Month: August 2017

Doing Not Thinking

I have changed tack entirely on what-to-do-next. For several years now I’ve been reading all these books, seeking knowledge and advice: How can I work out what to do next? I like doing UX, but I don’t want to continue with the same kind of work. Do I keep on with UX? Change to something else? I analysed my skills, strengths, weaknesses, and what I have and haven’t enjoyed doing in the past. I desperately sought my passion. I told the concept of passion to “Go to your room!” and instead considered what I could do to best help others. I brainstormed “fun ideas.” I worked on an online business idea and products. I read more books and advice. I did exercises like imagining myself in 17 different careers (in parallel universes), analysing what I liked and didn’t like about each one, and “bad ideas” exercises, like imagining myself in wildly inappropriate careers, then looking at the opposite of those careers.


I’m currently reading Tools of Titans, which contains very varied life advice (and very particular advice) from about 200 people who are considered experts in their fields. It’s not a book I’d usually read, but I’ve been trying to read more diversely. I’ve also been reading 80,000 Hours, a fantastic website that’s chockablock with well-researched career help and information. A couple of days ago, I came across this advice (I believe it was in the book or the website, but now I can’t find the direct quote, damnit!) about how you can’t figure out what to do by thinking about it – a zillion books and a zillion analysis sessions won’t help you – you have to learn what to do by doing.

So I’m going to give myself a break from feeling like I absolutely suck for not having figured this stuff out, and I’m going to try doing completely different things, so long as I’m visibly doing (something I’ve found I need, to do things thoroughly – is to keep a visual record of what I’m doing).



The Most Beautiful and Best of Times

This is super random, but my gosh. To state the bleedin’ obvious, I love my kids so much. It’s so stupid that I get to worrying about whatIreallywanttodoforwork and howIwillspendmytimein10years and whatcareersshouldItryonforsize and stuff, when, really, I am in the Best of Times. The most beautiful and best of times.

I spent my twenties being 99% sure that a) I’d never find an amazing loved+loving partner and b) I’d never have children. I didn’t want children! I was sooooo not interested. As time went on and I saw vague acquaintances share photos of their kids on the socials, I couldn’t relate at all. I found those photos and updates boring. It was like seeing cat photo after cat photo. “Oh, you think your kid did a funny thing! No. Every single person who has a kid thinks that kinda thing is cute or funny. It ain’t!”

Then, of course, I find someone and make the babies and share all the photos and the updates and think they’re oh so wonderful. Yup. Now I’m annoying the heck out of someone else.

Kit’s (almost 3) favourite things at the moment are EVERYTHING and sleeping, cuddles, hanging out with my brother, playing LEGO/marble run/dominoes/play-doh/Hungry Hippos, going to the local park and shops and playground and cafe for a banana milkshake, running and jumping, moving furniture around like it’s a jungle gym, reading books, singing, watching Olobob Top, conversing, eating. // We call his sister “Skybaby” and so Kit’s taken to calling himself “Kitlittleboy.” // He stopped daytime-napping for one pure month (this kid who loves sleep so much?! I couldn’t believe it!) and then, a week ago, outta nowhere, started naps again. “Mama, I’m going to have a little rest now, and I’ll have a big rest later,” he says, and asks me to leave his room. “I’m already tucked in.” // He was talking to my mum the other day about “what the neighbour-doors do” and after a while, she figured out that he was trying to say “the neighbours next door”. He’s full on, full of love, very frustrating sometimes, needs a lotta love, and he’s adorable.

Sky’s (1.5) favourite things at the moment are EVERYTHING and playing with every toy, going anywhere, any music/singing/dancing, most foods, terrorising the dog, stealing my phone and running off with glee, playing with LEGO, clapping when she’s happy, shaking her head for “No,” yelling “AH AH AH” for “Yes,” and saying “dog,” “bath,” and “car.” She’s full on, full of love, hasn’t reached the frustrating stage yet, needs a lotta love, and she’s adorable.

Lotsa love.




(Marble run!)

This Casual Cruelty*

M** pointed out an article to me today, called, “I am allowed to oppose same sex marriage.” I’m not going to link to it. But, funnily enough, it’s about someone opposing same sex marriage.

