Sep 21, 2016

Are Those People Your Friends?

Life has been... happening - to say the least - recently and that certainly got me falling back in a lot of things. I had a HUGE pile of letters from my penpals accumulated, waiting and basically feeding a stab of guilt inside me. A lot of things came together to make this happen, from my studies to all sorts of things in my personal life draining my energy and eating up my time. As I recently started reorganizing my time, I found myself thinking if things had fallen off the wagon because after the breakup I needed a time to settle back in my single ways, or if it has been actually happening for a while. As a matter of fact, I realized that for a while my pattern was that of a letter-per-year, and that was basically because I couldn't get my life properly under control. All this in spite of me having a filofax :-).

"Letter Writing Monday"
at a local Starbucks.
Stormberry's photograph.
This month I had an epiphany and decided to start making time for the things that are important for me. :-) My studies, clearly, are important to me, but lately they had been consuming all of my time. When I wasn't studying, I was too tired to do anything other than sleep. Thus it was clear that some me-time had to be scheduled. This is how my "Letter Writing Mondays" came to become a fixed happy date with myself, which have been working fabulously. :-) Maybe I'll write a post about those later on.

As I started grabbing the reigns of my life and live it the way I want to, making myself happier :-) other things I've been ignoring started to come to my attention. Among those things there was the question of friendship and how one experiences it.

What is Friendship?

Friendship is a particularly elastic type of relationship that, unlike romantic relationships or familiar relationships, don't seem to be bound by strict, well known rules. Friendship can't be defined in a cookie-cutter fashion because this is a free type of bond between people. Are two friendships alike? No, definitively no, and sometimes, something that can be allowed in the frame of one friendship might not be in the frame of another. And that's alright, that's how it goes.

But then, we all know about relationships dubbed "friendship" that don't seem to be so, that aren't... good. If friendship has no rules set in stone, how do we know this? How do we judge this? Often we don't realize we are in a relationship we call friendship, but something feels "off" or it's not working. We might feel uncomfortable or upset, and rationalize these feelings as product of our own fault for not being understanding enough, or supporting enough or we might even think that this thing will eventually stop annoying us. We swallow it because we expect to get used to it. But do we?

It might seem stupid, but certain things our friends do don't have to be put up with. Relationships aren't perfect and people don't fit exactly to one another, so it's expected that some things will require negotiation and compromise for the benefit of all. However, there are things there that are not that small, and turn out to be very important for us. These can be seemingly small things, but when they bother us it's because they have a meaning for us. It's not the thing, it's the principle.

The things that bother us do so because we feel, uncomfortable, neglected, disrespected, used, cheated, lied to... you name it. So, as free form as friendship is, it does have - if not rules -characteristics that make friendship what it is. Friendship is based on Love, and feeling good matters in it. Friendship is positive for us and helps us grow as human beings.

Can We All Be Friends?

Though we'd like to think so, truth is that not everybody can be friends. It doesn't mean that there are people who just can't have friends. Indeed there are some people with unfortunate attitudes or personalities that keep them from establishing or enjoying friendships, but that's not everybody's case. Most people usually have characteristics and skills that allow them to connect with different people and make friendships. Curiously, as we start making friends and cultivate them, we grow and change, learning not only new, exciting traits from our friends, but also developing new traits as well. We could say that making friends makes us better at making friends. Our experiences, both the ones we share as the ones only we experience internally define us and enrich us. These things probably decide how we make friends from then on, how we approach them, make the connection and keep them. It also can define those "small things" that can make or break a friendship, teach us about our limits and not only make us more tolerant, but also show us what are those things that make a difference. It is also possible that through friendships we learn new boundaries, adopt them, as your friends "teach you" about the value of this or that, the meaning of this or that.

However, in spite of all your friendship-experience, and even if you are the sweetest, most lovable person in the planet, you probably won't be able to be friends with everybody, and that's ok, because some people just don't click together. That doesn't mean that they are bad or mean, it just means that they don't click. If you have penpals, you know about that: there are people who are so great on their profiles, and they are awesome on their e-mails, but when the letter arrives... nope, you know it's not going to work. Sometimes, it even works in paper, but once you meet it all falls apart. That last case has never happened to me, personally, because all the penpals I've met are FABULOUS. My penpals are all super-awesome, that's the truth :-) The reasons for people not to click are many. If it happens, hey, it happens. You are not a failure and they are not monsters, it's just a case where you are Star Trek and they are Star Wars. It's alright, not the end of the world.

When in a friendship, even in an ongoing one, we must always consider those things that are important to us, that tell us something about the other person and the quality of our friendship. Those little, personal "markers", to call it somehow. Some of these could be:
  • Manners
  • Tolerance
  • Way of speaking
  • Available time or availability for the friendship
  • Activities you like to do alone and those you like to do with friends
  • Punctuality
  • Honesty
  • Trust
  • Dependability
And the list of possible small little important things goes on and on and on. If we know this we get a better chance at understanding why something might bother us about someone else. If tolerance is important to you, it's understandable that a friend who makes any sort of discriminatory comments might bother us, even if those are not directed to us or the group we belong to. The markers are not fixed, and these won't be all important to you for the rest of your life, but the meaning behind the marker is. For instance, manners and punctuality might stop being markers for us, but the respect that they mean will still be something important to you.

Do Friendships End?

In the end, a friendship is a relationship, and as such, yes, it can end. This is not just a matter of friends losing contact and fading away, but friends can also break up, and this is something that must be considered when we hit a point with our markers or with something bigger. And it makes sense, why would you keep relating to a person you no longer feel connected to? Why keep calling "friend" a person, and give them your time, your thoughts and your energy when it only makes you feel uncomfortable, when it only drains you? And here it's ok to be selfish and think about what are you gaining from the friendship. If you don't feel the love, if you are not growing, if you are not feeling good... hell, what are you doing in that relationship?

Stop the romantic, self-denying notions of beautiful selflessness, where you should look forward only to give and sacrifice yourself for others. Friendship isn't a platoon of the army, where you are supposed to give your life for your country. Friendship isn't about denying yourself for the sole benefit of the other person - well, actually no healthy relationship should be about that - so don't force yourself to do so.

From personal experience, I can tell you that breaking up a friendship can be as painful or even more painful than breaking up with a romantic partner. At least, personally, I have suffered quite a lot each time I have broken up a friendship - no matter how toxic it was, and how much better I knew I would be without them - than what I suffered after breaking up with any of my boyfriends. It hurts, and it's supposed to, though if it doesn't pain you, that's alright too. It's been a long time since I've been heartbroken or suffered after a breakup with any guy, and I guess that doesn't make me a bad person.

Breaking up a friendship happens and it's needed. It's a decision you must make, where you must consider what's are you losing with staying and what are you losing with leaving.

