Summer is nearly at an end, so let’s chat goals

I write this on the 30th of August – so to anyone who went to an English school, the end of the summer holidays. The end of the summer essentially.

I had summer goals that I wrote down to make them final and legit and also to experiment whether you get more satisfaction physically ticking something off a list, compared to living your life carefree and goalless.

So this experiment is almost a failure..

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..my original post already had things ticked off, and other than plans that didn’t work out (like buying the kite but there never being wind), my list stayed unticked and staring at me from my cork board – telling me I’m a failure. You’re a failure, Emily, you failed.

BUT WAIT!

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I mean, other than my life not being about counting my failures and successes – who has time for that?! – I have done more things this summer than I think I have any other summer. I mentioned in a few blog posts ago that it was never a goal to go to so many beaches – it was a goal to go to a beach – and if it were my goal I doubt it would have happened.

We went to 9.

It was also a goal to ‘plant those seeds’ (meaning seeds I had and always forgot about when it’s the right time of year to plant them). I deemed it a success, worth ticking off, because I didn’t know if they’d grow and I planted them well too late – I think July some time. But low and behold I have plants. Probably won’t produce any vegetables. But I can’t untick my list now. And the fact I did this all by myself feels amazing (other than my little brother helping to repot).

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I explained the flying the kite one, ‘do extreme sports’ and ‘watch the sun rise’ – well, I just hadn’t had time. Sure I’ve had leisure time, but when you do you want to sit and eat chocolate, not really go white water rafting and stay up for 24 hours. But this leads me on to the question – when does the summer really end?! Officially. Well, Google says (I quickly Google):

Friday the 22nd of September. 

Hooray! Still have nearly a whole month.

Doesn’t mean I’ll get everything ticked off, I don’t like pressure. The kite one though! I have nearly a month to fly a kite and tick it off my list, before the list just goes into the bin anyway.

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Now lets talk about what I proposed in my original post about goals, whether you get more satisfaction from a list compared to just doing stuff. To compare this I had to just do stuff, and later on work out of the things I did which was worth comparing to crossing off goals.

Obviously, didn’t really reach any summer goals, but all summer I still had to-do lists that I was ticking off daily, and oh my God, that was satisfying. I think when you’ve done so much stuff that you’re confused on whether you’ve done anything, then get to tick it all off and see what progress you’ve made.. that’s the money shot right there. That’s the high five to your ego, it made me feel good. (Things like ‘Google this idea’ ‘paint this’ ‘put this on ebay’).

As my summer goals were so vague (they didn’t say ‘book an extreme sport’ ‘do the extreme sport’ etc) there was less satisfaction. I don’t think there was any actually. It’s more just a reminder. It wasn’t a to do list. Just a reminder to play or do things I haven’t before. It was like subliminal messaging.

I got excited when we planned to go fly our kites, it’s the build up, it’s the planning. It’s like a ‘everything in our lives has led up to this moment’ kind of feeling. Whereas if it was spontaneous like other activities we did, there’s no build up. Then again when you spontaneously do things you get such a thrill and adrenaline rush, and people always say the days you don’t plan are always the best ones. I think because you haven’t preconceived anything, anything can happen. And, if you’re like me, when you plan a day you imagine what conversations you might have (social anxiety) or what it might feel like doing that activity etc, then sometimes when it doesn’t go that way it’s disappointing. Say we decided to fly a kite on a whim, would we be more or less disappointed if it didn’t work out?!

Days we didn’t plan, like The Cuckoos Trail or going to Bewl water, were satisfying is a completely different way. In a ‘look how good life is!’ way. I believe that’s where a ‘good summer’ comes from. I also realise now that I can’t plan things, so my friends plan events well in advance but tell me about it last minute because I’m more likely to go – I panic about long term, dunno why. I wonder if it’s also because I know I get a better feeling this way too, and I’m all about feelings unfortunately.

