• 28 by 28,  Health & Lifestyle,  Minimalism,  Nerdy / Geeky,  Recaps,  Studies

    Monthly Recap: August 2018

    It’s the end of summer! September has started, which means autumn is coming! I absolutely love autumn, it’s my favourite season, so I can’t wait! 🍂

    This time of year is usually “New Years” for me — that is, that period where you can truly start over and really feels like a fresh new start, or a new year. That’s the thing with me: January doesn’t feel like a new year at all, because how could it? Usually, I’m just doing the same thing I was doing in December, so how can it be a fresh start? It really doesn’t feel like one. But when summer ends and autumn comes knocking on the door, that’s when I feel like life is changing enough to feel like a fresh start. So, in a way, September is more of a January to me than January is.

    Anyway! This is the last post of the summer, and hopefully, it’s going to be the start of me blogging a bit more often. This is probably going to be the most positive post ever, as so many good things happened towards the end of August! So, without further ado, let’s get right into it.

    How August Felt

    August felt a bit like the “waiting” month. There was quite a bit of waiting around to be done for the majority of it, and at the end, it was all frantic and very stressful! But then it absolutely shot up in quality at the end of those few stressful days. ✨

    Those who have been through it themselves probably know that what I have described is the usual pattern of moving. I mentioned in my last recap that Peter and I had found a flat in Stirling. We finalised everything at the beginning of August and decided our move-in date would be the 25th of August. That meant that August was a bit of a weird month: some waiting around to do at the beginning; many, long preparations for moving in the middle; the stressful few days of the move towards the end; and then the absolute bliss that came after moving, as our living conditions improved drastically.

    Due to moving taking up so much energy, both mentally and physically, my projects and hobbies fell to the wayside a little. But it was for a good cause: the move into the much nicer flat improved my mood immensely, which in turn improved everything else. Seriously, so many positive things happened along with/after my move, it was such a big catalyst for positivity in my life. 🌟

    Also, we did still spend the majority of the month at the old, horrible flat, which meant I was in a slump during the “waiting around” period, again. This time, though, I at least had something to look forward to: I had an actual countdown of the days we had left there! I could finally say, “Only X days and I don’t have to endure any of this anymore!” whenever something negative happened, or during nights when it was too hot to sleep comfortably. That had a small positive effect in the meantime, but the move itself and living in an actual pleasant environment had by far the biggest positive effect.

    So kind of a weird month in terms of feelings and what was happening: it went by slowly at the beginning, then the stress made everything go by really quickly! As if someone messed around with the playback settings. Also somehow my birthday was in there, but I was too preoccupied with other things to truly organise something for it. Though that’s okay because honestly, this incredibly lovely flat is the absolute best gift I could have received this year. 💖 I think, even with all the stress, I still think of August as a positive month, as a big, positive change happened during it; and everything about this change was more than needed and welcome.

    Real Life

    First of all, even though I am repeating myself: the move happened! We moved! We actually did it! And we relocated to an entirely new city, too. It stressed me out a lot, for many reasons (there was so much to do — not just packing, but getting rid of all the furniture as the flat was unfurnished and the landlords weren’t re-letting it; and of course cleaning it, which took a lot of effort, as the flat was prone to constant dust and mould, but I really wanted all of the deposit back out of it), to a point that at times I thought moving wasn’t going to be possible by our original timescales. But with some clever thinking and lots of help from Peter’s family, we actually got everything done in time, to my relief. So we did it! As of the 25th of August, we are no longer living in Perth, and also no longer living in an extremely unpleasant, badly insulated, mouldy property right next to a horrible, rough pub! ✌

    Our new flat has turned out to be even nicer than we thought it would be. 💖 My view is much lovelier now (my bedroom window looks over the shared garden we have, which has a little birdhouse in it! I’m going to feed all the birds!), the area is much, much nicer (we are surrounded by other nice houses and lots of greenery, trees and flowers — there’s a small park right outside our doorstep and a much bigger one just 5 minutes walk away! 💚) and so much quieter!

    Honestly, my first day at this flat has been the first day I have enjoyed spending in my own flat; it was the first day after two years that I spent in peace and quiet, with absolutely zero noise from loud drunk/high people; it was my first silent day in two years. I’m not exactly sure how to convey the feeling that I felt after the first day here — it was surreal to be enjoying peace again, to not have to deal with the noise of either the pub, its people or random town centre noise. The noise was my ‘normal’ for two whole years, I could never escape it, even though I really wished I could. It’s a mind-boggling thought, the fact that I had zero peace and quiet in my own flat for two entire years… but that’s how it was. But now… I don’t have to endure that anymore! Now I’m far away from that flat, that alleyway and those people! I said goodbye forever to that flat and I will never be living in it, or have to deal with its terribleness ever again!! This thought absolutely fills me with joy every time I think about it. 💖✨💞

    Other equally important things I love about our new flat: lots and LOTS of natural light! ☀ This flat is super bright (our old was a cave and I hated it, I need the light!) and I love that! It means I can have plants again! 🌿 The city centre is only 10 minutes walk away — it’s near enough to not be a hassle going into the centre, but also far enough that we don’t get any noise from it, which is perfect. Our bills here are going to be cheaper as it’s well insulated (the windows are modern and new!), with good gas heating and no rechargeable meter — and also we are with a better energy company now that uses 100% renewable energy! 💚 And, last but not least… we have a jacuzzi bath! We only found this out the day we moved in! 😂 I’m going to enjoy taking lots of relaxing baths while I read a book, something I haven’t been able to do in years! ❤️ And we have a cosy fireplace, too! 💕

