My minimalism: a relaxed approach

While gazing at people in a ballroom, one of the protagonists in the favorite series of mine says:  “Quite an eclectic group: have money, want money, no money left”.  This is where the minimalism of today stands.

The ‘have money’ don’t care about minimalism and the more they have the more they gather…interesting, for they won’t take it to their graves for love of God.

The “want money” do anything for money including pretending to be better off than they really are by, among others, accumulating things that they don’t really need, but which show their supposed status.

And the “no money left” are the ones who had money, but have lost it somehow. They usually divide into two sub-groups of “will do anything to get back to having” and “money come, money go – one has to live the life”. There is not much they usually have, or things that they do own and have accumulated are past their initial beauty and freshness. I won’t comment on the 1st sub-group, but the 2nd is an interesting one, for they foremost do not care about things. Why? because they have learned that money and things are something that can disappear fast, that is temporal and that in life there are more important things.

The last group, not mentioned in the quote, is those that do not have money at all. They don’t own and there is not much to say, because most often they do not have a choice in the matter.

I think the key is to strike a balance. It is true that having a variety of things is useful, yet we don’t use most of them 95% of the time. For instance, I don’t need 100 shirts. What I need is a few.. maybe 20 at most… shirts that will mix and match with my max. 10 skirts, 2-3 jackets and 3 pair of pants (2 in that jeans). I used to have a lot of clothing, due to economic reasons most bought at thrift stores. However, with time, with several massive home changing operations and the travels I had to make, I observed that I do not use most of it and I would rather change the volume to quality. Over last 3-4 years, I did a revolution. I buy clothing seldom, but I buy it at mid-range stores where the quality meets the price. Ergo I get a good wear to price to looks ratio. Poor people don’t have the money to waste on trash things, for they need to be replaced often resulting in spending more over a longer span of time.

Another idea I did implement in my wardrobe is the 6 month rule. I have 2 hangers, where I put the pieces of clothing which I do not use that often, and every 6 months I take a look and ask myslef: “have I used it in the last 6 months?” if no, I move it to he black hanger, where it stays for another 6 months. Should it not be touched for another 6 months, I start at first looking for a person who would like to have it.. I give it a month.. if none appear.. it goes to the Red Cross container nearby. I do my best to buy clothing only when something used up needs replacement.. but am far from perfect at it.

All of this, can be applied to any other area of life and things we accumulate. I it with almost anything I have at home. It all takes practice and strong will to fight off the temptations, but after 3 or almost 4 years of this, I can pretty much pack all my clothing into 1 large (standard size) suitcase, I can pack for a week into a carry-on without an overweight including my electronics. And I find this ideal. I still believe I own way too much junk and will be working on limiting it.. but I hope these few ideas will help others also.

It is better to find friends, real friends, to have plenty of things.

 

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Gaming? 4 reasons why I quit.

I have been an faithful gamer for years, from CounterStrike and Warrock though Grenado Espada (Sword of the New World), Diablo series and many others. I still play… by not so much… Why?

Why I have stated to play in the first place? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMrN3Rh55uM)

It was back at university.. I was in RPG club (way better mode of relaxing to be honest) and kind of got talked into trying Diablo. It was already a tad old by then – that was in 1999 or 2000. I got hooked on it due to overall stress and problems with my family that I really needed to vent but had not many options. It was cool to imagine that each of the dogs in it (the ones spitting acid or venom at you) are the person that most hurt you. From there it was a down hill.. maybe not as deep into the pit as some of my friends went (one passed out at the computer after playing for 3 days straight) but I did take it to extremes for a moment. After I graduated games were for me a way to vent the frustration resulting from numerous unsuccessful job searches. And when my son was born.. and I reached the level of tired where you can’t even sleep cause you are so exhausted (yes, there is something like that).. they helped me unplug and reset.

The only real pro I can find are the 3 good friends, whom I can count on, that are left from those years of gaming. I believe I could have met them otherwise as well. People we are meant to come across  can take us by surprise anytime and anywhere.

Games were my exile…. yet their cost.. and I’m not saying financial.. the toll they took on me and my life can’t be underestimated. I was running.. foremost from myself, from looking with clear eye at myself and my life. And I did get myself in a mess, hell I did.

