A trip back in time to the future – the optimism of modernism

Like many people I’m a magpie. Indeed, we live in a world where we’re encouraged never to sit still, never be satisfied with where we are, with what we’ve got. We buy into that – often literally – with a generic acquisition of what’s new. What’s silver and shiny. 

I’m no different. One of the biggest things we buy into is nostalgia. We long for golden era that went before, for times we’ve only ever heard about, read about or, most dangerous, the stories told by those who were there. So, we look backwards while thinking we face forward.

And I’ve been doing the same recently in a renewed interest the aesthetics of modernism. An era most celebrated from the post-war to its clumsy segue into postmodernism. There’s almost an Ostalgie, as the Germans would have it, for that spare, designed look made so famous by the likes of Dieter Rams.

Living in a1960s house I’m challenged by the British love of living for the cold, noisy houses of the Victorian and Edwardian periods. And, as much as I might complain about our unwillingness to shake off the past, I’m going to do that by going back to that future of simplicity, light and optimism.

But there’s unlikely to be a parking space for my nuclear powered flying car. Progress, eh?


A gap in the trees – seeing my career differently

I’ve previously had some experience of the world of coaching before. At the time, I had a sort of lightbulb moment – it was OK again to think about me and where I wanted to get to, rather than where I had been. Hastily over the last couple of years I’ve built up a strong enough picture of me to start to create an idea of where I want to get to. At least in career terms. 

One of the features of life at work is that we tend to have afairly binary relationship with it: good or bad. Mostly, it’s somewhere in the middle and we slope off at 5pm to another evening of our lives. When it’s good, it makes the early rise bearable; when it’s bad, we want to be anywhere else. Much of the time, this revolves around the perception of change: when it’s good, we are happy with the status quo and when it’s bad it’s often as a result of change imposed on us. change is always there, we’re just not always able to se it.

When I left my last employer, I vowed never to leave go *from* a job, but to go *to* something else. With an attention span as short as mine (and even less desire to do something about that), I’m conscious that each day work is good is also the day it’s best to go off to something else. 

I spent an hour or so with a coach this afternoon and let out some of the contents of Pandora’s box. Amongst the self analysis and tricky questions, one thought appeared in my head: we need not to be looking at the trees, but at the spaces between them. In my mind, I see filtered sun and silhouetted trunks. 

In my heart, I know that change – wherever and whatever – needs to be something that I make happen. In my head, it’s down to me to keep moving my career on.

Aim for the gaps in the trees.

A whole year devoted to health – it’ s been too long coming

I am not alone in this. Neither am I original in the intent, nor the timing. Everyone’s at it. As the belt straining of Christmas passes into a new round of the Gregorian, so many of us are swept by the guilt of consumption and the wipe clean of New Year’s Day. We remember the exhortations of those whose virtue suddenly seems so much attractive through the fug of a hangover, and we resolve with a near religious fervour.

So, like I say, I’m not alone. As we ticked through the disappointment of that midnight, my plans were set in motion. It’s not exactly up there with the military 6 Ps (perfect planning prevents piss poor performance) but it will do. 

I’ve never knowingly been at a zero stateof fitness and weight before. Even some time out from playing hockey in my early 20s didn’t leave me in such a parlous state. But after the, frankly, shittest year ever on the health front for me and Mrs North, something has to change.

There are two objectives: get thin, get fit. 

For many determinedly and uncertain resolutioneers, these two are related causally. To an extent they are. But they’re also not. Eat well to get thin, train smart and hard to get fit. Oh, and fit this in round family life and a demanding job. That’s the toughest ask of all.

My ambitions are nothing radical, but they are tangible. Hard work is all that will take me there. Well that and a little bit of love for the outcomes. It will be tough and won’t come easy. But, unlike all the other previous “resolutions”, I am resolved in mind amd heart to make this happen.

I’ll see you when there’s less of me to go round.