Thursday, October 22, 2009


I have a few dozen ideas for posts that I would like to write but never seem to be able to drag one to the forefront of my head and focus on it for long enough to actually get it written while I have time. I think I need to start making notes in a small notebook whenever the thoughts pop into my head and then I can use that as a reference later.

Work has been okay the last day or so after starting off very badly this week. I think in a way I had such a great weekend that the crapness of Monday felt even worse than it was. And it was pretty bad with one of the managers deciding to display his extremely unpleasant and arrogant side. I actually spent some time on Monday updating my CV. Need to tweak it a bit more and then do the English version as well. I've calmed down enough by now that I'm not going out looking for a job immediately. But I want to be prepared just in case anything came up out of the blue (which I think only happens in films) and just in general to make myself feel less trapped. The thing is that for what I do, I'm really very well paid at the moment (partially due to having transferred within the company from a country with far higher take home salaries which they had to try and get close to matching). But being sensible, until I have cleared my debt I cannot afford to earn much less than I am now.

Money is occupying my mind a good bit these days. I would like to try and save enough so that by this time next year, I have enough in saving to be able to pay off the rest (i.e. the last eight months) of my loan. As it's a fixed rate loan I can't pay it off early without having to pay penalties, but I'd be happy just to have the money saved up and earning a little bit of interest while the last months were being paid off. I don't see much scope for saving much until the new year but am planning to budget and track properly for November and December so that I will hopefully be well placed to start in January.

I've been reading a bit about what's called prepping (survivialism but not quite as extreme to my mind) and trying to get my head around all that as well. It's hard to decide how much I want to do. I do think that in my lifetime we're going to see huge changes in the world and it seems only sensible to make preparations to deal with whatever my come. And there is lots of stuff that can be done before you start having to consider finding somewhere to build a bunker. And the whole idea of living a simple life has a lot in common with the whole area of prepping in terms of self-reliance at least. On the other hand, a so-called simple life is generally one in which you're trying to rid yourself of an excess of material possessions and prepping involves accumulating things in a manner which comes a bit too close to hoarding.

I feel like I've been on a roller-coaster my whole life when it comes to hoarding. As a teenager and in my early twenties I almost never threw things out (pop psychology will say it's because of losing my mum at age 11 and I think there's a lot in that idea). However, by my early twenties I had at least stopped buying so much new stuff. For example, it was around that time that I decided I was only going to buy souvenirs that had a practical use. So plastic Eiffel Towers were out, nice mugs were in. Slowly but surely I gained the ability to be able to get rid of things. I still have some things which no-one else would keep but at this stage I've kept them for so long it's particularly difficult. So they are shoved in a cupboard to be dealt with someday.

Where was I? Oh yes. So, in my mid-twenties when I started to find out more and more about simple living, voluntary simplicity and frugal living one of the first things that always popped up was to consider if you really need everything you have. And now I'm in a place where I'm contemplating filling the place up with stuff again. It's all very frustrating although I'm sure I will find a balance eventually.

I bought a tent during the summer at a shop that was closing down for renovations. This is a good thing to have if I was ever in a situation where I did have to run for the hills, isn't it? But, in the meantime I have persuaded my brother to come camping next summer for a few days. So I will get a use out of it and learn some new skills, while hopefully having a lot of fun too.

And when it comes to food, after spending a long time getting to a stage where I didn't have cupboards full of stuff that ended up getting thrown out because it had gone off, I'm back somewhere that insists it is a good idea to have supplies on hand. But now I know that it's essential to actually use up what you've bought in a timely manner. I have a few packets of pasta and rice tucked away but am thinking of hunting down an Asian supermarket to buy a large bag of rice, for example, and break it up into smaller packets for storage and use. First, I'm going to ask at the fair trade shop if they can order in large sacks of stuff. Because sticking to the principles I try to keep to in terms of organic/fair trade/local is important as well, I think.

Part of my difficulty at the moment in posting is that I start writing about one thing, drift onto another and then don't know how to end. I envy those people who are able to write well-constructed, well-thought out blog posts. But, obviously, not enough to bother doing the same myself! Maybe one day.

In the meantime maybe I'll add a few lists to the sidebar to keep me focused on what I want to be doing and what I have achieved. But first, I think some sleep is in order.

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