Just Enjoy Yourself.

Literally.

Every human has their nuances. Every human has their own idea of perfection. Every human has their own goals.

We’re not here to please everyone. That’s an impossibility. We’re just here to please ourselves, whether we do it by having fun, seeking enlightenment, acquiring knowledge, making friends or preening ourselves.

There will always be someone who disagrees or disapproves.

The idea is to decide on what you want to become and to find people who like you both for who you integrally are and for who you wish to be. Then, just keep going, keep striving to reach your own ideals.

Because whoever you are, whatever your goals, the only thing that definitely matters at the end of the day is whether you enjoyed yourself for who you were. Enjoy your looks, your quirks, the voice inside your head that runs commentary on things you can’t talk about, the things you’re great at, the guilty pleasures that only two close friends know about, the ridiculous goals and the way things just sometimes work out. Enjoy the process of improving, of getting closer to your ideal. Enjoy the time spent reading, watching TV, preening, debating, working and relaxing.

After all, it isn’t like you’re getting it back.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

7 Things Dogs Can Teach You About Life.

Having a dog is a good reminder of the realities of life, from the good to the bad to the essential, bare-bones of existence, if you can pardon the pun. So here are seven things my dog reminds me of on a daily basis.

1: There’s no such thing as unfair.

If we’re playing tug of war with a rope and I use one hand and she grips with her mouth and uses her paw to loosen my hand, she isn’t cheating. If she shakes her head violently, she isn’t cheating. If I shake the rope and pull it away, I’m not cheating. If I hold it out of her reach with both hands I’m not cheating. There is no such thing as fair or unfair in reality. You can’t explain these concepts to a dog. They’re human ideas designed to keep a human social order, that vary from culture to culture, person to person and day to day. In life, anything that gets you ahead is fair. All anyone can do is stop you getting ahead.

2: Violence is necessary.

Puppies and dogs play by fighting. Their games involve ripping, tearing, pouncing, chasing, crushing, pinning… They learn the pressure points on each other and on you. They learn bite inhibition: how hard they can bite before it hurts. Their entire entertainment package is fight, fight, fight.

Because violence, whilst not completely inevitable, is necessary. You need to be able to vanquish your enemies, kill your prey and scare off your predators. You need to learn to be violent even if you’ll never use it, whether you’re a rabbit, a dog or a human.

3: Prioritize your long-term survival.

The average dog doesn’t think twice about stealing your food when you aren’t in the room. It takes a long time to teach them not to steal because their basic instinct is to eat. You need to teach them that their wellbeing is at risk if they steal. This is because a dog puts its long term survival ahead of anything else. The main drive is to survive as long as possible and whatever gives the best odds of that, wins.

4: Don’t hold grudges.

Whether you “cheated” in a game, punished them for stealing food or unknowingly hurt them, they don’t care. After the act, once the order is re-established, they just want to carry on as normal. If you are repeatedly hurtful, they adapt their behaviour but do not become vindictive. A dog lives in the moment, adapts to change and, as such, does not hold grudges against you, even if you hurt it.

5: Learn as much as possible.

The puppy can’t keep anything out of under her feet, in her mouth and up her nose. Leaves, dirt, dead animals, flowers, bottles, toys, ropes, wires… It takes a long time to chase her away from exploring.

On the flip side, she is always eager to please. It may take 20 or 40 goes, but she will learn that command and enjoy learning it, whether for praise, treats or just the fun of it.

The point is, she’s always ready to learn. The more you know and adapt, the healthier, more efficient and happier you are as an organism. And dogs have this nailed. Learning is a pleasure to them.

6: The pack order is your existence.

Dogs are constantly vigilant for changes in the pack order. They work out who’s in charge very early on and act according to the perceived pack order. Some dogs may decide that the teenage son is clearly running the house and some bitches put themselves before the children after their first season. The pack order dictates every part of their life and it needs to make sense to them.

There is always someone leading and if you refuse to lead they will lead for you.

There is always someone issuing commands and if no commands are issued they will worry.

Every position in the pack is always moveable and if they think someone has dropped out, they are eager to fill in.

And even in human society, if we adopt the same approach we make progress.

7: Enjoy life.