Regardless of the reasons behind me gaming….now, some 15/16 years later. I can say I have unplugged myself from them. It was a conscious decision and here are the reasons:

  1. In overall scope of the day I used to spend at least 2 hours on games. After 10 year of gaming the count is simple 7300 hours = 306 days used up on something totally intangible. Imagine that I could have relaxed or unplugged with more beneficially by my second favorite pastime – book reading, or better yet needle point or developing my skills as a drifter? Where would I be by now?
  2. The involvement in games made me forget the world around me… this did take a toll on the way I look, on the way I see others and on the way I communicate with them. In some ways positive, in some quite the opposite. But it definitely made my ties with real life friends go somewhat loose. What would happen if I used at least part of those hours to actually physically socializing with those I care for?
  3. I took a deep look in the mirror. And I got shocked. I was shocked by my own thoughts on the matter, on why I actually play. I saw a person who is running away from herself, trying to avoid an honest look at her own life, at where she stood and where her path was leading. I fell into the trap of addiction (again maybe not as strong as others e.g. my own husband) but non the less and addiction. And addiction, any addiction, if not kept in check is destructive force.
  4. Then I did the math on all the money I have spent on the F2P games… believe me they are not free if you want to mean something in those virtual worlds and they ain’t cheap. The cost… well.. I could have easily gotten my dream car a few years earlier. And I am not rich by any means. I think this realization was the last nail to the coffin.

I do play now, but I keep a close check on when and how much I spend on it.. and I DO NOT SPEND anymore money on that. If I get tempted to spend more I do exercise or go for a walk; and the funds… I simply take out of my account put into my old-fashioned Piggy. After a year of keeping myself in check I have collected enough money to buy some books I wished to read for long time, to take my family for a fancy dinner and to have running subscription on Spotify (I love music, maybe they don’t have it all.. but they are better than average radio).

I decided I can use this time better, do something meaningful with it instead of living in virtual world.  So far, small steps.. but I already see much good in the decision.

I know that taking look at yourself, on why you REALLY game and facing the response is the hardest, but I strongly believe there is much to be gained. I would like to encourage those infested by the plaque to do so. We have but one life (at least that’s how much we are conscious of ) why waste it on something that will in few years leave us with almost nothing…

Natural Remedies and beauty tips 5 – natural antyperspitants

I’m not a health geek, or crazed about all the crap they sell to us in food and so on. I do try to be careful of what I eat or put on myself… for my own good. I have been using a variety of antiperspirants and deodorants over the years… most of them chemical. Now, I see the toll they took on my skin. And I ventured onto finding out what natural alternatives I can get. I have tried several brands that claim to be all natural and not to include anything that could damage my health… yet none quite cut it. They were generally quite expensive, in some cases gave me allergy and upon consultation with biochemists friends, I got, turned out to contain some things that are steroid-like or exert over body similar influence like hormones.

That’s when I said enough. If I can’t even trust those that claim to be bio… I will search for DIY solution. What I found is a number of different recipes. All easy to make with components relatively easy to find even in my backwater corner of the world. Most of them contain Coconut oil, and here is one of interesting tricks to remember.

The simplest one is simply to mix 1/4 of a cup of coconut oil with 1/4 cup of baking soda with a bit of starch(this last one I find can be optional although many sources insist on it being a necessity).  There is pretty much nothing here that could give you allergy. Soda neutralizes the bacteria and the oil keeps your skin moisturized at the same time dry. I like it due to its simple content and I came up with it by excluding via trial-and-error from other recipes I found.

Here are the other, more complex solutions:

  1. Three DIY antiperspirant alternatives (http://www.naturalnews.com/043337_antiperspirant_do-it-yourself_toxic_chemicals.html)
  2. Confession… and a DIY (http://yinmomyangmom.com/2013/01/04/natural-antiperpirant-deodorant-recipe/)

  3. A recipe for a homemade deodorant that REALLY works! (http://www.treehugger.com/organic-beauty/recipe-homemade-deodorant-really-works.html)

Warning: One has to be careful with essential oils, some of them are simply fake and mixed with other components result in unpleasant surprises ( for instance I got a rash after using a rose one bought at supposedly bio-shop).

Natural Remedies and beauty tips 4 – cough drops

Cough drops tend to cost a lot. None doubts their usefulness, yet how would you like to make your own?

I have been digging though some old books on herbal medicine and note of my mother-in-law and found this simple recipe:

Take a pot then drop into it:

1 glass of sugar (can be brown if you prefer)

1/2 glass of water

juice from a whole lemon

1 tbsp. of honey

1/2 tbsp. of grounded clovers

1 tbsp. of powdered ginger

Mix well and cook for 20 minutes regularly mixing; final texture should be more or less like maple syrup. Use as natural materials for this as possible ..bio is the way to go.

Pull out a sheet of baking paper. Spread it on a flat surface. With a table spoon distribute the mixture on the sheet in small lumps/drops (it is relatively fluid so ‘lumps’ might be only an approximate word for them – much depends on quality of ingredients used). Take powdered sugar and cover all of them with it. Leave to fully cool.

