2017

2017 is upon us…

This coming year I’m setting myself a series of challenges – some practical, some a bit more fun. I find that my interest in these challenges I set at the start of the year often fades around March time, so here’s to hoping that doesn’t happen again!

Within these challenges are to read more, write more, and blog at least once a week.

Being a spreadsheet user by profession, I’ve created one to track my progress, which I may post on here at milestones!

I guess this time of year is often a time of reflection…

2016 has been varied in many aspects, some good some bad. I began a new important relationship, I got a new job… but I also now have a strange level of anxiety attached to my use of time.

But that’s not the years fault – life is just like that: ups and downs.

I am not so sentimental around new years to be honest, I quite like the novelty of an opportunity to set challenges with a notable┬ástart and end date, but otherwise I have never been one to see much significance – resolutions, after all, can be set whenever. We should always be trying to improve ourselves.

Do you have any aims for the year ahead?

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Five Book Tags

I’ve decided to create five categories for which to assign a book to. I stole these at random, and didn’t have any particular in books in mind when I began (/writing this). I’m going through a time of looking into books I wouldn’t otherwise consider, and think it would be interesting for others to use these tags in order to get an idea of what other people are into. Please comment a link to your blog should you do so!

A book you judged by the cover and was right

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The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman – Denis Theriault

It was autumn, I was looking for a short book, I stumbled across this. The only branch of a cherry blossom with its leaves falling to the ground made me think the book was going to be somewhat peaceful, and the the title made me wonder how this would be combined with that impression. This is a great little book and one I recommend to just about everyone at some point.

 

A book you shouldn’t judge by the cover

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The Girl With All The Gifts – M.R. Carey

I feel that this cover is very simplistic, and the alternative ‘movie cover’ is even worse. I bought this on release and it is bar far the best ‘zombie book’ I’ve read. Most cliches were avoided, and the writing was actually quite good. It avoided a lot predictable plot points, and some parts were genuinely frightening.

 

A book you tried and disliked

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The Black Eyed Blonde – Benjamin Black

I hadn’t read much within the crime genre and so picked one at random. At first I thought the cliches (dusty telephone that hadn’t rang in weeks, long-legged blonde walking into the office, smoking and whiskey addiction) were ironic and funny, but it soon became evident they weren’t meant to be ironic. I felt the main character was just observing the events the whole time, and didn’t actually forward the plot himself. Maybe another crime book in the future.

 

A book that you didn’t finish

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Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro

I just couldn’t get gripped by the story. I understand the premise etc., but I just found it wasn’t written well. I felt that the same few phrases were being used over and over to the point where I was no longer interested when the narrator ‘was reminded about the time when…”, so I put it down and started another book.

 

A book you’ve been meaning┬áto read for some time

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The Idiot – Fyodor Dostoevsky

I’ve liked everything I’ve read so far by Dostoevsky, and a few of his books make it into my favourites pile, but I’ve never read The Idiot. It’s not too long compared to some books, and premised is quite interesting: an impoverished noble returning from an asylum, regarded as an idiot due to his natural goodness they perceive as naivety. I own the edition in the picture too… one day I’ll read it.

 

 

A Brief Reflection

I am soon to work my last shift in my current job, and move into another. I thought this would be a good time for reflection on the past 9 months I have been working full-time night shifts at a care home:

Night shifts have been challenging, and have changed the way I socialise. I often had to withdraw my participation in social events in order to ensure I wasn’t tired, and a lot off my days of were spent sleeping. Some groups I attend; I had to stop altogether.

This was my first ‘real’ full-time job, and through it I have become adapted to the workplace which, as it turns out, isn’t as scary or impersonal as I had thought.

There are a lot of real problems with current state of the health care system though, and this is much to the distress of those working in it who want to provide genuine care to patients. To start with, there is little incentive to work in care: the pay is often minimum wage, and employee benefits are non-existent… you don’t even get paid sick days. This alongside long shifts, short staffing, and cost-cutting, care is not an easy job to work in. Having worked in the private health care sector now for some time, it only redoubles my position against the privatisation of the NHS: when working for profit, those in charge find any way to cut down on costs: lowering the workforce numbers, providing cheaper meals for patients, and supplying care staff with cheap, easily-broken equipment to use for their job. When seeking to make a profit, corners are cut, and in health care, this shouldn’t happen.

That being said, I worked alongside some very caring and compassionate people, who disliked the state of health care as much as I. They would go out of their way for the benefits of the patients, and on a 12-hour shift, maintaining a high level of motivated compassion can sometimes be trying. Some openly admitted they didn’t expect to become rich by working in care, but that didn’t seem to bother them. The level of human interaction, the visible benefit of your work; these were often rewarding enough.

I also met some people there who I have learned a lot from: people who, because of unfortunate circumstances, had their lives changed by disabilities, and face ongoing health challenges with that. Yet who, after a fortnight in hospital, can still come back and greet you with a joke…

I’m not sure what the next job will hold: it seems it will be less physically demanding, and during the day. I’m excited to begin, however!

 

 

First blog post

The first post is always the hardest… how do I set a precedent for a blog which essentially has the features of:

  • No specific topic;
  • No particular aim in mind;
  • and No definite consistency

It is, therefore, essentially a personal blog on which to verbalise (visually) my thoughts. Though I do hope these are of interest to others in some manner too…

When we write, whether anyone will actually see it or not, we write for an audience of our imagining. I therefore will be writing for an audience of varying interests who will dip in and out, I assume.

The aim of any first blog post seems to be to set a tone, or outline the purpose of a blog. Well, I am bad at this. So now that this awkwardness is over, feel free to regret ever wondering what my first post was.