A person I never thought would be an important friend of mine is Ellie. She and I have very different political standings and opinions, and both of us hold very strong positions. I didn't like her very much in the begining, but as we started talking and getting to know each other, share other topics, we became friends. Though our opinions and positions are important for us, it didn't break us but made our friendship stronger, because we realized we are also both tolerant and we can listen to each other and take from the other's position elements to bring growth to our own. We started understanding each other's position and that enriched our thinking. We also learned not to jump for each other's throats, and so concentrated more on all those millions of topics we shared.

Here's a case where a marker of mine changed, but not the meaning behind it.

Currently I'm struggling with a different decision about a friendship of many years. Before, as I was so snowed up with other things, these things that bothered me about her were just nagging little things that I always booked up to "that's just the way she is", and I simply adjusted to it. But as I started making changes recently to live more my life, and the way I want to, I realized that adjusting to her things wasn't a solution for me. I woke up to the realization that this wasn't the type of relationship I wanted. Honestly, it made me realize I felt neglected, like I had to take her disrespect and constantly reminding her and nagging her about our friendship. When I woke up to ths realization, I felt very bad, so I devised a little test to prove myself wrong, but all it did was enforce in me the sensation that here I'm the one working to make things work. She's nice otherwise, and very pleasurable to be with, but does it worth it?

Perhaps a while ago it was, when I was paying less attention to these things, but as I'm working to improve  my life, this is suddenly something I'm not willing to continue taking. It might take me some time to get to a final resolution about this matter, but for starters, I recognized the problem. Now I'll work on it.

Sep 11, 2016

A Plan to Get Back on Track

Picture by Stormberry. Still on the Bullet Journal Project.
The last period of the year at the University starts and I've managed to enroll in two classes, one of which is the last subject I need to pass to complete my studies for the Finance diploma. I'm so close!! I'm excited and full of energy and hope, but at the same time I remember the hard lessons learned during the past period, where here and there I sometimes lost sight of my schedule and then got lots of work to do. My schedule was quite packed, I must admit, and there were days where I worked myself close to an aneurism (so to say), with so much I studied and how hard I did my summaries and readings. This meant also that some things had to give and me left behind, neglected, and the ones that got the worse of my lack of time were my penpals.

Picture by Stormberry. My post bag :-)
This time around, I decided to make time and give some priority to my lovely penpals, and all the people that had been writing to me, for over the last year and start replying to them. I wasn't going to feel guilty again when opening my P.O.Box and finding a letter in it. So, since my studies had not really started yet, I decided to use the time and get back on track with my penpals and start replying to them. My pile has been going thinner and thinner as I reply to my friends, managing already to send out four letters, and then this very weekend finding the time and the energy to reply to seven friends! Wow, that's quite a feat for someone like me, who usually takes a couple of days to reply to one letter. :-) I normally write the very way I speak: I just don't shut up. Really. But this time I tried to practice some restriction and gathered my thoughts better for the benefit of my friends. :-)

However, I have many penpals and it's not fair to either of them for me to reply to them only once a year or so, just because I'm studying. Of course, my penpals are the best penpals in the planet: all of them beautiful, sweet and understanding girls, but still, they are important to me, and I should show how much they matter to me by carving out time to be with them. This is how an idea occured to me: I'll have a "Letter Writing" day every week. And since now I don't have German on Mondays, what better than make myself a "Letter Writing Monday"?

Picture by Stormberry. Starbucks' coffee and letter
Last week I decided to go after work to a Starbucks' coffeeshop that's close to my office, basically to decide it the place could work for me for some studying. I've been thinking about spicing up my study time by once a week taking myself to a different place, close to work, so I could get to study without having been drained first by the traffic jams one always finds at that time of the day. This Starbucks is quite loud, so it would hardly be ideal for studying, not to mention that it tends to be quite packed, but as I sat there writing my letters with a cup of Latin American blend of Espresso Roast, I realized that the place was perfect for this. And that became a seed of an idea that slowly took roots in my head until the decision of a "Letter Writing Monday" was born.

On Tumblr I follow a lot of blogs that have to do with studying, and lot of them show pictures of notes, summaries, mind maps, neat desks and notes covering tables with a laptop here and there, and a trademark Starbucks cup. Not many of these talk to you about programmed down time, and down time is needed. So, I need to reply to my friends, and I need to plan in a break in my schedule, make time for classes, studies, readings, and yes, me-time with letter writing, friend-meeting and movie nights.

I still haven't thought about installing a particular date for meeting with my friends, whom I haven't seen in quite a few weeks now, but to begin with the new period, I'm setting my letter-days and my initial study days. :-) All the rest will come around.

Oh, BTW, on the matter of the Bullet Journal, I'm about to finish my notebook, which will complete my project. I have been thinking about making a video about it, my first, because it might be too much for photographing and then writing a post about it. Who knows. As it is, there are nice parts of it, and parts I didn't like so much. My planning system with have a little variation for next year - and not only the new binder I'm planning on getting. But we shall see about that.

Aug 25, 2016

One for UBER

Taken from
Yesterday I had to run an errand. My dear friend Shimmy Gin is getting married and I had to get them a wedding present (which had been hinted to me quite a couple of times). The store where they had their Wedding List (or how are these things called???) was relatively close to my work, but not so close as for me to go there walking (I could, but really, that would have easily taken 45 minutes in each way to get there), so the sensible thing to do was to go there either by taxi or by UBER. I've been using UBER for quite a while now and have been very satisfied with the service. So, yes, I ordered a driver from UBER. Now, normally you don't need to mark into the app the pick up point (unless you want another) because the system knows where you are. So I entered the destination and requested the car. One was assigned, I went out of the building... and waited. There car was supposed to be there but it wasn't. Oddly the driver didn't call me. They usually do, when they arrive or are close to. This didn't and I had no way to contact him.

Then he called me and told me he was there, in an alley. There are no alleys here. I told him I was in front of the building, so supposedly he drove there but I didn't see him. It turns out he was at some other place. Ok. There is a park in front of my building, and the driver said he was at the other end of the park, that I must have typed down the address wrong. I didn't. Furthermore, he wasn't going to get around the park and come and pick me up. Unheard of. He asked me to cancel the trip. I tried to but the system wasn't letting me. Then I received an SMS from UBER telling me the driver cancelled my trip. Ok, that was unpleasant. I took a cab, went to get the present and on the way back I ordered an UBER, which came quickly to pick me up, and took me without any problems back to the building.

THEN I check my e-mails and there's a charge from UBER because I cancelled a trip 5 minutes into it. REALLY???? I tried to get in contact with them, but my app doesn't have the "Help" button the e-mail talks about, and the link to the site gave me no way to contact the company either. I got so mad, like you have no idea. Well, maybe you do. So I went on Twitter and ranted their heads off. A couple of hours later they replied, though I saw their replies only today. They got in contact with me, gave me an e-mail, I sent my complaint and they fixed it. They fixed it.

