1,000 Shades of Grey

I’m a neurotic mess.

This is not going to be coming as massive news to anyone who’s held a conversation with me which lasted more than 5 minutes. Therefore, my mind is always awash with various ideas and thoughts (usually self-deprecating).

However, this week my mind has been more clouded than usual.

This is not just due to my growing disappointment in humanity as more and more political decisions are showing a growing tendency towards an “Us vs Them” insular way of thinking. It is also down to my own personal situations and where I see my life going in the near future.

I’m currently living my life in what is described as the “grey area”. For those perhaps unaware, the “grey area” means something that is not clearly defined; or “that which is uncertain.”

 

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes grey areas are fantastic …exciting, even.

 

Let’s take relationships is an example…

 

At the start of a new relationship, the “grey areas” are the adrenaline rush which makes this period so bloody exciting! You don’t know your new partner that well; they are new, their decisions are unpredictable.

Perhaps you don’t even know where you stand with your new partner?! Are you “together” … or just “seeing how it goes” …or maybe even, “casual” (we all know what that means).

Can you imagine a world where we started every new relationship without these grey areas? A world where you presented a relationship CV perhaps…

 

BLAIR STEVENSON

 

PROS

  • Successful track record of monogamous relationships
  • Experienced conversationalist
  • Reasonably self-aware

 

CONS

  • Neurotic
  • Not comfortable displaying/discussing emotions
  • Will probably write about you…

 

How backwards would this be for everyone to deal with?

Maybe you would even have to sign a contract;

 

“Do you accept the full terms and conditions of dealing with *ENTER NAME*:________”

 

This sounds horrific, especially when you consider how people change and develop over time. We would all be in breach of contract very quickly!

 

The issues with “grey areas” and relationships come with the length of time it has existed. As the “grey” grows old, it tends be become one-sided. One person dictates the pace of the relationship while the other gets dragged along behind the horse; unsure of quite what’s happening, but hoping for the best.

This is how people ended up getting hurt.

 

(Quick Tip; If you are unsure of your current relationship situation, ask your partner to go to a show that is a few months away … the response you receive should tell you everything you need to know!)

 

However, these “grey areas” can permeate other aspects of your life too.

  • Your social circle (“is this guy my friend or just a work-acquaintance?”)
  • Your family (“I think my sister might actually be my mum…”)
  • Your job (“I’m not sure whether to take this contract with Silence Ltd.”)

…the list is endless.

However, a strong ability to deal with these “grey areas” can be a fantastic positive for your career trajectory. It has been proven time and time again that the ability to work under the pressure of uncertainty; the ability to take risks, is a fast-track towards a promotion!

How do you deal with “grey areas”? Are you dealing with any just now?

I currently believe that I am living with TOO many.

 

Note to self – be more decisive, state your intentions more clearly, learn from your mistakes.

A Million Tiny Sacrifices

“I am just going outside and may be some time.”

 

Have you heard this saying before?

Are you aware of the incredible context with which these simple words were initially delivered?

The infamous words were said by Captain Lawrence Oates during the Terra Nova Expedition.

 

The Terra Nova Expedition was an expedition to the Antarctica which took place between 1910-1913. The expedition was the brain child of explorer Robert Falcon Scott, who aimed to lead the first group to reach the geographic South Pole. Captain Lawrence Oates, a former English cavalry officer, was selected to be a part of Scott’s team for this expedition.

 

Over the course of the expedition it became evident that both Oates and Scott strongly disliked each other. Oates wrote in his diary;

“Myself, I dislike Scott intensely and would chuck the whole thing if it were not that we are a British expedition. He is not straight, it is himself first, the rest nowhere…”.

Scott, somewhat more even-tempered wrote in return;

“The Soldier [Oates] takes a gloomy view of everything, but I’ve come to see that this is a characteristic of him”.

 

Despite the in-fighting and mismanagement of the journey, the team attained their goal in January 1912 when they reached the South Pole.

 

…from that point, things went south [pun intended] – and no one from the Terra Nova made it home alive.

 

 

Now, at this point of this article you’re probably starting to think “why are you sharing this harrowing tale with me, and where does the quote at the top fit in?!”

That’s understandable, I’ve rambled a little bit.

…but bear with me.

 

 

During the return leg of the journey, Captain Oastes’ feet become severely frostbitten and old war wounds had (reportedly) re-opened, leaving him very weak and unable to walk the distances needed each day. Oates’ increasingly slow progress coupled with the unwillingness of the rest of the team to leave him behind had caused the team to fall dangerously behind.

