Life Notes: 001

A note on personal growth through learning from the chapters of our lives.

Every chapter of our lives has some form of closure to it, but it also has a question to help us turn the pages onto the next one. With the ending of each we can always find valuable lessons and takeaways to help us move forward into the next chapter. It might not always be an easy reassessment to undertake, but I’ve found enormous value in doing so when I look back on each one that has come before.

I can see a couple of core chapters to my life:

1. The early years, innocent, fun times. Being a devil child. The basics.

2. The school years. Formative, but heavily tainted by years of bullying. Compensating for that bullying by treating others poorly at times. Feeling lost.

3. Early college — feeling like I was finding my way & then falling further than ever before. Feeling like I’d found love and losing it. Losing myself.

3. The latter part of college. Shared some great times with some wonderful people. Enjoyed many days but struggled to curtail anxiety levels in any great form.

4. Post-college: internships, scraping by, getting a bit lost again. Stumbling into a job thanks to a friend. Finding some sort of routine. Growth.

5. The steadier years: finding more of what I like. Began exploring photography. Worked two jobs but felt content enough. Lacked any confidence.

6. Late 2017 & 2018 — change. Family matters took priority. My father’s health worries. Worrying about losing him. Feeling content in my jobs but wanting to push myself to try something new. I wanted to chase photography so I invested in a bunch of camera gear and spent too much — but I’m still glad and grateful to have the gear. Applied for and got a job working with Amazon (still my main job).

7. 2018-Present: started well in my job. Thought we were going to lose dad on more than one occasion. Did well at work but let myself get burnt out. Burnt the wick at both ends as the saying goes. Felt exhausted. Moved back to Kerry. Found more balance. Found myself. Embraced my curiosities. Spent way more time behind a camera — fell in love with the process of making images and stories. Continued to do well in my job, but felt like something had gone missing. Felt a disconnect. That feckin’ yoke hit in March and cocooned for months. Got a bit too anxious at times. Realised how much sitting at a computer all day isn’t for me. Shot more photos and loved every second of it.

So what’s next?

It’s hard to say. I just know I need to lean into the things that bring me calm & joy and build from there. To lean into the habits that alter my wellbeing in a positive direction, in the face of challenging times. To realise that each challenge isn’t a negative, and is instead home to a world of opportunities for growth. To chase that growth and to be kind to myself.

What are you struggling with?

A Hearty Porridge Breakfast

A simple porridge recipe to hearten body & mind on a cold day.

“And now leave me in peace for a bit! I don’t want to answer a string of questions while I am eating. I want to think!”

“Good Heavens!” said Pippin. “At breakfast?”

J.R.R. Tolkien

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. No matter what I’m doing, there’s no meal that I relish more than that first coffee paired with some tasty food. It’s the perfect time to live mindfully and is alway worth rolling out of bed earlier to give yourself that time and space. Over the years I’ve grown and drifted towards the idea that a day should never start on the back foot. There’s little that disrupts my day like waking up late. If it happens I find myself “chasing my tail” for the day. Instead, I set a goal to wake well ahead of time on working days to allow myself to start the day right.

Part of that process is sitting down with something delicious. My go-to breakfast is — and indeed has been for some time — a simple bowl of porridge (or oatmeal for my friends Stateside) paired with a delicious cup of coffee (look for another post on coffee soon).

Why porridge?

Porridge is a delicious, slow release (Low GI) meal to start any day right. I try to keep things as simple as possible. For me using larger organic oats is the most important element. While instant oats are handy on a busy morning, they tend to release their energy a little too quickly and are less efficient for that slow release during the day. Alongside the oats I love to use a selection of fresh fruits — banana, strawberries, and blueberries, as well as some flaked almonds (lightly roasted if I’ve time) to add that little crunch to the mix and some extra protein.

  • Porridge Oats.
  • Fresh Strawberries & Blueberries
  • Banana
  • Flaked Almonds
  • Milk
  • Local honey
  • Cinnamon

I realise that some people like to make their porridge with water or skimmed milk. Truthfully, I need to give this more effort to see if I can get something that I really like out of it. I tend to like quite creamy textures in porridge & this setup very much so adheres to that idea.

Making It – A highly unspecific guide.

Firstly, I haven’t taken any measurements at this point and will for future iterations. I make very much by feel and by “eyeballing” it. This isn’t a food blog, more a random life moments etc than anything else at this point in time. Nevertheless, here’s how I put the porridge together:

  1. Pour your oats into a saucepan and cover well with milk. This process cooks them slowly which leads to greater absorption of milk into the oats & you may need to top up with more milk throughout.
  2. Pop on the stove on medium heat stirring regularly.
  3. Add half a teaspoon of local honey into your mix and shake cinnamon in. I do both of these based on my taste (not too sweet) but you could add more honey or cinnamon to drive the flavour on this.
  4. Keep stirring the mix and begin chopping your fruit.
  5. Prepare your almonds for roasting. Add a pan to low heat and once heated toss in your flakes. These will roast quickly and you’ll want to keep them moving on the pan to prevent them burning — which will destroy flavour in your meal.
  6. Be mindful that your oats will absorb more of the milk after you remove them from heat and as they cool – they’ll “thicken” during this time and so I tend to leave the mixture a little more towards the “runny” side of things.
  7. Once your texture is where you want pour it into a bowl, topping with your delicious fresh fruits and then your almond flakes.
  8. Enjoy with a delicious coffee, tea, or drink of your choice. I go for coffee usually.

Your turn…

What’s your favourite breakfast? Do you have any go-to recipes?

Let me know if you try this. 🙂

This is my very post on this new blog for anything that my mind is drawn to. If you enjoyed it, please consider following along.

— Jerry

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