Yesterday I was so upset and was about to close my account, but today they solved it. It's still bad that they offer solutions that are not appliable. My phone is a Microsoft Lumia, and runs Android (as fas as I know), and if there is some particular problem with that... well, it's UBER's problem, not mine. The help site was also very unfriendly and sent me to those oh-so-Microsoft kind of pages where you are cut from anyway to place a complaint, but make you click through a list of "problems", none of which actually fit your problem, only to lead you to a dead end of "replies" that don't really do anything for you. That should be fixed as well.

I had to scream on Twitter to get attention, but once I grabbed hold of their attention, things went well. I just don't want to keep screaming my digital lungs out everytime I get wronged. They need to improve that.

Aug 24, 2016

Coffee Jitters

Taken from the internet, but such a
long time ago I don't remember.
It wasn't supposed to be a post a month, but oh well, this is what you get, so be grateful. Today's post is about something I like a lot, and which bit me back on Monday: coffee. Now, I love coffee, I really do, and though I don't always drink coffee (I drink surprisingly quite a little compared to how much I like it) when I do I like my coffee strong. Well, you - dear reader - probably know me enough to know that I drink quite strong coffee. For those that don't know me, I drink strong coffee. Strong enough to be barred from graveyards when I drink coffee (though I don't see why would I drink coffee in a graveyard... oh wait, I thought of why would I!), because in case I would spill some on the ground, we could end up with a Walking Dead situation.

Foto taken by me. Studying for
Promotional Mix.
Anyway, the last two weeks I've been terribly busy, with so much studying and summary making and for the test I had for my different classes. And the papers... hell, that wasn't funny at all. Somehow this period was quite stressful for me, even though I enjoyed very much two of the classes I had. On Sunday I had my last test, and after that I was elated!! That wonderful feeling of freedom that you can only experience when you have been submitted to a lot of studying, that amazing thing that tells you "You don't have tasks for today, you can do as you please". Oh that wonderful feeling! So I wrote to a friend, spent a lot of time laying in my bed, with my feet on pillows, my head on cushions, reading novels and magazines, while with the TV on, half listening to the thousand and half crime stories of Investigation Discovery Channel... That is... That's what I want to do the rest of my life. That's what I'll do when I retire :-). - Ok, I keep on derailing from my intended purpose, which is the thing about the coffee jitters. - So yes, the week was looking up fantastic. I mean, sure, on Monday I had a German test... but that's a language test and I always do good in those. No biggie! Except...

It all started around 8:30 to 9:00 am. I had some work to do, and I wanted to start to write to another dear, dear friend of mine - no time like in between school periods to catch up with all your accumulated penpal letters! - however I was feeling a little pain in my right hand. I'm right handed, but usually, when my hand hurts is my left hand, and that's due because I use the mouse with the left hand. Though ever since I use only and exclusively laptops at home and work, that has stopped being a problem. In other times, when I overexert my hand at writing, the pain is much stronger and it goes all the way up my arm. This wasn't so bad. I presume this could have been the case because for the last subject I studied, I made all my summaries using fountain pens, and these make you apply less pressure on the writing.

Taken from
So, the thing is that my hand was hurting, so I decided not to start writing to my friend at once, but give it a little rest, and meanwhile make myself a coffee. I use a French Press. The one I have now is different from the one I used to have (and which I believe remained with Kari), basically because it's a 4 cup one, instead of a 2 cup one (it says "2 cups", but really, it's only like a mug). I'm still learning the measures with it, so getting a perfect coffee is still a bit challenging. I've been thinking about buying myself a smaller one, and pack this up and keep it for when I'll have my own place (which hopefully won't take that long). I've made some coffee some weeks ago and it was week. On Monday I decided I would use my capacity and make about 2 cups - this 4 cup one is FAR larger than  the regular 2 cup ones, and seems like it could brew 3 cups - so I measured up the coffee and went down to the cafeteria and poured hot water into it. Back at my cubicle, I poured myself a lovely mug of coffee and sipped it with delight. then, when I finished my first cup - it went down surprisingly fast - I poured myself the second cup only to notice that it wasn't quite as much coffee. In fact it wasn't even a half cup. And THEN I started feeling like crap.

From somewhere on Google
My hand was still hurting for being exposed to fifteen days of 6 to 9 hours daily of writing, with several bouts of 2,5 to 3 hour continuous writing. I needed something for that - like getting a bandage - so I went from my floor to the floor where the doctor's office is. Using the stairs. Not my brightest moment, I'll admit. Hell, everything was spinning and shaking! Then there was the all encompasing nausea that wouldn't let me be. While I waited for the nurse to bandage my wrist, I was scared shitless thinking that she would notice I was sick as hell, and might say something. How was I going to explain that I drank a brewed-to-kill cup of coffee? It was pretty much O.D.-ing on caffeine. I would have made plans to leave for home, but I had a test on Monday - German, remember? - and I had to write that down. However, with all that caffeine in my bloodstream, I just couldn't concentrate. Could hardly work, and definitively couldn't write to my friend or even check on my homework.

Taken from Google.
Like any normal person today, I googled "coffee jitters", and sought for ways to get them over. The curse of this era, google offered nothing good, save from some posts about yeah, this is what the coffee jitters are, and do you want some advise on how to get rid of them (Me: yes! please! now!), yeah well... (me: now! now! now!), the jitters are produced by... (me: *scrolls down furiously*)... nothing has ever been proven to actually help with coffee jitters. In my case, my jitters went as far as taking away all my apetite, and also made me sleepy. I tried to drink water, but that didn't seem to help. I did notice how they lessened when I ate some, particularly stuff like breads. I did notice that walking and slow, deep breathing helped quite a lot. Be it as it may, I was on jitter effect all the way to 8:00 pm.

Needless to say, I've spent the last two days (including Today) avoiding coffee. I already feel the need for it. It's not like I never had some sort of jitters before, only I have never had deadly jitters in the past. Sure, my heart has sped up in the past. but I've never been that shaky, unsteady on my feel, or so sick to my stomach. That was a new and unpleasant one. So, the things I learned from this experience are:

  • Jitters are real. And they aren't funny, they are bad.
  • Internet isn't really has helpful when you actually need help. Like when dying from coffee jitters.
  • Fountain pens are actually much better for writing. They reduce the amount of pain you end up suffering from unholy amounts of writing.
  • Jitters can last a hell lot of time.
  • Things that help with jitters: walking. Staircases don't help, but walking of flat, horizontal surfaces do. Breathing slowly. Eating some carbs, like bread.
Well, this post wasn't really intended to help anyone, and I guess it has fully succeeded in that department. :-) Hope you have a good one, while I sip on my large cup of water, and wait until I'm brave enough to face the coffee again. And meanwhile, I'll perch up my feet and read.

