Category Archives: 20 for 2020

Back to the future part 2

Continued from part 1, in which I write about the origins of this blog in 2011.

After blogging every day in 2011 and then limping through 2012, I tried to reignite the blog in 2013 because I did enjoy blogging and interacting with the people who read it and took the time to leave comments. So I was keen to get back into blogging more regularly. I realised that daily blogging wasn’t for me so I set myself a goal to blog at least three times a week in 2013. I intended to set some regular things to blog about to make it a bit easier. For example, Monday was going to be the day I was going to write about my journey to quitting sugar, and as the year went on, to improving my diet in general. Sunday was going to be scrapbooking/memory keeping post day.

And I had this list of 100 things to do in 2013 that I was going to review at the end of each month.

I also thought it would be fun to participate in weekly blog linkups like “Wordless Wednesday”, “Thankful Thursday” and “FFS Friday” that I’d seen on various blogs around the place. I don’t recall that lasting very long either.

Later in 2013, I started a 12 of 12 project, which was to take 12 photos of your life on the 12th day of every month.

A random 12 of 12 photo from 12 August 2013

I blogged about trips away, unusual things and challenges I was doing, more scrapbook layouts and random issues like dealing with imperfection (that was a good one). I ran a semi-regular feature for a while called Find Me Friday, where I would post a photo of part of a building in Hobart that I would challenge my readers to identify. I also did a 30 days of lists challenge, which foreshadowed a much bigger project I’d take on a few years later. The blog was still alive, but it wasn’t a regular part of my life any more. And I never did those 100 things in 2013. Or in 2014. Or in 2015 . . .

You can read about where my thinking was around this time, my initial idea for the blog and then the revamped one, here, which is on Blogger, the original platform I used. I moved over to WordPress in September 2013, which is why the formatting of the early posts on here is all over the shop.

In 2016, after having read the book Do Share Inspire: The year I changed my life through TED talks by Kylie Dunn (my post here), in which she pent a year applying the ideas from some of the TED talks she had listened to over recent years through a series of 30-day activities, I decided to start my own series of 30-day challenges that I’d blog about. These included going alcohol-free for 30 days, drawing every day, doing something that scared me every day, and doing cryptic crosswords every day for 30 days.

This was around the time I renamed the blog to stepping on the cracks. As I explained in this post.

“The 30-days project” doesn’t have much of a ring to it. So thinking about some activities I did and some a-ha moments I had at a retreat a couple of weeks ago, I came up with the title “stepping on the cracks”. I realised that whenever I try to draw something, it tends to be straight lines, and that I colour within within the lines and that this art could be seen as a reflection of my personality. I once, when asked to do a doodle drawing, observed the following:

The idea was to draw a shape and split it into sections and doodle or make our mark. I noticed everyone else did round shapes – spirals, circles, ovals, abstracts. I did a triangle. Perhaps that says a lot about me – straight lines and angles. Left brain rules. It also included the words “Don’t step on the cracks” and “Stay within the lines”.

I think I was very dryly reflecting on myself with those two phrases rather than seriously instructing myself to comply with those rules. Anyway, very long story short, being straightlinesgirl is all perfectly OK and isn’t something I need to “fix” BUT there’s nothing stopping me drawing curves or swirls or colouring outside the lines or making a mess. So I think what the project is all about is being who I am, but not letting that prevent me from doing anything else – and seeing what happens when I step on the cracks and colour outside the lines.

This project kind of worked and kind of didn’t.

Some of the challenges were ideally suited to a 30-day format: 30 days of no alcohol, for example. This was because I had a clear idea in my head of what I’d be doing (or not doing in this case) over the 30 days, and my progress was easy to track. I either had 30 days free of alcohol or I didn’t.

Some of the other challenges were more vague and I didn’t have much of an idea what I needed to do over the 30 days. 30 days of clarity, for example. WTF?! I didn’t have a plan or anything to measure my progress by in those ones. And I think I took way too much on for the time I actually had to work on these things. As a result, things were very stop-start over this time and I didn’t stick with several of the challenges I had initially intended to do. So that part of the project was less successful.

After that project ground to a halt, I tried a few other things over the next year or two, including using the blog as accountability for making healthy habit changes by making commitments to a healthier lifestyle and posting weekly updates, but even that didn’t last very long. I also wrote about taking part in Care Australia’s Walk In Her Shoes challenge for a couple of years.

Walk in Her Shoes 2016

Finally, at the end of 2018, I decided to take on the 19 for 2019 challenge, which was a list of 19 things I wanted to accomplish in 2019. (Not 100, which I’d aimed for in 2013). I got the idea from Gretchen Rubin and Liz Craft’s Happier podcast, as they were doing 18 for 2018. Finally, some success! I had an achievable list of 19 things to do, of which I did 14 and I updated the blog a lot more consistently, which kept me on track with the list. I carried it over into 20 for 2020 (and now 21 for 2021) and over time have gradually expanded it to include keeping up to date on habits I want to develop and little things I want to improve.

I’m feeling comfortable with where it’s at now and I have a nice little routine for writing the posts each week and keeping track of everything I’ve done.