Ultimately, whatever you’re doing with it, strive to have fun. Dogs will turn training into games, enjoy learning new words, practise fighting and role play as different pack members. They will run and jump when there’s free time, grab the best bites of food when they can, cuddle anyone who’ll cuddle them back and try and ensure everyone else is doing the same thing.

After all, whether you’re on this planet for fifteen or eighty years, it’s way too little time to have it all and way too much time to be so serious about it.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

17 Random Questions.

Saw this over at Dorkchops’ blog and decided I may as well give it a go for something fun.

1. How did you get your blog username?

Jon and I were chatting about my blog I was starting to keep me on track with my objectives and after I explained the pokemon section (sidebar), I asked what I would be if I were a pokemon. The response was “a Slaviswife”, so it started as the provisional name and it stuck. From that and the theme of self-betterment, I got “Your Wife Is Evolving”.

2. If you could change your name to anything, what would it be and why?

My real name? I actually changed it. My parents are apparently cool with that, because my original name was very long, complicated and hippie, whereas I’m not really that way inclined. I chose my new name based on family surnames and a first name that is used a lot in the family and has a meaning I relate to.

3. If you could go back and give your younger self advice, what would it be and why?

It isn’t really worth your time. You can do well at almost anything you want to. So stop worrying about paperworks, qualifications and social standards. Just keep doing what you like and things will work out.

4. How old were you when you first learned how to blow a bubblegum bubble?

Probably around six or seven. We weren’t regular candy eaters as young children.

5. What did you want to be when you were little?

When I was very little I wanted to be a dog rather than a human because it looked easier and I liked them more. When I grew out of that stage I wanted to be a painter or a writer.

6. What do you order at Starbucks?

The directions to the nearest decent coffeehouse with WiFi.

7. When’s the hardest you’ve ever laughed?

Jon makes me laugh pretty much every day. He’s probably not to everyone’s taste, but we seem to sync very well in terms of daft, dark and dirty humour.

8. If you could play any musical instrument, what would it be and why? 

The violin. Sharp sounds, melancholy and the general weight of it are wonderful.

9. What’s your favourite thing to do when your upset?

Play very loud, very fast techno or vocaloid-style music and pace. It evens my temper and gets me calmed down enough to refocus on work.

10. What’s your favourite movie?

“The Duty Pharmacist” or “May”. Very, very dark and gruesome in quite a sweet, kookie manner. Like “The Addams Family” was an actual horror film. I have no idea why more people haven’t seen them.

11. What’s one food you can’t live without?

Pork. My go-to meat. Cheap even when it’s well reared, tasty, high in fats, sweet tones, nice raw or cooked.

12. What is your favourite dessert?

Very dark chocolate on or in anything, or on its own.

13. Favourite pizza topping?

BBQ sauce.

14. Would you rather have the super power to read minds or to become invisible?

Become invisible. The sort of person whose mind I’d most like to read are either people who are pretty transparent anyway or people whose mind I would not like to read the remaining 99% of the time. Becoming invisible would be handy when I am in introvert-mode, for my hunting and for when society collapses and I have to raid places.

15. What did you do last for your birthday?

Stayed home with Jon and enjoyed the peace and quiet.

16. If you could have one personal “selfish” wish, would would it be?

Elective immortality. I can’t die unless I actively choose to.

17. If you were a pokemon, what would you look like? And what would you be called? 

Well, it would have to be Slaviswife again. I would probably be something far too pink with some weird, creepy, mutant parts, like visible bones or enormous fangs, and puppy-like features here and there.

And those are 17 totally random questions answered.

Your turn!

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

5 Pieces Of My Own Advice I Should Probably Follow.

I don’t mind admitting when I’m wrong. But considering how often I’m right, it’s appalling how often I fail to follow my own advice, heed my own warnings and do the right or best thing.

5 Pieces Of My Own Advice I Should Probably Follow!

With that said, in a moment of unprecedented honesty, here are five pieces of good advice I give out more often than I act on. I will strive to actually take this advice in the future.

1: Make Yourself Happy.

This is a compound of two deeply set beliefs of mine. The first is that it is nobody else’s responsibility to make you happy, or, indeed, do anything for you. You are born into this world naked and frail and, whatever rights and contracts are formed between you and those around you and enforced, under that veil of civility we are still all barbarians who would stab each other in the kidney for no good reason. Nobody owes me anything, so my happiness should not be in their hands.