Tear the drops off the paper, and there you go… home-made fully natural cough and anty-flue drops ready.

 

LIVE!!! BELIEVE!!!

This material just reminded me of something I strongly believed as a teen and student at college. http://soulspottv.com/blog/beauty-humanity-nature-photography/

I remember that I used to love, and was quite good at it (got published a few times and had some prizes in competitions), to draw human bodies eg. in movement. Not only humans… animals as well… I strongly believed that we are, each and every single one of us, a work of art. The way a muscle moved under skin, the way the light fell on it…I saw it all as either mathematical equation or as art and physics mixed into one beautiful ‘chaos’ of living.

I also recall how absurd and painful it was for me to hear from someone who apart from giving me life also robbed me of illusions and intellectual innocence of trusting the best in everyone.  I recall the words precisely “this sex, obscene drawing of yours, vampires and demons will drag you to hell”…

This… every day life and struggles…turned me, I guess into a bitter clown. I have not drawn humans or animals in years, though I still, in the privacy of my own though, admire well shaped bodies of both females and males… poesy of movement of a ballet dancer, the strength hidden behind the muscles of an athlete… though in this time and age it all seems to be less and less natural.

The material quoted above reminded me of my old belief that still liners in my heart. I’m sorry, I refuse to subscribe anymore to christian morality… I’m really done… do onto others as you would have them do to you… and believe your own heart. Maybe it is a little late for a teen rebellion… but it is better now than never.

True, this post is somewhat chaotic… but my goal is simple… stop caring what others think, stop trying to please them all (you simply can’t)… start TO LIVE stop just existing and DO NOT force your beliefs on others.

 

Book

Book writing becomes a popular sport nowadays. I decided to join into that trend. A book has been going on in my mind like that crazy little clown on a tricicle for quite a few years. Finally, past week I took a composition book I bought last year in the US (I do love Mead Composition notebooks, but can’t find them here) and scribble the first few words.

“it’s all your choice” this is the work title for now. I suspect it will take me quite a while to write it…yet even if none ever reads it.. I will try to publish it in ebook format when time comes.  And as the title suggests – a pop-psychology/motivation will be its main focus.

Productivity fails when all you have are meetings

Much has been written on the subject. Much has been said and even more research has been conducted. I can only say that, the older I grow the more AGAINST meetings I am.

Well, maybe not ALL meetings per se… but wasteful meetings. From my experience more than half of the meetings we go through are simply waste of time. Instead of being substance only, they tend to wonder off on subjects not related to the meritum.

A lot of them are also done simply to pat oneself on a back… ergo.. see how much I have done? why haven’t you done so much? … seldom there is questions of what I can do to help you get more done?

Are you really so complex ridden to have to prove your superiority in such a low manner?

I guess in corporate culture we forget that we are part, tiny wheels of one and the same mechanism and if one of us jum up on something… the rest won’t be able to be as efficient as should, until we help that jummed up wheel to move along as well.

So stop patting yourself on the back… start looking at the larger picture and helping one another.

Balance number of meetings vs. what you and the rest of your team needs to do. Else, all you will do is have meetings and none will be actually done

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Tatts

I come from a family where a tattoo is not a NO,NO… “why don’t you make a tattoo on your brain,  idiot”… and a tattoo means ostracism (well, not only a tattoo means that in this family). Ye.. let’s face it.. it is far from loving and accepting.

I’m nearing 40 and only just last year my parents discovered one of my tattoos.. I won’t be quoting the precise words.. there is no point in that. It’s a hate talk.. and that’s all there is to it. No willingness to understand or accept.

Now, one could ask: why? what for? what devil possessed me to do them? My response is… none. Each of the 6(well 7 but one is covered so does not really count) I have are part of my journey, part of who I am, who I was and who I am becoming.  I guess nothing special there.

I won’t be showing off all of them.. but I will drop a word or two on each.

My first one, was small and in sepia. I got it covered up last year, because over the 15 years (I got it in summer of 2000) it got, for some reason, very worn off.. looked almost as if laser removed and it’s original meaning got lost. What was left suggested something I really did not want on my body.  It was designed by my hubby while we were dating and was a symbol of a dragon-woman.  I suspect the regenerative skills of my skin are simply better/faster working than most.  Why I got it… I was at the stage of really needing to set myself free.. and it was part of the process.

It wasn’t till 10 years later until I got a second one. It is something I have had in mind for a couple of years, in sepia, Latin and still needs something added (so, I would say it is incomplete). And since my tattooist decided to quit the job I will be looking for someone else later on.