    And lately, thanks also to the natural light, I’ve been waking up early without needing an alarm! I just seem to naturally wake up between 7-8am, which is fantastic. I wake up early, have more hours in the day to enjoy and be productive, and it also means that I go to bed early, too — and I can actually go to bed early now, because I don’t have to wait for the pub to close late or for the drunk crowd to disperse; they don’t keep me up at night anymore and I can go to bed whenever I want and fall asleep immediately! Finally, I am getting into a good sleep schedule again! I have a normal routine again, which will enable me to be more productive! This is so exciting and it makes me so happy! 💛

    Already, the peace and quiet, the lovely area and environment, and my sleep schedule getting fixed have had a massive positive impact on my mood. I feel happier, healthier, more in control — the days don’t pass me by anymore while I’m in a sad, anxious or unmotivated slump, and my days don’t end with me beating myself up over it and ultimately feeling frustrated at my circumstances. This is such a great change and improvement for me. 💞

    After about a couple of days, I was already completely and totally in love with the flat. 💗 The flat is just so lovely and cosy that honestly, I look forward to spending autumn and winter here! 🍁🧡 I can’t wait for the scenery to change, for the leaves to turn orange and fall, and for it to be colder, while Peter and I are snug inside our little flat. 💓

    This is truly the first property I’ve lived in, in Scotland, that actually feels like home. Our home. 💝

    Another real life update that is worth mentioning is the fact that I have reconnected with old friends. Due to my deep depression last autumn and winter, I had pushed away pretty much every friend I had in real life. You know how it goes: mental illness always makes you isolate yourself. I cut contact with a bunch of people, though I didn’t really mean to, because I was not in a good place mentally and emotionally. But with my improved mood and the move, I was finally able to reconnect with those I had lost contact with. I messaged people that my anxiety was blocking me from messaging, and they were actually happy to hear from me, to talk to me again and to hear how well things are going for me now (and they were very understanding when I mentioned I had disappeared due to depression); other people messaged me because they saw that I moved and the move gave them a good excuse to ask how I was and reconnect with me, which was fantastic; I’m even talking to a friend I haven’t talked to since high school ended now, because they got back in contact after wishing me a happy birthday! It’s incredible but it feels absolutely amazing to have all of my close friends back. ❤ It’s great to know people care about me and that they like being my friends.

    University

    I’m starting university on Tuesday! That’s the other big news, I’m officially a student again! 😄 So from now on, university will have its own little space in the monthly recaps.

    Peter and I had induction on Friday, the very last day of August, and classes are officially starting this week. I absolutely love both the college and university campuses. Our first two years of our course are at college and the last two at uni, but we count as university students right from the get-go, which means we can use all the facilities and join all the clubs there! On this course, we seriously get the best of both worlds — the cosiness and small classes of the college, but also the whole university package at uni. 👌

    The campuses of both are gorgeous and surrounded by greenery and nature. The university is massive and it has its own loch and mini castle!! I am completely in love with it! They have everything up there, including a discounted cinema for students! They have 120 clubs and societies too! There are a bunch of societies I want to join/try out — for now I know for certain that I want to join the Creative Writing society, for obvious reasons. 😁 This will be the first time I can actually meet other people in real life who like writing… I’m so happy and excited! 💖

    On Tuesday I’m being thrown into the deep end! They’ve put us to work on a project for a real life client straight away! We’ll be supervised by the lecturers and some second-year students, but it’s still real work. I’m in one of the audio groups and our job is to work on a podcast for said client. I can’t wait! I’ll get to work on a podcast — it’s so exciting! ✨

    This semester we also have a photography module (it’s just an introductory one, so I’m pretty confident I’ll do well! 😆) and a “writing for the media” module! I can’t wait to do some writing!! I’m so excited!! 😆🌟

    Hobbies

    This section is gonna be pretty short — as I mentioned above, the move made August weird and it took up all of my physical and mental energy. That said, I did manage to make progress with a couple of hobbies!

    📷Photography: I covered Slough Feg’s gig in Edinburgh! I even managed to talk to the band after the show and it was a fantastic experience! The photographs that came out of that gig are some of the best ones I have ever taken, I really like a whole bunch of them, and so did my Editor in Chief — he said they were “ace!” 😆 I think this gig has to be a milestone for me, for how far I’ve come as a gig photographer: in 2016, all I had was a basic digital camera (not even a DSLR as I couldn’t even change the lens on it) and not really an understanding of photography, it was under this weird fog that I didn’t know how to lift; but then, I signed up for classes and worked on it, I got a good camera and a good understanding of photography, the flame was lighted and now these are the gig photos that I take (or rather, make) in 2018! 🌟 And for a music magazine, no less! I feel really proud of myself, even though I know I still have so much more growing to do as a photographer. But I’m ready for it, so bring it on! 💪 I can’t wait to see what photos I’ll be making in a few years’ time!

