We got that attitude! – 29th November 2020

I am so happy and grateful for the money I have behind me. I’m not rich by any means but have enough to do most anything that I want to do. Things would be a lot different if it wasn’t there.
I am so happy and grateful to have a friend with the same child-like wonder that I still have. We went for a long bike ride into the mountains, we didn’t talk much but were happy to be exploring the world with each other.

The Chiang Rai Alternative Hour #66 – The Ducks and Drakes of Evil – 28th November 2020

I don’t know how much longer we can keep this up. The ducks and drakes of evil are for a lesser form of people. The razor cuts, one hundred and twelve times, across the throat, the voices of reason.

Highly curated, carefully selected and specifically ordered* for your listening edification by world-renowned DJtenzenmen, who has over 100 years of experience in this business.

This week there’s music from Action Beat, Slapp Happy, Shudder To Think, 7 Seconds, Marnie Stern, Sleaford Mods, Slade, Neutral Milk Hotel, Sun City Girls, Umlaut, The Dickies, Dangerous Girls, Jawbreaker, Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Users, Orthrelm, Massicot and Trumans Water.

Incidentals taken from the Church of the Sub Genius Hour of Slack.

Listen right here or Podbean, Stitcher, Apple, Amazon…..all those cool places I guess.

* ie totally random.


Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful for a few hours of whisky-inspired singing to old favourite songs in my room last night.
I am so happy and grateful for the nice shirts I like to wear. I started wearing them at work just to stand out a little from the boring office shirts people always wore. Now I really enjoy a good-looking shirt.

We got that attitude! – 26th November 2020

I am so happy and grateful to be surrounded by jungle and to see how fast everything grows. I think the natural habitat will survive long after humans. It’s a battle to keep it at bay but it’s a joy to see how that everything we plant pretty much grows. Even things we don’t plant, like pumpkin and papaya, they just appear from random seeds we throw out.
I am so happy and grateful to enjoy certain freedoms that others can’t afford. I should do well to remember that, that they can be taken away at any moment.

Past is past is past is farce – 25th November 2020

“In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.”

– attributed to Buddha

In the end (what end?) none of this matters, but I played along anyway.

How much you loved.

Sometimes I loved too much, other times, not enough. I have loved different people but shown it in different ways. Does that mean the love was different? I have become more careful and selective with my love, perhaps to the point that I don’t love anyone or anything deeply anymore. This is a countermeasure against loss. The extreme loves of youth are more tempered now. I don’t feel like this was a conscious decision but a naturally evolving one. It has come with stronger self-confidence and self-esteem but also at a loss of close connections with people.

I grew up with a strong independent single mother who was already tired of dealing with other people and their bullshit. I have become like her. We are loners but not lonely and not lone wolfs. We are just happy by ourselves or, in my case, with one very special person around. All my acquaintances I still call friends, I just don’t interact with them so much. This sometimes gives me a false sense of understanding as, in my mind, they are the same person as the last time I met them and nothing should be different. I still have this feeling after what could be years without speaking. Obviously, that’s unrealistic.

I could dream about meeting an old girlfriend as if it was just a current continuation of that relationship from that time. Never mind, we would be twenty years older, married with kids since. Those feelings are still in my memories but reality is much cooler.

I’m surprised sometimes that I know I won’t have those butterfly feelings again. Experience and understanding (and time) has calmed them. I am no longer crazed and tempestuous but I am still alive and capable. It’s a double-edged sword. Those feelings were special and wild, extreme highs, but dampened by such extreme lows. Perhaps some of my father’s manic depression got passed on.

Now that I have balance I guess I’m somewhat boring.

How much I have loved? I loved myself selfishly 100%. I loved others occasionally, but 100%.

How gently you lived.

My memories of youth don’t seem particularly gentle but the deeper I go, under the piss and vinegar, there is a big softy. I was a teenage asshole, sometimes even to my best friends. I was less an early 20s asshole but still could be a mean son-of-a-bitch. Having now lived in other countries around the world I believe I was very well suited to the typical British contrarian and sarcastic humour. I can fall back into it instantly I meet an ex-pat, sometimes so obviously I kick myself for it. It does, however, still make me laugh.

So whether with the simple act of aging or with growth and understanding, I am living much more gently these days. I gave up eating meat when I was 14, something that I believe inspires a gentler life. I was quite aggressive about it at the beginning but don’t even think about it anymore and thankfully it’s so acceptable these days that it’s barely a topic for discussion. There was always a tension about it before, having to constantly provide justification for what was perceived as different.

