That feeling – memento mori

M.C. Escher, Eye (seventh and definitive state), mezzotint, October 1946

M.C. Escher, Eye (seventh and definitive state), mezzotint, October 1946

I know for some of my readers, I’m just a boy and the logic inside me tells me to keep going your doing OK.

And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. – Abraham Lincoln

Yesterday however I got a real sense of feeling that I’m getting old as I spent the day in the office. It didn’t help that someone in passing said to me you won’t have long to go now. He was talking about early retirement, part of the conversation of him turning 40 the day before, and then weeks earlier having his first child. The person next to him, his manager also within a few weeks of turning 40 and part of my managers leadership team. I looked around in those milliseconds where a response in jest is required. I was the oldest by a good 10 years, motivation shot to pieces and had just been reading about the latest organisation restructures. It included someone I went to lunch with a rough 25 years ago. They were moving on to take a break or so the rhetoric implied.

I responded with some glib remark about having a while yet and that I still need to get the boys off the books and how I’ve still got the mortgage. He was envious that I might escape and he didn’t know I’d be writing about the encounter today. For me I wasn’t sure how I’d be feeling about seeing myself in the organisation, the pang of regret that I was stagnating again. It was more the 40 year old beside him, I didn’t know how old he was until then, it didn’t matter until he put a number on it and I’d just seen him as a peer someone who I go into battle with to get things done.

There are more and more moments like this, watching Indiana Jones and the lost ark with my son at the weekend. Harrison Ford was 38 when he made it! Flipping heck, I was barely 10 years old when I saw it and Mr Ford I thought was an old swashbuckler, a professor no less.

With each passing obituary on the news, Sinead O’Connor (56) and the popular British journalist George Alagiah (67) just this week I’m reminded of the seconds counting down. My dad passing at 64 and then my grandad at 98. It’s mind boggling the difference, the lottery and I hope I’m somewhere in the middle.

We have my father-in-law (87) coming over tomorrow, looking for a flat nearby, there has been mention of the big C, possibly manageable. All I can do is provide that shoulder of support to my wife.

It’s not a great post in terms of mood, my thoughts need reframing. 7am, I look out the window, the rain is on…’s time to decide, to run or not to run.

An image of a running route

So I did run, and the sun came out, I took in the smells, and breathed deeply as the tunes bouncing around from my watch to the headphones (isn’t Bluetooth amazing). I noticed the blackberries are on the way. The elderberries camouflaged in green, fully formed and not quite turned. I wonder could I come back nearer the time with my Tupperware box. I take a different turn than normal for this route. It’s painful there is a dip an up hill, another up hill, it’s my walking route in reverse. A metaphor for rewinding my thinking. To face into the challenge and defy the resistance, to change the route means to change the direction I’m going in and be better. I can run up this hill and I can take on the next challenge, there is time.

The weekend has arrived and we are taking the opportunity to try out a fish restaurant, Fin and Grape (that is new to us) this evening, and a way to close the week. 77 reviews and 5 stars, that is something to get excited about. Will let you know how we get on.

For the cookbook lovers out there I thought I’d share a picture of their cookbook shelves from instagram. Loving the sound of the ‘A very serious cookbook’! I spend the next five minutes looking it up and find it’s the story of some of some of the recipes from Contra and Wildair, Lower East Side tasting restaurant in New York. Something for the bucket list!

I’ve worked through some new recipes to keep the boys happy, taken from a fitness magazine and a library book, needed a little reworking for me, my kitchen. I’ll get them up on Cook One Thing soon:

If you cook one thing then it has to be the Tuscan Style Chicken dish, really worked a treat and kept my seventeen year old you busy for a half hour or so!

Underrated and a 12 Week Year!

As a four we struggle to find something we can all watch, last night however we hit a sweet spot with the latest basketball related documentary.

Bit of a tear jerker for me at the end, but nothing from the rest of the crew. Heartless!! Full of inspiration, hard work and determination. A nice take on the game and what feels like a really humble guy compared to the the other star studied documentaries we’ve watched (not that I didn’t enjoy them as well!). The last dance is definitely a must watch if you are into that thing.

Determined to get a coffee share up this week, it’s been a while and I think I’ve mentioned before that summer takes me away from the desktop. There just feels so much to do. This morning the boss is out for a run and I feel I’ve put my strides in so taking a few minutes to check in and say hello.

If we were having coffee I’d let you know that last week was more of a transition week, back into work after a few weeks away camping. Which provided quite a tonic for the mind and soul. I wrote daily with the theory that I could share the journey. It helped with the practice of writing, kept the muscle going. Editing I think is another muscle that needs to be worked on. Facing into that might be hard when the priorities come on thick and fast.

So, back on the grid this week after three weeks away. Monday, getting ready was tough. I was all out of kilter, my memory of things that needed to go in the pannier, what I had in my locker and pulling my lunch together was not very slick! I need to do better 🤪

With being away, my brain was free to think and became full to bursting of things that I wanted to do around creativity, side line activities and distractions.

I’d gone down a rabbit hole of sketch noting the week before we’d left. Sketchnotes at their heart are simply a way of note taking with a flair of creative expression.

My ideas of grandeur, just grew and grew as the days in the mountains peeled back the layers of being stuck at the PC. Either side of the mountains we visited both Strasbourg and the Hague, and I dropped in on a couple of art shops. Wow, like being a child in a candy store. Needless to say I came away with a new journal (because I haven’t got enough of them on the go!) and a few pens that would revolutionise my new ability!

So Monday morning, first thing I unwrapped the new journal, and like a rabbit in headlights wondered where and how to start! The blank page creating a feeling of electricity that just numbs the brain into blankness.

It wasn’t cheap and so along side on a cheapo dot grid I made a rough plan of a plan and then …just bit the bullet and started thinking about the next 12 weeks, treating as a year and what would I like to achieve.

At the same time I attended a webinar for the 12 week year approach. Full of good food for thought. A little disappointed that it was full of upsell on further ways of spending money to make my life great. Key takeaway for me was the concept of my execution system and my brain jumps to the quote:

You do not rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems

James Clear

So this week I’ve been running with the idea on how to bring my culinary thoughts together, push through the resistance and get back into the rhythm of working on the book. I now have a working title ‘Cook One Thing’. It feels like a gift, as suggested by Big Magic (Elizabeth Gilbert). I find the URL hasn’t been taken, a further sign that this is mine and something to get behind.

I also recently came across the concept of a Digital Garden, and been wondering how I can manage my eco system. I’ve been quiet for a few days, trying to get my head around the best approach to doing this from self hosting through to just pushing the button through Obsidian Publish. I tried the self hosting hosting route using GitHub and Netifly. It worked, and then I felt myself drifting away into the technology side for technology sake. I really need to focus on the content, the book and pushing that forward rather than an endless loop of looking for the best tools for the job. So I pushed the button on Obsidian Publish, at 8$ a month it just cut through a lot of nonsense. I had a post up within 15 mins. The custom domain took a little longer, the instructions are fairly straight forward, I bit that bullet as well and just accepted that Obsidian Publish works with Cloudflare. The cost seemed reasonable at about 9$. Just left me to get my head around the publish interface in Obsidian. A breeze and honestly works really well.

New domain name….CookOneThing, is up and running, I’m keen to set myself a goal around a weekly ship, an update through substack Scribble and Scran (something else that feels like a blank journal on opening!)

The dailies and photo’s from the break are on my mind, as is a new 12 week year and focus.

The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Natalie the Explorer that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.