Lazy Luddite Log

14.12.08

Changes Berk

My last post fell far short of its potential. I say how I have been blogging for three years and then say nothing of what I have experienced in that time. So in this post I will talk about me rather than Carl Sagan...

The other thing once I had published that post was to think "after three years it is time to change the look of this blog". So I chose a new template for it. In the process I lost some of the specific sidebar links I had originally inserted and had to redo them from scratch. But life has changed and the links therefore have changed too. So what has changed for me?

Home

In that time I have continued to live with the same housemates. We have a knack of coexisting which combines a sufficient level of both consultation and non-interference. We only comment on something if it truly matters. It helps that we are pretty tolerant. It also helps that we are long-standing friends. This is a rare thing to have so I will look to maintaining it for as long as it works and serves my needs.

However, while my household has stayed the same, I have lived in three premises in my blogging time. The factors that went into the decisions to are too mundane for me to bother with here. What I will say is that moving provides a fantastic opportunity to get rid of a whole lot of stuff one no longer needs. Ironically I now have a bigger room but fewer possessions than I did in the last place. Other factors in life have allowed for having less stuff - becoming politically non-active means I get a lot less paperwork coming into my life.

Work

I have gone in my blogging time from part-time to full-time work. This change has pros and cons for me. I am honestly too attached to having spare time and flexibility of time-commitments that part-time work allowed. I find the demands of five-days-a-week difficult to cope with. Sleep has become so attractive that I recently have been dreaming of sleep. But I am determined to keep an interesting mix of things in my life so sleep sometimes suffers.

Then some of the things I want to do have to be prioritised. Solitary pasttimes such as creative writing suffer because getting away from the house for a walk on the Scotchmans Creek or hanging with friends are more attractive. I think another factor here is that if one works all day in front of a computer then one is hardly likely to then want to play with a computer at night (this is one factor separating me from my many geek friends).

I am having a lot more money to use. What is interesting however is that I still live like a skinflint. I walked from an inner suburb to the City a few nights ago just to get the Nightrider home despite the fact I can totally afford a taxi home at present. I have worn out two crappy pairs of leather shoes since starting my current job back in April and it was only last week that I bit the bullet and spent over $100 on some new shoes. The one area in which I am happy to spend more is on fun things or on friends - shouting student friends to dinner for instance is now simplicity itself.

Politics

My blogging time corresponds to the final phase of my involvement in the Australian Democrats (I am currently on the books as an associate member of the Victorian Division but have done bugger-all for the party since the last Federal Election). We have suffered so much collectively and individually (well the ones of us who ever put any kind of personal investment in the thing) and the end result is that I am spent as both an Australian Democrat and as any kind of political activist.

As a result dabbling in things like the peace movement is gone (sorry Nuclear Free Australia). Avidly following political news is gone since it seems I always needed the incentive of involvement to do that. Supporting the next-best political party is off my personal agenda because of the "all is fair in love and war" culture of that party and the way I have personally been subjected to that (mind you I did vote for a Green in recent local government elections).

I am left with a few things however. I have a vast body of experience and understanding - one day it may come in handy for me or others. I have the scholarly interest in aspects of politics that I started off with (I still want to further develop supporting text for my Political Objectives Test). And I still have some good friends from my party days - we need to make more effort to keep in contact than we do.

Pasttimes

Party politics may have gone but I have a new activity that gives me plenty to do. I have been a member of MonUCS in the past but somehow it never worked for me back then. There was a lack of 'culture-fit' and frankly I was then too timid to overcome that. I have been an active member now since O-Week 2006 and this time it has worked. I am that bit more confident in new and different settings (something for which I have the Australian Democrats to thank). Also however they are just that bit more like the kind of group I always fit into. And with that has come something I need - challenge.

I am lazy and scared. I shrink away from anything new and different including anything that I find difficult. I find part-singing difficult. The best thing I can say for my singing is that I have a nice timbre. But I am severely lacking in technical ability (including memory and mental agility). But I try. I am given a chance to try. Last night I was in a caroling gig in which we covered all four parts with just seven choristers. It was scary but still I managed. Mistakes were made to be sure but I am aware that a significant part of performance art is 'smoke and mirrors' - we know we make mistakes but the audience (lovely elderly citizens at the Huntingdale Golf Club) are only aware that we are singing in a way that they cannot and lending something different to the atmosphere of their festive dinner.

Friendships

I have always had some excellent friends as well as the luxury of one or more big friendship groups from which to draw such friends. Nonetheless there was a time - awful as it is to admit - that I was kind of tired of my old friends. Nothing seemed new and interesting in them. And - yes - the fact that my scene was 'overgrazed' in terms of intimate relationships was a factor in this. I wanted something fresh in my life. I even sat down one day in a public library with the White Pages just to see what ways existed for meeting others - from my past method of common-interest groups to (yikes) the notion of dating sites! That exercise left me at a loss (and if an imaginative person like me felt that way how must so many in society feel?).

