Art, altruism and food

I’ve been questioning the bucket list idea a bit lately, wondering why I am doing it.  Is it a mere distraction from pain?  If it is, then maybe that is okay, maybe that is the best I can hope for right now.  But I want it to serve another purpose as well – to help me find joy and fulfilment in spite of the pain.  I am also hoping to find purpose, to find out what I really want to be, what is important to me.  I want to learn from it.  I’m not sure if this is the right way to go about it, I mean it’s not exactly a spiritual pilgrimage, is it? But maybe I’m just a bit shallow for that………..  Anyway, last time I updated you I was 4 down, 97 to go.  Since then I’ve completed another 4.  In no particular order:

I’ve donated to a food bank (#49).  Giving to others is often cited as one of the 5 things necessary for good mental health.  And yes, it did feel good.  Certainly better than spending £20 on some tat that I don’t need.  Of course, the fact that it felt good means it wasn’t truly altruistic, but hey…..

I have also baked my own bread (#4).  I really enjoyed that one actually.  Very satisfying, and all that kneading makes for good mindfulness practise.  And, that’s one less plastic wrapper I’m responsible for.  In spite of initial misgivings that I seemed to be making a baked pancake, it was actually turned out rather well.

Bread

Last week my friend G~ was kind enough to come with me to a cookery class (#56) at a rather posh cookery school near Matlock.  I want to thank her for sharing the experience with me and making it much more fun than it would have been alone. She also took some pictures of me, but I’m sorry, I’m just going to stick with posting the food, which was considerably better looking (and also tasted really nice). NB The last 2 items indicate that I have finally branched out from eating soup.

cookery class

Finally, over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been experimenting with painting.  A couple of people have helped me along with this.  Thanks to my friend J~ for randomly loaning me some paints and brushes.  Mostly though, I want to thank my friend Miranda (who said I could mention her in my blog!) for letting me spend the afternoon with her doing some painting during Open Up Sheffield.  I admire her work so much and spending the afternoon in her (temporary) studio was a really great experience. Miranda – thank you for supplying paint, patience, cups of tea and meaningful conversation.  It meant a lot to me. If you want to check out some actual art, have a look at the link below:

Miranda Trojanowska

What have I learned so far?  That spending time with my friends is one of the great joys of my life.  That I like having new experiences and meeting random folk (the ladies of Hampstead Heath Swimming Club spring to mind!).  I’ve learned that I like to learn.  That isn’t a throw away statement.  I hadn’t realised how much I missed the challenge of learning something new.  I don’t think art or cookery are ever going to be my great passion, but I wonder whether writing might turn out to be.  And finally, even though as an evolutionary biologist I don’t believe in altruism, I do have the need to help others in order to fulfil myself.

Today is not my best day ever.  But reading over what I have written helps.  I have come a long way in a little under 3 months.  3 months ago, if you had asked me how I was doing, I would tell you that I was respiring glucose and oxygen to produce carbon dioxide and water.  I may not be changing the face of planet and I may not be overwhelmed with joy, but I am doing more than just respiring, so I’ll take that.  For now. 93 to go…………….

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