Shouldless Sunday

A while ago, I came across the concept of ‘Shouldless Sunday’ – a scheduled day where there’s nothing on the to-do list at all. This post at Apartment Therapy explains the idea, though most of the things it suggests (crafting, cooking etc.) would not be things I would choose to do with such a day – those are most definitely things that go on the to-do list in my world!

My first reaction was that such a thing would be impossible for my life as it is now. I manage the things that are important to me (running, blogging, cleaning etc.) by doing a tiny bit of work on them every day – I find that if I break a daily habit or streak, the whole thing falls by the wayside (for instance, in the form of the six-week winter running slumps I used to have every winter before I started my daily run streak). While these important things are enjoyable hobbies, they require a fair amount of productivity, and so there’s always an extent to which they will feel like a chore sometimes. Nevertheless, I keep up my habits, because it’s the end result (being able to run a marathon, having a solid portfolio of blog posts, keeping a clean house etc.) that makes it all worth it.

However, I’ve not been able to get the idea of a completely free day out of my head. I have very nostalgic memories of being twenty, on summer break from university with no commitments whatsoever, and just rolling out of bed whenever I woke up, playing videogames all day long, and going back to bed when I was finally too tired to keep playing my game (i.e. usually about 5am). I dream of a day like that again – just one day (though I don’t think I’d be awake till 5am nowadays). As such, I’ve been having a think about how I could fit it in and still maintain my streaks. The weekend after the London Marathon seemed like a perfect time to try it out, given that I wanted a quiet weekend anyway!

The plan is this: first, minimise my daily list down to the absolute essentials – which, if pre-prepared, will take less than an hour, including a short streak saver mile run. I already do this on days that are very busy with work, big races (like last Sunday) or social commitments. Next step: on the Saturday night, stay up a little later than I typically do, and get this short list completed between midnight and 1am (the short run will be on the treadmill). Final step: off to bed, good night’s sleep, and wake up with absolutely nothing on the to-do list for the day. Living the dream!

Other than the midnight hour, I also won’t be turning on my laptop (which is something that I’ve done every day for years and years) or looking at my phone all day on Sunday, because if I do, I will just disappear down a social media rabbithole, which will waste time and cause stress. I’m instead going to disconnect from the world and stick with my videogame consoles. This makes me a bit nervous, because I always make sure to answer work emails promptly, even at the weekend – but it will just have to wait till Monday morning this time round.

Summer 2005. When I wasn’t videogaming, I was taking blurry black ‘n’ white bathroom selfies (we called them ‘MySpace photos’ back then).

This post is going out in the first hour of Sunday morning. I’ll be back online on Monday! Until then, I will be in a different (digital) world somewhere else…

Playlist Pick: Arctic Monkeys, ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’

Rumours of the death of Playlist Pick Wednesdays were apparently premature. New Wednesday series now starting NEXT week instead. I haven’t had time to organise it this week with the game competition deadline and everything!

Today’s playlist pick is another classic from the mid-’00s, which is a period in pop-rock for which I have been a bit nostalgic recently.

I also thoroughly recommend listening to the Anton du Beke cover in order to celebrate his long-overdue installation as a Strictly judge (for 2021 at least…):

We did a quickstep routine to this in the ‘Strictly Dance’ exercise class I attended pre-pandemic. I will get back to that class someday.

Playlist Pick: The Strokes, ‘Last Nite’

In recent years, following the chart on and off, I’ve been a bit disappointed that rock music seems to have all but disappeared from the scene. I know it’s still going on in a more underground way (all forms of music are still going on in an underground way, as I know very well having been a goth for so long and more recently a synthwave fan!), but it’d be nice to see it back in more popular consciousness. Maybe there’ll be another big revival in a few years’ time.

Anyway, the earworm part of my brain has been casting back to the early-to-mid-’00s recently, when things were very different and there was a LOT of rock in the charts. A lot of it was rubbish, but I always liked this Strokes hit.

