I’m no Yoda, and I wouldn’t go so far as insisting anyone to take my advice as a given, but here are some things that I’ve learnt in the last couple of years of my 25 that I’d like to offer up. Things that I try to do often, with an aim of doing so every day, to essentially make things a bit more bearable when the going gets tough, tough gets going.
Communicate. Even in the most hard faced places, you don’t have to follow suit. In London, more often than not, I find that my smiles are met with blank responses. Sometimes it gets to me, sometimes it doesn’t, but I’ll never stop trying. You could be making someone’s crap day miles better with a simple gesture, and I’m a strong believer in the saying that it’s just nice to be nice. Smile at a stranger, strike up a conversation with someone in the shop, say hello to someone on the street, buy an old person a brew with that £1 in your pocket, or send a letter to an old friend, and see how it picks you, and someone else, up.
Write a ‘to do’ list every day – with pen & paper. These can be life goals or daily chores, but if whatever you put on the list doesn’t get ticked off that day, roll it over, and over, and over, until it does. It may sound ridiculous, but you’re more likely to complete something if you face it each and every day. It’s also just as rewarding to go back through a notebook to said lurking lists and put a ginormous ticks next to them when they’re done.
Find more hours in the day – do something with your morning. I’m not suggesting an Olympic Triathlon every day before work (although, it can be done, just putting that out there), but there’s a lot to be said for facing whatever the day throws at you when you’ve already got something in the bag, be this exercise or enjoyment. Admittedly, this doesn’t happen daily for me. There are many mornings when the snooze button and I get on far too well. Although the main thing with this is to aim. Set your alarm thirty-forty five minutes earlier, read a chapter from a book, get up to watch the sunrise, start an application for a job you’ve been meaning to go for, or get thirty calf raises in as you make a brew, and then follow with another two sets.
Create. If this inspires you to give Neil Buchanan a run for his money and re-live Art Attack, then wonderful. But my point here doesn’t necessarily lie in paints, or even in the world of arts and crafts. You can make something on a computer, cook something in a kitchen, buy a pencil and pad and sketch for the first time since High School, get on with some DIY, give singing a go and make sounds with your vocal chords, or polish off your green fingers and sew some seeds, literally. Make something, and see your ability, in general, to do so.
Get outside. Aim to get outside and into the elements every day, even if it’s for 10 minutes. It’s a given that some days it’s nice to stay inside and don your onesie, but it’ll feel even more snug if you prelude it with getting outside, getting some oxygen, maybe some rain on your face, and perhaps a few rays of vitamin D.
Force ideas into reality – plot. I’m no longer a believer of wishes, and I’ve grown to really not like the word luck. If you have a want in life, write out a plan of how you’ll get there, and plot your route. Society may have us on a quick fix fascination, and life may inevitably get in the way every now and then, just make sure you keep coming back to the reality that you are the one to make it possible, not Tom Dick or Harry. Give yourself time, set realistic targets, and be fully aware that it may well take a little while to get where you want to be.
Persist with daily positives. Write down three positive things from each day before the day is out. If you can’t think of anything positive, change it. Do good, give, share, think outside of yourself, or take appreciation in something small. There’s always something good even in the most gloomy of days, you may just have to look a little harder to find it.
If none of these float your boat, then why not check out some of the wonderful work that friend Naomi Edmondson is doing with her Survival Techniques project. I’d recommend taking a look just to have a peep at the pretty paintwork.
Header imagery : Tyler Spangler ©