This all being said, I think having goals in general are wicked. It naturally puts you in a mindset to do more. Keeps you present. With out meaning to sound dramatic, it’s like giving you reasons to live, even if you don’t keep to them. It’s a reminder than life can be an adventure.

For me, not so vague goals feel good to tick off simply because they’re easier to tick off, and then inspires me to keep going. Big goals I can’t keep to rigidly because that turns into pressure and I just want to run away, but having them there is enough to push me into the right direction anyway.

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Nettles, prints and failures – what I did today

I had a thought while on a walk today about how it’s important to make an effort with yourself. I’m ever so unorganised and my Mum calls me skanky, which isn’t as big of an insult as you’d think, so I often neglect TLC. I lack in taking care of myself sometimes, I forget the benefits, then every once in a while, for no reason, I do it.

I’ll paint a picture for you before you imagine me dressing as a princess or bathing myself for hours in a natural spa while being fed grapes from above. I was in two day old clothes, I’ve had to stop wearing bras because my anxiety is so bad and let’s say I had washed the day before when you and I both know I didn’t. This is where the ‘skanky’ bit comes into play, I prefer to call it chill, plus I love not wearing bras. So it’s clear to say I hadn’t looked after myself in an appearance way but with the knowledge I was going to walk home from my boyfriends house in the morning I had prepared my current notebook, ear phones and downloaded a few (turns out the exact amount) of Ted Talk podcasts.

I have walked these fields home for years, on this blog I’ve documented it for years, and I’ve never needed any of these things before but almost as a treat to myself, I made a bit of effort.

And these were my thoughts as I began my journey; how it’s important for you to make an effort with yourself.

Then just as I was about to reach my fields (where I had unknowingly planned to sit for a bit and let these thoughts play out in my notebook) the stinging nettles appeared. This was the only entrance to the field – a long, narrow path. I persevered as a Ted Talk was telling me ‘how your brain decides what is beautiful’ in my ears. Certainly not stinging nettles. I had reached the half way point, after being stung all over my body but I looked ahead and it was ridiculously overgrown. There was no way I wouldn’t come out of it without looking like I had accidentally fallen into a nettle bush. Also bear in mind that this path has a metal fence that looks into a plant nursery, and I had definitely noticed out the corner of my eye a few of the workers watching me as I tackled this mission impossible. Sorry, reader, I am not Tom Cruise. I had to turn back. And get re stung by the same nettles.

I never managed to get to sit in a field and come up with some inspiring thoughts for myself. The walk was extended by taking the roads, and so I was, I imagine, 30 minutes more sweaty than I should have been. Sweat really should be measured in time, thinking about it. I was an hour and a half of summer sweat (stronger than winter sweat) by the time I reached home, and after a coffee in the garden, which you add 10 point on top of the hour and half (5 points for the sun in the garden and 5 points for the hot coffee) then another 3 for getting angry at my little brother and nephew fighting: that totals 13 points and an hour and half of sweat. Logic.

After a few reality checks recently and some much needed self reflection, I managed to kick my self up the back side (also did some stretching, clearly) and did some internet work bits at home. These prints are ready and photographed and almost ready to go in my shop From Miles.

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When James had finished work we made plans to go fly a kite (as part of my summer goals) but after driving for 15 minutes and sitting in a Sainsbury’s car park we decided there was no wind whatsoever. I’ve never flown a kite before but I’m sure wind is a huge factor in making that happen.

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And so no point in going home in the traffic and James had a meeting, so I spent an hour in the car outside. Which is where I’m writing this, including the words I’m writing. Right. Now.

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I hope you enjoyed reading about a random day in my life. It ended with going to a pub for dinner, called The Moat in Wrotham – looking like that?! I hear you cry. Don’t worry, I bought dry shampoo in Sainsbury’s, that’s why we were there. But yeah, looking like that. Skanky, see. No, damn, I meant chill. I wear it like a badge of honour. Cheers!

