There isn’t one me, and that’s OK.

A post at Hearthrose’s blog got me thinking about something recently.

Although I take pride in being pretty independent and happy to be alone, like all people I try and craft myself a story which minimizes conflict, which allows me to appear more congruent, to fit into the group.

But the thing is, although I am functional, stable and happy, I am not a sane, balanced, “one story” sort of a person. I’ve done a lot of stuff, a lot of stuff has happened to me, and my refusal to adhere to one group means my outlook on life isn’t from the same vantage point as any given person I am talking to. I have been on welfare and among the elite at the Oxford and Cambridge club. I have spent time in churches and posing nude for painting and photography groups. I have been paid to write liberal essays, but I have also intentionally associated with Marxists and feminists. I have lived across countries, incomes, social boundaries… And between that and the randomly flicking light switch which is my hormonal balance, I am not sane or balanced, there is no “one story”.

I find that with the way my head works, it’s hard to reconcile many different aspects of myself. I learned from a young age that people as disjointed and random as me aren’t “real” people, that I needed to simplify myself in order to be “genuine”. Although no one person has mattered to me beyond Jon, I’ve still tried to minimize conflict by wedging myself into one story and hiding anything which didn’t quite fit.

Pregnancy has given me some time to think about this though, especially about disorders like bipolar and disorders of shallow affect. I know they’re highly heritable. But I don’t want my son to end up like my father: a bipolar alcoholic unable to reconcile all the facets of his identity into something pleasant and superficially genuine, which people might find easier to swallow. I want my son to be able to be weird and disjointed, to not commit to something unless he needs to or wants to or believes it makes sense, to not force himself into an indentity or a group without reason. I don’t want to make him think he has to find a community he can perfectly blend into and fade into the background. Because that is what happened to my father and it doesn’t work.

I don’t care any more if I’m a bit too sweary or immodest at times for the traditional spheres. Or if I’m not racy or flaunty enough for social media. Or if I’m not religious enough for small communities. Or if I’m not abrasive enough for my age group. I don’t care that I read anything from the KJ Bible to Deadman Wonderland, that I’m an anime nerd, that I can’t hate the sex industry, that I prefer to be alone most of the time, that I’m self-absorbed, that I like to do traditional tasks, that I hoard money instead of using it.

I’d rather get on with being me, doing what I must do in order to succeed at what I want, accepting the different sides of myself and not hiding them in order to fit in better or appease someone. If something needs fixing, I’ll fix it, not pretend it isn’t there to give a better impression. And if I lose a few people along the way, then they’re not part of my story, are they?

Men Like Capable Women.

However much we discuss the nuances of female desire, it seems almost taboo to discuss the subtleties of male desire. The assumption is that men care only about bodies, or ought to care about personality, that men should simply be happy and grateful to get a woman’s attention at all and that they are simple beings who want simple things.

I have already touched on the subject of intellect and desire before, in that humans, being brainy creatures, do desire intellect, just not in the exclusionary and simple way intellect is commonly presented.

But there is yet another nuance to male desire and intelligence which is rarely if ever addressed. As mentioned, most men do want a smart woman, even if an IQ score or a PhD isn’t what’s going to get you a declaration of undying love. And a key part of being a smart woman is to be capable. That means that whatever your IQ or education, you need to be using every ounce of brain to handle your life like an adult.

You could have an IQ of 145, three PhDs, make great money, and even be a solid 9/10 on top, but if you are constantly in debt despite your income, battling a prescription meds habit, and unable to keep your own living space at least hygienic, then you’re not going to draw anyone in for a long term deal. Quite simply, you have great genes, but you’re a shoddy partner.

Men, much like women, prefer it when the person they are dating is a capable, functional human being. Men like it when a woman is smarter and prettier, as that means better genes for their children. But the thing that persuades them to invest long-term is when a woman is an asset to their lives, not just to their offspring. The woman who can save money regardless of income, the woman who can polish up and dish out regardless of looks, the woman who can handle her paperwork and DIY and home regardless of intellect, these women get a bigger boost from their skills.

Of course, being a capable high earner with great looks and a high IQ will put you ahead of a capable low earner with worse looks and an average IQ. But the second woman will blow a less capable woman of almost any walk of life out of the water.