    📺TV shows are probably the only thing I had the energy for before and after the move. Peter and I finished the first season of Honey & Clover and are currently halfway through season 2. We don’t have many episodes left and Peter says the story can’t get resolved in less than 10 episodes… I’ve read the manga a few years ago, so I know how it ends, but I’m really curious how Peter will feel after the ending. Either way, I am prepared to cry my eyes out again, just like I did when I finished the manga. 😭 Other than Honey & Clover, we’ve also restarted watching season 2 of Twin Peaks after moving into the new flat and we were pleasantly surprised to see that it’s gotten good again! There were too many episodes that were boring or had flat-out nonsensical plots at the halfway point, but now we’re enjoying it again. We shall soon be finishing it and then we can start season 3! As for movies, Peter and I have caught up with some of those that were released this year but that we didn’t go and watch (because the cinema is crazy expensive), namely The Last Jedi and Blade Runner 2049. We didn’t really like the former, but the latter was an absolute masterpiece, we loved it. More recently, we watched Christopher Robin at the cinema with some friends as our “last activity together” in the old town before we moved (they also had free tickets so yay). I really liked the writing in that movie. 💕

    🎮Video games also remained the one constant during the move. 😛 I finished playing in my Blood Bowl league and ended up fifth overall after losing my very last match. I was invited to join the higher up league, however, I decided to retire my Tolkien Throwaways wood elf team as I wanted to experiment with a more bashy team (I was kind of tired of half my team getting injured every time 😅). At the moment I’m trying out Lizardmen and I like them a lot. My team is the Teen Mutant Ninja Saurus (unfortunately Teen Mutant Ninja Lizards was already taken) and I have named all of my players after Italian Renaissance painters. Peter said it was a pretty good theme. 😆 I might join another league with them sometime. I haven’t started Mass Effect 2 yet, but I will soon. I also finished Life is Strange at the beginning of the month. I started playing Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns for the 3DS, as it was a very welcome gift from Peter and my (now ex) flatmate. 💖 I love it, it’s so much fun! I’m already in Autumn of Year 1, despite having received it right before my birthday (20th of August) and having played it only for a few days before having to put it down for the move… and I haven’t touched it since as I was too busy enjoying the new flat and settling in. 😅 But I’ll be getting back to it soon! An online friend also got me Ghost of a Tale as a birthday present, which I’ve been wanting to play for ages! 💞 So I’ll get on that soon, too! There are a couple of games I want to get/play once my student loan comes in, namely Okami for the Switch (I played it on Wii the first time, so I’m super excited to use the same controls again!), which is one of my favourite games of all time, and Darkest Dungeon. And speaking of Switch, on the day of my actual birthday I received the best present ever: Grandia is coming to Switch in HD! My favourite game of ALL TIME, my childhood is coming to the Switch!! I am so happy about this, I actually cried! 😭 I am definitely getting this as soon as it comes out. 💖

    Projects

    There isn’t much to report on the projects front, again, due to how busy I’ve been for the move. Buuuut… I’m happy to report that, following my huge improvement in mood and the positive effect that the new flat has had on me, I’ve actually felt really inspired to work on videos! ✨

    Also, the bright natural light coupled with the constant peace and quiet means… that I am now able to record and film my Youtube videos more easily now and can do so whenever I want! 😁 I can finally properly kickstart my Youtube channel, the way I’ve always wanted to! Since I feel so inspired to make videos, something should definitely be happening this month! I really want to put up a video or two! Let’s hope I succeed. 💖

    28 by 28 Checkpoint

    So here’s what I was able to tick off the 28 by 28 list this month!

    1. Moving to a nicer flat. 💖
    2. Getting into a good sleep schedule.
    3. Added another finished video game to the list: Life is Strange. Currently sitting at 3 out of 5!
    4. Getting rid of 30 items of any kind that I don’t need: this was actually achieved during the move! I gave all kinds of stuff away to charity and friends — books, games (those were traded in and were only 3), all of my single-issue comics (which took up a lot of space), 5 whole kg of old/broken clothes (those were given away to recycling), and various bits and pieces that had somehow come into my possession over the years, but for which I really didn’t care at all, and felt they’d be better off with someone who actually liked them and could get some use out of them (among those things were also a couple of bags I had gotten for free but never, ever used, and would very certainly never use for myself). I didn’t take any pictures, but I know for sure that I definitely hit my target here! It felt so good to get rid of stuff! 😁
    5. I modified point 28 slightly in order to include my reconnecting with old friends, which was definitely important to me. ❤

    I am very proud of all these achievements this month! 💪 I crossed off some big ones, too! 😁 Way to go, self! ✨

    Thoughts on August

    August was odd: first, it was a month of waiting; then, it was a month of stress; and at the end, it was definitely a month of happiness. But, despite the fact that the majority of the month was spent at the negative flat, I can’t help but still regard it as a positive, happy month. It brought a much-needed change, an absolutely lovely new place for me and Peter to live in, the start of a fun and creative degree where I get to learn new things and do what I love, and reconnecting with close friends. I made real, actual progress on my 28 by 28 list and my mood is so good at the moment, that I can only view this month as a total success under many lights. And the fact that this entry has been nothing but full of super positive things makes me really happy. 💖

    Plans for September

    I don’t have that many plans for September, mostly because, since university is starting soon, I think I will have to adapt to my new busy schedule of having lectures and doing a lot of projects/homework. So I don’t want to set anything in stone until I am more settled into my new routine. So these aren’t “plans” as much as “things I’d like to and hopefully will get done if everything goes well” — but there’s no hard pressure on me to meet these plans because of my current situation. Then again, I set no plans last month either (other than moving), and look how much progress I made on my 28 by 28 list! Anything can happen when I don’t put pressure on myself. 😁 So let’s jot these down as potential plans/ideas for September:

    1. Join a society and/or sports club during Freshers’ Week.
    2. Get back into reading more and finishing the sci-fi books I started, possibly read some more Lovecraft.
    3. Finish Twin Peaks season 2 and start season 3.
    4. Finish a video game.
    5. Work on videos and upload one this month.
    6. Blog more.