I felt the same way when I saw that article (written by “the executive director of a Christian think tank”) as I did when my high school religion teacher demanded that I read a propaganda brochure denigrating non-Christian religions.

Mad. Really mad.***

And you know the first part of my rage? The first, most immediate part of my rage is not about the discrimination – which I’m also, of course, mad about.

The first part of my rage is about this:

(I saw this in a great blog post yesterday, called Intolerable, by Jeremy Keith / @adactio.)


Brandolini’s Law:


Yes. And the first part of my rage manifests as EXHAUSTION.



Because oh, my dog, these people who have had the power and the privilege and the floor for so long are finally being questioned/ignored, and in their death throes, they cry, “But explain to me why I can’t have freedom of speech,” and “Explain to me why I’m wrong,” as if we have nothing better to do than enter a pointless argument; as if the onus is on us to persuade them on the issue.

(It reminds me of the line by Ricky Gervais, “You say there’s a God. I say, can you prove that? You say no. I say I don’t believe you, then.” – I remember thinking, “Oh my goodness, yes! The ridiculousness of people asking me to prove to them that something that doesn’t exist doesn’t exist!”)


I said to M, like I said to my old religion teacher, all those years ago, “I don’t want to read that.”

Fortunately, M didn’t shout at me and seethe with anger, like my religion teacher did.

But she did ask me again to read it.

And here, I’d like to quote some of Keith’s blog post, Intolerable:


The author cleverly wraps a disgusting viewpoint in layers of reasonable-sounding arguments. “Can’t we have a reasonable discussion about this? Like reasonable people? Shouldn’t we tolerate other points of view?” Those are perfectly sensible questions to ask if the discussion is about tabs vs. spaces or Star Wars vs. Star Trek. But those questions cease to be neutral if the topic under discussion is whether some human beings are genetically unsuited to coding.

This is how we get to a situation where men who don’t consider themselves to be sexist in any way—who consider themselves to be good people—end up posting about the Google memo in their workplace Slack channels as though it were a topic worthy of debate. It. Is. Not.

“A-ha!” cry the oh-so-logical and thoroughly impartial men, “If a topic cannot even be debated, you must be threatened by the truth!”

That is one possible conclusion, yes. Or—and this is what Occam’s razor would suggest—it might just be that I’m fucking sick of this. Sick to my stomach. I am done. I am done with even trying to reason with people who think that they’re the victimised guardians of truth and reason when they’re actually just threatened by the thought of a world that doesn’t give them special treatment.


I really appreciate this. Previously, my first part of rage felt, I guess, slightly unjustified, slightly inappropriate, like, “Why are you feeling exhausted about this? Argue with them!” – But reading about someone else feeling the same thing – I feel justified.


My second part of being mad is about the discrimination itself.

I said to M, “He’s writing this like it’s something we should reasonably consider. But it’s not something we should reasonably consider. It’s horrible. It’s discrimination. It’s hurting people. It’s like someone saying, ‘We should respect the history of slave ownership. Why won’t you respect our culture, and our tradition, of slave ownership?'”


(And while we’re on analogies about discrimination, here’s another one: Imagine the outrage if all men were only paid until 3:43PM each day? Hahah hahaha hah, no, thatwouldneverhappen.)



* Blog post heading is taken from one of the last lines in Keith’s blog post.

** No comment.

*** I was mad for like a second. I wasn’t mad at all the rest of today, except for the times that my kids threw their food on the floor, or set each other on fire. The rest of the day I was perfectly zen.

Holiday. Holiday. Holiday. Holiday.

I was thinking about how the 2-week holiday let me break the momentum/spell of my daily life.

Like the person who’s in a toxic relationship, but it’s been happening for so long and so gradually, that it’s become their new normal. Severing the momentum and living somewhere else for 2 weeks lets me reset and have a meta-view of what I want to be My Normal.

That was an exaggeration, though – I’m not in a toxic relationship. And my life/mind/body quality is so much higher than a few years ago, when I was working in a job that made me unhappy. But on this most recent holiday – I did reset and have a meta-view. And I thought: I need the chance to do this more often.