And besides, you needn’t even do it for your (extant or potential] partner. You can’t change your IQ, looks or luck by much. But making sure you have your life together will do wonders for your ability to enjoy it.

So ask yourself how much you can handle on your own, what you can’t handle, and why. It’s the first step towards a happier life and a happier man.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

Cut Back Media, Cut Back Stress – 9 Steps To A Better Life.

Since I did the #NoNothingNovember challenge with leechblock, I’ve noticed just how much, or, better said, how little, standard media exposure adds to my life.  The usual ways we entertain, distract and inform ourselves may seem such an integral, normal part of life that it is easy to miss just how negative their influence can be. The majority of the media is sensationalist and biased. News providers, scriptwriters and social media engineers alike all know that anger, shock and fear drive our consumption. But the things which they present us with are actually in no way reflective of our lives. They’re just fodder to keep us hooked on their service.

As I’ve already admitted, media consumption is a fairly normal, integral part of modern life. Few people can completely get rid of it, and you can’t avoid it forever. But, you can be in control of what you consume and cut right back on standard media, enhancing your life without missing out on the information it provides. Here’s how.

1: Trash the TV.

Passive viewing is the most harmful way to consume media of any kind. Switch it on, play it in the background, let it seep into the brain as we are at our most vulnerable. Standard TV, in the modern era, has no advantages over anything else. If you need a bit of background noise, you can play a DVD, a recorded show, or, better yet, some simple music. If you want to be informed, then there are ways to become informed on demand.

An easy way to get rid of your TV is… get rid of your TV. You might want to leave the monitor up for other things, but just disconnect the cable, cancel the service if you can, and let standard TV leave your life for good.

Of course, you won’t be able to avoid TV all the time. I don’t beat myself up if the TV is on when I’m at a friend’s house or in a waiting room. I might even watch it if nothing is happening. But being like the average Brit and spending a day a week in front of a TV is no good for me. Even when a TV is around, the healthy bet is not to be the person who turns it on.

2: Limit social media time and reach.

It may be almost impossible to quit all social media, especially if you have a large and distant family, or if you use the internet for work. But you can exercise control over what social media does to you. For example, you may spend a lot of time arguing with people online. And if you enjoy it and find it fun: go you! But if after a day of shouting at an SJW you feel sick and tired and stressed, then perhaps now is the time to exercise control over your social media.

Do not engage with people who anger you. Many sites give you the option to hide their posts, and posts like theirs, from viewing. You can even block them. Ask yourself what they add to your life, and if the reply is “stress every time I log onto facebook”, then nix them.

3: Interact less with social media.

In a similar vein, if you want to see less drama and sensationalism: click, ‘like’ and share less drama and sensationalism. Social media works via feedback, and if you’re always clicking on bad news, commenting on things that wind you up, ‘liking’ social drama, and sharing things that enrage you, then that is all you will see. On the other hand, if you interact with things you enjoy and independently investigate things you are curious about, then your social media feeds will be enjoyable for you.

4: Select your news sources carefully.

Following from the last points: cutting out standard TV and altering what you see on social media does not mean you have to be uninformed. It is absolutely necessary to know about happenings in the world at large, developments in your field of interest, and events and trends that may influence the people around you.

Instead, rather than passively waiting for news to come to you via TV or social media, seek out news. Give yourself a time each day to browse some news sites, or even news feeds. Pick sites that do not particularly pander to you or to those unlike you. Instead, find sites that offer short, to-the-point, fairly unbiased reports of events. Give yourself a set number of news stories to read -more on this later-, pick them well, get up to date, and then close the website.

5: Subscribe to specialist magazines, newsletters, papers and emails.

If you want to be even further informed on matters that are most relevant to you: find highly specialist news sources and subscribe to them. If you’re into guns, look into newsletters about guns. If you’re into dogs, look into a subscription to a dog-based magazine. Read what you enjoy and stay abreast of news that makes a difference to your life.

6: Buy, and read, more books.

As in 5. Audiobooks if you have little time or suffer dyslexia.

7: Use leechblock, or a similar add-on.

During my #NoNothingNovember challenge in 2014, I cut back on time-wasting websites. This was a big step for me, as most of my work depends on the internet and it was very easy to get sucked into “just one more listicle, or picture, or article”. The worst bit? I didn’t even like the sites I was browsing. I was just looking, blank mind, at pictures of food and memes, getting wound up at the inanities of sites I disagreed with, and correcting incorrect articles in my head.