    That’s it for August. Time to get ready for autumn and uni! 💪

  • Personal

    27th Birthday

    It’s my birthday! Wow, this takes me back. Writing about my birthday on my blog. I used to write a “birthday entry” every year back when I had a LiveJournal and I did that rigorously for at least 10 years (even more if you count the years prior to that where I had an Italian blog). It was a real tradition for me. Every time, I would get swamped with “happy birthday” comments and it made me really happy to receive those.

    As the years went by, I started using these “birthday entries” to reflect on myself, to write about how it felt to be older (if it did) and how I felt in general. So this is the kind of entry that this post is going to be. 😛

    Firstly, even though I don’t really like admitting it… I’m turning 27 this year. In a way, it feels like I’ve been 27 for a whole year already: even though I was 26, what I really kept thinking was, “I’m almost 27.” When I had my depressive episodes where I would tell myself how much of a ‘failure’ I was for not achieving things (i.e. not having a degree yet, not having a career yet, etc.), I would always say, “I am turning 27” — sometimes I would even just outright think, “I am 27 years old.” So it feels… kind of weird to actually be 27. In my mind, I’ve been 27 for a long time already; I really did not get to enjoy being 26 or even feel 26 much this year. But then again, I barely felt like myself for a long stretch of time — from the beginning of autumn in 2017 until the coming of spring this year — thanks to depression. So really, with half the year gone and my birthday being in summer, I only had around 5-6 months to feel 26. So, it’s definitely peculiar to “officially” be 27, just because I’d felt like I already was for so long.

    Nevertheless, even though the number 27 makes me feel old and stresses me out a bit because it’s so close to 30… I feel okay being 27. I know I’m not where I thought I would be by this age, but… I am okay with it.

    I spent half of my 26th year beating myself up for not being where I thought I should be. But one thing I have really come to terms with this year is that it doesn’t matter. And also that there’s no rush in life. It’s not a competition, it’s not a race. People just are all at different stages in their lives at different points.

    I know people who are younger than me who went to uni straight out of high school, got a degree before me and are now trying to get started on their career; others instead have just become lost after graduation. I know people who are older than me and who have also just started their degrees and when they’ll be finished, they’ll be even older than when I’ll be graduating; and that’s perfectly okay, even great, because we’re following our dreams and now that we are older we have more of a plan. I know people who are working but would like to change career; I know others who are happy with what they have, with whatever job they can find. All of it is just different stages, at different ages, with different goals… and it’s all fine and valid. It’s all okay, no matter what stage you are at now.

    That’s the one big lesson I learned in my 26th year of life. I struggled to accept where I was because I thought it wasn’t where I should be… but there’s no “should”, no rule that says I should be at X stage at X years old.

    Besides, I achieved plenty of things outside of the realm of academia/work this year. In autumn, I was lost, I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life. Of course, it wasn’t fun feeling that way, but I did eventually figure out a path, a path that is starting in two weeks. I’m going back to university to study writing, photography, radio and video production, among other creative things, and I can’t wait! I’m also relocating to a new city, which means I will get a nice change of scenery, and I will be moving into a delightful and lovely flat, which will do wonders for my mood. After years of negativity, things are finally looking up for me and I can get my shot at a little happiness. 💖

    I guess I’m just proud of myself for enduring the negative stuff for so long, for holding out and never giving up, even in the face of despair. I am proud that I dealt with and defeated depression and suicidal thoughts. I am happy that I figured out a path, I am happy that that path is starting, I am happy that I have plans and I hope this will lead to the career that I want and to the financial stability that I need. I am happy that, in general, I have a lot to look forward to again. ❤

    So here’s to my 27th birthday! May my 27th year bring a lot of happiness and positive changes into my life. 💝

  • Recaps

    Monthly Recap: July 2018

    It is quite hard for me to believe that July is over already. Where did it go? What happened to time? I was planning on writing another blog post this month before the monthly recap, but I did not have enough motivation and mentally I was going through a tough time as well. This recap will be different from June’s, as in, I won’t be going through every category, but rather I will talk only about what I have actually done and achieved, skipping the categories where no progress was made. This is so I can avoid repetition, but it also has to do with some conclusions I came up with following some intense anxiety episodes this month, which I will talk a bit about here. So, without further ado, let’s talk about July.

    How July Felt

    July very much passed too quickly. I honestly almost have no recollection of what actually happened this month. I spent a lot of days unmotivated, anxious and, for lack of a better word, depressed. My mood was pretty low and I felt there was nothing I could do about it. This state of mind tired me out mentally a lot, which in turn also tired me out physically, which in turn meant I had very little energy to actually do anything.

