Monthly Archives: January 2012

30 Things I’ve learnt – Part VI

Ok, so we’re back to stating the bleeding obvious again for today.

Reading is good.

Yes. Yes, it is.

(And by ‘reading’, I mean the verb, not the place. Although that town in Berkshire is quite nice too.)

What have we but thoughts, and the words with which to express them? By reading more, we gain a better knowledge of our, and others’, thoughts and the ways in which these can be conveyed.

I would also argue that it doesn’t necessarily matter what it is that you read, just that you do read.

As a child I was one of, if not the, best at reading in primary school. I probably am still better than most of the children in my old primary school. But then they are all 11 or younger, so I probably should be. The teachers assumed that I read lots of books. Maybe a few, but the main source of my reading material was – The Beano. I enjoyed it, so I was encouraged to do so. It seemed to work.

Reading can transport you anywhere, without you having to leave the comfort of your chair (or bed, toilet, or treehouse). It can suggest ideas that had no place in your mind before laying eyes on the words upon the page. It can be a source of comfort, amusement, joy, and information. It can leave you in raptures, tears, and bewilderment.

It can change your life.

It can also lead you to read someone’s tiny, insignificant blog, which may, or may not, be a good thing.


30 Things I’ve learnt – Part V

So this one is definitely from experience. It may not apply to all, but I’m sure it will ring true with a few.

When you think you’ve had enough to drink, you’ve already had too much.

You know the scene. You’ve had a couple of (ok, a few. Ok, lots, stop with the assumptions now, alright?!) drinks, at a party, in the pub, on your own at night with the curtains drawn, wondering what happened to your life, when you realise that your head is a little wobbly. Or your legs aren’t quite taking you in the direction your head had in mind (‘head’ had ‘in mind’, geddit?! I’m here all week).

So, anyway, you’re in that place. You think that now would be a good time to get a glass of water and perhaps retire for the evening. It doesn’t really matter from that point on. Whether you ever get to the tap, or get distracted by the shiny cans in the fridge on the way, it’s too late. The stuff you’ve just drunk probably won’t have made it to your bloodstream yet, so you’re only going to get drunker.

From here on in it’s anyone’s guess as to whether you just wake up with a worse hangover than planned, recall having an argument over something trivial or wake up, with no recollection of having travelled there, in Newport.

The trick is to identify the point, roughly 2 pints previously, at which you were merely merry and enjoying the party. I’m fairly sure there’s a Nobel prize available for the person who discovers how to do this.

I’m just glad nobody used Facebook when I was in university. Any future employers, please be assured that I was thoroughly respectable and virtuous at all times. Phew.

30 Things I’ve learnt – Part IV

Ok, so here’s hoping that the fourth instalment of this series goes down better than Superman IV, or Jaws: The Revenge.

In the grand tradition of ‘fake it ’til you make it’, if you look like you know what you’re doing, people will generally assume that you do. This should obviously not be applied to any sort of surgery, or aircraft piloting, where those with the relevant knowledge, experience and skills should be used unless it’s an absolute emergency. And the A Team is unavailable.

However, in day to day life:

Acting confident = Being confident

If you are not a confident person, but walk down the street acting as if you do not give a single fuck, people will assume this is true. If you pretend you’re wearing a cape (metaphorically, rather than literally. You wouldn’t actually want people mistaking you for Batman, now would you?), you will respond to situations as a supremely confident person would.

And is this really any different to actually being confident?

30 Things I’ve learnt – Part III

Today’s nugget of wisdom comes from the Patron Saint of Wales, St. David. I don’t follow his advice on everything to do with life. For example, legend has it that he managed to survive largely on a diet of water and bread with a few herbs sprinkled about for good measure. Quite how he managed to become our patron saint without having a penchant for beer and meat is beyond me.

Anyway, he is credited with having said:

Gwnewch y pethau bychain.

Which translates as:

Do the little things.

No, that’s not a euphemism.

I take that to mean, do the little things for others. Like opening doors, smiling, realising that it’s not all about you and noticing if someone’s having a bad day and giving them a break. That sort of thing.

Remember when that person commented on how nice your hair looked, or that it looked like you’d lost weight, or a stranger offering you a hand onto the bus when you were struggling with bags? How you thought it was a lovely thing to do when, really, it took next to no effort on their part?

Not all gestures have to be grand. But you can easily make someone’s day by doing something small.

30 Things I’ve learnt – Part II

Now, as I’ve said, these are things I’ve learnt. While I’ve learnt that they are generally true, it doesn’t always mean that I remember them at all times. This one, for example, is still something I struggle with:

No one is thinking/speaking about you as much as you think they are.

Indeed. Yet I still sometimes assume (always a troublesome thing to do) that people who are whispering amongst themselves are probably doing so about me. That I’ve done something wrong of which I am unaware.

But that’s something I’m trying to do less because worrying about it isn’t helpful, even if they are!

I mean, if you’re chatting to someone right now, then they probably have you in their mind a little. Or if you’re doing a naked dance in front of someone then they’re almost definitely not thinking about much else. If they are, you’re probably doing it wrong.

I’m almost certainly not thinking about you at this very moment, I’m more likely thinking about sandwiches. And I doubt that any major terrorist groups are thinking specifically about you. So that’s probably a good thing. Unless you’ve recently submitted an application form to become a member of one.

In other words, don’t worry about it.

I should reference How To Get A Grip here, as that’s where I read it first. It’s also a good read, if you like that sort of thing.

30 Things I’ve learnt – Part I

I turn 30 in 30 days. I know, I don’t look it. So, to celebrate me reaching this glorious milestone I shall post a lesson learnt every day for those 30 days.

Now, these are things that are true for me. They may not apply to everyone (some do) and are almost definitely not backed up by any other research (again, some obviously are) other than my own subjective views, thoughts & experiences.

Some will be glaringly obvious. some will be philosophical (ish). Some may possibly make no sense, mainly as, currently, I have about 23 of them thought through.

So, we’ll begin with number one:

Smoking is bad for you
(See, I told you some would be glaringly obvious)

No arguing, it just bloody is. You may search the web for your own statistics on this one, there are plenty. But if you want to die, of a multitude of different diseases (maybe not all at the same time), and before you would normally do so, then smoking’s the way forward.

Yes, it looks cool. Yes, it can relieve boredom. Yes, it’s difficult to give up. But, you’ll stink, possibly make others ill and will die sooner having a crappy last few years of your life to boot.

Just say no, kids.

Coming up: even more pearls of wisdom!