Being as it was far too easy to accidentally click on a website that would swallow my time just by checking emails, blogging, or doing a bit of research for work, I installed leechblock. This is a firefox add on that basically kicks you off websites you have added to a blacklist. Some were banned til the end of days, because they were worthless. Some were put on a time limit, to encourage faster selection of better-quality articles and prevent me from getting sidelined. Some were only allowed within certain times. All in all, it really helped to reshape my habits, and I have grown for using it. There are similar add-ons for other browsers, and even phone apps that limit access to time-wasting sites and apps after certain time periods. I personally eschew standard smart phones because I don’t need or want them. But if your smartphone is your life, consider deleting any apps that suck up your time and “culling” the amount of data you get automatically fed. Know the difference between “convenient news updates” and “live drama and clickbait straight into your pocket”.

8: Make more use of self-service entertainment.

By self-service entertainment I mean places where you can watch TV series, news, documentaries and films in your own time, on demand. So YouTube, anime feeds, and Netflix would be the big ones for me. There are two major advantages to this.

Firstly, you get to watch a few things for fun, as and when you like them. This beats standard TV at its own game, by miles. Some services even offer live TV shows or shows on a slight delay, so you don’t have to miss out on things you look forward to.

Secondly, almost all these services record your viewing habits for the purpose of recommending you new videos. If you spot that there is a heavy and unhealthy bias in your recommended viewings, then you know you need to adjust your habits until you get better and healthier recommendations.

9: Socialize with people who add value to your life.

Finally, replace as much media as possible with real people. If you’re on social media, aim to spend more time chatting to people in messages than trawling through pages and interacting with posts. If you want to watch a show, try and make it a communal activity. When you find out some interesting news, discuss it with a friend who is also interested and exchange the knowledge you have.

You acquire more, better, more relevant information from having good people in your life than you will ever gather from watching the news every morning. For instance, if there is an outbreak of alabama rot nationwide, the news may not focus on cases relevant to you. If it is in your area, you will find out about it from others who also own dogs, without having to watch three hours of news relevant to other parts of the nation first. Good social connections get you news to the point.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

What are your media habits like? How do you try and make the media you consume more productive and positive?

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

We have so much goodness…

…that we can’t even see it any more.

We have a genuine perception problem.

Why do people live on £100,000, £500,000, £1,000,000 annual incomes and still end up short of change at the end of every week?

Why do third wave feminist scream and cry about misogyny when a man calls them pretty, holds a door for them or asks them on a date?

Why do nationalists and separatists live immersed in negativity despite the extreme safety and freedoms the West experiences, unprecedented and unparalleled?

Why do liberals insist that there is no white, Western, and especially no American culture to experience?

Why do anti-war groups obsess over military budgets when, thanks to globalism, we live in a time of greater peace than the majority of humans have ever experienced?

Why do racists blame their every problem on affirmative action, racial difference, race wars, migration and different-race leaders?

Why do sexists blame their every problem on the other sex, on institutional pressures, on religions and blogs and daytime TV?

Why do we make it to the very top, become wealthier, more attractive, more powerful and respected than anyone, and still find no joy in it?

Why do we take it into our hands to solve global problems through minute activities and to stress over activism and letting everyone know about it?

Why do we obsess over semantics and definitions, trying to configure ourselves as “Redpill Alpha, Libertarian, Animal-rights Activist, Separatist, Nationalist, Open-Minded, Buddhist Bloggers” or “Feminist, Anarcho-Capitalist, Painting, Demigirl, Wolfkin, Faekin, Body Positive, Working Class Dancers”?

Because we have absolutely everything we could possibly need.

Think about it.

In this world, a man can be sexually assaulted and can find some comfort in the form of online communities and support centres whose existence he may have never been aware of before this time. In this world, a person can be born after suffering an extremely rare prenatal abnormality, where their brain map does not reflect their body and they can then have parts of themselves amputated or altered to make them feel better. In this world, a girl can be obsessed with toy trucks and cars and can grow up to be a grease monkey, or a vehicular engineer. In this world a person with schizophrenia can be medicated and assisted to a point where they can return to the working world posing no more risk to themselves and others than a healthy human. In this world any person can educate themselves beyond even their wildest imaginations, through university, through apprenticeships, through books and the internet and support groups. In this world a homosexual couple can receive every state benefit afforded to heterosexual couples and enjoy a life of peace and quiet if they choose to do so. In this world a family can lose their home to a fire or flood and receive the support of millions of people to help them rebuild their house, restore their valuables and feed their children and pets. In this world anyone can retire into a fantasy land and live out their wildest, most unreachable, unachievable dreams through books and TV, films and games, role play and blogging.

