Saturday, January 21, 2017

Say "Thank You"

Say "thank you" to people.

Say it when someone offers you a seat on the bus because they've noticed how tired you look.

Say it to the security guard who holds open the door for you when you enter a store.

Say it to the cab driver when you reach your destination.

Say it when your food arrives in the restaurant, even if your waiter dumps it unceremoniously on the table.

Say it when someone helps carry your heavy bags up a flight of stairs.

Say it when the postman hands you your letters. 

Say it when your greengrocer helps you pick out the ripest tomatoes from the pile.

Say it often and say it loud enough for the other person to hear. Don't mumble and expect them to magically understand what you meant. Acknowledge the deed and express your appreciation.

Say it even if you know the other person will snort and look at you derisively. Say it unabashedly.

Say it when someone goes something kind for you, whether it be a choice or an obligation on their part.

Say thanks often. Say it with a smile on your face, even if you don't feel like smiling. Make it such a deeply-ingrained habit that after a while not saying thanks makes you feel uncomfortable inside.

Showing your gratitude never hurts.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sunday-afternoon thoughts

It's late afternoon here. The windows of my room face the south and the west, so as time steadily progresses away from sunrise my room gets significantly warmer and becomes illuminated by the winter sun, taking on a translucent golden hue. The housecat has been lazing on one of the south-facing windows since morning, occasionally getting up to stretch a little and groom his whiskers. I gave him a cushion to recline on, but he prefers the warmth of the granite window-sill. Over the course of a few hours his aura of dreaminess has transferred on to me, I now feel like abandoning my desk for the rest of the day and getting lost in a good book while soaking in the sunlight. It would be preferable for the book to be fiction, for winters make me long for stories; there is something magical about the nip in the wintry air that makes it conducive to absorbing prose.

Oh sweet sweet languor
Permeating my cold skin
You warm up my bones


To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

If you haven't already, I'd recommend reading the book online for free. It's one of my most favourite reads, and I go through it at least once every couple of months. It's reasonably thin too, and  usually available in most secondhand literary bookstores at reasonable prices, should you think of purchasing a copy at a modest rate.

“For now she need not think of anybody. She could be herself, by herself. And that was what now she often felt the need of - to think; well not even to think. To be silent; to be alone. All the being and the doing, expansive, glittering, vocal, evaporated; and one shrunk, with a sense of solemnity, to being oneself, a wedge-shaped core of darkness, something invisible to others... and this self having shed its attachments was free for the strangest adventures.” 
Das Wolkenphanomen von Maloja by Arnold Fanck


There was a scene in the Juliette Binoche movie Clouds of Sils Maria where the characters watch this silent film on the television screen. It's shown for a very short period of time, but I thought it was beautiful and googled the name later, after the movie ended, to see if I could find it anywhere. To my delight, I found it uploaded on Youtube by numerous people. I know that black and white films, especially ones from the 1920s, aren't really enjoyed by most of modern society, but I would urge you to give this a try, even if only for a minute. It's beautiful, trust me.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

2017 planners

Throughout 2016 I used three planners to organize my tasks. There was a teeny pocket-sized monthly planner for a bird's-eye view of my month, a hardbound A5 daily planner for a list of daily tasks (with specialized pages at the back for genre-specific tasklists) and a hardbound A6 notebook to allot each day's task a specific time period. It was a good system and it worked excellently for the remaining few months of college classes and projects, final examinations, doctor's appointments, petcare, solo trip, shopping lists, etc.

In the final week of last year I sat down to see if I could simplify things further. I'd enrolled in a coaching institute to help me prepare for employment exams, and other than their classes and examinations I had no other professional commitments for a major part of the year. There was no need for three bloody notebooks! I knew I had to do something fast, else I would eventually end up as one of those sheltered, ennui-stricken women who logged the number of glasses of water a day they'd consumed, purely for the sake of filling up the pretty pages of their organizers with something.

Oh hell no. Anything but a water-intake log. That would kill whatever shreds of self-esteem I had left in my body.

So I grabbed a sheet of paper and made a list of my top commitments of this year:
  • coaching classes + exams
  • actual employment exams, after approximately six months of preparation
  • part-time tutoring to fund my reading and pen addictions
  • pushing towards more self-discipline in terms of sleep cycles and food habits

Blah blah, I decided to go with a combination of GTD and the bullet journal, but of course tweaked to my specific needs because I am a pretentious hipster who needs to customize every damn thing in her life so that it isn't common.

Look at the pretentiousness just ooze out of my pores. It smells like vanilla and sandalwood had a baby; nothing short of divine.

Okay, okay, I'll stop. You people just don't appreciate class.

I have half an A6 notebook left over from last year, which I'm going to use as a mind-dump. That's the GTD bit. It'll help me get things off my mind (which is far too flighty for my own good) and on a tangible medium. 

The second notebook, of course an A5, will have a bujo-esque layout, complete with monthly spreads, future-logging pages and daily logs. A deviation from the original style is that I'll be using the same "O" to mark events/tasks/bullets and a dot to mark notes. I've decided to tone down all things social and frivolous for the time being and concentrate on my main four goals.

And that's basically it. I've used it for a week and it looks like a foolproof method. It's a combination of work-focused obsessiveness and a minimalist attitude towards an organizing system and I LOVE IT.

Maybe I'll see if I can eventually cram my mind-dump in my bujo...