It’s been an interesting process to look back on where I was ten years ago and to see how, in relation to some things, not much has changed at all. I thought I’d share my favourite post from each month over the next few weeks, to commemorate the tenth anniversary, beginning with this one

  • 8 January 2011: Tweetup, in which I overcome my fear of meeting people and bravely turn up to a BBQ with People From Twitter Who I Don’t Actually Know In Real Life.

Now on my blog’s tenth anniversary, I’ve been starting to wonder whether its format and title is really what it’s all about or if it needs a bit of a reboot, given the last reboot was in 2016. In particular, acknowledging that there’s nothing stopping me drawing curves or swirls or colouring outside the lines or making a mess but that, when I think about it, I don’t actually want to make that type of art.

There’s a lot going on in my head at the moment!

2020 in review

Susannah Conway’s Unravel Your Year 2021 workbook asks you to describe the year just gone by in three words. It’s left open to you how you interpret this: you could, I imagine, choose three words that describe the year from a global perspective, from a personal perspective or anywhere in between. There’s one word I’ve heard more often than I care to remember that has been used to describe 2020 that I never want to hear again and I have no intention of using it. It starts with unp . . . .

And that is the last I will say about that word.

I’ve chosen three words to describe the year from my own isolated perspective from the bottom of an island at the bottom of the world. They are:

  • Unexpected
  • Inconsistent
  • Introspective

Unexpected because I didn’t in my wildest dreams imagine that the world would be thrust into a pandemic that shut everything down, took so many lives, and shook everything up, leaving people jobless and causing so much worldwide despair, uncertainty and confusion. On a personal note, I didn’t expect the issues I was having in my workplace with noise to be (temporarily) resolved by having to work from home. There were other unexpected things too, not all good, and not all for this blog.

Inconsistent because, while I made a lot of progress in some areas I wanted to work on and I achieved a lot, I didn’t do as much as I’d hoped in other areas. I completed my uni course, and I had some good results at work but, there were other areas I was less successful in developing (no judgement here, just stating a fact) and they continue to haunt me. A lot of that is connected to me not being able to stop procrastinating and giving into distractions. And not getting into an exercise routine that works for me.

I struggled to find a third word but I chose Introspective because I started to work on some long standing personal issues in my head that are preventing me from being the person I want to be. It was hard work but rewarding, and I think I am starting to discover small chinks in the façade I’m trying to break down.

I would also add interesting to the mix . . .

I started the year with beautiful sunny Sunday morning photo expeditions, a couple of times with a good friend and other days by myself. It seems like so long ago now . . .

Sunday morning explorations with my camera

A major focus of my year was my uni program, of which I had three units to complete. The first one was intense, involving a lot of self examination and analysis, which left me feeling drained but also with some very clear ideas of what areas of my life I specifically needed to work on. I finished the course in October and received my qualification in December and am very glad that’s over but also grateful for the opportunity to have done it and learned so much.

I managed to keep reasonably healthy in 2020, not least because I have now gone for nine months without drinking alcohol and, as a formerly very regular moderate drinker, I’m particularly proud of my efforts to do this. I read the book The Alcohol Experiment by Annie Grace, and it totally changed the way I looked at alcohol. I’m not saying I will never drink again but for now I’m very comfortable with my decision not to.

This book changed my life

I had a potential issue with my eyesight that I had to have checked out a couple of times during the year but it all seems to be okay for now and the professionals are monitoring it. I got a hearing test at the start of the year, which revealed I have a low noise tolerance, which makes sense of all the issues I’ve been having at work and in other situations. I’m not sure what we do about this but a retest later in the year showed that my sensitivity had increased and I still don’t really know how to manage it. I kept up with my dental checks and my physio visits to resolve long-standing neck, back and posture issues.

I’m grateful there was never a time during the lockdown that I wasn’t able to go out on my regular morning walks. That would have made it a lot more unbearable.

Morning beach walks, muwinina Country

I started riding my bike to work, which became a whole lot easier when everyone had to stay home because of the pandemic and, as I said at the time, while I didn’t love riding in the traffic, I didn’t necessarily want the roads to be clear because no one was allowed outside. I stopped doing it as much (at all) as the weather got colder, the buses stopped charging fares and, eventually, when I was working from home full-time. It’s something I will start to pick up again when I go back to work after the holidays.

Bike riding to work

Another habit that I actually stuck with was reading, and there were a couple of things that made this possible. First, my goal was to develop the habit, rather than to set a number of books I wanted to read, which the pressure to read a certain amount off and allowed me to just focus on doing it. Second, keeping my no alcohol month going the whole of the year led to me going to bed earlier, which meant I could read in bed before I went to sleep. As of today, I have finished 34 books, which is 13 more than in 2019 when I set myself a target of only 12 books to read and never really stuck with it after I’d finished the 12th book.

The most powerful book I read in 2020, Truganini by Cassandra Pybus

I didn’t do as much work on learning Photoshop as I had intended at the start of the year when I signed up for a bunch of courses. Even though my uni work took up a lot of time, I still had a lot of free time that I could have done this work and I’m not sure what was stopping me. It’s not like I have to do the courses all at once or that there’s a time limit. I can do them in my own time, and maybe that’s the problem. I’ve worked well to deadlines where there is a clear assignment to complete but with these courses there are no assignments, just instruction and it’s up to you to play around with what you’re shown and see what you come up with. This is one of the areas I’m disappointed that I didn’t achieve very much in, and I want to do more in 2021.

