The week that started 27th April 2020

Cheap stationery

So, The Science of Wellbeing reminding me that stuff is inherently disappointing, despite what our biased intuitions tell us, helped me kick my expensive stationery cravings.

So, I switched from Ryman’s and Paperchase to The Works. As a result, I learned about this innovation – paper you can write on underwater, and it doesn’t tear! Perfect for nature writing and fieldwork on location. Nabbed a couple and will see if they suit.

Boycotting Amazon

Last year I wrote about Why I’m quitting Amazon, and how. Been thinking about that lately. I think because I have books I bought on Kindle a while back that I’ve been referring to, and wondering whether to buy them again elsewhere so I can avoid even opening the app.

Anyway, musing on such things, I searched online for browser extentions to block Amazon and Amazon-affiliated sites, and found that there actually is one: Block Amazon For Me. But I didn’t install it because I didn’t feel comfortable with the permissions it needs.

I’ve been enjoying using Gooogle’s Play Books instead of Kindle, I think it’s actually a better product. I do miss Good Reads, not found anything that replaces that. Similarly, I’d miss IMDB if I was more into films, although Wikipedia is a pretty good alternative, I think; at least for my wants and needs.

Words and writing

I’ve been enjoying reading publications as preparation, well, research for submitting to publications myself.

Crown me with foliage, flowers and fruits of the forest. Maybe not fungi…

Read Flowers in Black Hair by Birdspeed and it reminded me of putting fake flowers in my hair when I was younger, in my 20s, I think. And I felt a strong compulsion to do the same again. So I looked on Etsy for some. And then saw flower crowns, and wanted those. And leaf crowns, and wanted those. And then I thought, well, maybe I could make one. And now I think that would be a lovely artist date. So, I’ll watch some videos. Maybe I could make the flowers and leaves too. Or dry some. Or use fresh. I don’t know.

I looked at Collins Complete British Trees by Paul Sterry, and there’s a list of places to visit for trees and I have never wanted a tree enthusiast companion as much as I currently do. Like, someone who is SUPER into trees, like I am, to travel with. Well, either way, I will go, and that’s the main thing. Like a pilgrimage.

There are 27 places listed, so maybe over 2 years? That’s just over 1 a month. Would be a nice project.  4 of them are in Ireland, 1 is in Northern Ireland. So, maybe a sabbatical or holiday. Which could include seeing Yanny Petters‘s work as well. And probably there are other artists I don’t know yet and other things I’d like to do there.

Seeking advice about money

I’ve been wanting some support with money advice in a while (aka, an independent financial advisor), but it’s been a struggle. And this article exactly expressed what’s been challenging about it: Where millennials turn for financial advice. Like, it was so on the money (pun!) that it felt like the writer had been camping out in my head. Weird, great, helpful!

Had such an impact that I decided to pay for a trial subscription to the Financial Times when I hit a paywall for an article called “Women want face-to-face financial advice — men just hate the cost”. (It costs £1 for 4 weeks, which is nearly nothing, but still, never imagined I would ever pay anything for the FT. It’s funny, because The Guardian has been trying to persuade me to pay for its journalism for months, or years. And even though I do read a fair few of their articles, usually when I’ve searched for info about something online and landed there, I’ve never considered paying. Anyway, I digress… Edited to add: Didn’t actually pay in the end, and can access the article for free now because I forgot about it and went back later.)

And, I joined the waiting list for Multiply on Android (iPhone verison is available already for those that’s relevant for).

I don’t know how I landed on the FT article in the first place (I started by searcing for black independent financial advisors, and didn’t get very far. I found a Black Financial Advisors Network, clicked through to their About page and checked out profiles of their C-suite. What a surprise, full of white men… 

Burnout and stuff

In the FT, there was a link to this brilliant article in Buzzfeed News: How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation

I particularly like this:

You feel burnout when you’ve exhausted all your internal resources, yet cannot free yourself of the nervous compulsion to go on regardless.

Josh Cohen, a psychoanalyst specialising in burnout, referenced in Minds Turned to Ash

The Buzzfeed article talks about burnout being a/the prevailing condition of the age, particularly among millennials, which definitely resonates. And I’m reminding myself of all the things I know are necessary for preventing and recovering from burnout, and wondering about how to implement these as lifestyle changes, rather than one-off or repeat activities. Like, how do I change my life so that slowing down, connecting with my priorities and getting support are established features of my day-to-day existence, habitual and routine.

And I find this fascinating:

“In their writing on homelessness, social psychologist Devon Price has said that “laziness,” at least in the way most of us generally conceive of it, simply does not exist. “If a person’s behavior doesn’t make sense to you,” they write, “it is because you are missing a part of their context. It’s that simple.” My behavior didn’t make sense to me because I was missing part of my context: burnout. I was too ashamed to admit I was experiencing it. I fancied myself too strong to succumb to it. I had narrowed my definition of burnout to exclude my own behaviors and symptoms. But I was wrong.”

Laziness Does Not Exist (But Unseen Barriers Do) referenced in How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation

I’ve been talking with a friend about how people having different values makes such a difference. She really values striving and drive and being on time, and she was coaching someone who had different values. I think it’s a similar thing that Price is writing about.

My friend and her coachee had different contexts and didn’t have a shared understanding about what was important, and that made it impossible for them to have a good coaching experience together.

Learning about my character strengths has been really helpful for understanding this. In that, each of the 24 strengths are things that society recognises as good, and each person has a different ranking of these things, in terms of their skills and values. And that’s okay. Perseverance was bottom of my list, because it’s not something I see as a strength in myself. I think it’s so important and value a lot, but it’s something I’m striving to get better at, rather than something I can say is a key strength I already have.