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Archived entry | Matt Wilcox .net

Goals for 2007

This evening I got back from work, cooked some tea (cod in breadcrumbs, plus potato, carrot, peas and broccoli), and sat down in front of the TV to relax a little. While channel hopping I flicked on to a program called Did They Pay Off Their Mortgage in Two Years? Dan and Lucy’s Story. To quote the Radio Times article on the program:

Dan Harding and Lucy Aldridge were running into debt. Dan, a Cornish blacksmith and Lucy, a part-time yoga teacher, struggled every month to pay the mortgage on their small cottage in St Ives where they live with their two young sons.

Radio Times

Normally, not the sort of viewing I’d be bothered with. However I instantly became intrigued after listening to Lucy talk. Here was a person who’s reaction to absolutely everything was an enthusiastic smile and an overall appearance of glowing happiness and vitality (which is extremely attractive, might I add). Over the two years the program follows the family, she managed to raise two kids (partly on food collected from hedges - nettles and elderflower were ingredients that raised my eyebrow), become an accountant for a home business, continued to teach yoga, support her family in all manner of ways, and do all of that on an extremely tight budget. Her partner, Dan, went through similar challenges, going from pottering about an awful lot and surfing, to designing and building a beach stove called the hot-pod in his shed, which then turned into a huge project, and then to a business, all the while having to do things he normally wouldn’t. As an intriguing aside, the family all had skateboards and used them as transportation - awesome! Anyway, while watching the program, Dan said something that resonated with me. He was having to take his product to a trade show, which was something he was nervous about, and was completely unlike him. To paraphrase: Lucy would say I’m outside my comfort zone. I am, but I tell myself that from past experience, the uncomfortable stuff is usually the best.

Lucy seemed to be the sort of person who was excited by being outside her comfort zone. Dan seemed to be rather cautious but with enough prodding went ahead with full conviction. I realized I’m pretty much paralyzed by the thought of being outside my own comfort zone. I don’t tend to try new things, because new things often make me very nervous. Pretty much the only time I’ve ever been truly out of my zone was when I upped sticks and moved away from my friends and family to go live and work in another country. And you know what? Turned out to be one of the best things I’ve ever done. And, oddly, once the decision had been made, I wasn’t nervous at all.

Now, I’m not naive enough to think that my new realization of how poorly I deal with ‘risk’ will transform itself into me not feeling like my stomach wants to do back-flips at the idea of going clubbing (crowds can make me feel physically ill). Or that I’ll be all fine and dandy with the thought of going out on the town on my own. Or that I’ll decide sky-diving is a practical thing to go and try. But, I’m trying things on a smaller scale. Earlier today at work Paul asked if I would write and give a presentation on Accessibility to a group of people outside of Karova, at a formal event. I said yes. And now I’m quite looking forward to it. On an even smaller scale, I’ve recently been trying out music that I’d normally ignore completely. Evanescence were a band I wrote off as over-hyped crap - but I bought The Open Door anyway, and it turns out as well as having a brilliant cover, the songs and the band are actually pretty good. Similarly Paul’s lent me a book called ”nice cup of tea and a sit down”, which is quite literally a book about having a cup of tea and a sit down. Again, the sort of thing I’d usually ignore completely - but having read some of it, it’s amusing and interesting reading.

Something else I’ve noticed over the last day or two is that after getting back from the Christmas holiday I’ve been quite worn out. For some reason, a week of doing nothing hasn’t recharged my mental batteries, rather the opposite in fact. Since getting back my brain is constantly motoring along. It’s tiring, and often-times I find myself ‘coming to’ after losing myself in elaborate fantasy situations or hugely protracted ideas about nothing in particular. Everything I do involves some sort of thinking, and that’s not at all good. I’ve stopped meditating since my Nana died. I’ve stopped putting time aside to listen to music. I’ve realized that I’ve stopped relaxing.