In this world a teenage girl with no formal GCSEs, living alone, surviving on the bare minimum £8,000 a year benefits allowance and suffering a depressive disorder can get her A-levels, go to university, learn a trade, study whatever she pleases, start a business, get married, have children and live in relative safety and comfort.

Are there injustices? Of course there are. Let’s just take work environments. In some fields of employment women don’t feel safe due to a high volume of young, differently cultured men who may be a bit too abrasive or forward for their liking. In some fields of employment men don’t feel safe due to a high volume of spoiled, progressive, man-blaming women who may attempt to harm their career. In some fields of employment White people don’t feel safe due to a high volume of Non-White people who bring with them a different culture or set of mannerisms to what the White person is used to. Same goes for every other race on this planet. In some fields of employment a feminist, a nationalist, a transgender person, a traditionalist, a vegan or a Christian may not feel welcome due to the lack of others who resemble them.

And, when you are the minority in your surroundings, or not represented by management, you will likely suffer some discrimination. It’s just human nature to be rude to those unlike ourselves, preferential towards those we identify with and inconsiderate towards those whom we don’t understand.

And of course there are people out there who want to insult, rob, rape, beat or kill you. These people exist in every society, in every type of person, in every culture and environment. You can’t decide who they are going to be, you can’t guarantee that you will be safe and you can’t eliminate a certain type of person and live in comfort. The world has never been and will never be that fair. The best we can do is be wary and stay safe.

But we live in an incredible world. We live in a world that is a thousand times better than anyone before or outside it could even imagine. We live so deeply immersed in it that oftentimes we don’t see it and become dissatisfied. We live so long being told we are beautiful that when we feel insecure for whatever reason, we believe an injustice has been committed. We live so long being allowed to have a certain amount of personal space that when it is restricted we feel stifled. We live so long being listened to that when our voice is not the most prominent we feel ignored and oppressed. We are so used to having so much that we can’t see that everything we need is within our reach.

This world has room for improvement. But it always has, and it always will. There is a time and a place to discuss building a better world, to demand preferential or equal treatment or to begin carving ourselves a nice corner in the world we have. But if we never look at everything we already have, if we only stare longingly at what we lack, we will never actually be happy.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

Let Go Of These 25 Things Next Year.

New year’s resolutions are often about doing more, adding more, holding onto more and more things… Which is very good, to be honest. Doing more exercise, finding more time for family, making more money, working harder in the garden or reading more books are all honourable, valuable things to add to our lives.

But for everything we add, we need to make some space. So why not balance every addition with something we can let go of?

1: Hopelessness.

Why let go?

There is nothing we can’t work on, there is nothing we can’t fix or live with. There is always a way and there is always something nice left.

How do I let go?

Whenever you feel hopeless, write a list of everything you still have by your side and everything you have to look forward to.

What does it pair with?

Goal-oriented resolutions, such as weightloss, strength gain, work goals or creative work.

2: Keeping up.

Why let go?

You aren’t anyone else. You have a different life, different means and needs and different end goals than them. If you compare yourself continually, you will never be enough.

How do I let go?

Set yourself personal goals and keep detailed track of your progress and setbacks. You are your main point of comparison.

What does it pair with?

Shared goals and group activities, like gym attendance, courses and family resolutions.

3: Hang ups.

Why let go?

A hang up leaves you constantly slightly concerned about unlikely events and overly worked up about inevitable events.

How do I let go?

Look at your situation for what it is, rather than what it could be. Focus on reality and now and try and work for the best realistic result.

What does it pair with?

Relationship goals, work goals, anything where you depend on other people for your success.

4: Boredom.

Why let go?

Boredom is a choice, not a state. You have endless books, tv shows, music, hobbies, projects and ideas within your grasp.

How do I let go?

Whenever you feel bored, try and pick up one of your hobbies. If you haven’t got enough to go around, then you might need something new!

