Monday, 24 November 2014

Improving one's self

So since I have taken a year out of university, I am working on improving myself in whatever way I can so that when I go back for my third and final year I'll be in the best shape I can be physically and mentally.

As you all know I suffer from anxiety and depression, and everyone knows that the best cure for these is a combination of healthy eating and exercise. And I'm going all out: I've swapped most coffees for peppermint and nettle tea, I'm eating more fruit and veg, and I'm lucky enough to have a fitness freak for a housemate so I've started going running with him.

In fact I went running with him today along with my other housemate, and WOOOOO, those endorphins were rushing through my bloodstream like crazy antelope. An hour after finishing our run, I was asked if I'd taken drugs, because I was hiiiiiigh.

On endorphins. Just to clarify.

I'm also working on improving my brain, because it's never too late to do that. So I've signed up for Lumosity where you can give different areas of your brain a workout online, and bought a Brain Boosting book by Parragon for tips on how I can study and use my brain more efficiently. I have a long way to go - at least 144 pages - but I'm going to get there.

I'm trying to write more as well, but unfortunately my laptop has decided that now is a good time to die, and so the few blog posts I had lined up I no longer have access to, and if I need a computer I have to go to the university library. I guess that bit works out better though - it gets me out of the house and I'm more likely to study if I have to go to the library all the time.

I had a job interview last week with a motorsport company for the role of a trainee thread rolling engineer (believe it or not, cutting threads is a highly skilled job), and the company were really impressed by me and invited me to have a trial day which I took to like a duck to water. However, since I'd be going back to university next year and they're looking for someone permanent, they're a bit unsure about hiring me. I really want this job; it's perfect for me and I've told them that I'd be able to do evenings and weekends when I go back to uni and I'd be happy to go back once I've graduated, so it's just a matter of waiting to see how my opponent for the role does in his trial, and hopefully getting a phone call saying I have the job. I'm trying to stay positive.

I believe it's important to always try to improve oneself, not in appearance but in self-worth and ability. Whether that's by reading a book every day or learning a new language or facing a fear, every little bit helps to result in a better you, and that's a goal we should all strive to meet.

Are you trying to improve yourself? If so, how?


Keep smiling!


Claire

The Evolution of the Coffee

I miss the good ol’ days when a coffee was a coffee, and the only question faced with ordering one was, “Black or white?”

During the summer my mum and I went to our favourite little café in Blackpool and I ordered a coffee. Or at least I tried to.

“What kind of coffee?” I was asked.

“What?” I asked dumbly.

“What kind of coffee would you like?” the lady repeated. “Would you like an Americano, a Latte, a Cappuccino, an Espresso…?”

Quite frankly, I felt like a deer in headlights. Where the hell did all this come from? I knew that the ‘posh’ coffee shops were like this – and thus steered clear of them – but this was just a café; place to eat and a place to not have to deal with what seemed like a seriously complex way to get a caffeine fix.

This process was repeated several times at several different cafés, and I approached it either one of two ways. Option 1: freak out like I did that first occasion. Option 2: get someone else to order for me…only for them to come back and ask me what kind of goddamn coffee I wanted.

“I just want a normal coffee!” I would end up exclaiming. “It has ground coffee beans, and it has hot water and milk in it. And it’s strong and it wakes me up!”

“Oh, so you want an Americano,” was the response. Since when did my simple coffee identify as an American?

Anyway, the situation got me thinking about life as a whole, and the following question came to mind:

Is there such thing as too much choice?

I’m not talking about coffee or anything trivial like that now (although those kinds of decisions are still stressful as hell!). I’m talking about life paths. When I was in high school there were so many opportunities that I wanted to grab, so many paths I wanted to go down, and the number has just continued to increase as I have progressed in life. I want to be an engineer…yet I also want to be a writer…and help with different charities…and own a farm…the list goes on. And these paths then branch out into more paths, and more, and MORE! It’s never ending!

Think back to when you were at high school and you had to consider what you wanted to do for the rest of your life. Once you’ve figured that out, you have to then decide upon the several ways you can get to that point in life. Now if you want to be a vet or a doctor or something, this is an easy choice: you have to go to university. But then you have to choose what university, whether you want this course or that, whether you’re going to do a year in industry or a year abroad, or a Masters or a PhD.

And then there are other options for other careers like apprenticeships and traineeships and the list of opportunities just keep growing and growing and growing. It’s enough of a pain in the arse deciding what you want for tea, let alone making all these choices that are actually going to affect the rest of your life. And studieseven show that too much choice can lead to riskier – and often bad – decisions.

I get really stressed out about choosing stuff, as are a lot of my friends. This leads to really frustrating conversations that all go the same…and all last for what seems an eternity:
“You choose.”

“I don’t mind. You choose.”

“I don’t mind either. Just choose one.”

“No, you choose.”

“No, you choose!”

Then again, maybe there isn’t enough choice either.

Taking my earlier example of what a person may want to do for a career, maybe there needs to be more choice because not everyone is the same, and thus not everyone suits the same path. University isn’t right for me since I am a more kinaesthetic learner, so I learn better by applying knowledge to a situation where I’m actually doing something, not by sitting in a lecture theatre trying to soak up the notes and what the lecturer is saying. An apprenticeship would’ve been better for me, but if you don’t get an apprenticeship, all that’s left is university, right? Which is then a series of visuals and audios.

And then there are those who just aren’t right for the typical education system, yet what else is there? Home schooling is a choice, but this isn’t the right choice for families with low income or two working parents, so what then?

It’s an interesting paradox to consider. What do you guys think? Is there too much choice in the world? Is there too little? Share your thoughts.

In the meantime I think I might go order a green tea instead. There’s only one kind of green tea that this café can offer me, surely!

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Lest we forget

My friend Ken put together a couple of beautiful pictures in time for Remembrance Sunday today. Let us remember those who fought for their countries and the many people and animals who died at the hands of war.

Without them, the sun would've set, never again to rise for another tomorrow.



Photo credits: @Aviationprints.
Check out his beautiful photography and digital art on photo4me.com/ken
 

Friday, 7 November 2014

Look what the cat threw up!

Ladies and gentlemen! I have returned!

After all this time I've finally come round to writing again. Unfortunately I've been suppressed in a cage of depression, and only now have I had the strength to stand up and start moving again (albeit very wobbly steps!). My apologies to you all.

And so my blog will once again become active. But what's in store for you?

I have a few ideas at the moment for blog posts, including my Halloween costume, my opinions on feminism, and which anime I choose between Code Geass and Death Note. Of course, there will also be some stories. However I will also be wanting some requests from you guys. Give me writing prompts or subjects you want my opinions on, and hopefully I will be back on my fingertips in no time.

I've also been doing a bit of art as of late, which I have thoroughly missed doing. Again, if you have anything you want me to try and draw, feel free to let me know and I'll see what I can do. I'm currently working on drawing a platypus, which is driving me insane!

Plants and insects in the style of Salvador Dali

Eye see you!

"Anime bullshit" as one housemate describes it

I'm hoping that this time I will be able to keep this blog up to date and just stay motivated and productive. So watch this space, and bear with me.

In the meantime, keep smiling!


Claire

Hollywood Trips Into Diversity

Progress is finally being made in Hollywood! Viola Davis won an Oscar for Supporting Actress in Fences , and thus became the first black ...