 

Some summer goals

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If any other English summer is to go by – our summer will probably end by July. It seemed like it was at an end when we came out of the heat wave in June but the weather is hopeful again and at my little brothers sports day yesterday I roasted my round face red. The dooming greyness won’t get me down, I still have goals to achieve. Now, I sound like the kind of person who is super organised and plans her life, I’m sorry to break your heart but I’ve tried and failed at being that human. My hair will always be knotty and I will always ‘forget’ to brush it. These goals are literally conversations I’ve had with people that I’ve miraculously managed to remember and a list has built up in my mind. Let’s start with number one because that’s the first one… that was dumb. I meant lets start with this one because I can already tick it off.

Go to the beach with James. 

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I’m happy to tick this off because I have done exactly that. Gone to the beach. With James. A few times. And wore the same clothes every time, for some reason. I would like to spend a whole, hot day on a beach with him, but is that going to happen? I’m satisfied with this.

Fly a kite.

I don’t have any memory of ever doing this. Maybe I did at some point.

Do extreme sports. 

What’s extreme? I’m not constantly active and sporty, so maybe any sport is extreme for me. I did badminton last night, is that extreme? Dude, that rush when you hit that shuttlecock, nothing like it! No? We have rock climbing coming up this week, I really, really want to do whitewater rafting and also stand up paddleboarding. The rock climbing will hopefully become a frequent hobby but the other two are probably a one time thing. James and I also lack balance. Good luck to us. Also kayaking, nearly forgot that one. We’re fucked.

Actually plant those seeds! 

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This one is on the way. I have to tick it off now, I can’t wait for the end product because what if they don’t grow? What if I fuck it up? I definitely planted them too late. I’m doing my best. I love a plant though, as you’d know because of this weird post. Very weird.

Stay up and watch the sun set then rise

Don’t really need an explanation for this one do I? It’s challenging only because of James’s and I work schedules. I actually wake up for work before the sun has risen – the photo below was from last week. You know what they say ‘red sky in the morning, shepherds warning.’ It was a crap day nonetheless. At least I got to see this.

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I am very sure that I have said other things I’d like to do, so maybe if I think of any I’ll do an update post but my memory is a bag of shit. Remembering these five things is good for me.

I wonder if you get more satisfaction if you have a list of goals. Like a bucket list. Not just having the list, obviously, but ticking off the list, actually achieving the goals. I know a few people who are ticking away at their bucket lists. I don’t have one, I just know general things that I want to do. But with the satisfaction of completing a race or even like picking your spots (ew), I wonder if you get an added bonus feeling when you are physically ticking things off. Completing it. But I question why are you (not necessarily you) waiting so late to do these things, why are you waiting to have a list before you do it and you generally only make a list as an adult when you start freaking out you haven’t done these things. Though, I still get it, I recon I’ll get a tattoo at 40. I’m trying to convince my Mum to get matching ones with me currently, because I know I won’t regret that, but seeing as I’m failing in convincing her I recon I’ll get to 40 and be like why the fuck haven’t I got one before?!

I tell you what, let’s do an experiment. I’ll have to rely on my bad memory for it unfortunately. I’ll compare the feelings I get when I complete something on my goals list to just any other activity I’ve done. The reason I’ll have to rely on my memory of past things I’ve done is because the whole point is doing it without purpose. I can’t purposefully do something without purpose. It’s hard to deem what I can compare them to though, when they weren’t ‘events’. Do I include drinking in a park? Or scooting at midnight? We’ll see. I’ll work it out. Let me write these goals down right this second to make it physical and go from there.

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Avocado Plant 

It won’t grow in England they said. Watch me.. At least try, I said. Despite the typical English summer we are having, the every season in one day has seemed to have helped my plant grow. It’s ready to be potted. I’m excited to see if it’ll continue to thrive. 

Film Soaking With Vinegar

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Better late than never? How often is that saying true? Well my summer project does still exist, just because I’ve waited so long to share the photos doesn’t mean my summer didn’t happen. I’m just always late to the party, you know. But that usually means I turn up drunk.. Or I’m the last one standing.. Where am I going with this?