Jul 24, 2016

My Two Cents on a Silly Argument

Kat von D
This week - or did it start last week? - a little celeb-drama broke out between two formerly good friends: Kat von D and Jeffree Star. I had heard of Kat von D through the show Miami Ink, where she was a tattoo artist. After some time she left the show and that tattoo shop to open her own shop in Los Angeles, where she also started her own tattoo reality show known as LA Ink. The shows were both quite good, and as we centered more on Kat, we got to see more of who she is and get a broader taste of her bold, dark style. Then the show kind of faded out and the next time I heard of her was through youtube beauty videos, where her make up line was mentioned.

Kat von D liquid lipsticks
The beauty vloggers I saw use her products praised it, and it did look good, but as I saw the packaging of the products were very Kat von D, reflecting her bold, tattooed, dark style, which, well, I'm not so much into make up, but een if I were, I doubt I would buy any of them, because of the way the packaging looks. She has a line of lipsticks that come in thick, studded, black tubes that truly make a statement about her style. If I had to explain his difference, I would say hat my style in this particular matter would be more like an animé drawing - softer, barely there, just suggested - while Kat von D's style goes more for the comic drawing style, full of details and with bold lines. Too bold for me.

Jeffree Star liquid lipsticks. Picture taken from
The some of the same beauty vloggers I follow used another brand of make up called Jeffree Star. This brand belongs to this Jeffree Star. I didn't know it at the time, but he used to be a huge social media personality and a musician. When I saw the products from his line, I was sure I would definitively never buy them, again, because of how the containers look. These are just too sparkly, shiny and... Barbie pink.

Anyway, from one end to the other, neither Kat's line nor Jeffree's was for me. And, again, it's ok, I hardly use make up, and when I do I go for drugstore brands, Oriflame and KIKO Milano.

Jeffree Star. Picture from
Recently, Kat von D posted a video where she let people know that Jeffree and her were best friends, but that he had let her down in many ways, the last being that she found out that he had a friend of hers (whom she introduced to him) design the logo of his brand and then never paid him. The case spiraled out because it seems that there have been several drama cases with Jeffree star recently, where he often lashed out against his fans and other people in a quie nasty way, and then often erased his own comments. This didn's sit well with many people, many making ccomments about it, videos about it and then distancing themselves from his brand. The final straw, however, was Kat's video. Jeffree was forced then to reply with a video of his own, bands were formed and the topic went viral. (For those who know about them. Both Kat and Jeffree are relatively small names compared to other celebrities and their very public dramas.) The videos and comments and posts about the matter haven't ceased since, teams being formed, and all that.

I have no real reasons to take part in this drama. I've seen both videos and I saw faults in both of them. I personally think that Kat von D was a bit classier, but she also did a measure of gratuituous bashing. Jeffree on the other hand, felt like making excuses, presenting "evidence" where things didn't quite fit. And throwing heaps of trash on Kat. Whatever the case, Kat's seems more sound than Jeffree's, specially since so much dirt has been surfacing from him recently, and the way Kat also framed her video.

From this whole thing what stuck to me was the feeling Kat shared in her video, about breaking up with a friend, and the sense of betrail that comes from having someone you consider a best friend to abuse of your friendship and thinking so little of it, of you, as to scam your friend and walk away. This case, this part cut very close to home for me, as I remembered my situation with someone who used to be my very best friend of almost 20 years. Breaking up a friendship can hurt much more than breaking up with  significant other, because you actually expect your friends to be eternal, to be there forever, to share forever. Breaking up with a friend comes with heartbreak as well.

Whomever is right in the Kat-Jeffree case, I believe it's not out place to judge or take parts, but as we witness the case we can see a fallout that comes with pain, with sad hurt as a relationship ends. For good or for bad, it must hurt them. If they were really good friends, if they were really close, if they did loved each other, it hurt them. They might be right about each other, they might be better without each other, just as I'm better without my toxic best friend, but the gaping wound that's left after ripping out a friendship takes a long time to heal.

Jul 3, 2016

My Birthday

My birthday was a couple of days ago, and my schedule was so tight, that I didn't get to celebrate it as I usually do, with my friends. It wasn't so bad, though I do was quite tired, what with work and then the German classes. but my coworkers got me a cake (and eggnog cake!), and then, when I got home I had a galss of wine for myself. Honestly, it was wonderful. I was alone in the kitchen, at night, with a glass of wine and feeling so incredibly self indulging, it was wonderful. Little after, I thought how there's people who get depressed for this very situation. For me, it was beatiful, fantastic and the type of experience I want to have more of. It's not the first birthday I spend celebrating alone, and these both experiences remain in my mind as amazing ones.

Every experience affects you in the way you choose. Maybe you are sad because you choose to see things that way. Maybe. In any case, it's worth thinking about that.

Jun 20, 2016

Catching a Partner - What You Might be Fucking Up

First, before you ask me, yes, I'm still doing the Bullet Journal Project, no, I won't blog about it right now, and yeah, I think it's not my thing, but I'll keep doing it until I finish the notebook. So, what do I want to blog about today? I want to blog a little about people. Yes, you know, one of those posts.

I actually do have a couple of cases in mind that had me thinking for quite a while, but I don't want to make specific mention of them - mainly to protect the innocent - but also because through some of the paralelysms I've found, I realized that a more generic kind of post may help others. But then, lets see if I can keep this on a pattern fashion rather than a story.

Sometimes it can be difficult to actually understand people who are different from us, and I don't mean, like they speak a different language, come from a different culture or have a different sexual orientation, but people who have a different life experience or a different view of life. It doesn't mean that you can't respect them, but lets face it, it often is difficult to actually put yourself in their shoes and understand where they come from. For example, for a meatlover, it can be really difficult to understand the eating choices of a vegan. It doesn't mean that the meatlover can't respect the vegan's choice, just as the vegan shouldn't have any trouble respecting the meatlover's choice, BUT when it comes to understanding each other, it can be difficult.

Through the years, I have been witnessing a quite interesing battle as a complete outsider, in the lives of several people about a think I have little grasp of: the desire to marry and have children. Though in my younger years I firmly believed in that sort of goal, as I grew up (basically from my 20's on), I grew out of that... "goal", and soon found the prospect of such a happening as a quite horrible, shackling event. Thus, though I've been there - in the desiring phase - as I see others dreaming and planning and getting all happy about marriages and kids, my first instinct usually is to try and jump in to save them from catastrophy. I don't, obviously, because it's not my place, and what for me sounds much like a life sentence, for them might be the best thing in the world.

The topic of forming a family, finding your One and all that, is constantly bombarded on us, and we are exposed to this message 24/7 and on every sound and surface we see around us. It's in the advertisements for detergents, food, clothes, drinks, and it's the topic of loads of songs, novels, movies, self-help crap, series and TV shows, documentals, reality TV shows and many, many other stuff. Though with some people it seems to "naturally happen", others struggle a little with the whole thing. And a lot of people put a really lot of effort into it, even to the point where they work so hard to keep up denial and try to salvage what can no longer be salvaged. Others stand on another end, single and desperate because of it, curiously showing their anxiety about it in different ways. Some try to act cool about it, but with a degree of aggressivity that belies their efforts. Others are openly depressed by their state and slowly edge to the point where they will claw into anything willing to take them in. Honestly, all three of them are scary because it's clear that none of them are happy, and you must wonder whether they'll be able to be happy when they reach their coveted goal.