The second belief is that optimism is the only way to truly enjoy life. There is a silver lining to most things and a plan B for everything. You may not feel happy about everything, but you can find the more pleasant unintended consequences, the things that at least didn’t go wrong, the things you have left. If you lose your family, your home and your job, at least you’re still alive and have your brain and live in a world full or charitable people and resources. You are alive and will keep on living until such a time as there is nothing left.

Combine the two, and you can see why I recommend to always try and make yourself happy. So long as you’re here, you have something going for you. And the stars will never wholly align to make everything perfect. The best you can do is take things into your own hands and adopt a more positive attitude.

But I don’t really take that advice all that often. Something I’m not particularly secretive about, but don’t really go on about, is I have what we currently believe to be cyclothymia, a mood swing disorder like a light form of bipolar. So when I’m feeling generally good about myself, ie, when I’m on the way down, but well rested and haven’t got much to do, or on the way up and hitting every target, the advice is easy to follow. I slept for twelve hours, but it’s OK because I cleared my work. I lost £200 of income due to a timing error, but money comes and goes and we’re in the black anyway. But part of the cycle is occasional, pretty intense periods of existential depression, which basically amounts to alternating nihilism and anxiety, sometimes to a point where I am in deep despair and paranoid.

And, to be honest, I use that as an excuse. Yes, it’s hard to feel happy when something flips in your brain and you just want the world  to end so you don’t have to face another day on this planet. But you can at least alleviate it by focusing on the good things, relaxing and not getting wound up about things.

2: Let it go.

This one is based off a simple principle. Things will always fall outside your control. You may be lucky or you may not, you can influence the outcomes, but you can never decide them. Sometimes things will go wrong, people will act like idiots or life will just generally be rubbish.

And, just as with making yourself happy, you need to let go of these things. Sometimes being stressed helps you focus and deal with things, but sometimes it’s just stress.

This was related to my #NoNothingNovember challenge and I’m still working on it. The problem is that stress is almost addictive. And once you get it started, it just keeps going. Every single thing becomes straw on a camel’s back, when it should be water off a duck’s back. And the more stress I add, the more I hold onto it.

Releasing emotions is fine. Easy even. I can forgive, forget or despise someone in a blink of an eye. That much “letting go” comes naturally to me. But stress? I’ll hold onto it to a point where I break down and procrastinate rather than get anything done, because if I start working I’ll remember how much I have to do and panic. Not a good cycle.

3: Look after yourself.

Another important one. Often we focus too much on other people and forget to look after ourselves. You know that warning in airplane safety videos? “Please put on your own mask before you assist anyone else”? Well that’s true in all of life. You may think you’re being good and generous, but you aren’t helping anyone if you’re jobless, homeless, penniless and destitute. You need to find a safe place you can work from before you decide what you can do for others.

There are so many little and big ways of caring for yourself, from having a relaxing bath to ensuring you are as independent as you can be. And all of them help us live longer, happier lives, and ultimately help others and society more than if we hadn’t looked out for ourselves.

Which is why I’m confused and annoyed every time I feel run down and realize I don’t have to feel run down, I did it to myself and I’m the only one to blame. I don’t put many people before myself. But the few people and the work I put before myself is enough to weigh me down. And I do love Jon. And we do need the money from my work. But getting so ill I can’t work for a week because I didn’t want to take a day off lessons and I wanted to make his favourite dinner isn’t going to help. It does him no good when I’m ill and I can’t earn when I’m ill. Likewise for stress, undereating or any other way I neglect myself. And I do it because I put every essay, every exam, every meal, every task, every animal, every lesson before my own wellbeing. “Just one thing more” is sometimes too much.

4: Spend less time online.

The time you spend online is the time you don’t spend offline. It sounds simple and obvious, but I think it actually needs mentioning and giving some thought. When our entire world is connected by assorted websites, programs and devices, we forget how much time we spend connected. Especially so when more and more work is done online and online content is so easily accessible and engaging. You log on to check your emails or Skype or do some research and you stay online watching videos and looking at daft pictures on reddit.