I completed the major photography project I wanted to do this year, which was to spend 50 days making a photo a day with my 50mm lens. I’m really pleased with that project and it’s made me appreciate and understand that lens a lot better. I certainly won’t be keeping that one stashed in the bag again!

50mm photo of the Aurora Australis, the day before she left Hobart for the finial time

I had a couple of exciting moments in my photography in 2020 too. In January, one of my photos was published in Australian Photography magazine.

My first photo published in a national publication

I was equally chuffed when the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court asked if the court could use one of my photos of the court in their Christmas cards this year.

Supreme Court 2019

And just before Christmas, I found out that one of the photos I had taken of the Hobart Magistrates Court at the Open House Hobart weekend had been chosen as a winner of their photo competition, which was a lovely way to end the year. I’ve really enjoyed my photography this year.

Hobart Magistrates Court 2020

I was lucky to be able to get away for a couple of short breaks during the year. We had a trip to Bridport in the July school holidays. I hadn’t been there since I was a kid and couldn’t remember it at all, so it was great to be able to explore a part of Tasmania I wasn’t familiar with.

Old pier at Bridport on pyemmairrener Country

In October we had a night at Port Arthur, a place I am always somewhat reluctant to visit because of the many sad layers of history held by the area. And then, as a reward for finishing my uni course, I took myself off to Launceston for a photography retreat and I had a wonderful time photographing some of my favourite buildings and walking all day.

Tessellated Pavement near Eaglehawk Neck on paredareme Country

Kramstable adapted really well to online school and I was impressed with his commitment to his work, his ability to self-direct and to manage his workload. The schools did a huge amount of work to ensure that kids could continue learning during the lockdown and I have nothing but admiration for them for what they achieved. Thank you seems like such a lame things to say to convey how grateful I am for what they did. It has been wonderful watching Kramstable learn and grow this year, and for it to start to become more obvious what his strengths are and where his passions lie. The high point of his film work was his nomination as a finalist in one of the categories of this year’s My State Film Festival. It’s also exciting to watch his work and interests develop outside of school. Seeing his dedication sometimes makes me wonder how my life might have been different if I’d had such a passion as a teenager and had been supported to pursue it in the same way I hope I’m supporting him.

Sadly, Bethany the Australorp chicken and Rex the rabbit died earlier in the year. Two new chickens joined the flock in November, Dorothy and Shirley, who are black copper Marans and are very cute. After a month in a cage in the chook yard, they are now finding their feet with the big girls, some of whom are none too pleased to have them there.

The new chickens

Aside from the working from home, covid didn’t have a massive impact on my life. I don’t like going out much, I detest shopping, I don’t play or attend sport and I don’t enjoy being around large gatherings of people. I spend a lot of time at home anyway, and I love it. So I pretty much did what I always did, it’s just that I didn’t have a choice any more. Regular Friday night dinners at the bowls club were replaced with trying out various takeaway and home delivery options from local restaurants and pubs. I actually reversed my no caffeine strategy and started getting takeaway coffees from my local cafe (I am sorry for the plastic, but they weren’t allowed to use keep cups). I’m not sure why. One day I felt like a coffee and it was a valid reason to get out of the house and one day tuned into a couple of times a week, turned into every day. And when they were allowed to reopen, it because my go-to place to write. And a place to work when I needed a change of scenery.

Monthly review at the coffee shop

I realise that I am incredibly lucky that this was my experience when so many others suffered greatly and many continue to do so. I am so grateful for having the job I have and that the Tasmanian Government did what it needed to do to keep our state safe. I haven’t stopped being grateful for being in the position that I’m in this year.

It was, indeed, an unexpected year.

A weed is just a plant growing in a place someone doesn’t want it to grow in

Unravel Your Year asks you to consider what the gifts of 2020 were. I know for many, this would be difficult. I offer the following.

2020 brought me the gift of afternoon walks. Instead of being at work all afternoon, packing up and catching the bus home, I packed up my home office and went for a walk every day. I watched the afternoon light dance on trees, rocks, water and the opposite shore, and I made photos of what I saw. I would never have been able to do this if I hadn’t been working at home.

2020 brought me intense self reflection and the deep inner work that I need to do to start to heal myself.

2020 brought me a confidence boost that tells me maybe I do have an artistic side.

2020 brought me a brain that is no longer befuddled by alcohol, and the clarity and health benefits that go along with this.

2020 brought me respite from a work environment that was becoming increasingly stressful and difficult for me to cope with. My stress and anxiety levels are lower than they have been for a long time as a result.

A friend recently posted that we all need a little more yellow in our lives. I agree. You can never have too much yellow!

Goodbye, 2020.

You were not the year I expected you to be. I know the challenges you have presented, both on a global level and to me personally, are not going to disappear when the clock ticks over to 2021. In reality, the date on the calendar is just an arbitrary thing anyway. The sun is going to come up tomorrow, covid is still going to be here and I’m going to have the same struggles I have today. The climate emergency hasn’t gone away and there’s a lot of work to do. However, the end of the year is a good time to have a bit of a reset, to re-examine my priorities and goals, and make sure the course I’m on is still the one I need to be on.