On one successful case I know of, there was this person who was crazy commited to their partner. Like, really, crazy committed. This person I knew was up to give up everything for their partner, no questions asked. Ok, maybe some thinking and process was needed for some of the hardest parts, but this person basically forfeited their own believes and opinions to basically match those of their partner. Probably not a healthy thing, but the person was happy and seemed balanced. Then they discovered that their partner wasn't taking them seriously, and cheated big time on them, while actually planning on going serious with someone more to their way of thinking. Some will say that this person I know, was asking for it (no, they were not) because they deformed themselves and became a puppet for their partner. Actually, as I slowly came to understand, this person was actually acting under what they perceived as commitment. Misconstrued or not, they tried to make something work by working hard themselves and trying to accomodate the other person, while at the same time trying to negotiate aspects they found necesary for the other to accept.

From this person I learned that often this commitment thing isn't the key, or not as we superficially understand it. Commitment should be a measured thing where you know very well how far are you willing to go, how far can you ask the other person to go, and be ok with it. Commitment should also be about not forcing something that doesn't work to keep up just because you can't imagine your life without it.

This person, after the break up with their partner, spent some time being single, and took the chance to use it for introspection. Through this period, this person purged from themselves many of their toxic asupmtions and predispositions, and learned to love themselves as they are. A new partner came into their lives and now they are to get married.

While this was happening with this person, I realized that they shared characteristics with other people who were struggling with their single status, and getting quite desperate about it. From the aggressive people who yell it and post it on every surface, how they hate this or that type of jackass or cocktease, to those wrapped in gloom declaring that they are no longer willing to date people who are not going to take it seriously, because they are tired of people using them, I stopped to wonder why while all three types want the same thing (form a family), why some get it and for others the chance seems to forever elude them. It's kind of though, specially when one considers how I myself are not into marriage, not even into relationships and I have been in a couple of serious relationships where my partners have actually seriously considered marrying me. Even though they knew I was going to say no. Because I warned them.

So, I was thinking, what is the first person doing right, or what may I be doing right to get where the other two types don't get? The reply is quite difficult, because there isn't a recipe to this. There's no charm to use to make sure the person you are having a dinner with will turn to you and propose or look at you with dove eyes and recite a song from Bryan Addams. But perhaps there are a couple of things that maybe could help. Maybe. Emphasis on maybe. That's the operative word.

I imagine that, if I wanted to get married right now, I wouldn't find a single person to do that with. So, when your family asks you "when are you going to get married" it's such a stupid question to aske, because actually getting married isn't like starting a diet or joining a gym. Getting married is a two-people decision, and you can't (or shouldn't) make decisions for others. Also, it wouldn't work to get married right now because then I would be out on the hunt, looking for a husband or a wife, and that alone - that hunt-for-a-spouse vibe - would probably scare away any potential partner. Just think about being at the other end of that laser objective: there is a person who barely knows you, who wants you to commit for life with them. And want you to be responsible about it. Maybe even dishes lines like

"I'm not willing to waste any time on something that's not going to be serious. I want to marry and I want to have kids."

Or maybe a charming line like

"All men are just jackasses/All women are just whores who only have one thing in mind."

Do you know what that looks like? It looks like danger. A person pushing this hard at the begining can be expected to push harder through it. Potential of happiness? 0. A person like this looks more likely to end up on an Investigation Discovery show like "Who the F**ck I married", or any of those about crazy people commiting passional crimes, or killing family members. In my experience, men are not so prone to dish out lines like those on the first date, but some cases have been documented.

The thing here is that not everybody is so desperate to get a ring on their finger, and when people go out on a date, or meet others - aside from the potential hook up - they are on an exploration mission. They don't want to commit right at the begining because they first want to get to know the person. I would say this is pretty clear and desirable. A partner that first wants to know you before becoming an issue, is a smart partner.

Then there's the other component: the desperate hunter is looking for a spouse. They have already all figured out: weekend plans, vacations, the housing, the number of kids, their routine... the only thing missing from their fantasy is the partner. So basically they look for someone to fill the slot - no pun intended. From the other side, this feels like it doesn't matter who you are or what you may want, because it has all been planned out. And you know that you would be to blame if you don't comply to the script. Your role has been casted, all you are expected to do is play it. The person isn't interested in you, but in your role. They seemingly don't give a rat's ass about you. And as they show love and appreciation, you can't keep from wondering if it is real or part of their role.

So, for once, before you keep on bitching about your life, take a second to look at the situation from the other side. You might get surprised.

I believe the first person succeeded in their goal because they took the goal off the table, it wasn't their priority anymore, and their new partner got to meet them open, unpretentious and with no pressure to commit. They got to meet the person, not the expectation.

In order to be in a relationship, first you must love yourself, otherwise you are unfit to love others. You also must understand the relationship and what a relationship is. You have to understand your particular relationship, and how it evolves and where it goes. Just because you want to move faster or slower, it doesn't mean that's how the relationship is going.

A lot of people step into a relationship, but keep on thinking with an individual mentality. It's all about what they expect, what they feel, what they plan. They put effort into it, try to take it this way and that, and don't actually stop to consider the other person and what the other person is putting into it. They just rule and bulldoze over everything that doesn't comply with their plans. They might even call that commitment. That's a lot of imagining, keeping your head in the clouds and not doing anyone a favor. You must understand the relationship you are in.

Also, you shouldn't be afraid to break something that's not working, and trust me, I know how hard that can be, but we must realize that it's much better to be free and able to live ourlives ourselves, under our own rules, facing the world as it comes on our own, than staying with someone who gives us more grief than joy.

It's curious how the people who are so desperate not to be alone are also the most selfish, individualistic and uncapable of empathy you can find. So yes, maybe you are all sad and alone and thinking why God left you alone, while you are not considering that despite your bitching and efforts and even your lucky charms, books, spells, and all your gadgets, God is actually pulling overtime helping a lot of unfortunate people to avoid falling into your destructive hands.

Think about it.

Jun 13, 2016

This Bullet Journal Thing

So how am I faring with this project? Not so swimmingly, I must say. Should I, perhaps, post about this less often? Like once a month or something? Not enough time going on between update and update (this is only the third post, and granted, my last three post have been about the bullet journal, but isn't that too early to complain?)? Who knows. I'm determined to stick to this project until the end of the notebook I'm using - as I said previously, in some other post - or the end of the year... whatever I feel like it. I'm still watching videos of people bullet journaling and how they set it up, but then, the more I look at it - and now that I'm using the system - the more I realize that this isn't cut for my style. Hey, you have to face the music, don't you? So here are a couple of my latest spreads.

