And I mean now! Yesterday was my birthday and I won’t bore you with the details of how old I am. Let’s just say that I am getting to an age where my mortality starts peeking from my left shoulder. Or is it right? Well, never mind this, no point confusing myself now. The point is that when we get to an age when we start confronting our mortality, we feel compelled to start being more selective about the things we do. A good first step to being really selective about the things to do, I thought, is to be very clear about the things I am to stop doing immediately. I came up with six such things by taking myself back through the years and recollecting the feelings and impact these have had on the course of my life. So, here we go.
Friday, as usual, is my more private posts day. So today I decided to tell you about a conversation that I had couple of weeks ago. I was in Italy, at a conference. Conference dinners can be one of the most arduous and boring affairs ever; particularly if one has the sense not to use them to do politiking and to annoy the ones they consider more advanced with countless claims to greatness and minute details of their latest mediocre research project. I believe that dinners are for fun and getting to know people outside their job (if they wish to open up, this is); and thinking about it I have been to one splendid conference dinner in Mexico City – Mexicans know how to entertain and have fun. I even got a ‘mercy dance’!
Yes I am in Rome; city of beautiful women, gallant men, wonderful food, splendid ice-cream and breaking infrastructure. It is rather surprising how quickly the spirit of downturn settles in – one can already see it and, let’s face it, smell it in Rome. So many homeless people again, sleeping on the street.
Walking the streets of large cities in any country is like meeting a person – the outside of what you see is a pretty good measure of what you may find inside. This old rule, a modification of ‘as above so below’, generally works although there can be exceptions. When you walk down the streets of a city they may be lined with shops, with art galleries with eating places. Sometimes, the streets of large cities are lined with banks – banks shout aspirations.
Right! Have I mentioned before that goal setting and following is not really my strongest points? If I have failed to mention this one, now is confession time. Throughout my life I have mostly wanted and achieved; most of the time what I want and what I achieve are very different things. This is what not having clear goals leads to: how likely is it that one will get where they wish to be if they don’t know where they are going?
This is why, and as a part of a general drive for change and wealth, in May I published our financial goals. Did I publish them and promptly moved to the next thing, to the next idea? You bet I did. But today I am getting back to these goals and am going to report to you, my readers. A bit of accountability only focuses the mind; apart from me secretly hoping to generate some crafty and savvy ideas about how to achieve these goals.
I can imagine you have been busy these couple of decades and I hope that you have managed to get out and give back to life all that we dream of today. You probably remember that in August 2011 we went to Sofia; but not so much to enjoy the coffee bars and the parks, or to nip into the mountains as to deal with a matter we found really disturbing and are dreading at the moment. Our parents passed away and left an apartment in North Bulgaria, a summer house nearby and some prime agricultural land to us and to our sister. There is no immediate need to do anything about the summer house and the land but the apartment is another matter – we are going there later today to sort it out and get it ready to be sold.
We have had bread-makers for close to fifteen years now. Yes, oh yes, the first one was because of my gadget addiction – it was the very front of the adoption wave and this is where I was. Thinking about it, this is where I still am most of the time; I just have smartened up and find ways to satisfy my addiction only when someone else is paying for it. Otherwise, it is carefully controlled.
We have made bread for a very long time. In fact, there are places in Europe, particularly traditionally poor agrarian economies, where bread was the main food. My Bulgarian grandmother still used to ask not ‘shall we have lunch’ but ‘shall we eat bread’. Now this is basic, this is primal and this is very important. Of course I have a liking for bread – great smelling, substantial, tasty bread that gets hard and moulds. Not the white, fluffy plastic rubbish that lasts longer than my spectacles.
About a year ago, I was feeling very confused and apprehensive about my financial position and desired future. According to my diary, it took me about six months to admit to myself that I want to be wealthy; which now I share very calmly with all who wish to know. OK, probably with some who don’t want to know as well! So, there I was, having found that we are in financial trouble, feeling insecure…deep in thought checking my post box at the office. For my surprise, there was a big brown envelope; I am saying that this was a surprise because I had just given up a fairly senior management position and brown envelopes had become rarity. I opened the envelope and was completely spooked: inside was a black book by Stephanie J. Hale entitled Millionaire Women, Millionaire You.
In his book What I talk about when I talk about running, Haruki Murakami famously said that he doesn’t think about anything but running when running. Apparently, elite runners gave a very similar answer . This probably explains why I am not part of the elite and will never be; when…
“Do not keep anything in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
It is Sunday evening and I thought this is the time for a lighter, more frivolous post. What is lighter and more frivolous than shoes? This is handy because yesterday, after weeks of procrastination, I finally tackled my shoes… and followed a familiar pattern from stern determination, through reflective consideration, to protective organisation. What do I mean?
I have already mentioned that I have forty two pairs of shoes and tend to live in three pairs – well now two because I threw away one – of basketball shoes. This could not continue! My shoes were everywhere – in the hall, in my wardrobe, in front of the house and at the back entrance. Pairs of shoes, sad and neglected! To top it all something vaguely resembling summer has arrived on the British Isles. My shoes had to be sorted and I am the one to do it – there is no buy out on this one.
Awareness of matters financial, particularly if there is the realisation of trouble as well, often comes with a drive to reduce expenditure. What people normally cancel are what they consider to be ‘luxuries’ – keeping fit, attending courses and doing things that are not for utility but only pleasure fit…