    Partially I feel the fault of this also lies in my surroundings. I talked about the negative effects that the flat I currently live in has on me, especially my mental wellbeing, so it’s of no surprise that it has once again played a big part in putting me into a slump. For pretty much the entirety of July, Scotland has been hit by a heatwave and it has been very hot (and especially humid). Given the poor insulation in our flat, it will be of no surprise that it became some kind of oven, where it was actually hotter inside than it was outside. Nighttime then became the worst time to be in the flat, as it would be too hot to sleep comfortably (but leaving the window open would pretty much be out of the question unless I wanted to be woken up by random drunk people in the middle of the night). I spent many nights of the month (in fact, I would argue the majority of nights) sleeping very poorly and as a result, I’d wake up tired, with no energy and late in the morning.

    My energy was thus depleted by lack of proper sleep, suffering the heat and anxious/depressed moods, which in turn also influenced my energies. For the majority of the month, I was trapped in a pretty bad negative cycle that took a big toll not just on my productivity, but also on my mood.

    As a result of all this, and as you might have already guessed by the tone of this recap… I did not get as much done this month as I would have liked to. Indeed, this thought of not having done much also added to my anxious and depressed mood, which made it even more difficult to do anything.

    It was only until much later in the month that I confronted some of these anxieties and was able to actually make some new discoveries about myself, especially when it comes to the question: “Why do I procrastinate?”. These discoveries, along with a change of scenery towards the end of the month, improved my mood immensely and the relaxation that followed made me a tiny bit more productive as well.

    I will make a post where I go in-depth into these discoveries, especially in regards to procrastination, as I feel it deserves its own post rather than be put into a monthly recap.

    I am currently writing this recap from Peter’s house, where we are spending a little holiday week, just the two of us and his cat, while his family is away. This is the change of scenery that I was referring to above and I found that already on Saturday and Sunday my mood had improved a lot and I could focus on my hobbies again.

    Another thing that added to my depressive thoughts and mood was my financial situation. It’s summer, which means I am going through the harshest financial problems of the year. Since I am unemployed (for a variety of reasons that are out of my control), I have been financially dependant on my father to survive. Unfortunately, summer is the period of the year where he makes the least money, which means I just plain don’t get money from him to survive. This stresses me out, a lot, and has a massive impact on my mood. Unfortunately, I found that exercising and meditating didn’t help much with this, either. I felt very frustrated, as physically speaking, I was doing all that I could to minimise my depressive moods; but, at the end of the day, no matter how much I exercised or meditated, the fact remained that I was (and still am) broke, with no real timescale of when I could receive financial help (my father is pretty unreliable – he will tell me he’ll send me money on a specific day, then when that day comes, he just says he’ll send help on another day instead, and so it goes until the month is over and I have received almost zero financial help) – and mentally, this depressed me and stressed me out, with all its physical ripercussions.

    Anyway, that is all in regards to how July felt. Now, I did get some things done, so let’s focus on the positive stuff! 😄

    Real Life

    I am including real life updates in this recap as I have some good news! So, for the past month, Peter and I had been on the lookout for a flat in Stirling, which is where we’ll be attending university. Our course begins in September, so really we only had a month and a half to find a place. Not many flats were popping up and not a lot of people were replying to our emails… So I decided to put up an ad of our own. It took about 2 weeks, but eventually, a landlady replied and we arranged to go and see her property.

    I am happy to say that we completely fell in love with her property as soon as we saw it. It is everything we were looking for in our next flat: it’s in a nice, quiet area, with quiet neighbours, close to a park and with plenty of greenery; the flat has a shared garden, gas heating (with no re-chargeable meter, which means our bills are going to be much cheaper!), good windows, plenty of space and it lets in a lot of natural light! Basically, it’s the complete opposite of the flat we are living in now and honestly, I still can’t quite believe our luck! The flat is seriously a great catch. We’re finalising things this week, but our move-in date should be the 25th of August, which works out really well for us (as induction week starts on the 28th).

    I am so excited to move there – I’m most excited about being in a quiet area and enjoying my living arrangements again. ❤ We had honestly gotten so tired of living in the middle of town and in one of the noisiest (and probably roughest) areas of the centre, too. This flat is about 10-15 minutes away from the centre of the city and I honestly couldn’t be happier about it – we much prefer living a short walk away than be right in the centre. Plus, it’s just better than our current flat in every possible way. I never thought we’d find such a nice flat, but somehow it found us. It has been a long time coming.

    So I am happy to say that, finally, we have found a nice flat. Finding the flat has had an incredibly positive effect on my mood; not just because it’s a great catch, but also because we have finally sorted out our living arrangements in Stirling before university starts, which means we will not have to commute at all. I was beginning to worry that we might not find anything on time, but now I don’t have to stress over that anymore! Plus, when we move, that will be point 1 of my 28 by 28 list achieved! Hooray!

    In other positive news, and to contrast my current dire financial situation, I have been approved to receive the maximum student loan, so I will be able to rely less on my father while I go to university. I should get the first payment of the loan on August 29th and hopefully, with that, I’ll be able to breathe a little and not stress so much about money anymore. That does mean I have to get through August, somehow… but I’m trying not to think about it this week, at least. I have a lot to look forward to and a lot to prepare for (the move, the start of university, the loan coming in) and right now I’m just trying to enjoy our holiday week as much as possible.

    That is all for real life, but finding the flat was quite an important update which will have many positive impacts (especially on my mood and wellbeing), so it deserved a lot of attention. I am so happy about this and absolutely cannot wait to move. 💖

    Hobbies

    Unfortunately, my anxious and depressed moods influenced my hobbies negatively, as I often didn’t have the energy for them, or simply could not enjoy them fully. That said, towards the end of the month, at the beginning of our little holiday, I was in a more relaxed state of mind and I found that I could concentrate and enjoy them again.

