A few of my favourite things

I’d sum this up as a feel good post. I read two different articles recently. One was a short post about being thankful for what you have; it’s from Medium group called ‘Personal growth’. The other was an article from Paul Jarvis, he was recounting a few items he has and the value he derived from them. So together they put me in a frame of mind to be appreciative.

Quote for you (the personal growth one)

Don’t let a lack of appreciation for what you have and a lack of mindfulness for the present moment cause you to be too focused on the future and the things other people have that you don’t. Don’t let the stress of what you don’t have destroy what you do have.

It’s pretty heavy stuff, but i can dig it. It reminds me of the whole 80:20 rule. The idea that 80% of revenue comes from 20% of clients and so on in numerous guises. In the context of this post, I guess it would go 80% of life enjoyment comes from 20% of possessions or 20% of habits. So I felt like it might be a great chance to reframe my life and think of the great things I have.

Things I own that I love (the fickle part)

My desktop PC. Nerd alert...I built my desktop myself; it’s rocking a i5 2500k, R9-270X, 16gb DDR3, 256gb 840 Evo SSD and a few hard drives. I built it back in November 2011 so it’s a few months away from being 6 years old. Sure I’ve upgraded a few parts, but it’s lasted me well. It’s literally supplied me with thousands of hours of entertainment and thousands of hours of creativity. I think the total cost of all the parts and upgrades is about £1300 over its lifetime.

For me I think that’s great. It’s a good price per year to have a kick ass PC I can upgrade when needed. Overall I think that’s nice because I feel there’s less waste when you can upgrade specific components when needed. I often get charmed into the idea of upgrading my graphics card, but then I think how I rarely make time to game (and I never buy the latest games). My pc is like my minimalism; exactly what I need and not much more.

Dr Martens Brogues. I’ve owned two pairs of DM brogues. I love ‘em. Hard wearing and long lasting. When I got my first pair I finally had a pair of shoes that lasted years and not months. I love the style, love that they last, love that their long term economy is great. I love love love em.

Before I would buy shoes from high street stores, and I found they didn’t all last too well. For me spending more and throwing away a pair of shoes every 4 years is a much better option.

Oneplus 2. Yeah this is a phone. I guess it’s kinda weird to be in love with a phone, although I am very into tech. I love my Oneplus2 because I did get it for a good price, I love how it is designed (I have a faux-wood back on mine) but mainly because it was the first premium phone I had bought in a few years and honestly it’s done wonders for my photography in terms of what I’m able to capture and the amount of photographs I take. So that makes me really happy. It’s certainly a little out of date. I’ve owned mine just over a year and they just realised the Oneplus 5, but I’m hoping I can get 3 years out of the phone and then have a really meaningful upgrade at that time. I like things that last, and things like make a big difference when you finally upgrade them.

Ultimately I think technology should be viewed in terms of what in can deliver for a person, and certainly what I use my phone for I don’t need to upgrade every two years. Why worry about a faster processor when you’re using it for notes most of the time?

Red checked shirt. I’ve got 6 shirts. Two of which are checked. One of those is a red checked shirt which I got from a vintage shop. I’m not sure how vintage it actually is, but I love the colour, I love the feel of it (it’s like a thin flannel) and I love the fit (I’m tall and it fits really well). If I can go out rocking my red checked shirt, looking good and feeling great, then it can’t be such a bad day can it? Some days I’ll look down at it and think “I hope I’ve still got this shirt in 5 years”.

My motorbike. I only started riding last June, but I absolutely love it. My newest bike is a Triumph Tiger 800. It’s a wicked bike for getting places fast and going adventuring. I’ve seen so much more of Britain than ever before and knowing I can just drop everything and go riding my bike makes me happier. As the quote from Jeffrey Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme series sums up; “When you move they can’t getcha”. I’m only just taking driving lessons for a car, so to me the bike represented ultimate freedom.

You can’t buy happiness but you can buy a motorbike, and it’s pretty darn close.
 

Small things I enjoy (and could be more thankful for).

Eggs for breakfast. Or really eggs anytime. I really love the taste of eggs. They make me happier. Fried eggs, hard boiled eggs, egg mayo, soft boiled, scrambled, poached eggs. There’s a lot of variety and I really enjoy the taste, so having eggs for breakfast makes me happy.

Pasta & salad. This is for the frugal side of me. I’d never heard of ‘Salt & Pepper pasta’ until my friend mentioned it to me last year. He made too much pasta and said I should have the rest with a little bit of butter, salt and pepper. It kinda blew my mind, I loved the taste. So now it’s a regular snack for me. Pasta, some herbs and spices and some salad veg to give it some colour. It’s a super easy, quick and cheap midday meal.

Twitch streams and ‘Let’s plays’. When I was working at Unidays I found that more so than ever I loved ending the night with an hour or so of watching someone play computer games. It’s chilled out, free,and nice to follow the storyline of a game or watch someone create their own story whilst getting to know the streamers personality. It’s just a great way to pass the time. I also have them on whilst working or writing. It may sound strange but I find over time you do make a connection to each streamer; it’s sort of that familiarity that can make you feel home wherever you are. When I was travelling around Wales and Scotland solo, I was watching a streamer complete a Resident Evil story marathon; that familiarity made me feel closer to home. N’awwww.

A great cup of tea. I’m a brit and do love my tea. I tend find that there’s always a bit variation in my tea. I don’t time how long it takes to make like a friend of mine does, and I imagine your mood and the environment can tweak how the tea tastes. But sometimes I make a cup of tea that just knocks my socks off (that’s a good thing). A tea to end all tea’s...and those are the tea’s that make you remember life is good. Plus, tea and 80’s music is great late night combination if you’re working.

Budgeting. I’m not quite sure why but since almost the start of my working life I’ve been really hot on recording everything I spend money on and setting a preferred budget each month. So far I feel this has worked out really well. I enjoy it and it gives me freedom and a resilience to life because I can roll with the punches as I spend money only one what matters most.

This summer I’ve burnt some of that money in return for freedom (not having to work) and it’s my budgeting that has allowed me to do that.  In essence the thing I enjoy the most can be very cheap or free; I like to hike, I like write, I like photography and I love to design. I already own everything I need to do these activities and that makes them super cheap.
 

Conclusion

So what is the purpose of the post? I suppose it’s simply to appreciate what you already have. It’s not easy, but I’m trying to do it more because I often feel that the biggest blocker to my own happiness is in fact myself.

It’s also a reminder to be frugal (not being cheap, but having just what is needed). I recently gave my room a long overdue visual update. Just fixing the painting and layout really but things like that can give a room a huge change. I’m much more in love with it. I have ideas of extra fittings and other fancy things I could do, things I could buy (mostly nice vintage planters for all my plants) but at the same time it’s important to remember all the things I just don’t need to buy.

It’s valuable to remember all the things you own and love and why they don’t need to replacing. It’s valuable to remember all the habits or things you enjoy that bring value.

Ultimately this is just me. I have little interest in prestige, having the latest or most expensive ‘stuff’. If you love having the most expensive stuff then you should probably listen to what makes you happy, but keep an eye on your wallet. Budgeting is for everyone after all.

Much love,
Dan