Thank you, 2020, for the gifts and the opportunities you have offered me. I ticked 18 things off my 20 for 2020 list. I haven’t made the most of everything, but I think I’ve made some progress and I have learned a lot. I intend to continue to learn in 2021.

One thing I know, 2020, is that I won’t forget you in a hurry.

20 for 2020: week 52

Week of 21 December 2020

My 20 for 2020 list.

Hanging out with a sticky friend on Christmas day

What did I want to do better this week?
Keep pushing with the morning planning routine at work.

So, how did that go then?
I didn’t do it. I did, however, start to set up what I hope is a better way to manage my work that will make it easier for me to keep track of things and I’m going to try to use this routine as part of that next year. I’m off work for a week now. Not going to think about pre-work routines. Or work at all.

On to 20 for 2020
This week was the last full week of 2020 so, even though I still have a few days left of the year, I know I’m not going to get any of the remaining things finished. I decided to do my monthly review for Unravel Your Year on Sunday and then to focus next week on an annual review, as well as starting to plan for 2021. That will include making my 21 for 2021 list and exploring my “word” for 2021 using Susannah Conway’s other workbook, Find Your Word 2021.

So my final tally of how I went in my 22 things for 2020, at 29 December 2020 and unlikely to change, is:

  • Things completed: 18/22
  • Things I worked on but didn’t finish: 3/22 (the Photoshop course, the home studio and the graphics tablet)
  • Things I didn’t do: 1/22 (the fermenting class that got cancelled because of covid)

All up, I think it’s a pretty good result.

What did I achieve this week?
My regular check in: I kept up to date with my weekly photojournal and my Hobart Street Corners project.

I had some upsetting news that has shaken me up and I’ve not really been able to focus on much else. It’s not something I’m ready to share and it doesn’t directly involve me, but it is going to have an impact on my life over the coming months and it will mean I need to be gentler on myself for a while. I suppose it will also be an opportunity for me to learn to not try and change things that are outside my control.

As well as that, I had some exciting news, which is that one of my photos was chosen as a winner in the Open House Hobart photo competition for 2020.

Hobart Magistrates Court

I was super happy about this, and it was all the more rewarding because I had made the photo with my 50mm lens as part of my 50 photos challenge (thing 9). At the start of the Open House weekend, I was a little annoyed at myself for having timed the challenge to coincide with the weekend so I wouldn’t be able to use my 10-22mm lens, which is the lens I normally use to photograph buildings. But rules are rules and the wide-angle lens was locked away from temptation. I’m so glad I stuck with the challenge and only used the 50mm lens as it proved to me that I can make decent architectural photos without a wide-angle lens and has inspired me to keep experimenting with this lens.

What didn’t go so well?
I’m going to say I did as well as I could this week, and that’s enough.

What do I want to do better next week?
Be kind to myself, get as much rest as I need, and be present with the people I care about.

Afternoon walk to clear my head

Summary for the week

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 18 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20, 21, 22)
  • Things I progressed: 0
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 3 (7, 11, 17)
  • Things not started: 1 (19)
  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 4): 0
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 2
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 0
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I went for a walk in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 6
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 4 work days): 3

20 for 2020: Week 51

Week of 14 December 2020

My 20 for 2020 list.

What did I want to do better this week?
I wanted to track how many times I mindlessly picked up my phone and scrolled through stuff for no reason.

So, how did that go then?
I forgot. Again. Also, to be fair, I was sick most of the week and the phone was a welcome distraction.

On to 20 for 2020
I went through the exercises from Indistractable (thing 13) to identify what I actually wanted to do out of it. I came up with two prompts that came up early in the book that I have now incorporated into my daily journalling. They are:
• One thing I did today that moved me closer to what I really want and the benefit I received from that action.
• One thing I did today that moved me away from what I really want and the foregone benefit of taking that action.

I think they are really useful prompts that (should) make me think about the actual consequences of doing things like scrolling on my phone, as well as the identifying the benefits of doing something positive.

I’ve now distilled everything from the book that I want to do into a (fairly) short list and I’m going to be working on putting those things into practice over the next few months. For now, I’m happy to call that thing done.

I also finished my 50 in 50 project (thing 9) this week. Day 50 was Wednesday, which was the first day I was sick, so spending most of the day in bed, I didn’t have a lot of opportunity to take photos but I did it and you can read the wrap-up blog post about it here. All the photos are on that blog too, split into weeks, if you want to have a look.

I’m proud of this work. There are a few dodgy photos in there but there are more good ones than bad ones. I’m really pleased with myself for putting in the effort, taking a photo every day for 50 days and wrapping up the project within a week after I’d finished it, rather than letting it linger as I so often do. I think it’s important for me to acknowledge an achievement like this and to recognise the work I put in to it. So well done, me!

And while I’m on the subject of acknowledging achievements, my graduate certificate (thing 8) was conferred on Friday and I now have an official transcript of my study in that course. I’ll get the piece of paper early next year, but I don’t need that to make it official. I really am done with that thing!

What did I achieve this week?
My regular check in: I kept up to date with my weekly photojournal and my Hobart Street Corners project.

Apart from that, I took it easy.

