Yogalicious

I’ve been doing a fair bit of yoga lately and it has genuinely been a revelation. It sounds incredibly wanky, but I feel so much lighter afterwards and I feel like it’s genuinely had a positive impact on my mental health. Even if I am still terrible at it.

Things I have noticed since starting to do yoga:

  • Breathing is better. I’m always sick/congested by find that it’s not impacting on my breathing as much as it used to (especially when I’m trying to sleep.)
  • I do a lot of strength training, and I’m not that great with the stretching afterwards, so my muscles can get super tight. Yoga is helping so much with that, and also helps with my recovery time.
  • I’m much more aware of my posture when I’m at my desk so I’m sitting a lot better (instead of twisting myself into a knot). Also, sitting cross-legged on the ground has become noticeably easier as it was actually becoming a bit of a bitch.
  •  I’m a pro-sloucher so awareness and practice has been invaluable to improving my posture. I’m already noticing a change in my body when I walk and I’ve only really been doing this consistently for three weeks.
  • I am seriously so chill afterwards, I feel like a whole different person. Even if I’m super stressed or wound up before class. I think it’s actually helping me not get so worked up about things in every day situations as well. I feel like I’m becoming better at letting go of things.

I must admit that I’ve tried yoga before but the classes I attended felt judge-y and more focussed on fitness/performance. I don’t do well with people looking over my shoulder and critiquing what I’m doing. I like doing things for fun, rather than the feeling like I’m going to be tested on it. So I’m very pleased that I’ve managed to find two teachers who really push the mindfulness aspect of it, as well as technique and working with your body. I’ve found it super valuable and genuinely look forward to the classes.

10/10 would recommend.

 

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August, where did you go?

Books:

August was kinda terrible in terms of getting anything done in my free time. I had these grand plans of reading three books while I was in Perth for a week, but I turned out to be too anxious and spebnt most of the time glued to my phone. So no books were read in August.

Music:

Movies:

Atomic Blonde: I wanted to enjoy this much more than I did. The trailer looked amazing so I was really looking forward to it, but it’s also one of those films where the best bits are in the trailer. It’s still a really solid action flick, and is a nice change of pace from the usual Cold War era spy flicks. Charlize Theron is amazing. AMAZING. Also a solid 80s soundtrack that includes George Michael’s ‘Father Figure’. Oh, and James McAvoy. What’s not to love?

That’s it. Pretty dull. Work was in overdrive with domestic Test season kicking off and Women’s Rugby World Cup in full swing, so I was pretty much wiped out when I got home. C’est la vie.

 

July’s the winter of our discontent

Books:

I read two books in July while off sick. I needed something easy to read, that wouldn’t leave me exhausted, so opted for ‘Landline‘ by Rainbow Rowell. I’d really enjoyed ‘Fangirl’ and ‘Attachments’ previously so thought it would be a good fit…and it was. I read it in a single sitting which is pretty much my ideal way of reading a book. I did struggle a bit with the characters as communication is such an important thing to me, so it was frustrating that they were just so bad at it. I also read ‘Places no one knows‘ by Brenna Yovanoff after the author was recommended to me by a friend. This one didn’t really do it for me. I really liked the main character and the way her detachment was handled, but I struggled with the best friend and the story felt a bit too tediously high school for me. I do enjoy that both novels had a touch of magic/supernatural that’s never explained though – books that are set in the real world but have one random magical element always appeal to me.

Music:

Presented without comment.

Movies:

Wonder WomanThoroughly enjoyed this one, it’s basically Thor meets Captain America: The First Avenger. I loved the background of Themyscira and would happily have watched a whole film about Hippolyta and Antiope kicking ass. But nevertheless I really enjoyed Diana’s innocence and hope, neither of which stopped her from getting shit done. And I loved how the overall theme of it was very Dumbledore-esque. I saw this twice and it really struck me on the second viewing how so much of it is about self-belief. It’s when Diana believes in herself that she can be what she needs to be. And I am here for it. Also, the Wrath theme is a thing of beauty and I want it playing in the background whenever I do anything, ever.

Spider-Man: HomecomingI’m not a huge Spider-Man fan (comics are ok, loathed the Toby Maguire films, Andrew Garfield’s was fun) so I wasn’t tripping over myself to see this, but bf is a big fan so off we went. It was overall pretty enjoyable. The thing I enjoyed most was that Tom Holland is actually believable as a high schooler. He fits that part perfectly. And I liked that Peter was a nerd but it wasn’t that loner sad kind of nerd, he had a kid who bullied him but it wasn’t a jock, and he was just going about his life, being a nerd and not minding it. More of that in films please! It’s not sad being a nerd! Anyway, it was an enjoyable watch. Some funny one liners. Too much Iron Man though.