 

On the morning of 16th of March, Oates said the simple words quoted to his companions;

“I am just going outside and may be some time.”

Oates then walked from the tent, into a blizzard and −40 °C temperatures, knowingly to his death.

His death is viewed as an act of self-sacrifice; aware that his ill health was compromising his three companions’ chances of survival, he chose certain death.

While questions can be (and regularly are) raised about the capability and organisation of the team on the Terra Nova expedition, what can never be questioned is the bravery and self-sacrifice of Captain Oates.

 

The story of the Terra Nova came to my attention for the first time in many years last night and it stuck with me as I lay in bed and tried to sleep. I tried my best to put myself in Oates’ position and replayed it in my mind repeatedly, trying to judge what my own reactions would be in a similar position. The truth is, I can’t. You will never know how you will act in such terrible and extreme circumstances. The only thing I could do was try to learn from it, use Oates’ self-sacrifice as an inspiration to improve my everyday life.

I began to think of the little self-sacrifices that I do/could make every day. How these can positively impact both my own mood and the mood of those around me. Simple examples such as;

  • When your technophobic family members ask you to show them how to check their emails for the 40th time
  • When you can’t have that beer because your friend/family needs you to drive them somewhere
  • Slowing your stride on a narrow pavement because the person in front of you is on crutches
  • …visiting anyone in hospital!

 

I’m going to strive to be more patient in life.

I’m going to take more deep breaths and enjoy the tony moments of “self-sacrifice” in everyday life.

Things could always be worse…

 

 

 

 

p.s, The Terra Nova wasn’t successful in being the first expedition to reach the South Pole.

A Norwegian team led by Roald Amundsen had preceded them by 34 days.

You’re The Best.

I can make a paper hat which fall apart at the slightest touch,

You can go to brunch and drink too much.

I can drive a car across the European continent,

You can pretend on social media that you’re confident.

 

I can paint a room and take care of baby,

You can make time to read the papers daily.

I can listen to a Columbian pop-rock band,

You can get brand new Fibre Broadband.

 

I could fly a commercial airliner across the Atlantic,

You could meet a partner who wants things “tantric”.

I could eventually get a fucking backbone…you could design the next god-damn Iphone.

 

I can be anything I want to be,

You can be anything you want to be,

All it takes is training and practice,

And someone to financially back us.

 

Never doubt your ability or your value.

 

Never.

 

 

(not) BORN IN THE U.S.A !!

Guys, at this point of my blogging journey I’ve had more false “comebacks” than Jennifer Anniston. It’s a little pathetic if I’m honest with myself. Most of all, I’m disappointed at my own lack of reliability with posting regularly. I’m not going to make excuses, or try to justify my own (lack of) action. All I’ll say is that 2016 has been one of the worst years of my life … and I’ll leave it at that, and promise to do better!

Now … let’s concentrate on the positive!

Since my last post (which was probably a “comeback” post…) my life has changed quite a bit

For starters, I’m currently residing in Manhattan, New York.

I know, right? When the fuck did that happen?

 

Recently, I was given the opportunity to move to New York for the rest of 2016 (and hopefully beyond) with an international property company. It was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down. Especially considering, y’know, worst year ever! Haha

 

I’ve been here a couple of days now and I am still very much sounding out the city. It takes a long time to get the feel for a new city, especially one as vast as NewYork. All I know is that I am here for a fresh start; with life, with blogging …with everything.

As is my traditional fashion … I’ll keep you guys updated along the way!

 

Speak soon,

Blair.

 

 

Thought i’d include a few photos I have taken during writing this down at Pier 48 over the Hudson River…

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Sleep: The Short Cut to Being an Intelligent and Handsome Bastard.

Since the disastrous decision from my compatriots in the United Kingdom to drag me kicking and screaming out the EU, I am not ashamed to say that I have been losing sleep.

…and it’s beginning to show.

More and more this week, I have heard myself utter that infamous alpha-male rhetoric, “I only need about four hours”. For some bizarre reason, during the teenage male years it becomes a sign of masculinity to not sleep. I’m not sure where this started, I mean I can’t see why sitting up until 3am re-watching Community Season 2 and masturbating suddenly makes you the ideal partner for anyone…

The truth is, that it doesn’t.