Waking up with a sore throat on Wednesday made me a candidate for a covid test, so I went along to partake of that experience and had to stay home until I got the result. The testing seems pretty efficient at the moment. I called them at 8.00 am to register my details, got a phone call to book in for a test a bit after 9.00 and had the test at 10.40. It did, I have to say, feel somewhat odd rocking up to the test centre, which is designed as a “drive-thru”, on foot. I felt a bit like I was in that skit from many years ago of people who formed themselves into a car-like alignment and went through the Macca’s drive-thru on foot. The test wasn’t the most pleasant thing I’ve ever had done to me, but it was mercifully quick and I was sent home to rest and wait for the results, which came through just after 7.00 pm.

It seems very incongruous to have the testing site, with people masked up and in protective gear, so close to the waterfront precinct where people are going out, eating, drinking, seemingly oblivious to the reality that the virus is still around and that it wouldn’t take much for it get out again (just look at NSW this week, for example). It’s like there are two worlds here: most people’s world and covid-world.

What didn’t go so well?
I’m not sure if this is a useful thing to ask this week.

What do I want to do better next week?
Keep pushing with the morning planning routine at work, since I did it exactly zero days this week. To be fair, I didn’t work two days, but there’s no excuse for the other three days other than “it feels weird”.

Summary for the week

  • Things completed this week: 2 (9, 13)
  • Things completed to date: 17 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20, 21)
  • Things I progressed: 0
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 4 (7, 11, 17, 22)
  • Things not started: 1 (19)
  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 5): 0
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 4
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 0
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I went for a walk in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 1
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days): 3

20 for 2020: week 50

Week of 7 December 2020

My 20 for 2020 list.

What did I want to do better this week?
I wanted to track how many times I mindlessly picked up my phone and scrolled through stuff for no reason.

And to force the morning ritual at work.

So, how did that go then?
I forgot about tracking my phone pickups and I did three out of four work days of the morning ritual. It feels forced and awkward and I am going to keep pushing it to see if it works.

On to 20 for 2020
I’m coming to the end of my 50 in 50 photo project (thing 9), where I only use my 50mm lens for 50 days and take a photo with it every day. I’ve been posting those photos on my instagram and on my photoblog.

Day 45: Farewell to the Aurora Australis (there are more photos on my photoblog).

I flicked back through the book Indistractable (thing 13) and looked through some of the thing I said I was going to do. I think I need to sit down with this once and for all and be done with it.

What did I achieve this week?
My regular check in: I’ve been staying up to date with my Hobart Street Corners project and my weekly photojournal.

One of my things this year was to develop and maintain a daily habit of reading (thing 14). It doesn’t matter how much I read, a few pages, a chapter or an entire book, as long as I read each day. Mostly, I’ve been reading a few pages every night before I go to sleep. Shutting down my computer earlier and getting to bed earlier has meant I’ve actually been awake enough to do this. I haven’t read a lot during the day. Sometimes on the bus but otherwise it’s mainly been an evening thing. And I’ve managed to read 30 books this year, a few pages at a time. Making reading a habit rather than setting myself a book target for the year has been a lot more of a successful way to read more, so I’m happy with how this has gone.

While I have been reading books a few pages at a time, there are sone that I haven’t been able to put down. One of those was Truganini by Cassandra Pybus, which I bought last week. I finished most of it in a day and found it a profoundly moving and disturbing read.

This week’s reading

As I read, I was reflecting on my own position in this country, and it occurred to me that had the events described in the book not occurred, not only would my ancestors have never come to this country, lutrawita, but I would not have been born. It’s a confronting thing to think about, but something that I have to own, and my thoughts were very much along the lines of Cassandra’s in the book’s Afterword. She writes

 . . . every Australian who is not a member of the First Nations is a beneficiary of stolen country, brutal dispossession, institutionalised racial discrimination and callous indifference. The expropriation of the territory of a generous people, and the devastating frontier war and dispersal that followed, is Australia’s true foundation story, not the voyage of Captain Cook or the arrival of the First Fleet.

The question we must all wrestle with is how the majority immigrant society acknowledges what is owed to the original people who possessed their territory for more than sixty thousand years, and who have never ceded that sovereignty to the British Crown of the Commonwealth of Australia. The very least we can do is pay attention and give respectful consideration when the original people of this country tell us what is needed.

The First Nations of this country want their unique relationships acknowledged and respected; they want to hold their heads high in their own country. That is not too much to ask.

This is something I feel strongly that I have an obligation to learn more about, and I also believe I have to find out what I can do to play a role in what this nation needs to do to build a stronger relationship with its First People.

What do I want to do better next week?
I want to be finished with Indistractable!

Summary for the week

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 16 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20, 21)
  • Things I progressed: 2 (9,13)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 4 (7, 11, 17, 22)
  • Things not started: 1 (19)
  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 4): 3
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 4
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 0
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I went for a walk in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 5
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 4 work days): 4

20 for 2020: week 49

Week of 30 November 2020

My 20 for 2020 list.

What did I want to do better this week?
I wanted to track how many times I mindlessly picked up my phone and scrolled through stuff for no reason.

So, how did that go then?
I forgot.

On to 20 for 2020
I’ve been focusing on my 50 mm photo project (thing 9) this week. I got a bit behind in editing so I spent some time catching up with that.

Day 34 of the 50 in 50 project

What did I achieve this week?
My regular check in: I did my weekly photojournal and worked on my Hobart Street Corners project.