What does it pair with?

Tedious and repetitive goals, like dieting, studying or keeping accounts.

5: Perfection.

Why let go?

Nobody is perfect, nothing is perfect. It’s fine to aim for the stars, but if you can’t accept anything less, then you might be stressing yourself.

How do I let go?

Rather than set yourself a pass-fail test, set yourself percentages. Aim for 100% always, but 80-90% is still great.

What does it pair with?

Any goal that feels like all-or-nothing to you!

6: Miserliness.

Why let go?

We don’t need a quarter of what we own, let alone of what we want. Clinging onto things rather than people can make us weak and nervous.

How do I let go?

Share openly and freely. You don’t need to give everything away, just to balance your savings with your socializing.

What does it pair with?

Money and savings related resolutions.

7: Grudges.

Why let go?

A grudge does no good. It makes you feel bad and treat others badly.

How do I let go?

Write down your grudges. Write down how they make you feel and in what ways they continue to affect you. On a separate piece of paper, write things you can do to actually improve the situation. Burn, bury or bin the grudge list and keep the improvement list.

What does it pair with?

Everything and everyone.

8: Fretting.

Why let go?

Once you’ve identified a problem, any further worrying is just bad for your health.

How do I let go?

Work out what the problem is, work out solutions and try and distract yourself from it. Consider a mantra, such as “this is finished/solved now”.

What does it pair with?

Any high-end resolutions where the 100% target is quite hard to reach.

9: Procrastination.

Why let go?

Putting things off only feels good in the short term. In the long term it can ruin plans.

How do I let go?

Try and set yourself a list of tasks and goals and stick to it. Make sure everything is done.

What does it pair with?

Unscheduled resolutions where your goal could be accomplished at unspecified times.

10: Despair.

Why let go?

Despair is like a grudge, hopelessness or fretting. You’re letting yourself stay sad over something rather than working with or against it.

How do I let go?

Try and find the positives rather than focus on the negatives. Don’t desire to feel sad, desire and seek happiness in everything you do.

What does it pair with?

Resolutions where setbacks are part of the game, especially self improvement.

11: Compulsions.

Why let go?

Compulsions are like faulty instincts. We do them without thinking and they can easily hurt us or others.

How do I let go?

Find out what you do compulsively and make a point of stopping it for up to three months. Replace it with healthy behaviours. After then, a new habit could have formed.

What does it pair with?

Quitting-based resolutions, like diets, kicking drugs and removing maladaptive behaviours.

12: Stress.

Why let go?

Stress is a part of everyday life and often the only thing that keeps us going. But it’s also destroying our bodies and our sanity.

How do I let go?

Practice meditation and mindfulness. You can meditate to leave the stress behind and be mindful to push it out of yourself. You can use meditation and mindfulness techniques anywhere, at any time, for however long you like.

What does it pair with?

Time-restricted and work based resolutions.

13: Weakness.

Why let go?

Nobody wants to be weak, or chooses to be weak, but we can choose to either embrace or defeat our weaknesses.

How do I let go?

Make a list of things you cannot resist, things you cannot do or cannot fight. Systematically work through them until you feel more accomplished.

What does it pair with?

Generic, intangible or unmeasurable resolutions, such as “be better at maths” or “spend less”.

14: Talking down.

Why let go?

Talking down to yourself and others is a bad habit that encourages negative thinking and asocialness.

How do I let go?

Try and find something positive in someone every time you have a negative thought about them (even yourself) and say the positive instead of the negative.

What does it pair with?

Social, positivity and self-esteem based goals.

15: Fear.

Why let go?

Fear makes us reluctant to try new things, to return to places that upset us or to act as we would want to. It stifles action and keeps us in one place.

How do I let go?

Think of all the things your fear prevents you from doing. Think of how much better your life would be without the fear. Bit by bit, build up the courage to face your fear.

What does it pair with?

New and exciting resolutions, resolutions to change, self improvement resolutions.

16: Social anxiety.

Why let go?

Social anxiety stops us from being our true selves and keeps us far less or far more socialized than we would want to be.

How do I let go?

Unless it’s at a clinical level, you can cast aside social anxiety by making a point of socializing as much as you want, being yourself around friends and family and talking yourself up for important events.

What does it pair with?

Any resolution that depends on other people for success.

17: Pain.