So, I’ve decided that two goals for 2007 are: start meditating again and keep it up all year. Part of which means that I’ll set aside time to disengage brain, relax, and be a bit more aware of the here and now. The other goal is to prod myself outside of my comfort zone much more often. Next time I order from amazon, I’ll buy a book or cd that I’d normally avoid. Next time Mike or Heath ask if I want to go to a rock bar, I’ll go. Next time I catch myself having my normal negative reaction to something, I’ll question it and see if it’s worth turning into a ‘try it’ response.


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  1. Little Bro posted 21hrs, 3min, 46sec after the entry and said:

    I think you leaving home was one of the best choices you ever made. I got my own room at last.

    I have another goal for you do add. Make sure people can talk and spell proper English:
    eg, Granddad, not Grandad.

    I had an interesting argument about that with my friends, no-one would back me up, not even when I gave them the evidence, which is actually quite a logical thing if you follow it through. I still won though… Just trieng to figure out how to log into my website though so I can post about it.

    But the fact that people in Britain can only speak/spell American English is rather disturbing. So some-one needs to teach them a lesson, and as us Wilcox's can speak proper English (Thanks to Dad and Granddad) We can try and keep the British language going! smiley icon: smile

    "after getting back from the Christmas holiday I’ve been quite worn out. For some reason, a week of doing nothing hasn’t recharged my mental batteries, rather the opposite in fact. "- same here!

  2. Matt Wilcox posted 21hrs, 28min, 37sec after the entry and said:

    Little brother - when you take the time out of your day to create an argument with friends about spelling - you really ought to check your own spelling first. "trieng"?

    As for the main argument about British English vs any other English - spelling is always evolving - all language is. Go back in time 400 years and you'd not understand a word that was being spoken to you - even if they were speaking Queens English. OK, so the Yanks decided to flip some letters about, drop a few from various words, and go a bit left-field (to use the American terminology) with pronunciation and word usage - but as long as everyone knows what's meant, that's all that matters.

    The only reason you think British English is 'the one true English' is because Dad and Granddad have told you that. And the only reason they believe that is because they learned that the British Empire was responsible for the huge adoption of English around the world. Trouble is, as soon as it got global, we lost all entitlement to call it our own language. Language belongs to whoever uses it - not whoever 'came up with it'. In fact, if you want to get truly pedantic, English is a mess of old French, German and central European languages anyway. Very little of it is original.

    I suggest you take Dad and Granddad a little less seriously and put your time to having a bit of a laugh and talking to hot girls, rather than arguing with friends over stuff that's actually pure opinion anyway. And when I say talking to hot girls, I don't mean lecturing them on spelling!

  3. Kath posted 3 days, 16hrs, 34mins after the entry and said:

    Too true about the comfort zone, i think most people could relate to that. I'll be trying to step outside of mine too this year. Thomas, listen to Matthew, stop adopting other people's ideas without putting your own thought into them, and start talking to hot girls smiley icon: joke

  4. Gareth Evans posted 4 days, 4hrs, 17mins after the entry and said:

    @Matt and LittleBrother - Or you could try learning a rather interesting language called Welsh…or "Cymraeg" as its called in its own language smiley icon: laugh

    I've been speaking and writing it since I was 2 years old and I still pick up new bits and make mistakes with spelling, grammer and mutations etc

  5. Matt Wilcox posted 16 days, 22hrs, 50mins after the entry and said:

    When I moved here I gave a bit of thought to it Gaz, but having been exposed to it, it's far too flippin' complicated. I'm bad enough at English, and German was about as far as my grammatical understandings could be stretched. Welsh goes truly bizarre and starts changing spelling of words based on the context within a sentence!

  6. P-A posted 24 days, 14hrs, 53mins after the entry and said:

    Funnily enough, I was checking the spelling of 'Granddad' and was led to your site. (The American spelling never made sense to me!) No coincidences in life, so thanks Matt for the good read. Somehow I feel quite peaceful after your thoughts.
    I feel Nonni (maternal grandmother) supporting me now and then; is it the same with your Nana?
    Be well….in peace….P-A

    ps to gareth-my ex mum-in-law is welsh–gorgeous language!

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