    📚Reading was something that fell a bit to the wayside in July, but I’m happy to say that I have picked it up again and with a vengeance! Although I haven’t finished any of the books I had been reading last month, I am now making good progress on them and I can read for long periods of time without losing my concentration. I am almost halfway through No Problem Here, I have almost finished The Time Machine and I have started two new books (just because I felt like it!): War of the Worlds and The Lonely City. I have missed fiction a lot lately, especially good science fiction, so I decided to keep on going with more H.G. Wells. The Lonely City is not quite fiction, but it’s not “hard” non-fiction either (it’s not about sociology or stats, like No Problem Here), and so far it has been a pleasure to read. Plus, the topic is really interesting to me and one I think about a lot.

    Reading The Lonely City is actually inspiring me to do a photography project about what it feels and what it looks to be lonely. It’s just an idea I have for now, but nonetheless, it is flying around in my head. Speaking of 📷photography, I will be covering Slough Feg‘s gig in Edinburgh on the 1st of August for RockShot! I’m super excited about that! I’m a huge fan of Slough Feg – in fact, their gig in Glasgow in 2016 was the very first “proper gig” I went to and I loved every second of it. And this time, I’ll be photographing them and writing about their gig for a magazine! I never thought I’d be doing this two years later… It’s a bit crazy to think how stuff like that happens. It feels almost like a dream.

    As for 🖋writing, I did write a tiny fiction story… though I wasn’t very satisfied with it. Regardless, it felt good to do so, as I felt I was letting go of a block that had been plaguing me for months. Even though the story isn’t good by my standards, I recognise that writing it was nevertheless important, as it was more about the act itself rather than what I wrote. I am hoping that I will feel more inspired, especially by the shows I have watched and the books I have read recently, to write something I can be proud of.

    I also finally made another dent in my 28 by 28! In terms of 🎮video games, I have finished Mass Effect (which was something I wanted to do by the end of July) and I absolutely loved it. I can definitely see myself replaying this game in the future. The gameplay was lots of fun and I could make different choices in my next playthrough. Right now, however, I’ll be moving onto Mass Effect 2. I’ve also been keeping up with my Blood Bowl league and right now my Wood Elf team, the Tolkien Throwaways, are first on the leaderboard! I was pleasantly surprised to see that last night after I won my 7th match 3-0. Only two more matches to go and it’s a real possibility that I might come into the top 3! 🌟

    The past couple of days I was so relaxed that I also watched 📺tv shows – some of which were anime, which I hadn’t watched since 2014! I watched Wotakoi, after hearing good things about it and I enjoyed it a lot. Just in general, I enjoyed watching anime again – I had forgotten how fun it is to just sit down with an animated 20-minute episode and relax completely. It was a good show, too – I enjoyed it so much that I couldn’t stop watching it and ended up marathoning all 11 episodes in two days. I will very probably make a youtube video reviewing it, too! After that, I restarted watching Sailor Moon Crystal and Honey & Clover, both of which I had started years ago but never finished. This time around though, I’d like to complete both of them! I love these series so much, I don’t think I could ever grow out of them, to be honest. I’m happy that I am enjoying anime again. ❤

    Projects

    I’ll be honest – I haven’t worked on my projects as much as I would have liked to, for all the reasons I have talked about in this post. I did work a bit on my GIRLHAMMER video, though, which I was happy about. It’s not finished yet, but… I’m working on it. I’m getting there. Battling my non-existent motivation and my anxieties when it comes to Youtube isn’t easy, but I’m doing it, little by little. And I have decided not to beat myself up over it in this recap and instead be kind to myself. I’m working hard behind the scenes and on myself, and that’s what matters. ❤

    Thoughts on July

    I am not particularly happy with how July went, but that’s okay. I made some important self-discoveries, took steps in addressing my anxiety and procrastination and rediscovered some pleasures I had forgotten (i.e. anime). I’m currently on holiday, enjoying myself, relaxing and having a nice time, which is really positive. Despite my mood and my emotions this month, I still made some progress on my 28 by 28 list, which I had almost given up on this month, and that makes me feel really accomplished. And of course, let’s not forget the biggest mood-lifter of the month… finding a lovely flat in Stirling! 💖

    Even though I felt really down this month, good stuff still happened, and I’m glad for that. So good job, self. ✨

    Plans for August

    I will be honest – at the moment, I’m really not sure how much I can achieve in August, especially if this low mood and low energy persist due to my current living situation. So I don’t want to write down plans this month, as I don’t want to beat myself up for not achieving what I had planned while knowing that there are definitely some big external obstacles that prevent me from doing so.

    So, here’s my one definite plan for August:

    1. Move to the nice flat in Stirling! 💖

    And that will be all. Whatever I achieve after that, it will be a positive surprise!

  • Recaps

    Monthly Recap: June 2018

    It’s time for June’s recap! Every month, I will do a recap to note down what I have done, what I have accomplished, how I felt and how the big picture looks. My hope is that these recaps will encourage me to be productive during the month so that I will have many things to write here – but I’m also not taking them too seriously to the point of making myself feel bad if I don’t have much to write. As I said, it’s an encouragement and also a way to draw notes and reflect on things.

