Enjoy your Londons

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enjoy pigeons (60s petcare book by Earl Schneider)

In 2015 I’ve worked long hours in the day job (+ spend­ing the spare time I did have in the summer help­ing to make DIY Space for London a real­ity) and not had much time for creat­ive projects. It’s been good for my CV, and my mater­i­al stand­ard of living has improved, but I’ve not always had the time or energy to devote to doing much in the way of creat­ive work or taking as much advant­age of all the inter­est­ing things London has to offer as I could do or would have liked. I now have plenty of time and not much money until Janu­ary, so now seems the time to try to figure out how to get a better work-life balance without going broke (always a chal­lenge in an expens­ive city like London). It’s a month early to do New Year’s Resol­u­tions, but why let a calen­dar stop me. I always feel much happi­er and focused with a to do list to work on. Here’s my goals.

Do more creat­ive work in gener­al- illus­tra­tion, sewing, photo­graphy
I have really neglected this area this year. I’ve got a massive list of project ideas I’ve come up with, and not acted on (and also a large stash of fabric). There’s noth­ing as satis­fy­ing and confid­ence-boost­ing as making some­thing come into the world from your imagin­a­tion.

Earn some money from doing creat­ive work
My day work has certainly been related in some sort of way, but mostly encom­passed the more regi­men­ted side of things like produc­tion sched­ules or school curricula. Not doing my own inde­pend­ent projects has made my own port­fo­lio feel a bit sad, because I haven’t updated it in so long, and then you end up in a cycle of not want­ing to put it forward. So work­ing on my own projects has multiple bene­fits here.

Enjoy the bene­fits of living in London more and see my friends as much as possible
There are so many inter­est­ing, inspir­ing and often free things to do, and new corners of the city to explore but I’ve often been too busy or tired to enjoy them this year. Your friends end up being dotted all over the city due to living expenses and work loca­tions, and you have to plan to see them, it doesn’t just acci­dent­ally happen like in smal­ler towns. Living in London is expens­ive and hard work, so you might as well enjoy the upsides of living here, other­wise it’s just a slog.

Make some new zines
I haven’t made a new zine in AGES, and have a few unfin­ished ones on the go.

Read in French and German more often
I know these languages well enough to comfort­ably read books in them without much strain. I just don’t, mostly out of lazi­ness. Seeing as I can, I should. It does wonders for your vocab and uncon­scious feel­ing for the language anyway. If I had the time and money, I’d like to take some more form­al German classes and take the Goethe-Zerti­fikat C1 or C2 (I can say that I’ve done a C1 level univer­sity class, but that was 11 years ago, and I don’t have any offi­cial certi­fic­ate), which would open academ­ic doors in German-speak­ing coun­tries. I don’t think that’s on the cards in the imme­di­ate future though.

Keep this blog updated regu­larly
I enjoy docu­ment­ing things, and like to look back on my old entries to remem­ber what I was doing, and what inter­ested me at the time, and it’s a good way to share things with my far-flung friends who I might not see as often as I like due to geography.

Get my riso­graph machine up and running and make prints with it
I got a cheap second-hand riso machine off ebay in the Summer. After trans­port­ing it across the coun­try in the back of a van, it developed an error. One of the sensors inside thinks there’s a paper jam, when there isn’t. Hope­fully when I give it the once over with a can of compressed air and isop­ro­pyl alco­hol, it will fix the prob­lem. Other­wise it’ll have to wait until I can afford to call in the service tech­ni­cian.

Get my bike fixed
Someone in my old build­ing stole some parts from the brakes a few weeks before I moved out, which was incred­ibly annoy­ing and rendered my bike unus­able. My bike only cost £40, but I’m fond of it, and it’s a troop­er when it has all the neces­sary parts. Cycling in London can be terri­fy­ing and some­times danger­ous, and the separ­ate cycling paths and wide­spread culture of cycling in Brighton really spoilt me, so although I don’t feel comfort­able or safe cycling in the heavy traffic of a lot of the city, I live really near Black­heath, a big nature area with quiet roads and inter­est­ing shops which is ideal for cycling.

Start going swim­ming again
I live five minutes walk from a really nice public pool. The only time I’ve had the time to go there since I moved here in the Summer, was when I had shingles and wouldn’t have been allowed in! I really don’t enjoy gyms at all, but have always enjoyed swim­ming, and it’s great for your back and joints when you’re at a computer a lot.

Finish declut­ter­ing
When I moved house, I discovered just how much junk was lurk­ing in boxes shoved on top of tall book­cases or under the bed. Moving in to an attic room with slop­ing ceil­ings, limited vertic­al wall space and no stor­age really made it clear. I recently read Mari Kondo’s Life Chan­ging Magic of Tidy­ing Up book, which is currently all the rage, but it really does make you feel excited about tidy­ing up! (Her philo­sophy is basic­ally put everything from one category like clothes in a big pile, and pick up each item, if it doesn’t instantly make you feel good, or you try to talk your­self into keep­ing it “just in case” it can go). I’ve ruth­lessly gone through my clothes, which has already improved matters, but there’s still lots of books, papers and miscel­laneous craft/​stationery type stuff to go.

Cook from scratch more, and enter­tain at home more
I love to cook, but it’s also some­thing that’s fallen along the wayside. My old place didn’t have a very good kitchen and didn’t really have space to invite people for meals either, so I got out of the habit. At one time I used to crank out at least one cake a week.

Keep more up to date with new music, films, books etc
Most of the new things I’ve enjoyed this year have been from the recom­mend­a­tions of friends, rather than from seek­ing things out. I enjoy hunt­ing out new things, and need to get back into the habit of going through the reviews of new releases and listen­ing to the things that sound appeal­ing.

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