Apart from that it’s been a pretty slow week. Last week I was talking to someone about Christmas trees and I said I hadn’t put mine up last year until a couple of days before Christmas and had assumed no one was interested. Then Kramstable asked why we hadn’t put up the tree and it was done in very rapid time. The very day after that conversation, he asked when we were putting it up. So we did that together.

Oh Christmas Tree . . .

As you can see, I put a lot of effort into it.

I went to the optometrist during the week to get all of my scripts reviewed. This resulted in me needing new computer glasses, new normal glasses (my current pair is over six years old), and handing over a lot of money. It was one of those times when I didn’t realise how much I needed new glasses until I saw what a difference a tweak to the script would make.

What didn’t go so well?
I’ve just learned about a new way to plan my work days, which may or may not be helpful for me. It involves sticky notes. I’m going to try it over the next couple of months and see if it helps me.

The idea is to follow the routine exactly as written for two months to implant it in your brain so that it becomes a habit. I did it for one day and it felt awkward and forced and I didn’t do it the next day. I’ll blame being really late for work the second day because I was at the optometrist and I’ll try again next week.

What do I want to do better next week?
Force the morning planning ritual.

Summary for the week

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 15 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20, 21)
  • Things I progressed: 1 (9)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 5 (7, 11, 13, 17, 22)
  • Things not started: 1 (19)
  • Days I did the morning planning ritual (Goal = 5): 1
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 6
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 0
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I went for a walk in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 3
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days): 5

20 for 2020: week 48

Week of 23 November 2020

My 20 for 2020 list.

What did I want to do better this week?
I wanted to stop looking at my phone in moments between activities and do some kind of movement instead.

So, how did that go then?
Probably not so well. The phone’s in reach. I just mindlessly grab it and look at it. Perhaps the thing I need to do first is to find out exactly how many times I pick it up during a day to look at it. That’s the task for this week then.

I’ve become a lot more aware of scrolling Instagram during my work day and I don’t do that any more because I have to log it in Habitica and it takes health away from my cute little avatar.

On to 20 for 2020
The only thing I did this week was work on my 50 in 50 photo project (thing 9). I’m now a month into this project, where I only have my 50mm lens on my camera and I take a photo every day. I think I’d actually have completed it if I’d decided to stick to the original task, which was to do it for 30 days. But 50 days makes way more sense with the 50 mm lens, so the task continues.

50 in 50: Day 29

I’m a bit behind in editing the photos because I’ve been working through my Open House Hobart photos at the same time and updating my blog with those too. But I finished the last post on the weekend, so they are done now and I can go back to focusing on the 50mm photos.

Sunday was monthly review day (thing 22), which I did at the coffee shop.

Not this coffee shop

What did I achieve this week?
My regular check in: I stayed up to date with my Hobart Street Corners project and I have a bit to do to catch up with my weekly photo journal.

I finished my NaNoWriMo goal of 15,000 words on Monday. Okay, it wasn’t anywhere near the full 50,000 words so I’m not a NaNoWriMo “winner” but I did sit down and write the foundations for a writing project that I want to work on, and that’s what I wanted to achieve in November, so I’m a winner in that sense.

I had a big success at work, with a project I’d been working on for about 18 months finally being launched into the big wide world after much to-ing and fro-ing between various people who have more control over what happens to these things than I do. I was really happy about this because a lot of my work in recent years hasn’t really gone anywhere. So to have something I ‘d worked closely on get the tick from the highest level was a good feeling. This week also saw the end of the Budget Estimates process, so all of that work is done and dusted and I can go back to normal, whatever that looks like.

I’m not really sure what this will be as my job had to be reshuffled a bit to let me focus on the Estimates work, and I don’t have to go back to the role I used to have. So this will be a time of new things and possibly new work. Which seems a bit odd to be doing this close to the end of the year.

What didn’t go so well?
I went to the doctor about recurring pain in my heel, which had turned into a big lump on Tuesday night that got me worried. It was an amusing visit in the end, which included him promising me that it wasn’t a tumour. It’s actually an Achilles issue, caused, he said, by over-use. Basically I walk too much!

In a nutshell, he said I need to reduce my activity to let it heal and that it could take anywhere from six months to six years to come right. It reminded me of a tennis elbow issues I had a couple of years ago that eventually came right by itself after about 18 months. I guess this will be the same.

A function at Government House on Friday was a nice way to end a very busy week

My physio had a slightly different take on it on Friday, and he said it all stems from the area of my body that’s getting overloaded and causing all my other issues, which has resulted in this as well. So we keep working on that and I have to wear better shoes. No thongs, no bare feet and basically nothing that isn’t a fully supportive running shoe.

It might be time for a new pair of shoes.

Summary for the week

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 15 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20, 21)
  • Things I progressed: 2 (9, 22)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 4 (7, 11, 13, 17)
  • Things not started: 1 (19)
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 7
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 0
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 5
  • Days I went for a walk in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 5
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days): 4

Bored and Brilliant: Challenge 7

This is the final of seven challenges in the Bored and Brilliant series, based on the exercises in the book by Manoush Zomorodi. I actually started this challenge in March 2019 after I read the book. I got all the way through the first six challenges last year and came to a screaming halt.