That was several months before I started blogging. A few months after I started blogging I was wandering around Monash Uni O-Week. I was there to visit friends in groups like FOME but it also struck me how O-Week is a 'sampler' of all the interests and hobbies that society has to offer. I collected information on something I had never done before (waterpolo) and on something I had done (choral music). I then examined the dates and times that these two groups regularly met. In the end it was logistics rather than personal preference that decided which of these two I went to and I went to MonUCS. It was one of those moments in life in which the path divides into two and one walks along one of those paths. I went for something old rather than something new but sometimes "everything old is new again" and that holds true for me.

As a result of mixing in a new and different cross-section of society I started to find relationships happening (mind you some old friends forcing a mobile phone on me may have helped too). And the interesting thing is that the more others observe one as a person in a relationship the more they will themselves consider you at some future time as worthy of dating. I had spent huge swathes of my life 'between relationships' (a worthwhile experience for me in that it has helped me to be emotionally self-sufficient). Suddenly however it seemed I was getting interest from one or more directions. Just as well I am a sober person or I may have got intoxicated by this atmosphere and taken advantage of others (the risk is definitely there).

I think it is important for me that I was spending time with new friends within a new setting. In a scene that is regularly getting new participants (like Korner) those new participants will quickly be invested with the old assumptions of the group. If you are regarded (for instance) as a nice friend but never as a candidate for partner then that will be perpetuated. Old impressions last. But with a new setting I find I have had the chance to be just that bit more attractive a person. And that seems to be something I can now carry back to older settings. I feel that I am perceived just a bit differently now with older friends as a result of the way my newer friends have allowed me to be. And with that I have a renewed appreciation of my older friends. Some of us have been together forever now it seems and it is my hope that we will continue to do so.

Aging

Changes in my life have made me feel younger and fresher. But the fact is that I am getting older. I cannot say I am a 'young adult' anymore despite my behaviour and living circumstances. My body has been telling me this - so has my doctor. One thing that hit this home to me was the fact that I now take a tablet to combat a genetic propensity to too many Triglycerides in the blood. This came as a bit of a shock to me twelve months ago. I have always taken medicine for Asthma but this was new and different - this was an 'old person condition'. I am aging. Life expectancy tells me that I may be something like half-way between birth and natural death.

That is a whole lotta time but still this is a sobering moment. It makes me look at things a bit differently. I have decided I need to spend more time with my parents (a bit of a challenge logistically since they are divorced) because they are very much at the other end of that timeline. And have to work better to find a balance between 'deferred gratification' - which helps one live longer better - and living in the moment because that is ultimately all we ever have.

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11 Comments:

  • Dear Daniel,

    well that is a very sober and honest summing up of where you're at! Thank you for sharing it--- there are many things to think about there (w/r/t my own life as well). I think you sound contented; are you happy?

    Julie.

    By Blogger julie, At 18 December, 2008  

  • Interesting reflections, thank you for sharing.
    I am glad you picked MonUCS, and stuck with us :)

    By OpenID pezzae, At 19 December, 2008  

  • To Julie

    Thanks for the comment. Contented is something I was a while ago - in the sense that I was very much accustomed and adjusted to my life (including a background melancholy). Now I am hardly contented but I think my life is richer.

    To Jess

    I am happy to have been so accepted. Thankyou.

    Imagine if I had become a water poloist! Who knows if that would have ever worked. Mind you I do need to be in water more. Still MonUCS can give me that too - bring on Beach Trip!

    By Blogger Daniel, At 22 December, 2008  

  • Hi Daniel

    It is good that you are finally tuned into signals of romance because when I tried to ask you out on a date 10 years ago it didn't seem like you really caught on!

    Luckily from that experience I have been more forthright with blokes that I have wanted to go out with and have had a pretty good success rate!

    I hope 2009 brings you an abundance of joy and happiness!

    By Blogger Unity, At 26 December, 2008  

  • Wow. This is the sort of thing that happens to characters in movies.

    I think this sort of things happens all the time. Giving signals takes bravery and noticing them takes a lot of perceptiveness. I was more likely to miss that kind of thing back then. Also I was much more into rigid behaviors defined by context.

    For instance among party colleagues I behaved very 'professionally'. At the time one colleague (now a close friend) called me 'asexual' - I just never gave away any vibes with them and reserved that kind of thing for other friends like in Korner.