    So without further ado, let’s talk about June!

    How June Felt

    June felt… like a weird month. I had a serious block for the first two weeks. I wanted to do things, but couldn’t bring myself to do anything. I wasn’t inspired or motivated and there was a block preventing me from working on my blog and my videos – I just couldn’t write and felt like I wouldn’t be satisfied with anything I wrote.

    This block persisted for just over two weeks. I think it was caused by some fears and anxieties I was going through without realising them, and me putting some very high expectations upon myself subconsciously.

    Around the 20th of the month, I was finally able to get over this block. I changed my scenery for a weekend by spending it at Peter’s house and suddenly inspiration struck, and tons of it. While there, I was able to finally start working on the script for my Wonder Woman video and ended up writing 4,500 words – about half of the video – in just a weekend. It was just incredible how a weekend in a place with some peace and quiet (as opposed to the flat I live in), which also put me in a relaxed state of mind, had such a great impact on my inspiration and productivity.

    This also resulted in me in re-thinking how I approach my tasks and how I think of my productivity; and it made me reach the conclusion that traditional “discipline” doesn’t really work on me, but rather, I should be finding ways to trigger my inspiration, which results in me working better, longer and faster (when compared to when I force myself to work instead).

    Reaching this realisation completely changed the way I work and think about my productivity, so I think there are more discoveries to be made in the coming months as I try different methods to “trigger” my inspiration. I feel like I’m finally onto something here and I hope to make more helpful discoveries. 😊

    One of these “triggers” seem to have to do with a change of scenery, possibly to a nicer, quieter place – basically the complete opposite of my current flat. I’ve felt for a good while now that my current flat was having a negative impact on my productivity (and my mood too, which also affected my productivity negatively) and I think if anything, this little June episode confirms it. It has never been a good place for my inspiration, creativity, productivity or mental wellbeing.

    In the long-term, I can combat this problem by moving to a nicer place. I am already making preparations to move out of my current town to the city where I’ll be attending university and I can’t wait to find a nicer flat there. 😄

    Alright, now that I’ve talked about the importance that June played emotionally and mentally, and how most of the productive stuff was done in the last 10 days or so, let’s talk about what I achieved!

    Lifestyle Habits

    It saddens me to say it, but there have been no concrete changes in my lifestyle habits just yet. But! I am working on it! 💪

    Firstly, I am reading a book about mindfulness meditation called Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World. I have only read the introduction so far, which talks in-depth about the positive effects of mindfulness. I’ve practised mindfulness at different times in my life, but I’ve never kept it consistent, which is what I want to do now. Hopefully, by the next monthly recap, I’ll be halfway through this 8-week plan! 💪

    I haven’t made any progress towards minimalism or healthy eating yet. However, I did exercise this month! My online friends and I have a fitness group where we all post our progress, do the routines and cheer each other on. However, my terrible flat strikes again to break the eggs in my basket: my hard wooden floor makes it really hard to do any kind of exercise that requires lying down, which limits me when doing the exercise routines. I’m looking into getting a cheap but comfy yoga mat next month to exercise on so that I can do all the exercises and share my progress with my friends! This works out quite nicely (pun may be intended) to make exercise more palatable to my gym-hating self! 😆

    Hobbies

    In terms of 🖋writing, I haven’t written any fiction this month, or reviews. However, I did write scripts and map out my future youtube videos, so I’m still counting that towards writing! Especially the 4,500 words I wrote for my Wonder Wonder movie analysis video! Also, I have written a lot of pages for my blog, which counts too!

    In terms of 📚reading, I’m still going strong. I took out two books from the library in June: Leap Year and No Problem Here, both of which I have started. I’m still making good progress on all my other books, namely How to do Everything and Be Happy which I am finding okay to get through (although the fact that the book was intended at 40-something British people who work 9-5 jobs shows through a lot, there are still good lessons which I’ll use regardless of my current position). I haven’t read much in terms of fiction (other than for my Cringelit series), but that should change soon once I’m done with my current reads.

    📷Photography has been pretty abysmal this month. I was coordinating a fashion photoshoot with friends, but when my block hit, I let that fall to the wayside. I think I was just a bit burned out after taking gig photos at two gigs within the same month for the music magazine. I’m going to get that photoshoot done this month if possible! Also, I should get back to updating my Instagram accounts more!

    As for 🇫🇷languages, they also fell by the wayside. I’m actually thinking that it might be time to move beyond Duolingo, at least with my French and Norwegian, and find some more resources that go a bit deeper into learning grammar and so on and just keep Duolingo for vocabulary. I have an online friend who is studying French so we’ll have to plan something together! 🌟

    As for my current lists (the ones on the sidebar), not much has changed. I haven’t watched much or made progress with TV shows and movies (for most of them, I need to wait for my flatmates to be willing to watch them together, too). As for 🎲tabletop RPGs, the “second season” of our Mortal Kombat campaign has officially started and I can’t wait for the second session! I’ve got another Warhammer Fantasy campaign to play in too, GMed by my flatmate and I hope we can start it in July since everything for it is ready. As for 🎮video games, I have been playing Tekken 7 quite a lot and finished the main story recently. I’d like to think I’ve gotten better at it in the past week, but I’m still not great at it. I’m also now officially addicted to Morrowind. The game finally clicked with me and now I want to play it day and night! I’ve made a Paladin type character and am enjoying it a lot! ✨ I am currently level 2!! It’s so exciting! 😆 And finally, I have restarted playing Mass Effect (the first one). My goal is to finish it by the end of July!