Why let go?

Pain and suffering are an inevitable part of human experience. But when pain becomes who you are and devours your life, you start to lose control everywhere.

How do I let go?

Write a list of things that pain interferes with. Decide whether they’re reasonable or unreasonable to you. One by one, address the unreasonable points on your list, until pain is no longer restricting you.

What does it pair with?

Recovery resolutions, health based resolutions and emotional resolutions.

18: Hoarding.

Why let go?

Hoarding things can make us feel temporarily good, but when our physical, mental and emotional clutter becomes too much, we lose sight of true priorities.

How do I let go?

Make a stock-list of the items you hold onto and hoard. Write down your reasons for keeping them. For every reason you have to keep them, write down two reasons to throw them away. Persuade yourself to part with a few items a week, until you feel in control.

What does it pair with?

Cleaning, organizing and decluttering. Mental health and destressing. Emotional health and healthy relationships.

19: Wastage.

Why let go?

As the opposite of hoarding, wastage is when we let too much go. We are often denying ourselves things we want and throwing away valuable resources in the process.

How do I let go?

Find a use for everything. When you’re about to get something new, ask yourself if you already have something that does the job.

What does it pair with?

Reducing spending, fighting shopaholism and any resolution based around simplicity, minimalism and saving.

20: Disrespect.

Why let go?

Disrespecting others only makes social situations uncomfortable and awkward. It can feel good briefly, but after the event you are in a worse situation.

How do I let go?

Try and treat everyone with a minimal level of politeness. For example, make a point of not swearing, even around friends and family, so as to get in the habit of not swearing around anyone else.

What does it pair with?

Social-based resolutions and any resolution where you depend on others. Stress reduction and self-esteem boosting.

21: Blame.

Why let go?

Holding onto sadness sometimes makes things feel better. After all, it’s harder to recover and move on than it is to keep blaming others again and again.

How do I let go?

Find what actions and behaviours of yours are causing some of your issues. Try and find at least one thing you did to cause your situation.

What does it pair with?

Stress reduction and general life improvement.

22: Self-loathing.

Why let go?

Sometimes it can seem as though self-loathing hurts nobody… which is why it’s a problem. If you feel that self-loathing and self-depreciation doesn’t hurt anyone, you are doing yourself harm.

How do I let go?

Try and find something nice about yourself and focus on it whenever you feel down or bad about yourself.

What does it pair with?

Every goal you expect to reach needs you to love yourself enough to go for it.

23: Stubbornness.

Why let go?

When we’re too stubborn we can sabotage ourselves and stop ourselves from reaching goals or accepting constructive criticism.

How do I let go?

Ask yourself what you’re guarding against. Make sure that whatever you’re scared of or angered by isn’t causing you to be unnecessarily restricted. Try and be conscious of when you’re being stubborn and try and let your guard down once a week.

What does it pair with?

New experiences, social resolutions and anything where advice and support from others.

24: Loneliness.

Why let go?

Loneliness is as much an internal experience as a physical reality. The feeling of being alone in a crowd, or in perfect company on your own is internal. And when we feel lonely, whether we are around people or not, we aren’t comfortable with the safety and support our friends and family have to offer.

How do I let go?

Reach out to people. Find people who you can get along with and talk to them. Go and visit friends and family. Find a place where you feel welcome.

What does it pair with?

Letting go of loneliness pairs very well with any solo resolutions. When you’re on your own and working hard at something, having people to return home to could be a comfort.

25: Anger.

Why let go?

Anger is a fire that consumes your energy and your mind. It can interfere with healthy processes and relationships.

How do I let go?

Practice meditation and mindfulness. Learn to calm yourself down even at the most tense of times with breathing and mantras. Learn to focus through.

What does it pair with?

Any self-improvement resolution. We can all get frustrated and learning to control our anger will help.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

9 Ways Of Enriching A Man’s Life.

Every person is different and, therefore, every relationship is different. It’s not like you can do exactly what your best friend does and have the same marriage as them.

On the other hand, generalities are also worth bearing in mind. Most people like food. Most women will want children at some point in life. Most people don’t like being shouted at. Most men enjoy sex.

And somewhere in between we have anecdotes, personal experiences that can be applied to life, with a pinch of salt.

That said, here are nine ways Jon finds I improve his quality of life, in the order they came to mind to him.

