Short link: http://bit.ly/BelshawBlackOps14
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, as of tonight I’m on ‘Belshaw Black Ops’ until 2015. This personal digital hiatus means that until January I won’t be composing new blog posts, newsletters, or tweets. As far as possible, I’m switching to read-only mode.
If you really need to get in touch, I’ll still be available on my Mozilla email address. But use it sparingly, please.
Here’s what I’m planning to do during November and December:
- Stop reading ‘the news’ (I’ve unsubscribed from the Kindle version of The Guardian). I’ll also be moving my attention away from tech news, education news, etc.
- Start reading lots of books, some of which will include:
- The Hero With A Thousand Faces — Joseph Campbell
- The Art of Memory — Frances Yates
- The Knowledge: How to Rebuild our World from Scratch — Lewis Dartnell
- The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories — Angela Carter
- The Establishment: And how they get away with it — Owen Jones
- A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy — William Irvine
- Escape From Reason — Francis A. Schaeffer*
- Eat Move Sleep: Why Small Choices Make a Big Difference — Tom Rath
- Get outside more. Midday walks to increase natural light exposure, in particular.
- Write for myself. I may or may not use 750words.com for this.
- Think and join together seemingly-disparate ideas. My wiki may help organise these.
- Exercise more. Especially swimming: I want to be doing a mile in the pool several times per week.
I realised recently that for around the last 13 years I’ve been thinking on-and-off about something I read in one of Iris Murdoch’s books. I’m pretty sure it was in a philosophical work such as Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals but it may have been in one of her novels. Murdoch talked about not really ever having had a ‘strong sense of self’. I really wish I could find the quotation. Putting my own gloss on it, I’ve come to believe that those who don’t have a strong sense of self are more empathetic than others, but may also have more problems with self-actualisation.
As a result, if I had to sum up the aim of the next couple of months, it would probably be to develop a stronger sense of self. To those people who see me as confident it may surprise them to learn that, for at least five months of the year, I struggle with imposter syndrome and social anxiety. Turning in on myself during some of the winter period allows me to emerge more confident about who I am and what I believe.
Apart from a panel session during the first week of November, co-hosting Maker Party North East, and speaking at a conference in December I’ll be as publicly incognito as possible. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to that. Thanks for reading what I’ve written this year, and I look forward to resuming normal service after my hiatus.
* My father-in-law kindly bought this for me. Thanks, Malcolm!
Image CC BY-SA spatz_2011