Daily Spread
First of, the notations started all to flow into each other, so I had to break out my coloring pencils and put up some color into the bullet journal, shading the boxes (or banners) for the days so I could more easily make those out from the general flow of scribling. That's nice if you have time and the inclination to do so, BUT not so much fun when you are not filling up your "Today" the night before on the place you normally do and where you keep your colors. And that's where some of my issues with the system start.

I know that to make a habit you have to stick to it and keep doing it for a while and yadda-yadda-yadda, BUT there are things I know about myself and I know that they would requiere quite an amount of effort and time that do not compensate the expected benefits. (Sorry, economist here, I do analyze things like this on a Cost-Benefit basis. Everybody should, I think, but then, that's just me.) Normally I'm not very productive at night, save if I'm studying, but even for that, I can't just jump into the book at 9 pm and study all the way until 1 am or so. No, I don't work that way. I have a process for studying at night, which is pointless to detail now, but the thing is that I don't relate to studying as a "routine" thing I do. My mind sees studying as a different type of activity, specially because I don't study at night always. I study in "time pockets", which is not the same as to say when I have free time, but in carved little moments when I can make time for it, and these pockets are flexible, movable, from one point to the next. A habit would require a fixed time, and my fixed times are better settled during the early hours of the day, which is why I rather wake up earlier to do my exercise routine, than wait to do it at night.

I normally wake up really early, so by night I'm normally quite tired. If I have to study, I know I can muster some time before my brain teflons-up and nothing stick to it anymore, but to think that I still have to plan the next day out? Yeah, not gonna happen. Hell, sometimes even cooking up the easiest meal, or making a sandwich is a HUGE effort! Planning? Out of the question.

I've been planning for a whole week now with the bullet journal system, and if I have planned out my day the day before twice, that's been a lot. Copying down lists every day, trying to figure out good ways to put in my movable tasks - which in my filofax I just write up one day, and they remain there, maybe copied over for the next week, or written in the "this week" box... - and using post-its and fearing that I might end up losing my tasks because of way too many post-its crowding the place... Is it a mechanism to make me work though the list faster? I don't know, but I definitively don't appreciate the pressure.

As you can see in the picture above, I started using the "coding" suggested in the original bullet journal system, with the dots, circles and dashes. Don't really do it for me either. It's simpler that the boxes I was using - which I use in my filofax - but I'm still not there yet. What's my problem with them? Basically that they "disappear" from my sight. They become a listing and I don't see at one glance what's a note, an appointment or a task. I'm kind of using my filofax system by notating appointments at the left and tasks at the right, and now decided to import more from my FF by adding color coding into it as well. We shall see how that works in the future.

I did add other spreads, like a new spread for tracking my university subjects, and I like it, but then again, that's something I can easily do and refer to in my filofax, using a segment in one of my sections.

Subject Track for University
The thing I'm taking from the bullet journal so far is that it's a system that present definitively some challenges for proper future planning, doesn't quite give you (or at least me) enough peace of mind to make sure all your important tasks and appointments were dutifully recorded in the right dates (particularly for those of us who actually fix appointments or dates months in advance), and basically requires more time spent on planning than traditional systems.

Personally, I think the filofax system fills my needs about time planning much better. I don't have to worry about noting down every time I have class, or a test or so, per month, per day, per week. I don't have to fret I'm too tired and forget to file in something important, because a lot of important things were noted down the day I knew about them, so I don't have to deal with them now. In this first week of the project, though I used the system, I've been leaning heavily on my filofax to get things done and keep myself on task.

Wonder if with a little more of time, I'll change my mind about this.

Jun 8, 2016

Bullet Journal: First Days into the Experiment

It's kind of late for me to be at the office, and I'm already feeling a bit tired, though that might also be because I'm on the Second Day of the period and all that chunky blood loss does make me a bit zombie-ish. It's still quite a nice day, though, except that I was a tad late today and didn't get a parking spot at the closest parking lot at the office, but had to go to the one further away, AND on the way I realized I had plate restriction (I blame that bout of forgetfulness on the blood loss due to the period, because, really, the period should be good for something, other than tell you that you are not pregnant), thus I decided to wait until 7 p.m. before leaving. I'm not chancing a ticket.

The extra time I used wisely by actually studying for one of my University subjects: Service Costs. Nice, huh? And now, in the last few minutes - as my mind desperately races thinking of the lunches I have to make for tomorrow and Friday (I'll do zuccini, it's the easiest, and I love zuccini) - and the German homework I have for tomorrow - I decided to let you know how the Bullet Journal Project is going.

If you recall, in my last post I talked about the Bullet Journal, how it wasn't for me and what I have found as criticism on the Internet while I was researching the matter. Then, by the end of the post, I was actually considering the possibility of keeping an experimental bullet journal, just to see if it really was for me or not. And so the Experiment was born.

I started by fishing out an old blank notebook a friend had given me a long while ago, and which I actually couldn't really put to proper use.

Bullet Journal Project: Starting Page

This notebook is a spiral bond, blank page notebook with plastic covers. I had started using it in the past as a Book of Shadows until I moved into a larger book - also blank paged - with hard covers. so what better than this, right?

For the project I checked once again Ryder's site and introductory video making all the necessary notes for it, and then started making an Index page, a Yearly Spread - which in my case was a seven-month spread, and the first Monthly Spread, which was for June.

Here's the Index

The "Yearly Spread"

Monthly Spread

First off, the paper turned out not to be so good for this sort of experiment, as it bleeds through quite a lot. I tried first a fountain pen, but it went right through it. So the pilot pens. And the highlighters. It doesn't really bother me so much, but I put a limit at the point where the bleeding ink renders unreadable the other page.

Up blank, the pages look nice, but when on use, they look a bit... cramped.

This yearly spread can't take more... sadly.

Getting packed...

At one point I started using post-its to supply for the lack of space, but really, it didn't really do the job. Of course, this could simply mean that I would need to make my yearly spread in more pages, like a spread per quarter or per each four months... or try and make my handwriting smaller, but as it is, with just my University MAIN appointments it got all filled out. No space for my German classes, or my other notations.

I did created a spread for tracking birthdays and important gifting/card-sending holidays, which is currently only Halloween and Christmas, and indexed it, but then I thought of all the tracking lists and systems I already cram in my filofax, and the idea of transfering them by hand into my project was beyond daunting. Yes, I could print out a template and glue it into the bullet journal if I decide to keep the system, but not now.

For the journaling part itself, the idea of checking every night your day and plan the next day is lovely and nearly romantic, but very inconvenient when you get home late or tired. I really don't want to journal and write down stuff when all I want to do is curl up in bed and read a little of whatever I'm reading (currently a book on the Salem witch trials, because, really, I'm still obssessed with the topic and the city). I also developped a system for my tasks, where I use a post-it with a sort of on-going task list with things I need to get done but still don't need to be done a given day. This is easier for me than to copy every day the tasks I didn't finish, even though I just wrote them down to keep them in mind, not to have them finished that day.

filofax and bullet journal side by side.
So far, though I do enjoy the novelty and the space and the flexibility of the bullet journal, the system that still makes it the best for me is the filofax. Yes, I love the space of the bullet journal, but I love the structure of the filofax, and so far I feel like that's a lifesaver for me.