Baby DriverObviously this is a film that revolves around its soundtrack. The music is everything here. And I love good film soundtracks. I thoroughly enjoy Edgar Wright’s films (Scott Pilgrim is one of my all time faves) so I had high hopes for this one. It mostly delivered. Solid car chases. Solid supporting actors – John Hamm is great, and Kevin Spacey is just living his best life. I loved that Baby and Joseph used sign language, and how natural that was – more mainstream films with that sort of thing please. What I didn’t like was that the whole thing kind of fell apart towards the end when Baby could easily have solved all his problems by simply answering a yes/no question honestly. There was no motivation for him to not do so. Also, he goes on like two dates with Debora and then they’re in love and running away together? Uh. Ok then. Overall enjoyable, and well worth a watch.

DunkirkHoly CRAP. I do not like war films, I don’t cope well, I get extremely anxious and end up crying because of the waste of human life, so in general I avoid them. But everyone was going on about this and bf wanted to see it so off we went. This film took about 20 years off my life. I’ve never been this stressed in a movie theater. I had my hood up the entire time and had marks on my neck from where I was digging my fingernails into my skin to stop from freaking out. This film is incredible when it comes to recreating the feeling of war. One review described the experience of watching it as being reminiscent of shell shock and that’s certainly how I felt. It is relentless. I’m really sick of non-linear storytelling but I thought the way this was told was actually quite clever, seeing the timeline from different points of view. I really appreciated the minimal dialogue as it felt true to the story being told, and the horror of war doesn’t really require many words. The score was incredibly important in creating the tension and anxiety in the viewer, and it did a damn good job of it. Overall, very effective film, would not say I enjoyed it.

June whatever

Look, I didn’t do much in June. The Lions Series was in full swing and every fibre of my being hated it. So most of my brain power was spent on work and maintaining the will to live. It was tough. I read one book, which was for work and called ‘Architechting Experience‘. I don’t know, it might be useful if you’re into marketing and user journeys and shiz like that. I also only saw one film in Wonder Woman, which I of course saw on opening day. I’ll add my two cents during the July recap – I saw it again this month so it’s technically still true.

Only really bothering to sum up June cause I think my playlist was kinda fly. And we can all agree that Lorde’s Melodrama is a glorious masterpiece, right? It’s the album 24 year old me desperately needed. Also the bass line on Charlie Puth’s ‘Attention’ is out of control. So there is that.

It’s gonna be May

Books:

I haven’t read much as work is insanely busy at the moment (also the reason this is so late, stupid Lions). I read ‘Feminist Fight Club‘ by Jessica Bennett. I’ve read a fair few of these books recently but I still found this interesting as it was mainly focused on the workplace. A quick, easy read with humorous and informative bits. Not world changing, but a good read.

Music:

Thoroughly enjoying the 1D spin offs, good on them all. Harry Styles’ album is pretty sweet listening, highlight is definitely ‘Kiwi’. Also ‘Malibu’ by Miley Cyrus is an absolute tune and was on heavy rotation this month.

Movies:

Didn’t see everything I wanted to but still got through a bit.

Bright Lights: Caught this at the Edge Documentary Film Festival with a friend, and it was thoroughly captivating. This film paints an intimate portrait of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, and also Todd Fisher. It explores their relationship and their eccentricities and it is especially poignant in light of Carrie and Debbie’s passing last year.

Get Out: I don’t actually like horror/thrillers but I had to go see this after the insane rave reviews. I’m glad I did, even if it was mentally scarring. Basic premise: Chris and his girlfriend Rose go upstate to visit her parents for the weekend. Weird shit goes down. That’s all I’m saying. The cinematography and imagery work double time, and the score is sensational.

A Dog’s Purpose: This film follows a pup trying to discover its purpose in life over the course of several lifetimes and owners. I went to see this with my work wife as we’re both obsessed with dogs. I cried once, laughed multiple times, and got particularly overwhelmed by the cuteness of the corgi. Dogs are the best. We don’t deserve them.

King Arthur: I love a good Guy Ritchie film, judge me all you like, I don’t care. This plays out like a heist film, is a complete bastardisation of Arthurian legend, has Charlie Hunnam  playing cockney Jax Teller and Jude Law hamming it up and I am here for it. Lots of women get fridged, sadly, and there is an all too brief cameo by the delightful Katie McGrath who should just be in all Arthurian things. But I enjoy a bit of popcorn action and this fit the bill, even as I sat there quoting Monty Python to myself.

Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony!