1: Massages to keep on top of exercise and injuries.

Jon has a number of injuries to his back and knees. This means that he needs to find that sweet spot between doing enough exercise to build the supporting tissues around the injuries and not doing so much that he’ll further damage any tissue. Which means a lot of massages.

After weights, after a sedentary day or before bed, Jon needs to have massages on offer to make sure his body carries on working. By massaging him when he needs it, I allow him to carry on lifting weights and working long shifts without suffering the pain that would normally follow.

2: Food.

Jon works long shifts and tries to keep busy in between them. He lifts weights, reads, writes, studies, trains the dog, learns to paint with me, goes shopping, goes hiking, helps me with the garden and everything in between. And that’s before we begin to look at his less educational entertainment, such as games, films, social media or TV shows.

Just to cook the high calorie, high protein, high carb, easily digestible food he enjoys would take 30-60 minutes of attention each day. Never mind learning how to combine ingredients and seasoning so that he can enjoy the variety of foods he likes, eat some cheaper products and improvise.

By cooking for him, I am either freeing his time for other things or making sure he gets the quality of food he wouldn’t have on his own.

3: Keeping things in order.

Again, because he is so busy with everything else in life, the house isn’t his first priority. When he gets home from twelve or thirteen hours outside, he doesn’t want to do the dishes, put the laundry through, walk the dog, iron a shirt, hoover the hallway and weed the garden. So having it already done is a big plus.

4: Take on small tasks and assist in projects.

Likewise, there are small jobs and large projects that take up a lot of time. If he is sending out CVs, composing a story or calling to book an appointment, then that will be eating into his time elsewhere. By having someone else to take on menial tasks, the end of his day is free.

5: Make things more fun.

Sometimes he just has to do things. Go and get some groceries, take the car to the mechanic, meet social obligations or go for a walk to relax a joint. On his own, he finds these tasks hard to enjoy. They’re just tedious parts of being an adult human being.

By making a bit more of an event out of them, we can take our focus away from the more tedious aspects of these tasks and enjoy our time together instead.

6: Companionship.

Few people like doing everything alone. And those who do often choose solitude because they find it hard to find someone else who shares their passion without spoiling it.

Jon is also a fairly solitary person, seeing even his closest friends only every few months. So having someone he doesn’t mind sharing his life with adds value to it. He likes having me there to spot his weights, sit in the garden with, go to the pub with or read to.

7: Keep updated and informed on various topics.

One person only has so much time to spend reading, clicking through links, finding studies and investigating theories. By splitting up our reading over the day and regrouping at night to discuss various events and developments, we keep updated on a number of interesting topics and always have a conversation subject to bond over.

8: Cheerleading and grounding.

Jon, as you have seen above, does a lot. A life like his, where you are always on the go, wears down eventually. So he enjoys a bit of cheerleading. That is, having someone to tell him he’s doing well, to encourage him through the day and to support him in his pursuits.

But he also enjoys being grounded from time to time. Everyone goes through times when their decisions or goals are unrealistic, self-destructive or too time-consuming. And at these times, most people need and want to be grounded, not cheered on.

By keeping me updated on his work and goals, Jon ensure he has a cheerleader and a grounder, to make sure he fulfills his ambitions.

9: Focus on the future.

This one’s a more nuanced one. I don’t actually do anything myself to create this. There is no way to make someone else pay more attention to one thing or less attention to another.

But simply by existing, Jon finds I’m a reminder of the future ahead. He knows he will have children with me. And he knows we both rely primarily on him. By removing most uncertainty, it gives him something to focus on. Which means life feels easier, even if it’s actually a bit harder.

And those are the ways Jon says I improve his quality of life.

Everyone is different, and this may not work for you and your partner. But maybe it gives you some ideas as to how to make sure they are getting the quality of life they deserve.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

8 Ways To Find Beauty In Everything.

Sometimes it’s hard to see the world for what it is. Or for what it isn’t. Or basically to enjoy it for what it is, even if it isn’t perfect. It’s especially hard when you’re going through a rough patch or have depression in general. Existential misery, the feeling that everything is meaningless or the cloud to every silver lining will blind you to the positives and leave you feeling miserable. And when you’re in that sort of a place you can’t always feel better about it.

