Posts tagged life
Your only limit is you (T&Cs apply)
Your only limit is you (Ts & Cs apply).png

This ‘motivational’ graphic popped up in my Facebook feed recently. ‘Your only limit is you.’ While I’m pretty confident it was created and shared with the intention to make me feel good about myself, and go about my day with a little more puff in my chest, it had the opposite effect.

It’s essentially saying, “If you’re not everything you want to be, you only have yourself to blame.” Which, excuse me, is rubbish.

There are plenty of external limits trying their best to stop you being everything you might want to be. How about:

  • Your age

  • Your gender

  • The colour of your skin

  • Your credit rating

  • The contents of your wallet

  • The country you were born in

  • Who your parents are

  • Which school you went to

  • Your ‘social capital’ (how many useful connections you - or your family - have)

  • Your health (physical and mental)

  • Whether you like girls or boys (or somewhere in between)

  • How attractive you are

I could go on.

How many old black lesbians from rural communities in low-income countries do you see in positions of ‘success’ and power? It’s not because they don’t try as hard as young white straight men born and raised in the US by millionaire lawyers. It’s down to a little thing called privilege.

So, yes. You do need the right attitude to succeed. But let’s not kid ourselves into thinking it’s all you need.

If you’re not achieving everything you want to right now, go easy on yourself. And give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back every time you smash down any one of the barriers in your way.

Richard Steelelife
Is a caffeine-free existence worth the tedium?
Is a caffeine-free existence worth the tedium_.png

I haven’t had a proper cup of tea or coffee for years.

No. I’m not one of those people who prefers hot water (weird) or, you know, a child.

I went through a period of debilitating panic attacks (having to get off the bus or run out of meetings debilitating) and thought caffeine might not be helping. It may have been a coincidence but cutting it out did seem to help (I still want to run out of meetings occasionally). So I’ve stuck to caffeine-free drinks ever since.

But there’s one downside.

They suck.

Caffeine-free coffee is just about OK. But to subject myself repeatedly to that kind of low-level disappointment can’t be good for my mental health either.

Caffeine-free tea is an insult to the word tea. A pale brown hole in the universe where flavour goes to die.

And herbal teas. OMFG.

  • Chamomile - Smells like cow dung. Tastes like cow dung. And grass.
  • Peppermint - Tastes nothing like peppermint, oddly. Mostly bitter. Better with honey but probably best without the teabag at all.
  • Fruit teas (any) - Look pretty. Smell nice. Taste of absolutely nothing.

Sorry. There’s no substitute for the hard stuff.

Man, I want a coffee now.

I think it might be worth the palpitations and all-engulfing terror.


Richard Steelelife
The first rule of blogging
The first rule of blogging.png

Uh oh. One month in, and I’ve already broken the first rule of blogging - blog regularly. What can I say - it’s been a busy month.

We’re now all settled in our new home in Wales.

We arrived during the worst weather the area had experienced for 30 years according to one local. (Yes, people actually have time to stop and talk about the weather here - even when it's snowing horizontally.) The freezing wind was blowing in through the plug sockets no less. Cue a morning of the husband covering any crack or crevice in the walls and windows with masking tape.

Luckily, things have calmed down a bit and the temperature has even hit double digits - whoop!

We’re getting used to ‘working from kitchen’. No home-office politics yet. Although I have become more aware of my manic typing. I never knew I was such a keyboard abuser. Trying to address it for the sake of my marriage.

We’ve been getting out for a walk along the seafront every lunchtime. I’m sure the novelty will wear off at some point but I still can’t believe we live this close to the sea. It’s even more beautiful here than I remember. Probably because my 20-year-old student self was too drunk or preoccupied with whatever 20-year-olds are preoccupied with to notice.

I’m living a double life at the moment. Still working full time and trying to get the freelancing gig off the ground. It’s more stressful than I’d like. I’m looking forward to being able to focus 100% on the new chapter. Two weeks to go. I can do this.

I have managed to get myself a shiny new client though! I’ll be writing content for a website they’re launching. Starting from the beginning with user personas and journeys which is fun. I have a meeting in London with them this week. It’s going to be a shock being back in the city. If only for a day.

Apparently there’s more cold weather on the way. Masking tape at the ready.

The best/worst decision I will ever make [delete as appropriate]
Photo: Neil Jones

As I type, things are pretty good. I have a nice place in London, one of the most desirable cities in the world (OK, I’m still renting at the age of 38, but we’ll gloss over that). A good job for a well-respected charity. And a handful of friends - actual IRL friends.

Only a fool would give this up, right?

Which is exactly what I’m about to do.

At the end of the month, I’ll be venturing beyond zone 9 (yes Londoners, there is a zone 9) and moving to the Welsh Riviera (Aberystwyth to be precise - just about as far from London as you can get before you hit the sea) to wield my lance (well, pen) freely!

My train of thought currently looks like this:

  • This is the best decision I will ever make.
  • This is the worst decision I will ever make.  

[repeat ad infinitum]

But today at least, I’m feeling positive. I’ve made quite a few stupid decisions in my life (all beginning with the immortal phrase, “Fuck it…”) but I haven’t yet come to regret any of them. And I don’t intend to start now.

So goodbye short sharp breaths through the nose to avoid inhaling cancer-causing pollution - hello big fat lungfuls of fresh sea air!

Goodbye getting up in the dark to get a precious seat on the tube - hello brisk morning walks along the beach to set me up for the day (or, more likely, an extra hour under the duvet).

Goodbye spending money like a man with no arms (my mum’s phrase - and one I’ve never been able to figure out) - hello a life of frugal simplicity (more out of necessity than choice).

Only time will tell if wielding a lance freely in the land of dragons is a wise decision.

I’ll keep you posted.

Richard Steelefreelancing, life