You know the thing about working-to-live VS living-to-work? And the thing about waiting until retirement to do everything you really want to do (travel, indulge, relax, explore, paint, follow your curiosity)? I talked to James about those things. We all loved being on holiday, and we got so much out of it. I don’t want us to slave away at work, to be more financially secure, but then we wait until retirement to travel and indulge. Can we do with a little less income, but have another holiday each year? At the moment, we have 1 week at Christmas time, and 2 weeks in winter. Can we do 1 more week of holiday, somewhere, somehow? 

James has a bit of a strange job, and it’s not as simple as deciding to take an extra week of unpaid leave. But we’re going to try and work it out. One more holiday each year! Yes.


I’m trying a new yoga school, and they have movement-yoga and meditation-yoga! I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about that, but I bought a trial pass, which allows me to go to as many classes as I’d like to in 4 weeks, so I’m trying everything. Last night I did a meditation-yoga class and it was seriously good. I came home feeling like I’d had a teeny weeny miniature holiday.

It’s funny how you can go from feeling like “I can’t possibly get to several yoga classes, who will look after the kids and I don’t have the energy anyway,” to “ALL THE CLASSES!”


Did you know Jim Carrey is an artist?



Books & TV & Money


I’ve kept well to my reading challenge this year. All on the Kindle app, sometimes reading on tablet, sometimes iPhone, sometimes laptop. A couple of great books:


Lincoln in the BardoLincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

This book’s a bit of a challenge, but not like Infinite Jest. I knew nothing about it going in, and a few pages in, perplexed, I quickly read an intro to the book – OK, it’s about ghosts, OK, it’s about Abraham Lincoln, OK, sure! – then I sat back for the ride. I found it very beautiful, sad, and stunningly written/put-together.




The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson

This one is an easy read, and very light-hearted, but I really enjoyed it. I didn’t read anything about it beforehand, which added to the fun of finding out what the heck was going on! I don’t want to give anything away… give it a whirl. I didn’t know where it was going, right up to the very end.





I’m so bad at watching TV shows. It’s like I just don’t care enough. I can browse Netflix and watch 10 minutes of this or that, then go off and do something else (like watch random YouTube videos, or read blogs). But! A few people had recommended Abstract, and after a few weeks of putting it off, I finally watched the first episode and it was a JOY. (It’s a documentary series on designers.) I usually find documentaries a bit boring, but in this one, it’s like they’ve collaborated with every designer in every episode and got their input on how to tell the stories!

Here’s the trailer for it:



My brother’s gonna face-palm if he reads this, but: I’ve been reading a book about money called The Barefoot Investor. My brother gave me this book about 100 years ago. No kidding. I’m sorry, TJ! The last thing I wanted to think about all-those-years-ago was being sensible with money and buying property and stuff. And my dad was telling me to knuckle down and save up a property deposit too, while meanwhile I just wanted to have fun (and I was terrified of being locked into a job that I hated –> just to get a high wage –> to pay a mortgage that I was stuck with!).

Anyway, 101 years later: I’m reading the book. Turns out, my sister (coincidence!) is reading it too.

The book Is super easy to read – just like the author’s sitting next to you, talking to you.

I’m partway into the book, and so far:

  1. Bank recommendation – I was already banking with the recommended bank (ING), and already had the multiple bank account setup that’s recommended. Done!
  2. Superannuation recommendation – I checked my provider (Virgin Super) against the recommendation and my provider seems to be fine. (Although I have realised that my provider offers a lower admin charge for maternity leave, so I’m wondering if I can belatedly apply for that?! Will have to call them.) But my partner’s super, yikes! Even though he’s with an industry super fund (which are supposed to have lower fees and do better investments), the fees are awfully high. So we’re looking into changing that.
  3. Health insurance recommendation – Oh dear. I checked what we’re paying against the recommendation and we’re paying too much. I did a quick Google, found this article, Australian Medical Association reveal the best and worst of health funds, got a couple of quotes, and I’m changing to a different provider (from Medibank Private to Frank).

We’ll save about $1400/year on the health insurance switch, but we need to ask for income protection insurance on the superannuation, so our newfound savings might be going towards that. Or to fine wining and dining and island holidays and massages? Depends how much the income protection is!

So that’s only 32% into the book. I’ll keep you posted.