But I'll continue, at least until I fill this notebook, or get to the end of the year - whatever happens first. And you, Dear Anonymous Reader, will be able to keep track of the developing of this project, if you desire so, by the post I'll keep making on the subject.

Jun 2, 2016

Bullet Journaling and Planning


Recently I finished my second intensive course of German, earning myself the completition of the A1 level, which amounts to something like "Survival Language Skills", which is UNDER the "Beginners' Level" (which would be the A2 level). Before we go any further... I did tell you I was learning German, right? I think I did. If I didn't, yes, I started learning German (for real this time) in... was it February? I think it was in February. I'm learning with the Goethe Zentrum, and they have six levels (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2), and each level is divided in three or four courses. If you do all the thing on regular lessons (once a week), you finish in six years... or more. If you do the intensive (twice a week), you can finish in about three years.

I started with my sister-in-law, Yul, and we both finished the first course, but in the second she didn't pass. This made her - understandably - very sad. I did pass - as expected - but felt so very bad because she didn't. We did met to study a couple of times, but we don't go at it the same way. Basically because I just don't study when it comes to languages - for some reason I don't need it, I'm good at it - so I was doing homework at top speed, while she was slowly struggling, trying to organize herself while attending the demands of her kids. When the last test was do - with was one of those oral tests, where you actually HAVE to reply to questions by SPEAKING the language you are learning - we practiced. Our teacher told us before hand the topics we would have to talk about, so we prepared a monologue and a dialogue. Before the test Yul was quite good, and we wrote out a sound dialogue for all the possible choices we had. Yul was actually being too ambitious, composing long sentences, which I cut to smaller ones so we would remember them easier. However, at the test itself it was like her whole brain blanked out, and she couldn't say a single properly worded sentence.

Concerned about that, and looking to help her, I started thinking on ways I could be of assistance. I haven't offered her anything for sure yet, as I'm waiting to see whether she will retake the class or not, but for once, I thought about helping her once a week with the kids, so she can have a few hours for herself to study. That brought me to thinking about sharing with her study tips, so I researched a little about Test Anxiety, about which I found a couple of quite good articles. One of them is "Freezing on Exams - 5 Tips", by This took me to start checking on studying skills and packing up my tumblr, my youtube channel and just about everything with this topic. After all, I'm a college student too, and while I'm very good at learning languages, I really need to put some serious elbow grease into Finance, so why not see what good tips the world has to offer? And THIS brought be back to the world of planning. Now, this isn't a post on my learning techniques - I might do one of those later on, but not now - but it must be said that effective learning, like effective working, can't be done without planning, and planning requires a planning system that works with you.

taken from
If you are on tumblr or youtube - and probably many other social networks - you may have noticed the fashion in the studying communities and planner communities about the Bullet Journal.

What is a Bullet Journal?

This is a planning and recording system that's rather flexible and is based on lists. It was developped by Ryder Carroll, who also made it free for anyone to use. The whole system relies on a notebook - any notebook, really - in which you will have an index page, a future log page, a yearly (or semestral spread), a monthly spread and then your daily logs. Each item is written down as a task, or a bullet list - you know them, you've seen them in Power Point presentations - with different markers to signal whether it's an appointment, a task, a task with a deadline, and so on.

You don't have to do all the parts of it, or you can add more, and you can put in your journal other stuff, like lists of whatever thing you need  lists for, notations, ideas... and then just reference them in the index. You can reference whatever you want to reference in your index. It works with You. It does what you want it to do.

taken from
For a moment I caught the fever - specially seeing all those cute pictures of working bullet journals - and so I gave it a thought. Just imagine NOT getting any inserts next year for my filofax, but go bullet journaling with a pack of graph paper! I'm a kinetic person, so yes, the idea of that was exciting. Except that the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the system wasn't really for me. Why? Because:

1. I do a lot of future planning, and a lot of my plans are very specific. This is mostly because of the University, where I have the whole period (three to four months) planned ahead with specific times for tests, classes, deadlines for projects and homework, and I tend to use a lot of space (if I can) writing down all I need to know about the given appointment, like chapters, tutors, location and so on. 

Normally, with my current planner, when I get my program, I spend a couple of days copying all in my planner, in the monthly and weekly calendars, and then in my witchy calendar, and now also in my U-calendar. Sometimes I even take the time to copy them down in my Google Calendar. Sometimes. Why so many? This is my system, so I always have these important appointments at sight and can prepare for them.

Before I go further, what's a U-calendar? Simple. I printed out a monthly calendar for the months of the period in a month-on-two-pages (MO2P) format, in letter-sized paper, punched it and put it in my notes binder, right at the begining. It holds ONLY my university appointments.

original picture
2. Though I do have quite some calendars, they all work in a given system: my main calendar is my Filofax. In it, my main reference is my weekly calendar, where all my tasks and appointments are noted down in as much detail as I can squeeze into them. 

I don't use the monthly so much, but it also has a function as to offer me a broader view of how my time is planned out. This allows me to better see how much time I have alotted for completing projects and homework, or how far am I from deadlines and tests. This is my panoramic view, and in which only the most important appointments are noted. 

taken from
The witch calendar includes notes on my tasks and activities that are not work related, so they give me a clear view of my personal life, and then the calendars, and wall planners offer a quick glance. I even have one of those Post-It undated weekly planner calendars mounted over my desk, so as I study I always can look at it. 

However, all of them put all of my days together, and I have the same space in each day slot. At once glance I see always the same amount of time: a week. As days go by, I usually have to fill in my weeks with notations for this day and that, appointments get crammed in, moved around... and my Chronodex stamp really works miracles for me there! With a bullet journal, how would I manage?

Getting a bullet journal and parceling it all down to equal slots, for a whole year, well, it would defeat the whole purpose of a bullet journal, wouldn't it? Not to mention that I really like the Chronodex, and on the days I don't want to use my stamp for whatever reason, I make my notations in a system I already use of appointments to the left and tasks to the right.

I still did some research, continued looking for it, and was trying to find a case of someone with needs similar to mine that could make their bullet journal work, but most of the cases I saw were those of people who only need to plan, maximum a month ahead. Then, through my research, I started finding a few people that didn't like the system, or who tried it and left it after a while. Those posts sounded interesting, so I checked them, but soon found out that often the case wasn't mine either. Two of the articles I found listed as cons situations that are very subjective or personal, and which shouldn't be a general reason to abandon the system. Those articles are "The Bullet Journal: why analog task management doesn't work", by Alina Vrabie, and "Bullet Journal Didn't Work for Me", by Josh Medeski.