It was followed by a cross on my arm… with a text in Latin as well.

Both are symbolic in a many ways but most importantly they show my catholic roots… from which I did sail away, but which are still there.. and I doubt I will ever be rid of them. As they say here ‘ what the shell is soaked with in the begging will give out sent of in the future’.

Then came the tattoo that means the most to me… as it was overdue by 19 years when I made it. It relates closely to Myst (yes, the games… but foremost the books) – book of Ti’ana. It is green with white and brown. I won’t go into the details there of.. it was part of freeing myself from my jail of feelings and being emotional slave of my own mother.

My biggest pride is the wing one.It is also the largest and monochromatic  B-W. zydlo

Nika (https://www.facebook.com/nikatattoo?fref=ts) did really good job on it. It is here to remind that I do have wings, that they were returned to me (like to Maleficent) years after being chopped off…. and that I should use them. The wing itself is unique, there was no real pattern for it because I did not wish for it to look like a bird or angel wing.. I wanted it to be my own.. Nika even added some parts while already working on it.. so I doubt is it copy-able.

Then I covered up my first tattoo…with a much larger and way more colorful lotus. Lotus is the only one I was not sure of, the only one I had doubts . Yet, when it fully healed  it looks good.

The last one is my simplified rotor. It may seem stupid.. yet I do really love that machine/design/idea. Here it is not yet fully healed.IMG_1653.JPG

It is also one of most ironic tattoos.. for some reason (did a health check and all seems fine)  the ink simply went into my veins (as Nika said “it bleed into you”) … I have nothing against that… simply have around it a network of black vessels and it does look due to it as if it melted in. Unintended effect  (most likely due to some temporal hormonal sway of mine) but very fitting. I always liked machinery and used oils and gasoline… ;-D

Tattoos do not define me… I define them and myself… judge me for my actions not for my tattoos and looks. Better yet, do not judge at all, as only those without any fault should be allowed to judge.. and sorry to be blunt… you have not clue where I am coming from, what I have been through or where I am headed.

The quid pro quo of loving one you ‘can’t’ be with

I have read a lot lately from what one would call pop-psychology. One article particularly cough my eye. Here is the link: http://idealist4ever.com/the-heartbreak-of-being-in-love-with/?fb_comment_id=1001026003290783_1001978256528891&comment_id=1001978256528891#f1e2b90d94

Although one has to grant it much right… I could not have stopped myself from commenting on it as follows:

“And some people do not fight… simply give up and leave believing that advises of their friends and family are to be trusted… they don’t even give it an honest shot and claim that “maybe it was not meant to be”… if you have not tried how can you believe in that… unless you were raised on Disney princesses and bs of that sort.”

Seems quite a few agree with me on this (judging from the likes). So, I decided to take this and develop into my own post.

Having spelled the background for this, I would also like to say that I’m writing this from my own experience, from my own subjective and  biased view. Yet, having the opportunity to go back in time and talk to my former self I would have told her to screw it all and jump that train even without a passport, visa and tickets. I do also have to stress here that I do not blame anyone anymore …there is no point… I only wish my soul remembers this well into the next life and does not allow circumstances to stop her.

What I am trying to say is that nothing in life comes easy or free. It’s either something you have to pay for up front, while at it, or after. My life has never been precisely easy, but that’s not the point here. I often hear a question ” ohh, why me?”… I can tell you why… whatever is going on at this point is one of the 3 things:

  1. it is happening to teach you something, and if you do not sit down, think about it, learn from it.. it will keep on repeating in your life until you do learn.
  2. if no.1  does not seem to ring the bell then there is no.2  – it is cumulative result of your actions, inaction, negligence and indecision or decisions …. again you can only learn from it and avoid re-runs
  3. it is effects/ripples in the fabric of the world caused by clash of your decisions, negligence, wants, needs with those of others. Ok, you can’t do much about others… but you can do hell lot about your own list.

In either of the 3 … it all comes down to your own choices and doings or failures.

Over the years I have learned that there is nothing as destructive to young human mind as the sweet and pointless fairy-tales we show our kids. A lot of young people of my and younger generations are raised in belief of being “princesses’ and ‘princes’ … yet “Disney” ( I will use the name as a synonym of certain syndrome not so much as the company itself) seldom shows that princesses were on regular basis ‘sold’ in marriages already in cradles; seldom if ever show the dark side of love… of the need to fight for what one believes… and feed the young minds with “meant to be”.