    Projects

    My 📽Youtube channel kind of stalled this month, at least publicly (and the two weeks+ block didn’t help, either), but I’ve been doing a lot behind the scenes! Here is a neat list:

    1. I wrote 4,500 words, which is about half the script for my Wonder Woman movie analysis video! I don’t think this video will be ready in a month, it will probably take longer as I also work on other content. This does show, however, that if my inspiration is triggered, I can write quite a lot in the span of a couple of days! So I’m gonna try and trigger my inspiration again to work on this and do lots of research for the first part of the video (yeah, I want to cite sources and stuff. It’s quite a serious video). I’m pretty proud of what I’ve written so far though! 💖
    2. I recorded my first GIRLHAMMER video! Now that the recording is done, I need to sift through it, note down what lines need to be re-recorded and then gather some images for the visuals. I am about a third of the way through making this and I was pretty happy with the third take overall! I really want to put this online in July.
    3. I re-structured my first Cringelit video! The script was already finished, so it is now ready for filming! I’m also reading my third book for Cringelit! I hope to finish it in July and jot down some ideas for the script.
    4. I wrote down the main points of Episode 1 of TableTalk! I’m so excited about this one! Now it needs to be recorded.

    Yes, I am a bit crazy for working on 4 videos at the same time, but really I worked on what inspired me the most in the moment. I’ll be focusing on releasing GILRHAMMER episode 1 and TableTalk episode 1, while making progress on Cringelit and Wonder Woman in the background.

    As for my other project, my blog, well… you’re looking at it! 😆 I officially started my blog and shared it with people, which was a huge milestone for me! I’m still super happy about it. 💖 I managed to publish only two posts in June, but given my block, I’d say I’m counting this as a success! Plus, there are all my other pages too! Totally a success. 🌟

    Thoughts on June

    My block in June limited quite a bit how much stuff I was able to get done this month, but overall I’m happy with what I was able to do in the last 10 days! 💖💪

    I also feel like this entry was needed to give an “overview” of where I am starting at just now and to give a clearer context. Hopefully, as time goes by, I can look back at this recap and go, “Hey, that’s where I started and now I’ve come so far! Good job self!”

    Plans for July

    1. Upload a couple of videos to my Youtube channel and record a couple more.
    2. Finish the non-fiction books I’m currently reading and start reading some classic fiction.
    3. Finish Mass Effect and make more progress on my currently watching TV shows.
    4. Get back into photography and writing fiction!
    5. Do exercise and meditation!
    6. Blog a bit more in July!
  • Blog

    Début

    After what seems like an eternity, it feels weird but also extremely satisfying to be writing in a blog again and to be able to say: welcome to my blog.

    I stopped blogging in 2015 – not by choice, as much as by circumstance. There was a lot going on in my life, my entries in my old journal became pretty sporadic and I didn’t post anything after another long hiatus – effectively feeling and thinking that my journal was pretty much dead. This wasn’t as much of a decision, as much as it just happened.

    I tried to get back into blogging in 2016, but that was very short-lived due to having to face a really low point in my life, the lowest I have ever been. It was hard and it was crippling, and, since I didn’t want to turn my blog into a negative space, I decided to just delete it (there were only a couple of entries posted due to me not being in the right headspace to update a blog anyway).

    Then time passed. I got better. For the past year, I’ve always had this nagging thought in the back of my mind: “I want to start a blog again.” It was always there, it never left and would just pop back into the spotlight from time to time, then go to the back again, and so on and so forth. What stopped me ultimately was fear (of not keeping the blog as updated as I’d like it to be, fear to fail my expectations and my standards) and the fact that blogging seemed to have gone through some changes. Was anyone even interested in some old-fashioned blogging?

    Eventually, I came to the conclusions that: my fears were unfounded and not something I should give into – and, no matter how “scared” I got, the thought, “I want to do this” still persisted, which meant a part of me really wanted to do it; secondly, yes, some people still do the “old-fashioned” blogging about their lives and I and others enjoy reading that kind of thing; and ultimately, that my blog is something that is here for me first and foremost, something that I need to make myself happy, let out my thoughts, practice my writing… in general, it’s a very personal project meant for me, to make me feel good above all and anyone else.

    So after these realisations, there was nothing stopping me. I even got this little domain name a while back, while it was very cheap, and I decided I should put it to good use. And this time I didn’t just want a ‘journal’, but I wanted a blog with a purpose of some kind. And, due to the kind of person that I am and what is important to me, a motivational blog was the obvious choice.

    Motivation will play a big part in this blog, but it won’t be the only thing – there will be personal posts, posts about my life and of course my thoughts, too. Anything that I feel like writing in my little corner of the web.

    I’ve spent quite a bit of time on the major pages you see on the menu above and they really give you a nice picture of this blog, its purpose, the reason behind its name, what I hope to achieve, even my somewhat complicated relationship with the word “productive” and what my “philosophies” are when it comes to productivity – all of which form part of who I am. And of course, you’ll get to know me better as you keep reading my blog, too. 😄 I have many projects up my sleeve, many hobbies and there are many facets of me that I can’t wait to show the world!

    That said, I hope you’ll make yourself comfortable, maybe with a nice cup of tea, and enjoy the ride with me. 💝