April is the cruelest month

Books:

I read two books in April, yay, go me! The first was ‘Americanah‘ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. I started it last month but had to return it to the library shortly after as someone had reserved it (ugh) and I anxiously waited for its return so I could finish it. I. Loved. This. Book. It is magnificent. Some really powerful commentary in there. It was one of those books that set my soul on fire when I finished it, and made me want to write again and do all these things I’ve always wanted to do. I particularly enjoyed it from the point of view of an ex-pat aching for something but not knowing what it is, and thinking maybe a return to home could fix it. Would recommend every time. The second book I read was ‘The Silkworm‘ by Robert Galbraith, which is the second Cormoran Strike novel. Like the first, I enjoyed it, just really solid detective fiction and great for a Saturday afternoon finish-in-one-sitting type of read. Solid genre fiction and I’m not complaining.

Music:

Kind of a dud month to be honest. Found myself relying more on old favourite albums rather than listening to mixes. New Fall Out Boy song though which is…interesting. I’m not sure it’s for me but I wasn’t really on board with ‘Centuries’ either and ended up loving the album. So who knows.

Movies:

Only two this month, bit sad. But gird your loins as blockbuster season is upon us and it’s the Doc Edge International Documentary Film Festival is in town. See all the things!

Beauty and the Beast: This is my favourite Disney film so I was a bit skeptical about a live-action take on it, but you know what, it was fine. You know the story, was the same deal. Songs were on point, Gaston is amazing (and awful) and I think they actually did a good job explaining some of the things people have always wondered about this story. Like how does an entire village not remember there was a prince in a castle not that far away? Costumes were a delight. Lord how I love good costume design.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: I know I’m in the minority here but I did not rate the first one of these and was expecting more of the same lameness from this one. I actually enjoyed it a lot more, maybe because I knew what I was getting in to. Some really good humour in there and a genuinely touching ending, I’m ashamed to admit that I even got a wee bit teary eyed. Petition to put Nebula in everything though because she was my favourite thing in this #TeamNebula I do wonder though, if you don’t have 80s nostalgia, is this film’s aesthetic any good?

 

Only for now

I’ve been feeling restless recently, resentful, like I’m missing something. I thought maybe it was my job – that it wasn’t “right” for me. I browse job ads obsessively, looking for something that will spark enthusiasm in me, something that will make me stop and say, yes, this is what I need to do. I love my job, really, but I also hate it. There’s something not quite right and I don’t know what it is. I want something more, something else. I want to reclaim something that I feel I lost.

Thing is, so many of my friends feel this way. So many. I loathe using the M word but I think it might be a millennial thing. And I think it might just be choice. There’s too much of it. The internet and social media have given us access to too much. So we’re always chasing, always searching, never sure if we’re in the right place or doing the right thing and feeling like we’re treading water.

I’m sure previous generations had these issues too (mid-life crisis anyone?) but it feels more acute, this existential self-awareness. Back in the good old days, more often than not, you got a job and you stayed with it and you didn’t expect it to provide you with anything other than your pay.

Not so much now. It’s not good enough to just have a job; you have to do something that fulfills you. It has to give you meaning and purpose. “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Thanks for nothing, inspirational quote. We spend so much of our time at work, of course you want do something that matters to you. But dear god, what is that something?

I attended a leadership summit a few weeks ago and one of the key things that kept coming up was know yourself, your values, your strengths and your purpose. I just keep thinking of Avenue Q. Lots of talk about how once someone figured out what their values and purpose was, everything became a little simpler, they made better decisions. Very little insight into how one might actually find said purpose.

I like my job, for the most part. I find certain things frustrating but that would be the same in any other job. I just know that there are certain parts of my role that I’m not strong in, and it would be better if there was someone else who could do it. But since my role is the only one doing the kind of work I do, I’m stuck doing things I think I’m no good at, which in turn makes my poor perfectionist heart want to cut itself into bits. So what do you do? Wait it out and hope that they’ll eventually expand the area so you can get someone to work with you who excels at the things you’re bad at? And then there’s the paranoia about being replaced.

Every personality quiz or work placement quiz I take tells me I’m in the right role for my personality and style. Is it just accepting that you’re not always going to be great at everything and you’re never going to enjoy everything you do? Thing is, it’s fine now but my role needs to grow into something else, it needs to become something else to deliver real value for the company, and that role that I’m driving it towards is not a role I really want. It’s going in a very Business Intelligence direction and I can do it, I just don’t really want to.

At the end of the day, the things I truly enjoy doing are not things that will pay bills. And I’m usually too knackered coming home from work/gym to do anything I enjoy doing. But I think this is really the crucial point here. Maybe it’s unfair to put all that expectation on a job, to expect it to fill a void on its own. The things I dislike about the role would perhaps not grate so much if it wasn’t bumping up against an absence of something I can’t articulate. The frustrations and petty grievances perhaps say less about the job and more about me, and a need to add more to my life, beyond work and home and work and home and work and home ad nauseam. I need to find a new wholeness. I need to find the version of myself that belongs completely to Wellington.

Or maybe I should just become a librarian. Fuck it.