So I tried film soaking and that was fun. I love an experiment, but an experiment with photography and my knees are knocking and my hands are shaking. Maybe I should get that looked at. This 35mm film was soaked in vinegar for 2 days, then soaked in water for 3 days and dried out in rice. These photos were taken on my trusted pal Olympus Trip 35.

Other than looking like we all have been infected with a deadly virus (but still having time to drink gin and tonic out of ‘shake it up’ glasses) I’m loving a bit of soak-a-film-to-make-it-look-all-weird-and-cool. That’s the technical term.

Tune in next time for some more film soaking with diseases such as gangrene, scurvy and the black death.

July And August / 62 Days / Summer Challenge

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I had planned to write this post yesterday on the 1st, but instead I spent the hottest day ever recorded in England for July in Greenwich. Apparently it was hotter than Hawaii, the Bahamas, the Canaries, and even the Sahara Desert. Apparently; I haven’t actually done any research other than read a few news headlines. I didn’t know at the time it was officially a record breaking day, I just knew while we were walking around London, having a picnic, on a boat, and then walking back up that MASSIVE hill in the the park that I was dripping with sweat, where as I don’t usually walk around London dripping with sweat. Maybe the give away was the instant relief when we would stop in at a shop with air-conditioning, and then leaving it feeling like we’ve just walked into an oven. I don’t think my thinking went past ‘Wow, it is boiling today. I really fancy an ice cream. Swimming would be fun. Speaking of swimming, what’s that dripping down my arms? Oh.. Sweat.. I really fancy an ice cream.’ But heat fries your thinking. In fact I was in the exact same place on Sunday (when these photos were taken) and I wasn’t dripping with sweat. Too much detail? I’m all showered, squeaky clean with a fan blaring at my face as I write this, if that’s better imagery. I’m into it though, the heat. But I would also be into air-conditioning in English homes.

So back to the post, today I am sharing with you my summer challenge. Think 365 photo project, but 303 less days and it’ll be more random, especially when it comes to posting the outcome on my blog BECAUSE (drum roll please) I will be using only film * and the crowd goes wild*. I aim to take photos every day, but as film is unpredictable maybe nothing will come out. NOTHING AT ALL. Will that be my excuse when I don’t post anything for a while because I forgot to take photos? You will never know.

Film is my thing. If it wasn’t for film I would be significantly less interested in photography. I have a collection of cameras that is far beyond what you see in my photo – an unofficial collection that happened without me even realising – and I just want to experiment with them. I have lots of out of date film that I want to try out, not even sure why I was hoarding them, and there are even cameras I don’t recognise (so I assume they are my parents cameras) with film half way used in them. Assuming stupid teenage Emily has already opened the back once to see what was going on, I am going to finish them to really see what’s going on. Whatever that means.

I have APS film that when out of date in 2004 – I was 13 so I’m sure they aren’t mine. I have poloroid film that I been putting off using for years because they discontinued them. I have a throw away camera from 2012 – why? 120mm film, black and white film, a fish eye lens, are you even still reading?, a box brownie (that’s not food), a Diana with a 120mm and a 35mm back, and a camera shaped like McDonald’s fries that was bought in a charity shop in Malta. I’ll insert the photo from 2012 for lols.
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I won’t be using my McDonald’s camera, sorry. I also saw this post and I am so excited to experiment and try it out. I have never even HEARD of film soaking let alone done it. It sounds too good to be true, is it a troll post??

I will also use in-date film. Maybe.

Summary; My summer challenge is to document what I am naturally doing everyday, with film.

I started yesterday at Greenwich with my Diana with 35mm film, and I’m positively sure nothing came out because I completely forgot how to work it. It’s cool, there’s always today and there’s always tomorrow.

(Sidenote: I will be using digital cameras/my phone too. I am human, and digital cameras are a natural way of life. They just won’t be part of this challenge, so no drunk selfies on the blog unfortunately.)

Thanks for reading and have a great day!