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Kernels of thoughts

London street at twilight
A June evening on my street

When I was growing up, I kept a diary for years. I had a friend who was a very gifted artist, and when we met and swapped diaries to get up to speed about what the other one had been up to, I was so impressed with the colourful, doodle-y pages of her diary. I obviously tried to ape her best as I could, so the main purpose of keeping a diary for a while was to come up with some witty illustrations or colour patterns my friend wouldn’t have thought of.

Now I dream of keeping a grown-up diary where I could record thoughts. I figure, when I’m old and want to look back, I won’t be so interested in which places I visited, etc – but what I used to think about things.

My efforts to start keeping a diary again have largely failed, but I can at least commit my ideas to the internet! Here are a couple of thoughts from the past week or so.

Could you run your life like a business?

Would it be easier to reach goals, be productive, even happy, if you took a more business-like approach to running your life? You’re the CEO in charge of strategy, growth and steering Me, Ltd into the future while retaining competitive edge and employee satisfaction. Depending on who else has a stake in the company, you might also be the publicist (think carefully crafted emails to parents), events co-ordinator and the project manager for a number of fledling startups that you created by merging with another company. :P In my case, I have outsourced facilities management to a weekly cleaner and my partner is the CTO of our joint venture. I unfortunately still do most of the administrative assistant functions of Meri Ltd, but I’m in the process of rationalising it.

One important aspect of this would be producing accounts. At the end of every month, instead of being satisfied if you’re still in the black in your bank account, you could have a profit and loss account that really showed where your funds were being invested. And if you had this business-like perspective, you could perhaps make better decisions about where to direct your income. It’s a lot harder to justify a splurge on something you don’t need, when you know you’ll only have to justify to the imaginary board later. I use YNAB, by the way, which is fantastic. But I only track my spending; I don’t periodically take out reports about profit and loss. Perhaps I will start.

Human, not female?

I have no idea whether this is a quirk of mine, or something many people feel but don’t say. Unless I’m reminded that I’m a woman, I don’t feel particularly female. Most of the time, I forget both my gender and sex, and just feel like a person. I think of myself as a human more than anything else, and being a woman is not an important part of my identity – it is part of it, but doesn’t rank very high, if that makes sense.

Should you identify with a part of yourself that you can’t help, I wonder – like gender, race, sexual orientation or your family background? For many people that’s the strongest component of their identity, the overriding quality. But a less superficial hook to hang yourself on are ideas. Changeable, yes, but at least they come from somewhere deeper in you than skin colour.

This ties into role models, as well. If I was a committed feminist, I would probably have someone like Germaine Greer as a role model. She is a woman, like me, and she can show me how to properly be a woman, right? She would also teach me to be aware of the stereotypes of someone like me, and the many ways in which I can be misunderstood and wronged. I’m not sure I need to know. When so much of life is common to all of us – does it not make more sense to pick someone whose ideas you admire, so they can show you how to be human like everyone else?


That’s what’s been preoccupying me this week. What about you?

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