But there are some ways to lift yourself up when you’re down and to prevent yourself from being dragged down quite so harshly. Preventative medicine for the mind, or a supplement of happiness to tide you through, as it were.

1: Respect yourself.

It can be hard to do anything at all when you don’t respect yourself. To try and cultivate self-respect, remember to always make note and give thanks when you get things right, so that these become more memorable. Learn about your own flaws and work against them when they can be fixed and accept when they can’t. From time to time, try and think of yourself as a child or a pet. Would you treat a child or puppy with the amount of love, care and attention you treat yourself? Remember that you deserve to be happy, especially when it doesn’t cost anyone anything.

2: Respect others.

It is just as important to respect those around you. When you have no respect for yourself you will breed sadness, as you won’t be able to enjoy the fruits of your labour or the silver linings in life. But when you have no respect for others you will breed anger, as their flaws will routinely disappoint and offend you. Try and think about other people rationally. Look at their skills and flaws and ask yourself if your demands are reasonable. Remember that they may not be capable of what you expect of them, and that they have the free will to deal with their flaws or embrace them. You have no power over them.

3: Hone your senses.

Everything in life can be experienced through all the senses. We have the five main senses, of course, but we also have the surrounding senses, such as proprioception, time perception and intuition. Learn about all of them and from time to time use meditation to bring them all out. Try observing and painting every colour in a flower, or listening to every instrument in a piece of music. By working on your senses you can learn that some things may have an awful scent or colour, but a pleasant sound or atmosphere.

4: Indulge your senses.

Once you have spent some time observing every sense, try and indulge or even overwhelm them. Listen to genres of music you’ve never heard before. Look at psychedelic art. Try eating high concentrations of foods that are often diluted, like saccharine, or low concentrations of foods that are often strong, like coffee. Push yourself to identify more elements of life. Try and meditate to speed up or slow down your perception of time. Try and feel every part of your body without touching it with your hands. Indulge every sense you can isolate.

5: Look for beauty.

And when you’re experiencing everything at least a little bit and striving to experience everything fully, you want to find beauty wherever you look. Maybe a tall tree in your neighbour’s garden is blocking the light from your own. But you can plant shade-loving plants beneath it and enjoy the shelter it gives from rain and sun. Maybe your child plays loud music in the afternoons. But the music may have agreeable qualities that you hadn’t noticed. Maybe chocolate tastes too sweet for you. But the bitter, astringent or spiced tastes that cocoa has shouldn’t be neglected. The beauty is there, if only you look for it carefully.

6: Protect yourself.

That said, be sure to guard yourself against things that have more harm than beauty in them. If chocolate is genuinely too unpleasant for you, then ensure you don’t have to eat it by warning people and learning to politely turn it down. If a certain type of music gives you migraines, makes you feel ill at ease or is simply irritating, explain this to anyone who plays it around you. You can’t control the actions of others, but you can take small steps to remove unnecessary harm from your life.  And these steps are entirely your own responsibility.

7: Disregard unharmful flaws.

However, some flaws are merely mild annoyances that cause no real harm. If a certain type of music annoys you and your neighbour insists on playing it, then there is nothing you can do. It is causing you no real harm, so learn to ignore these things. Inconvenient, annoying or frustrating things happen all the time. The world doesn’t care that your father died in a train derailment, that incense gives you headaches or that you take longer to cross a certain section of a road than others would. Trains, incense and crossings won’t stop existing just because they bother you. If the thing you perceive as a flaw causes you no harm, then learn to ignore it whenever you can’t avoid it.

8: Be honest about positives and negatives.

There are good sides and bad sides to life. Whatever your outlook, things will happen that will make you sad, hurt, angry or frustrated. Regarding these things, the only outlook that helps is acceptance. Sometimes you will find something that has no value to you. So accept them for what they are. Death is death. Devastation is devastation. Disease is disease. They may hold no reward for you, but they’re not meant to. They have their own role to play in life which, however harmful it is to you, is benefiting something, somewhere. Trying to deny their existence or the harm they cause you will only make you less happy. All you can do is accept that they’re there, accept that they play a part in this world and keep on going. After all, the pigs you eat for breakfast and the microorganisms you kill with antibiotics would have a hard time seeing the good in you too!

And those are eight ways to see the beauty in everything. If you make an effort, you will find that everything has something beautiful about it, even if that beauty is completely useless to you.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!