Let me tell you what I believe “meant to be” means. Someone said to me sometimes ago “maybe we were not meant to be”… I say BS… why? simple logic.. what would be a point of showing you a tiny piece of cake and slowly pulling it away from you? Why would God, or any other power, show you how deeply, how strongly you can love and then simply force you two to part with slim chances of ever seeing each other… yet still loving one another?

My cold and calculated math of today tells me… that it was one of those things that came easy.. but you did have to pay for them or fight to keep them. Here is where we failed. I , being as young as I was, feeling what I felt,  yet knowing deep inside I should have fought, I gave up for I saw only darkness before my eyes… parents in opposition, reaching as far as illegal ends to stop me from following him. And he. Older, but still young, faced with the possibility of struggles related to finances foremost and ‘good advises’ from his friends and family.  I’m not sure about his feelings on this matter.. we never really had a chance to talk of all that later. Yet, if he felt for me what I felt and still feel for him… he also must have sensed that although their advises were rational they have no real hold in this situation.

20 years have passed. I’m married and have a kid… with my option B…far from what you would say happy…keeping busy with hobbies one would not consider fully safe (such as taking up on drifting). He…single…seems drained of his old courage,  drained of will to fight for anything… keeping a happy clown mask on even in front of himself it appears.

Not that I regret anything… it is too late for any regrets..it is time to learn. Let this be a warning to all… things that are NOT MEANT TO BE simply do not happen… universe, God, or whatever power there is, is efficient and hates wasting resources.. hell, even nature hates to waste… so whatever happens, be it love, be it accident, be it loss, or be it a gain… it all happens for a reason… ERGO IT IS MEANT TO BE. Now, remember IT IS ALL YOUR CHOICE… stop blaming God, Devil or destiny for things you have failed to do yourself. God only helps those that help themselves first. Be a fighter! Show him you are worth of his aid!

ps. advises of friends and family are good, but you have to remember that they are only as wise as their own lives…they do not know your life or soul fully.. ONLY you can answer your own questions; ONLY you know the right answer for yourself.

pps. one could say ” but you never know if you would be happy together”… my response is “true, but you never know if you don’t try”.. and the only regret there can be is regret of not giving it an honest go.. simply giving up

 

work and life balance- on paper

There is simple math to life. There is only 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. A month is composed of 4 weeks, year of 12 months and 56 weeks. There is no time to stretch that.  Neither me, nor anyone else can have more time. Thus good time management is essential.

Much has been written and said on the subject. With some I agree, with others I don’t.   Let’s do a little math.

  1. first thing that one needs is sleep. Adults need on average 6-8 hours. Results of not getting that for a long time are disastrous to our health. Also if you can’t get that squeezed in your daily plan.. most likely you are doing something wrong. Thus  from our 24 hr .. 7 (average again) is gone.  We are left with 16-17 hours.
  2. Another big chunk of our day is work. It should be taking you between 8-10 hours. In all honesty, I have not seen a person who would stay focused and really productive for as long as that.  I for instance divide my work-time into several areas that are interrupted by certain events allowing me to refresh and refocus. It is my daily routine, which I find best written down on paper and on side of my desk.

My work-day plan looks something like this:

4:00-6:30  work + snack and coffee

6:30-7:00  getting my son ready for school and sending him off

7:00 -12:00 work + breakfast while doing concept work on paper

12:00-13:00 break (usually spent on studying for coming up exams) usually with a tiny lunch

13:00-15:00 talks/phone calls/meetings

15:00-17:00 at least a few minutes exercise and study time

17:00-19:00 dinner with family and help with school work

19:00-21:00 usually household stuff

21:00-4:00 sleep

Of course it varies from day to day due to other arrangements such as different school day start time for my son, his extracurricular activities, my lectures (as I am 2nd year student of law, which means that Thr/Fri evenings from 15:00 till 21:00  and Saturdays from 8:30-19:00 I am away).

3. As you can see there is little to none time left for me and family although in theory there should be at the least 5-6 hours a day. There was a time I worked at an office. Commuting, on top of 8 hours at the office, took me 3 additional hour a day and it was rarely possible for me to get any time during the week for my loved ones. Yet I did make a point of it to leave work on time, if need be I would take projects home and work on them when family went to bed.

Here and again I have proven to myself that time alone and time with family is needed and no planning is the golden rule. With a carefully planned week in a hand you can work out almost anything. In today’s economy it is hard to change a job, yet there are other options that might be a solution for you.. just need to look for it and include it in your daily plan.

Remember, there is no way to stretch time, there is no way to recover the time you have spent working instead of being with those you love. We have just one life.. thus do plan your days- it helps.