The Fire Still Burns

A little while ago, while we were all fully housebound by lockdown, my friends and I discussed our favourite songs of all time. We challenged each other to create Spotify playlists of these songs so we could all browse and comment on them, and – although we intended to list a Top 50 and I only got to 25 – the exercise reminded me of two posts I wrote here back in 2018 on the subject. One contained the first half of the then-definitive list, the other the second half.

As I gradually compiled this new Spotify selection, I realised that I now disagreed with every song choice I’d made in those posts two years ago. I thought of that revelation as another indication of how things change in life, how they fluctuate at a moment’s notice, even when it comes to personal tastes. Such changes can also be seen in Third Time Enabled, which as of two days ago is now five years old. More recently, you might have noticed a significant drop in the number of actual posts. It’s a decline that began in 2019, and that I was adamant wouldn’t continue in 2020, but life clearly had other ideas.

I’m still not entirely sure why I’ve had so little to write about, but it’s something I’ll continue to try to get to the bottom of privately. All I know for sure is that after five years, despite what the numbers may say, I’m still passionate about this blog. As I’ve already made very clear, it’s an ongoing portfolio of my innermost thoughts, feelings and ideas, and an invaluable outlet regardless of how often I update it. I feel as though every new Third Time Enabled post is the next step in a journey of some kind, one I’m committed to no matter what, and one that I hope might open a door or two for me along the way. The fire still burns, and I can’t wait to continue proving that wherever I can. Here’s to the next five years – and beyond…

Mason

 

 

Prioritise

A few weeks ago, as I got closer and closer to returning to Winchester, I had a virtual post-it note in the top right-hand corner of my computer desktop. The to-do list on it was as follows:

  1. “Look at Freshers’ Week application form”.
  2. “Continue the script”.
  3. “Browse uni societies”.
  4. “Continue proofreading research (ongoing)”.
  5. “Look at reading lists and make purchases”.

In addition to those, I also made a mental note to print out my Arrival Pass to show when we drove back onto campus, and to completely clear out my university inbox. The latter was swiftly done – 276 emails were deleted to give me a nice clean account for the year ahead. The printer was problematic at first, and it transpired that this was because of a lack of black ink, but I got what I needed in the end. You might therefore assume that now I’m here, nicely settled and delighted to be back, everything is fine and dandy. You’d be right, but I can’t deny that the aforementioned list is still bugging me. Yes, the script I wrote about recently is now complete, and yes, the books I need for this semester have been ordered and are here (everything else, aside from the application form and the society browsing, is a work in progress). But when I look at the way I tackled these things, and how I put them all in order, it bothers me. Take the script, for instance. It’s important to me, because it’s a potentially valuable example of my writing, but did I really need to put it ahead of my proofreading research, or buying what I need for my course?

This academic year marks the point at which everything starts to count towards my final degree. If ever there was a more appropriate time for me to get my priorities straight, it must surely be now. I’ll still enjoy myself with my friends, but I also need to focus as much as I can – and although it’s still only Freshers’ Week as I write this, I’m already struggling slightly with that. As ever, there are four modules to get through this semester, each with plenty of preparation to consider before we even get to the assignments. What that means is that I’ve spent much of this week trying to think about everything at once, and only scrambling my head as a result. Of course, I know there will come a point where I’ll have to juggle more than one task, but right now it’s early enough in the year that I can afford to tackle each class one at a time, and clear my mind in the process. First up – Rewriting and Adapting at midday on Monday. Bring it on!

Mason

 

The Pull, Part 9

Yesterday morning Mum and I were poised and prepared to go shopping for university, and I for one was very excited. I have never been as eager to write a list as I was when I sat down – once again at the kitchen table – to compile one on Friday night. As I look at it now, it features 15 items, although I am pretty much certain that I will have overlooked others of considerable importance. I was assisted in my efforts by my laptop, and a blog post written by a past student featuring everything that she had put in and around her room. Some were essentials and others were sentimental in nature, but I obviously focused on getting those in the former category down first – although I’m sure some reminders of home will join them before I move. My beloved Scrabble mug will definitely be accompanying me!

The hastily-scribbled selection of items we took was as follows:

  1. Notepads and stationery.
  2. A cheese grater (it may be random for this to be so high up on the list, but Mum insisted I include it before either of us forgot).
  3. Pots and pans.
  4. Cutlery.
  5. Mugs and glasses.
  6. Bed sheets, pillows and cushions.
  7. A doorstop, which is good for sociability.
  8. Toiletries and towels.
  9. A bin, unless one is already provided in my room.
  10. A plentiful supply of wipes.
  11. A selection of wardrobe additions.
  12. Any desired oven trays.
  13. Kitchen utensils.
  14. A kettle and toaster, if necessary.
  15. A microwave lid to go over any food (as an afterthought, we did consider that we might actually need a microwave as well when the time comes).

We came home with most of what we were looking for after a day of frantic but inspired trolley dashes that wouldn’t have looked out of place in Supermarket Sweep. The shiny new haul is now waiting patiently in the corner of my room for the big day to arrive in just over a month, but there is still plenty that needs to join it. The acquisition of what remains will depend on seeing the accommodation when I move in – that currently consists of the stationery, bed sheets, doorstop, bin, wipes, kettle and toaster, and the microwave and lid. Extra thought needs to be put into them anyway, and whatever else I might not have considered – I will keep you posted on my progress. Any suggestions you may have would be greatly appreciated, so please feel free to comment on this post if you think of anything!

Mason