But all that time doing mindless things online is taking away from your time in the real world. And whatever some people feel, most of us would rather be in the real world. We would rather talk to friends and family than argue with strangers online. We would rather care for our homes than blog about them. We would rather watch a film than trawl YouTube or go to a park than click through Facebook.

And that was the main reason I chose to eliminate timewasting websites and restrict access to useful websites that lost their productive value as part of my #NoNothingNovember. And I am sticking to that.

But I’m still easily spending far too much time online. I need to get myself more focused, use my time online sparingly and wisely and try and spend more time with Jon and out in the open. It’s so easy, even when you’re being productive, to assume the online time isn’t having much of an impact. But even if it’s work, if I spend a week writing scheduled blog posts, forget to do my work and have to spend one of Jon’s days off catching up on work, that impacts our life negatively.

5: Ask yourself why.

Often it’s easy to get wound up, stressed, distracted and not notice why. We find ourselves in a state and just get caught up in it and don’t ever track it back to its source. Sometimes when we track a problem back far enough we find a root cause that is completely unfixable, such as the genetic lottery or someone or something else’s actions. But most of the time the cause of our troubles can be found and fixed on our own.

For example, we may find our health suffering because of poor diet. If we just look at the ill health, we may see no solution. But if we track it back we see all the causes. The ill health is caused by a bad diet, that was caused by a childhood eating disorder, that was caused by depression, that was caused by an internal malformation of the brain you were born with. You can’t fix your brain. You can’t undo the eating disorder. But you can work with the depression and you aren’t doomed to eat a bad diet.

Likewise, we rarely ask ourselves why we are in a situation. We need to ask how we wound up there, what we did to contribute to it and how we can remedy it. It’s no use to stay focused on your problems if you aren’t looking for a solution.

And somehow, knowing all this, I manage to get het up about problems that often have very simple solutions. I don’t always remember to ask why I am in that situation, only what I can do to get out of it. And that way I am only looking at the symptoms and getting distressed, rather than actually noticing the disease.

And those are five pieces of my own advice I should probably follow. What advice do you wish you followed more often?

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

25 Maxims and Philosophies to Live By.

1. Have fun, enjoy yourself. Don’t necessarily go out of your way to avoid work, just try and find pleasure in everything you do.

2. Don’t live assuming you will die tomorrow. What if you make it to 100?

3. Work hard at something you love. There’s reward in everything, even monetary reward, when you look hard enough.

4. Don’t expect anything. Nobody owes you gifts, kindness or time. Be grateful for everything you have been given.

5. What is good and right is not always what is true. Live life according to life’s law.

6. Don’t get too obsessed with this, but: You are actually the protagonist of your own life and it happens to be a choose-your-path story.

7. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. If it’s broke, fix it. If it’s broke and determined to stay that way, leave it to itself.

8. There are consequences and reactions to everything you do. Accept them and carry on.

9. Don’t get caught up in anger, sadness, thrills or worry. Intense emotions are habit forming if indulged.

10. Respect your body, the way that it’s made and its needs. It has got you this far and will carry you further. It is not a mistake.

11. Think about your future self, their needs, wants and concerns.

12. Harden yourself to critique, pain, fear, solitude, etc. You will experience them again and again, so learn to bear with them.

13. Set yourself goals for everything you do. It keeps your mind on track.

14. It’s better to invest 80% of yourself in one thing and 20% between nine than to invest 10% in each thing.

15. The numbers you are judged by matter very much to the people you have yet to meet.

16. Keep going as long as you get a step further each day. Give up when you haven’t advanced a step in three days.

17. Satisfy your desire to eight tenths of its maximum. Feel rewarded and happy, but not fully satisfied.

18. Everything has a purpose, and a second purpose, and a third purpose. Reuse and make the most of everything.

19. Only invest in something that will at least return 100% of what you put in.

20. Someone who makes many accidents is as troublesome as someone who is trying to do harm.

21. If you’re in your neighbour’s melon field, he could assume you were stealing them. Only stand there when absolutely necessary.

22. Excess of one thing usually means limitations on another.

23. Not every once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity is worth taking.

24. Others are blind to some truths and have seen truths you are blind to.

25. If it doesn’t matter, then don’t worry about it. If it matters, see what you can do about it.