Choosing My Word of 2017

I’ve almost missed the window to write my ‘new year’ piece. It’s ok, I suspected I would. January usually starts slowly for me – while everyone else seems to be making lists of goals, planning new projects and generally carpe diem-ing their way into the new year, I emerge from my Christmas stupor dazed and lethargic, with only enough energy to drag myself through the days.

My birthday is 2 weeks into January, and this is when I tend to look round and take stock of my life’s progress; not as the calendar rolls into a new year but as I myself clock up another year on the planet (this year, that number is 26). As I look back on the year just gone and the one ahead, I’m taking the ‘word of the year’ approach, and searching for the words that I would like to define the first year of what some would call my late twenties. Continue reading

Leeds Granary Wharf at sunrise

Why Are We Ashamed of Taking a Break?

It’s been two weeks since I last posted on my blog. The date stamp of my last post sits there accusingly, silently judging me for my absence, for my laziness. I’m not narcissistic enough to think that anybody is affected by, or even notices, the inactivity in my little corner of the internet, but I usually like to post a couple of times a week; there’s a therapy in putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), and the feeling of being productive in an area that isn’t linked to my job gives me a certain satisfaction.

But what happens when you don’t feel that sense of wellbeing? What happens when the thing that’s supposed to be your hobby just feels like a drain? Continue reading

Same Same, But Different

If you’ve ever been to Thailand, you’ll know there’s a phrase that you see everywhere. Same same, but different. One of its most common uses is to refer to fake designer goods, but is also used more generally to mean something that’s largely the same, but with some small differences. Right now that’s kid of how my life feels. Same same, but different.

On the surface, not that much has changed in my life since I got back from my gap year travelling in August 2013. I’m still living in Leeds, close to my family, working for the same company who gave me my first proper job and hanging out with my Leeds-based friends who I’ve known since high school. But if you look a little closer, there are so many differences which reassure me I haven’t wasted the last three years (unless I have. Have I wasted the last three years? Oh god, what am I doing with my life?) Shush brain! Moving swiftly on… Continue reading

Great Wall of China

The Three-Month Itch

I have a theory, and I call it the 3-month itch. No, it’s not a relationship fad or a dodgy STD, it’s an itch of the professional kind, and it comes, predictably, about 4 times a year. My 3-month itch refers to my strong belief that 3 months is the maximum length of time any sane person can spend consistently attending their full-time 5 days a week job without feeling the need to take a break.

Admittedly I base this theory mainly on my own experience. I enjoy my job but I definitely go through peaks and troughs with it – some days I love it, some days it drives me crazy, and every now and then it feels so mundane I can barely even motivate my brain to complete simple tasks. But at some point last year it dawned on me that, while the real highs and lows are usually motivated by something specific in my work environment, the smaller niggles of dissatisfaction can often be put down to the fact that I just need a bit of time away from my desk. More than the time it takes to go out for a sandwich and a coffee.

Zadar bell tower view Continue reading

My Favourite Ways to Beat the January Blues

The January Blues – anyone else feeling them? Like a lot of people this week was my first week back at work after a long Christmas break full of big meals, duvet days and lie-ins, and it’s really kicked my ass. I have my birthday in January but it’s still my second most hated month of the year (first is February – it’s still bloody cold, and no birthday), so it can be hard to get through it without post-Christmas fatigue setting in. Here are the things I do to fend off the January Blues… Continue reading