    Good on you for becoming more forthright (and for finding that a rewarding strategy!).

    By Blogger Daniel, At 26 December, 2008  

  • It is funny looking back because had you have gone out to dinner or have a drink with me, my life would have been totally different.

    It is a shame that you only were available to certain circles and not others. I don't see why you chose to limit yourself and your experiences by doing that.

    I am sad to hear you are curbing your interest in politics. I thought that your dedication was very inpirational when I saw you at Uni. It encouraged me to get involved and devote my life to "the cause". ie. the ALP.

    You are a bright man, do you think a life of role playing is worthwhile?

    By Blogger Unity, At 27 December, 2008  

  • Thanks for the challenging conversation.

    I think that these moments of junctions in life are interesting. Some things may be different along another path. Some however may be the same in a way.

    I think the thing I have stressed with politics is that I have been fatigued by it. In some ways I got into it too soon in life and went too far for someone of my age and ability. So now I am taking a rest. I may get back into some more active citizenship in the future. I think it may take the form of some NGO work - I am interested long-term in international human rights.

    By role-playing do you refer to the hobby - which I barely engage in these days (choral singing is more engaging) - or the more general playing of roles in life?

    Of the former I say that in a sense our past-times are what define our lives and who we are. Politics is just a means to an end - the end of giving everyone a life in which they can determine for themselves what a good life is.

    On the latter - well - we all behave with different facets of ourselves in different environments. I am very mindful of my affect on others and vice-versa. I am naturally cautious. I think there is also some sense in keeping work and play distinct.

    While on the topic of the ALP - I have to ask - how did it feel a few months back to have every Federal and State and Territory government in your hands? Must have been an amazing feeling (and still feel pretty good I expect with all but one state).

    By Blogger Daniel, At 27 December, 2008  

  • Hello

    I am glad to hear that role playing is more of a hobby than a full time activity.

    It seems to be one of those things people get hooked on,which lead to them being less productive. I know there is an argument about what is productivity?

    But I don't think it is a valuable use of one's time on earth!

    As for the ALP - yes, in those short months everyone was happy with all levels of govt (except the Senate) being Labor! Unfortunately there was no time for anything to actually be achieved in such a short space. But a lot of things were kicked off and hopefully will continue. Had it lasted at least 3 or 4 years, something big might have been achieved, but I doubt it.

    In short, the Fed govt is very timid of bad publicity and the states will always get screwed over. The only difference is that the states were screwed over by a more friendly face!
    It doesn't make too much difference that WA isn't ours.

    BTW - I disagree that politics is a means to an end??? Isn't it something that is continuing? There is no 'end'??? You just try to make a decent standard of living available to more people, but you can't do that for everyone!

    Anyway, I am going to go travelling for the next week, so I might not be in contact in that time. I hope we can continue chatting. Sure, I may never have got to kiss you,but this isn't too bad (told you I have become ore forthright)!

    Have a great New Year!

    By Blogger Unity, At 28 December, 2008  

  • On lack of power in the Senate - hardly surprisingly I prefer that nobody has a majority there. There is such a thing has too much power. Mind you we Victorians do have to get rid of that waste-of-space Steve Fielding. I even have a friend that wants to make that her thing to do in a cross-party way...

    My comment on means and ends was non-temporal. So yes the end never comes - there are always more things that can be improved on or corrected. But at the end of the day life still needs to be lived and it exists beyond things like work or civics.

    Any past-time can become all-consuming. I do have friends who play in three games a week (which will include preparation time for the game referee). Still how different is that to the amateur fiction writer (they both tell tales) or the person who visits the gym three times a week? They are all ways of getting away from the home or interacting with friends.

    I too am away from tomorrow = splashing in Peninsula waters with partner and friends. I hope you enjoy the colour and movement of your travels. A holiday is as good as a change they say.

    By Blogger Daniel, At 28 December, 2008  

  • Love this post! Just wanted to say so in a somewhat official capacity (i.e. comment). Your comments make for incredibly good reading also.... Your people are almost always an interesting bunch in on whom I am always happy to eavesdrop (eye-vesdrop?).

    I'm haven't thought too much on the subject, but I think I think [sic] a richer life is of greater value than a more contented one. Well done. :)

    By Anonymous Hooch, At 07 January, 2009  

  • Hey there

    Thanks for the impromptu picnic and conversation the other week. My holiday since with my 'special lady friend' (as you like to say) was lovely and now I am pining for more holidays. Hope your time in Melbourne was good.

    My commentators (from friends in the next suburb to stangers from the other side of the world) all make interesting comments - the more the better I say.

    I _sometimes_ miss a simpler life but think I agree with you too.

    By Blogger Daniel, At 07 January, 2009  

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