues apace, and this weekend there’ll be some more visits to Garden Centres to see what else can be added to the space. The plan on Saturday is to clear out what passes for our tool store and chuck out/recycle all the rubbish within, and then see what other stuff is missing. Then, I hope to get a new recliner and spend some time outside, reading. That will be happening using real books, and none of this Kindle rubbish. There is no objection to electronic reading, oh no, but spending far too much time staring at screens already demands the use of physical media.

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It really helps that this weekend will be the best weather for a while, though to be honest working outside continues to be a joy I’d not expected to appreciate as much as is now the case. It is about getting away from the normal run of words and responsibilities, to find a space where all that matters is relaxation and calm. These are the things that need work in life, and there is every intention to capitalise on the free time whenever it occurs.

Bring on the Bank Holiday Weekend.