Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Sunscreen, not digital screen

Less non-work typing, more walking, pretty much. I hope you enjoy your summer too.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

15 years!

Today marks the fifteenth anniversary of going self-employed. Blimey.

I'm still a little startled I've made it this far without either going (completely) mad, being tempted or forced back into an office job, starving to death, or some other not-pleasant ending. But, here I am, I've done fifteen years, am still functioning, and don't owe the taxman anything.

Fifteen years ago, I wrote a few wishes for this period of time. The bits of the diary that are still legible (tip: don't leave old paperwork in a very damp storage unit or cellar) indicate that the five wishes were to:

  1. Buy a house. Done (twice).
  2. Do a lot of self-employed work for a variety of clients. Done, though it's been variable and inconsistently focused.
  3. Take opportunities to visit interesting places. Done, very much. Many trips to the USA (several for between one and three months), Scandinavia, much of the UK, and mainland Europe.
  4. Get fit and healthy. Mostly fail, though very recently there's finally been some significant progress.
  5. Not get distracted so much by the Internet. Total failure.

As for the next fifteen years, I do have another set of wishes, aspirations, "goals" (ugh, I loathe that word), call them what you will. But, as it'll just tempt fate, or set myself up for some significant fails, I'm reluctant to openly share them. Even though none of them are major things; I've left it a little late to win a Nobel or Booker prize, and to be honest a nice cheese platter for dinner is a far more appealing ambition.

In addition, the older you get, the more a set of long-term aspirations is simply out of your hands, because of your body and health. Things fail more often. The chances of something seriously going wrong - debilitating, life-changing, or fatal - steadily increases. Damage from previous activities has been done; the influence of genetics, something you have zero control over, grows.

True, you can (and should) play the percentages game. Eat more healthily, drink more water, exercise more, put sleep as a higher priority, discard as many of the stressful things and people in your life as you can. But you can only go so far and, again, it's less and less in your control.

So my overall realistic aspiration for this next fifteen years is simply to do as many useful things as possible, adding to the sum of human knowledge in some manner, and to basically stay functioning and as relatively pain-free as I can.

And also, to eat more cheese platters. YOLO.