I was mostly thoughtful on the inside but could let my emotions get out of control. I’m still envious of more balanced people I grew up with, especially some who had to deal with me. I know we’re all a little fucked up in some way but I do often wish I knew then what I know now (and was able to act on it). It’s ironic that folks said that I was mature for my age. I must have been a very good deceiver.

When I was 30 and getting divorced I went to the psychiatrist and got diagnosed with mild depression and started to take a low dose of medication that stabilised a lot of my out of control emotions. When I revealed this to my mother, she then revealed to me that my father had suffered from manic depression (now known as bipolar disorder). I guess things started falling into place.

It still took me another 10 years or so of growth to get to a point where I was mostly and consistently happy and this reflected in my attitudes and behaviors. Of course, by this time a lot of small unique habits had developed which often have me reflecting how much like my mother I have become. It’s neither good nor bad, it just is.

I saw an online post about how we spend our second 40 years dealing with our first 40 years. I certainly spend a lot of time reflecting on those first 40 years. I also feel that, despite being 13 past the mark, my first 40 years haven’t been completed yet.

Looking back over these words I wonder if I even know what living gently means in the context of my life. Living gently feels like I should be a monk who is careful not to step on an ant, something I was reminded of this morning when I crunched a snail under foot in my driveway – those damn snails are everywhere.

How gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.

I’ve been thinking about this one for a few days already. Letting go was always difficult when I was younger though something I seem to have improved at. However, when I think deeply about this the only ‘things’ I consider in my life (in connection to this subject) are people. After having moved across the world a couple of times already, things such as books, albums, videos, comics, furniture, clothes etc are all replaceable. Sometimes the fun in having (and losing) those things is more about the search and discovery of them again.

The ‘things’ I feel more attached too have personal meaning, such as old letters or photos but in consideration, I haven’t looked at my old letters since I left England in 1994. They are in the pile of things that I do want to go through again and perhaps document before I shuffle off.

So, that leaves people, particularly friends and girlfriends. With that I can only say that I have gotten better at it over time. Teenage/early 20s are typically messy and I was not mature and confident enough in myself to deal with letting go. Possibly this relates to a subconscious search for a mother figure to replace my mom and not having a father around to learn from.

Letting go also sometimes meant pushing away, and that is not graceful at all. I tried my best at the time.

I’m finding it hard to write more about this without going into painful detail. Perhaps considering things that I don’t wish to share about other people as much as about myself. I have few, if any, regrets but also can be nostalgic for certain times and places with certain people.

Finally, we cannot hold onto anything, nothing is actually meant for us, it is just our internal impression of it.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful to have to chance and opportunity to learn and grow and to try to better understand this thing called life. Many things are making more sense to me even though I struggle to be the better person that I want to be.
I am so happy and grateful to have the time and space to think and consider things. I also need to put these things into action. I have the time and space to do that too.

We got that attitude! – 24th November 2020

I am so happy and grateful to be able to easily find many books online that I want to read. There are too many and I will never be able to read them all but they are available at least.
I am so happy and grateful for my patience. A lot of the time I am in a rush as if time is running out but I impose that only on myself. I am generally very patient with other people. I like that about myself.

We got that attitude! – 23rd November 2020

I am so happy and grateful for everything in my home. I love it there. I love to watch the garden growing and changing over time. I love all the different ideas Amy comes up with to change things around.
I am so happy and grateful to be able to afford a MIDI keyboard and to have time to experiment and mess around with it. I hope I can learn how to use it properly.

2nd Feb 2023 – I can’t believe I’ve had the keyboard for two years already. It still sits in front of my computer screen generally gathering dust. It’s not that I couldn’t have time to use it but that I have enjoyed playing guitar regularly and at the moment I’m more focused on getting old information uploaded to here, which is a pretty monumental task. Also, despite my loving my home, the set up of my desk and computer are not really conducive for sitting for long periods of time so it’s not quite comfortable. I know it will take a good period of time, effort and concentration to learn to use the keyboard in the way that I want (actually it’s the software, not the keyboard particularly) but I am still weirdly optimistic that I will make more time in the future!

We got that attitude! – 22nd November 2020

I am so happy and grateful for my crappy shoes that I can just slip on and go. Easy for me though not so good for my feet. It’s a balance.
I am so happy and grateful for having drinking water. Even though we don’t have council-supplied drinking water and we have to filter it to make it drinkable at least we still have it in our house. I try to drink two glasses every morning, though today I didn’t and I probably should!