Some of the things these articles mentioned were the following:

1. The Bullet Journal Isn't Flexible (Vrabie): while in my case it isn't flexible for the reasons afore mentioned, Vrabie means the physical nature of the bullet journal, since you only have the actual, physical space of the paper as the reason for the lack of flexibility.

This is quite curious because actually I prefer paper over digital because for me paper gives me more flexibility. In paper I can use as many colors as I want, highlight, stick stickers, post-its, draw, stamp, write in any language, add my icons... you name it. Some calendar apps give you that option, but not all of them.

2. Legibility (Medeski): this goes on the same line. Medeski here notes that his handwriting isn't very neat, so the bullet journal (or any other paper system, for that matter) doesn't work for him. My first thought here is, really, if his handwriting is so bad, why would he ever bother writing anything by hand at all? And, how come he even tried the system? He wasn't aware of how bad his handwriting was? My handwriting can be very bad in some cases, but then again, I don't usually write on a rush, so my filofax doesn't always see the bad side of my handwriting. Vrabie also mentions that, which makes you think about the future of hanwriting.

3. Future Log (Vrabie): this I can't argue with.  Vrabie mentions the difficulties that can arise when trying to log future appointments, when the daily part must be prepared... daily. I know that actually you can do this with the monthly spread, so each day at night you prepare next day's daily with the notes of the monthly spread, BUT then again, the monthly spread could not be as spacious as you need it. Not like - I'm suddenly thinking - you couldn't fix that with writing details in post-its...

Look, probably there is a way if you look at it, and think for a while on a solution that works for you, BUT, in here I agree with Vrabie, that some people don't really want to be bothered with taking 20 minutes of their time every day to fix up the next day's agenda.

original picture
However, the bullet journal would combine daily logs and notes and lists... sort of like the way my current notebook (a notebook I carry around to jot down stuff), and though that might be good and liberating for a notebook where all thoughts collide and things don't get revisited much, it might not work the same for a planner. Yes, you do have an index, but maybe for some people that's not the feel they are looking for. Not like you couldn't do your notes and lists from the back forwards, though then again... how do you make sure you can plan all the way to the end of the year? And what if the second half of the year has to go in another notebook? How much do you copy? How do you keep notes and lists? (See why I prefer filofaxes?)

4. No Prioritizing (Vrabie): this I didn't really get. Vrabie argues that priorities change through the day, and bullet journaling don't help you prioritize unless you know your priorities BEFORE HAND, not to mention that the markers used might means something else to you entirely. Yeah, I just... blink stupidly here. I mean, I KNOW that studying for my tests has priority over stuff I can do other days or take less time to complete. Deadlines have priority. And the markers aren't set in stone! They are suggestions! For instance, if I were to bullet journal, I wouldn't put a star or an asterisc (*) next to the given appointment or task, I would highlighted. I really doubt the Bullet Journal Police would come searching for me for it. And if your priorities change... do your bullet journal in pencil, or with frixion pens. There are frixion highlighters also, so there you go, your priorities can change.

I really tried to understand that, I really did, but I couldn't.

5. Lack of Speed (Vrabie and Medeski): both said that the bullet journal isn't as fast as typing. This is very, very personal. Recently I switched to a Microsoft Lumia, and the touch pad, the intuitive keyboard and all that are killing me. I'm better at typing on my laptop than on a phone. Specially when it tries to change all my English and Spanish words to Hungarian. Not funny. I'm however, good at handwriting, so I'm faster with a pen than with the phone.

Also, they mention (or one of them), that it's so complicated to pull a notebook out of your bag and a pen and write with something that needs both hands rather than flipping out your phone and doing the logging with one hand. One: this is a matter of skill, which not everybody has, and Two: maybe not where they live, but where I live I won't expose myself to being robbed for flashing out a notepad and a pencil, while flashing out a phone might.

Then, this isn't a problem of the bullet journaling, it's an issue they have with any paper system. I mean, if I weren't worried about betting robbed, and I'm travelling in a packed train, I could pull out my phone, and make a note with the voice recorder. THEN get home, listen to it and nicely log it in my bullet journal, and maybe even DEVELOP the idea further more.

Both Vrabie and Medeski also note that the whole writing and re-writing takes time, diminishing the speed of the journal. It does. Now, compared with a digital system where you log ONCE and the you have all the views - daily, weekly, monthly, yearly - updated, it does take time to copy over and over all the tasks. And what if you miss a task or an appointment? Technically, your system works for you, so unless you slack at it, you are not supposed to miss it. I mean, if you do it DAILY, how hard can it be to copy the tasks left from the day before, and those previously jotted down in your yearly and monthly spreads? Here's a trick - which works better if you are right handed:

1. Place a finger of each of your non-dominant hand (left, in my case), on each spread or page where you have tasks and appointments to migrate.
2. Use your dominant hand to write (right, in my case).
3. The fingers of your non-dominant hand will be like bookmarkers.
4. Using ONLY the fingers of your non-dominant hand, flip through the spreads and the current page where you are doing your daily log.
5. Remore the fingers FROM BETWEEN THE PAGES, NOT FROM THE HAND! when you have copied what needed to be copied or "migrated".

I'll be happy to provide a video of this trick, if required.

All other problems and cons listed were really a matter of not liking paper systems, or clearly prefering digital systems, or a particular system. Stuff like being deep into GTD (Getting Things Done), or not being able to colaborate, or the search system not being good enough (old school people like me, actually are faster with paper indexes and paper dictionaries than with digital search options), or requiring too much discipline... are personal stuff, personal issues, not a flaw of the system itself regarding it working for one type of planning or the other.

taken from
Vrabie does mention - without developping - how your notes and tasks can end up lost in the bullet journal, never read again. I can't argue with that, honestly, specially considering the case I made before about the moment when you switch notebooks. However, systems like the Midori could help there if you keep one notebook (indexed, for instance) for notes and lists (or one for notes and one for lists) and then another for the daily logging and calendars. There are ways in which you could do it, and then again, it's all about what you really need. Are you really looking for and reading to-do lists from two years ago? Do you need little scraps of ideas jotted down a year ago?

The thing is that the digital solutions can be messy too, and they also clutter up. Paper solutions make clutter evident and force you to clean and neat up, and depending on your skills, might even be easier. I do find it easier to order my paper files and pictures than my digital ones, for once. But that's me.

I think it's important to get both sides of the situation and consider first and foremost what YOU need and what YOU want, and what works for you. Hardly any system will work for you at once, all of them need a time to adjust and need to be adjusted to your needs. And before you spend any money on them, THINK whether it will really is what you need. Don't move from something that workd for you just for the fashion of it.

Through writing this post, I became more curious about the system, so I decided to make a pilot - draft up a bullet journal along my regular planner, in one of my many unused notebooks, see how it goes. If I do, I'll probably tell you about the experience. :-D