You can find the previous posts here:

For some reason, making the time to do the final challenge eluded me and I still hadn’t done it by the end of last year so I put it on my 20 for 2020 list in the hope that this might encourage me to do it. All I really needed was uninterrupted time alone of about 30-60 minutes, which is generally possible on Tuesdays when I work from home.

I still managed to put it off and put it off, and then Covid-19 happened and my home alone time disappeared.

As the year went on, I felt more and more like the time to do this challenge was slipping away, so I decided that as soon as I knew I’d have a decent amount of time alone at home, I’d do it. That time happened last Tuesday morning and I was ready.

This challenge is intended to make you really bored and “in so doing, discover a new level of introspection, creativity, discovery and courage”.

The instructions are:
Step 1: Identify an aspect of your life you’ve been confused by, avoiding or downright terrified to think about. It could be anything from trying to work out a new career path from organising your kitchen cupboards. It’s the issue that whenever you think about solving it, you end up on Facebook instead.

Step 2: Set aside 30 minutes when you’ll be completely free from distraction and put your devices away. Put a generous pot of water on the stove and watch it come to the boil.

Step 3: As soon as you have completed step 2 (and are mind-numbingly bored) sit down with a pen and paper and work on solving the problem you identified in step 1, in whatever way works for you: lists, drawings, plans . . . whatever. The goal is to use boredom to unlock a brilliant solution to your problem.

It’s not that big a deal really. Watch a pot of water boil with a problem in mind and then sit down and try to solve it.

So, that’s what I did. Empty house, check. Phone off, check. Pot of water, check. Gas on, watch and wait.

It was an interesting exercise. First, I picked a vague problem. Then I set about to do the challenge.

Pot. Water. Stove. Go.

I’ve never watched a pot of water boil before. Maybe when I was a kid for science class. It was interesting to watch how very slowly the little bubbles started to rise to the surface of the water, and there would be these occasional swirly patterns in the water. And then as it heated, the little bubbles’ path to the top of the pot got more erratic, and then there were more bubbles and the bubbles got bigger and there was more steam.

I can’t say that it was boring at all. Certainly not “mind-numbingly” boring. I tried not to dwell on any particular thoughts and I think my mind welcomed the break from actually having to do or think about anything. I found it quite relaxing. I would say I watched it for about half an hour from cold to boiling.

Boiling water

Once the water had come to a boil (the photo is of a recreation, not the actual event, as I didn’t have my device on me), I sat down with a couple of pens and a notebook and brainstormed my problem. I wrote out about four pages.

I don’t think I came up with a solution, brilliant or otherwise. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t actually bored. Maybe the problem was too big or too vague and I should have tried it with something more discrete that could have resulted in a more definitive answer. I did start to see the problem from another perspective though, and came up with an idea to explore further so I wouldn’t say I got nothing out of the exercise.

Perhaps I’ll try it again one day and see what happens.

And just so you know, I reused all of the water for other purposes, so no water was wasted in carrying out this project.

20 for 2020: week 46

Week of 9 November 2020
My 20 for 2020 list.

What did I want to do better this week?
Put the phone down! Not unconsciously check Instagram.

Move more. Not stay sitting down in one place for too long.

So, how did that go then?
This work has been very busy at work and the work I’ve been doing has involved a lot of getting up and down so it’s timed very well wth the need to move. I think it’s something I need to think more about when I’m in periods where I’m doing focus work rather than that type of work, because I can quite easily sit down for an hour or more and not move if I’m engrossed in something. While that’s good for the work, it isn’t good for my body and think my work needs to be on finding out how to get in movement breaks without breaking my concentration.

I got through the whole week without checking Instagram at work, which is good. I think I need to break the habit of reaching for the phone in moments when I’m between activities. In the book Indistractable (thing 13), Nir Eyal calls these “liminal moments” and says they are danger periods for getting sucked into the phone.

Taking both these things together, it occurs to me that, I need to replace the phone habit with the habit of moving myself on those moments. What I need is for the phone to give me a small electric shock when I go to pick it up at time I don’t want to be looking at it . . .

On to 20 for 2020
That leads me nicely into the Bored and Brilliant challenge (thing 12), which is also about excessive phone use. I re-started it this week, and I’ve written a post about it that I’ll share later in the week, so I won’t go into any more detail about that here.

I’m sure you’re hanging on tenterhooks to find out if I got my uni mark (thing 8) this week. No? Just me, then.

I did and, as I expected, I passed. After a week of obsessively checking my email for the one that would tell me my result, I missed it when it did come in because I was so busy at work, and I actually got a message from one of my classmates to tell me the results were out.

I did better than I’d expected in my wildest dreams and am really happy with the result. I may have let out a strangled squeal of excitement when I saw my mark, which made my workmate sitting next to me ask if I was okay. I said I was in shock. She was worried. No, no, it’s okay, it’s good shock!

We’ll have a graduation ceremony next year so I can’t tick off the “and graduate” part of thing 8, but it’s as good as done for me.

I’ve been continuing the 50 in 50 photo challenge (thing 9) and you can see my (approximately) daily updates on my instagram.

Day 15/50

Finally, the sprouts (thing 21) were a success so I can cross that one off too.

