Today was pretty low-key, I guess I needed some recovery time from sitting next to a close-talker last night. It has been an illuminating lesson for me about boundaries, body language, and my tolerance levels for being incidentally spat on while people talk loudly.
(things I should do: ironing, sorting more stuff in line with being less cluttered, make a cake for my neighbour, catch up on my secret so-neglected shame that is 23 RD things…)
Okay, we are in August. But I have been thinking about blogjune since June!
I posted much less this year, and was dreadfully behind in keeping in touch with other people’s posts. I have only just caught up on hundreds of posts in my feed from people who did blogjune (so, some of June and everything since). I have missed lots of them too, but that’s okay (as is an August-timed reflection!).
Low-key blogjune was because my priority for June (and beyond) was/is to relax. I started towards this in a small way during last blogjune, thinking about what I wanted to have more of in my daily life. Yesterday’s card on self-care, selected by Doreen Virtue couldn’t have been more accurate. I spend (invest?) a lot of time working and volunteering in the library sector, so I figured if I could have more relaxing baths, face masks, recreational print reading and seeing friends, it would be an achievement. These are the things that migrate to my “to don’t” list when everything else borrows my time and energy.
“The capacity to offer your own time to service is grounded in the privilege of having that time in the first place.” (Kate Bowles’ post via Kim’s retweet) (and which tasks end up eating the time privilege?). Task creep and expansion is like a sundae made of time allocation, all the melty bits drip down into the tiny spaces between the wafers. I really did end up spending more time on life balance activities which is a success. More books! More movies! More fun!
My blogjune output for this year has been 8 posts, or maybe 9 including this one (I did 30 last year, and 23 in 2013). Each year, my desire to post more during that month means I reduce my cull rate and try to be a bit more open. This year I also helped facilitate the blogjune posts for a group blog (Canberra Library Tribe), which made me appreciate what an accomplishment regular posts are for other group blogs. I’m particularly thinking of ALIA Sydney, which hosts many guest posts every blogjune (I was very pleased and honoured to be able to contribute a post in 2012). I also helped to organise two Arlis/ANZ activities during June: an exhibition tour and a day roadtrip. This definitely made me realise that it’s easy to make time for volunteering when it’s enjoyable!
From this self-development focus, I really enjoyed Janice’s blogjune post about her Aurora experience. I’ve always thought the Institute held a lot of mystery – almost like MLM companies or something a little bit cultish. Her point about personal reflective learning made so much sense, and her link to Mike Robbins’ “Bring your whole self to work” TedX talk really rang true for me:
“…nothing changes until you do. So it’s an internal process. And if you think about this for yourself, where are the places in your life, where are the places in your work, where are the situations, the circumstances, the conversations you that you want to have? The risks you want to take, and where do you find yourself holding yourself back in with compassion? Can you challenge yourself to step beyond what might be safe, what might be comfortable?”
Another element that resonated with me from her post was about personality types and library work. Part of my desire for more personal time is about considering my next career path direction. When I began studying towards being a librarian and library technician, I had absolutely no idea about the niche specialisations and options available, and what would be the best fit. I really should have investigated more before diving in, but the beauty of doing information studies is an understanding of the value of research. There’s a good post about a study on the Myers-Briggs psychological types found within librarianship – i.e. what are the most common personalities in the library field and what type/who is drawn to work in our sector. If you don’t know your type, there is a free and easy test online (complete with cute illustrated explanations of each type). I feel like understanding this is going to help with my next direction, but it would also be good to find out more about this same data being sampled across library sectors (e.g. is there a personality type more suited to some libraries over others, like special, government…?).
Steph talked about “Commando shopping” (I have always thought of this as “Surgical shopping”, slicing and dicing through the bargains), as a very direct way of finding what you need in a restricted timeframe. I think there is definitely a temptation for a “Commando career path”, which seems very desirable in hindsight. But everything feeds into everything else, and a direct route is not always the one that provides the most learning opportunities. My life/work balance is also being improved by a new business idea that includes art. As part of my self care, I really need to spend time making art, which I haven’t done for a long time.
Internal shifts and learning can be hard to articulate, but I feel really positive about the way I managed my time for blogjune. As Constance said, this year’s blogjune may have been smaller numbers-wise, but the discussion involved more significant and impactful discourse.
Relieve stress, feel more balanced and resolve creative blocks by being “in the moment”.
Use all your senses to connect with the world.
This lifestyle choice is ably explained by Fiona and Kaspa of the Small stones project.
Here are some of my ideas for being present, relaxed and appreciative of the environment around us:
Make a list – a useful strategy, except in powerpoint presentations.
If you can’t sleep, write down all your thoughts on a notepad next to your bed.
This also helps to improve concentration on a single task.
Artist Hannah Bertram has even has a List Makers Project about how to make lists and the people that create lists.
Take a walk and enjoy the flowers in your neighbourhood, and remember to leave some for others to admire.
Appreciate native plants without picking them, particularly in national parks.
If you desperately need to take a cutting from a geranium, remember to maintain the plant’s architectural poise.
Find an art gallery in your local area, visit your cultural precinct or do some drawing.
Read an old issue of National Geographic instead of a fashion magazine.
Feel the quality of the paper and enjoy the beauty of the photographs.
Update your keyboard. The new keys will have a luscious grippy texture and make typing feel exciting again.
The impact of this may seem exaggerated, but it’s similar to music improving everyday activities.
ABC Classic FM had an excellent “Ironing is wonderful” promotion which illustrated this concept.
Duncan Macleod has written a lovely summary of the chores-music advertising.
Remember to recycle your old keyboard, or give it to a friend in a bundle with some homemade biscuits.
That way they won’t feel too sad about having a non-grippy textured keyboard (or they can fill the key valleys with crumbs).
Notice more birds in everyday life.
Donald and Molly Trounson have written a comprehensive and fully illustrated guide for bird observation and education.
It is Australian birds: an index of 864 photographs simply classified for easy identification.
The wrens’ brilliant blues really jumped off the page, but the colour seems less astounding in a reproduction of a reproduction.
Check for a copy of Australian birds at a library near you.
Or listen to the birdcalls from the Australian National Wildlife Collection.
Use satin pillowcases and change your bedlinen for a more restful sleep.
Make another list …if that will help.