It takes me right back to the rock clubs of Edinburgh and a very different time in my life.

Playlist Pick: Kesha, ‘Tik Tok’

I’ve been venturing back to more modern times for my pop playlist this week. I’m considerably behind with the UK charts (hence why there haven’t been any New Hits Friday posts or Now! reviews for a LONG time… I’ll get back to them eventually). Still, it’s been nice to enjoy a few favourites from my 2010s list over the last few days. Not every single pop song was awful in the 2010s! Just… most of them.

Geth has been watching The Simpsons on Disney Plus recently and has reached the episodes from around 2009/2010. As such, I’m getting fairly major nostalgia for pop music from early 2010, which was when, after many years of being Too Goff (TM), I started following the chart again as part of a slightly pretentious project to study ‘cultural history in the making’ for an entire decade. Side note: I can’t believe that at age twenty-five, I already felt far too old and out of touch for pop music when listening to the charts. It really is a teenager’s game.

Anyway, this offering from late 2009 has been in my head for a fortnight now due to being featured in the opening sequence of a Simpsons episode that Geth put on twice (he fell asleep the first time it was on). Enjoy!

(By the way, I’m sure you’re all aware that the song is nothing to do with the TikTok app, which is a far more recent source of societal decline.)

Christmas presents, 2007

Today’s picture shows the haul under Mum and Dad’s tree on Christmas Eve, 2007. As a family we are very lucky and are able to give each other lots of nice things to open on Christmas morning. It’s a really special time and I’m already looking forward to next year.

Christmas presents, 2007

Today’s earworm playlist:

Traditional – ‘I Saw Three Ships’
Black – ‘Wonderful Life’

And a bonus track that Geth was humming earlier:

Traditional – ‘On Christmas Night All Christians Sing’

Christmas cat, 2005

Today’s picture features the wonderful and much-missed José, who was the feline love of my life. He was always able to unearth his own presents underneath the tree due to the unmistakeable* scent of the catnip contained within.

*to a cat, anyway.

Christmas cat, 2005

Today’s earworm playlist:

Pet Shop Boys – ‘Heart’
Ed Sheeran – ‘Castle On The Hill’
Carter USM – ‘Bloodsport For All’
Beyoncé and Jay-Z – ‘Crazy In Love’

A slightly mixed-up Wednesday

I didn’t get out for a run until nearly mid-afternoon today…

…as I wanted to get some work finished first. By the time I went out, it was actually really warm and sunny, and I regretted wearing leggings instead of shorts! The sun has disappeared again now though. Hopefully it’ll make a reappearance before too long.

Looking forward to settling down with my game coding again tonight.

Prom night, 2002
That awkward moment when you realise that prom night was eighteen years ago this month. Still glad I went for a flamenco dress rather than something that would date in pictures. The same can’t be said for the Olympus camera (already eight years old at that point) and Nokia 3310 that you can see in my hands!

Today’s earworm playlist:

Heaven 17 – ‘Let Me Go’
Chas & Dave and The Matchroom Mob – ‘Snooker Loopy’*
GRL – ‘Ugly Heart’

*RIP Willie Thorne, you absolute legend ?

A more chilled-out Saturday

I ran to the supermarket today…

…and even having done the parkrun quiz at 9am, I was still able to get my run done really promptly and so had the whole afternoon for getting on with my text adventure game. It’s such an enjoyable project to be working on, and my latest installment is really starting to come together! I’ll be stretching my (rather weak) art muscles over the next few days in order to create some graphics for it.

I really hope I’ll be able to wake up nice and early tomorrow too, as I’ve felt so much better for it today!

Gran Canaria, 2000
Another holiday snap – this one’s from Gran Canaria, twenty years ago this month. I’d love to go back to the Canary Islands sometime, especially the more out-of-the-way islands.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Tones & I – ‘Dance Monkey’
Mø – ‘Final Song’
Bill Withers – ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’*

*RIP Bill. This song has always been one of my favourites.