Sprouts day 3
Sprouts day 5

What else did I achieve this week?
My regular check in: I stayed up to date with my weekly photojournal and my Hobart street corners project.

What didn’t go so well?
Apart from one day when I had people at work coming at me left, right and centre, and someone trying to get me on the phone at the same time and almost melting down but managing to hold it together, this week went well.

What do I want to do better next week?
Keep working on the “replace phone use with movement” thing.

Summary of week 46

  • Things completed this week: 8, 21
  • Things completed to date: 14 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20, 21)
  • Things I progressed: 2 (9, 12)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 5 (7, 11, 13, 17, 22)
  • Things not started: 1 (19)
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 7
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 0
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I went for a walk in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 6
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days): 5

20 for 2020: week 45

Week of 2 November 2020

My 20 for 2020 list.

What did I want to do better this week?
Learn to identify early warning signs of becoming distressed in overwhelming situations and removing myself instead of trying to push through because I “have to” stay somewhere.

So, how did that go then?
This week was much better at work. The noise wasn’t as bad and I made sure I used my noise-cancelling headphones when I needed them. I did my required two days in the office and worked from home the other three days.

I’ve also been doing some reading about managing myself in over-stimulating environments and know I need to make sure that I don’t force myself to stay in situations that I can’t cope with. This is up to me to manage. No one is going to look out for me and the noise isn’t going to stop just because I’m uncomfortable. I have to be more proactive and assertive, which doesn’t come easily for me and can sometimes make me just as anxious as the issue that’s causing my distress in the first place. It’s a bit of a vicious circle!

On to 20 for 2020
This week I focused on my 50mm lens challenge (thing 9). I’m finding this really fun and challenging in a good way. It’s forcing me to look at potential subjects differently to how I otherwise would and to pay a lot more attention to the camera settings and to what I include in the frame than I do when I wander round with my wide-angle lens.

50 in 50 Day 7: Beach tree in the afternoon light

It’s been really interesting so far. It’s made me have to think a lot more about what’s in and what’s out. And get really annoyed when I have to step back further to fit something in and bump into a wall behind me!

50 in 50: One that didn’t make the cut

I’m updating my photoblog with the photos if you want to check them out.

I finally got around to reading what to do with the sprout jar (thing 21) and putting some seeds in it. It’s only taken ten months. More actually, as I got the jar some time in the middle of last year. I found myself confused by the conflicting instructions on the seed packet and the ones that came with the jar. Seriously? That’s what put me off doing it for this long? Just try it and see what happens. If it doesn’t work, the worst outcome would be that I’d lose a few seeds.

It is underway.

What was so hard about that?

What did I achieve this week?
My regular check in: I’m keeping up to date with my street corners project and my weekly photojournal. I even printed a big backlog of collages this week, so I need to make time to cut them to size and stick them in the diary. I ordered next year’s diaries last week so I’m expecting them to arrive well in time for next year’s work.

I also decided to take part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), which is a challenge that has been running for more than 20 years, participants set themselves the goal of writing a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. I’ve taken part in this three or four times and have reached the 50,000 word target only once. I wasn’t going to do it this year but there is a story I really want to write (I actually started it last year and didn’t complete it) and I keep putting it off, so this seemed like as good a time as any to pick it up. I decided to be more realistic and set myself a goal of writing 500 words a day or 15,000 words over the month, rather than the full 50,000. I just want to try and get the words flowing and not overwhelm myself when I’m in a very busy time at work and working on the 50mm challenge, which is my top priority for this month. So this is something I want to keep ticking over rather than it being a huge thing.

As of Sunday (day 8), I had 5054 words, so I’m on track.

What didn’t go so well?
It’s now been almost three weeks since I handed in my final uni assignment (thing 8) , which is about the timeframe I should be getting my result in. Sometimes the marks have been sent out in less than two weeks, so this week I found myself constantly checking my email for the message that would tell me my final mark. As a result, I’d get distracted by other emails a lot more than I normally would. Emails are bad!

I’m confident I’ve done enough to pass, but I just want to know for sure! I want the loop to be closed so I can put this behind me once and for all. I know it will come when it comes and I can’t control this, and that checking my email won’t make it come any quicker.

I mentioned Habitica a few weeks ago. It’s a habit tracker app that you can use to gamify your habits and you lose health everytime you do something you’ve set up to be “bad”. One of my habits I want to kick is checking Instagram when I’m supposed to be working, and I noticed a couple of times this week, I picked up my phone and went to that app without even consciously thinking about it, so my cute little avatar took a bit of a health hit this week. I do not want to be doing that automatically. So that’s something else to be working on.

What do I want to do better next week?
Put the phone down!

I went back to my physio this week. I hadn’t been for about six weeks, and I told him how the joint in my neck that has been causing me problems had improved significantly after a week’s break away from the computer. He said it’s because I’d been moving a lot more during the day when I was on holiday, and I’d been changing positions more when I wasn’t sitting down all day, and I needed to get more movement of that joint into my day if I want to see that improvement continue. Or at least not get worse. Looks like something else I need to do better next week

Summary for the week

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 12 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20)
  • Things I progressed: 2 (9, 21)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 6 (7, 8, 11, 13, 17, 22)
  • Things not started: 2 (12, 19)
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 7
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 0
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I went for a walk in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days): 5