Sleep is an incredibly important support system for our body composition. Everything from our mental capacity, strength and feeling of overall well-being can be easily linked back to our levels of sleep.

The experts say (not me…) that the average amount of sleep necessary for males between the ages of 17 and 35 is between 7-9 hours. However, much like in nutrition and calorie intake, your lifestyle and activity levels can play a huge factor in your own needs. The “harder you live”, the more sleep you will need. Play around with your levels and find your own unique levels.

By this point in the article you’ve probably scoffed at least once, but I promise you I can back my preaching up. To highlight the importance of sleep, I’ve pulled together some reasons why it is important for us … not just mentally, but physically too.

 

MENTAL IMPORTANCE

Sleep levels have been proven to be heavily linked to various aspects of necessary brain functions, such as cognition, concentration and productivity. You will have found in your day to day life that a good night’s sleep can improve your speed, accuracy and reaction times. It’s important to remember that your brain is like a machine. Much like all other machines, there needs to be rest periods otherwise the machine will overheat and performance will no longer be optimised.

However, your brain is actually incredibly active during this “rest period” too. During your much needed slumber your brain acts to strengthen memories and “practices” new skills you’ve learned during the day. Which means whether you’re learning Spanish, samba dancing or just learning to breathe – you’ll do it better after sleeping!

Finally …you know that cranky co-worker that no one really wants to speak to?

They probably don’t get enough sleep. A lack of sleep speeds up our tendency towards anger and mood swings. It can increase feelings of sadness, causes a lack of motivation and has even been linked to depression.

Summary: Sleep = Good.

 

PHYSICAL IMPORTANCE

You want to be handsome? You want to be fit? Get some sleep.

The non-ironically named Growth Hormone (GH) is responsible for making you grow big and strong like Schwarzenegger. Your body produces most GH when you are asleep, providing you with bigger and more impressive biceps.

Sleep also promotes fat loss and reduces the storage of fat within your body. Those with a lower sleep duration tend to weight significantly more than those who get adequate sleep. This is believed to be due to a number of reasons, including genetics, calories intake and the motivation to exercise.

Therefore, sleep reinforces everything you do in the gym. Most people buy ridiculously overpriced powders to do that job, when in reality, all they needed to do was finally step AWAY from their own reflection and get their regular 8 hours a night…

So Sleep helps you manage your weight and build muscle, what else does it do?

Your skin repairs itself during the sleep process, so without that period of rest, your skin’s ability to rebuild itself diminishes, which results in blemishes, dark circles around your eyes and an acceleration of the aging process.No one wants that.

So let’s put it another way; they don’t call it beauty sleep for no reason.

The more time you spend in bed … the more time you’ll spend in bed 😉

 

So what can you do to help yourself improve your sleeping patterns?

 

STEPS YOU CAN TAKE

1.Prioritize Sleep

As discussed at the start of this article, men tend to view sleep as secondary to …well, procrastinating. In order to realistically make a change to your patterns, this needs to be altered.

 

  1. Create your own Bedtime Routine

The human body loves repetition. It loves to know what lies ahead and so that it can prepare itself. In order to create your own bedtime routine, give yourself 20/30 minutes to play with before you want to fall asleep. In this time, relax and cement your routine; brush your teeth, wash your face, put on your Pug Pyjamas and read something.

This leads me perfection to Point 3.

 

  1. Avoid Electronic Devices In Bed

Words can not describe the improvement I found in my sleep when I moved my mobile phone away from my bedside cabinet. The modern worlds reliance on electronic devices have greatly impacted on our ability to obtain adequate sleep quantity AND quality. So if you are going to read in bed, make sure it’s not “14 Greatest Movie Scenes Recreated by Cats” on Buzzfeed.

Switch off your device… it will help your brain switch off!

 

  1. Exercise

Who’s heard the infamous line “You’ll sleep well tonight!”

It’s funny that no one ever tells you that after a nine hour House of Cards marathon.

Tiring the body out is key to landing a deep, rewarding, sleep. Also, it has great benefits for your snake-like waistline.

 

  1. Create The Right Sleep Environment

To get the best sleep, try to reduce light bleeding into your bedroom as much as possible. This can be a large culprit in keeping you awake. Subconsciously your brain has paired light with day-time. Distracting noise can also keep you tossing and turning for hours.

It would be beneficial to look into purchasing black-out blinds and sound proofing if necessary.

 

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