I tried out a reading pause for one week, inspired by Julia Cameron and the Artist’s Way. For me a reading pause concerned anything I read for leisure, for instance newspapers, magazines, social media and online content. What did I do then? I spent time with family and friends, took photos, listened to music, kept a diary, and just sat and pondered.
However, there’s one fundamental thing I must confess. Well actually two. First, my pause was on my holidays in August, and thus it was easier. No work related reading required. Second, I broke my pause deliberately once due to a devastatingly long trip back from holidays and read a book.
Still, I was surprised during my experiment how attached I have become to reading without actually realising what I am reading. For instance, when I come across a magazine or a newspaper I usually end up flipping few pages. I do this instead of thinking what else I could do in that particular place. Like talk to the people around me.
I’m eager to try my pause again this autumn with daily routines, like work reading and e-mail. However, not during teaching as I need to answer student’s questions via e-mail. But off the teaching season it is possible. Any ideas what I could do at work during a reading pause?
Currently, there are two things that characterise me as a traveller: I like to revisit places twice and I’m a park and garden enthusiast. The first goes to say I love visiting nice places twice or more let it be a country, a city, a restaurant, or a park. My park & garden enthusiasm means in every urban setting – after eating regularly – I’m most eager to go and find a park or a garden.
Parks and gardens are the city oasis. In some way they reveal the essence of the city too. Besides, usually you find locals at parks and gardens. And a good sign for me as a tourist on any trip is the ratio of locals. Then it is more likely to be something I might enjoy too. A kind hint to all those visiting Finland during winter: you don’t see many locals dipping in the sea or lake via a hole in the ice although it is said to be something very Finnish.
I stayed in Trento, Italy, for few days due to work and this trip made no exception in my park & garden spotting. Time will tell if I visit the nice North Italian town again, but at least I found a park and visited it twice. This park via Via Livio Marchetti and Vicolo San Marco has a peculiar air to it, as it has been there for a while. Moreover, the worn-down benches and cigarette butts are a valid proof of high use of the area. In addition to flowers and trees, it has a kitchen garden and this gives the park a very practical feeling. The area is not very big. A garland-covered brick wall and two old three-storey houses create cosy cover from passers-by. And yes, it had mainly people from Trento with their crossword puzzles and shopping bags, just popping in on their way to somewhere else.
I happened to come across a Vanity Fair from last summer and got caught on an article about prince Jefri. I usually never pay attention to superrich as in Finland the little of them tends to keep a low profile. When I do pay attention to extreme wealth it is because I’m astonished how oddly the money is used. Usually it annoys me, and reading about prince Jerfi made no exception. I guess it is enough to say that has or has had a yacht named Tits, which came with lifeboats named Nipple 1 and Nipple 2.
It’s not that money wouldn’t make my or others’ lives easier. Additionally, it is quite easy to lament about money from a Nordic welfare country. Yet, Mammonism provokes me. Isn’t life about something else than acquiring loads of money and showing it off?
Excess of anything makes you sick. It could be money, poverty, sugar, or alcohol. It can also be a feeling, like jealousy, enthusiasm, or fatigue. At least I’m easy to lose my personal balance unless I’m careful enough to listen myself. And not just the first voice craving for more chocolate.
In the end it is a matter of happiness. How does one choose to live? The old wisdom says that money doesn’t make you happy. Thus, spending millions of dollars per month is not a necessary condition for happiness. If it is I am never going to be happy!
I consider myself as a quite organised person. I respect schedules. I feel responsible to prepare for meetings in advance. I make sure that I will not have to run around like a headless chicken.
As a result, when I have during past two weeks (a) missed one doctor’s appointment and (b) one scheduled massage, (b) gone for a doctor’s when it was not my turn, (d) held a presentation which I didn’t prepare for, and (e) run around like a headless chicken, I can officially declare that shit has hit the fan. And perhaps not only once.
It is all because I miscalculated the safety distance separating the shit and the fan. Here, ‘shit’ stands for obligations and fan’ represents my inability to take care of them. When there are too many things to do, crap piles up.
Even organised people have fan troubles, otherwise they are not human or honest. The surprising news is that I have never felt this calm after (a) fan incident(s). Perhaps becoming a parent means dealing with so much more mess that creating some of my own is a drop in the ocean. Or perhaps my difficulties are these so called First World Problems.
However, in order to save my forehead, which I have face palmed quite many times, I decided to take it easier in June. As in May I have still one deadline left for every working day of the week. Zen.