are you too busy to live your life?

Posted on July 31st, 2011

This week in Sunday Life I break the Catch-22 bind

Back when I used to work stupidly long hours in a normal office job I would spy people on my way to meetings sitting at cafes – on a Tuesday, at 11am – and I’d think, “How do they have the time? What have they got right that I haven’t?”.

Your sun-basking, Sudoku-doodling café lingerer might be the neighbour who gets to a 5pm yoga class each week, or the friend who can spontaneously take a long weekend when the weather turns nice.

“How do they have time?” you cry out, half in envy, half in contempt. How come they got their life so sorted?

Recently I was invited on a meditation retreat. The idea of withdrawing from life – from email, laptops and planning dinner each night – for five days is something I fantasise about. I have an image: people who go on meditation retreats have interiors magazine-ready homes and organised spice racks and cherubic blonde children and wear leather-soled shoes. You see (my logic goes), they have their life sorted.

So they’re able to.

Personally, I don’t know that my life will ever be sorted. And I’ll never have blonde kids. So this week I took the plunge, left my iphone at home, and signed up to the retreat. Regardless.

Goodness. You’d think I was heading off to Siberia. Or whatever other outpost where Vodafone doesn’t have coverage. Of course, it coincided with my busiest period all year. Sitting in the hall with a dozen others, I fretted as my brain slowed to a blunt, foggy stop. It rained outside. I clung with white knuckles. But eventually I had to give in to the atrophy.

On day three the following occurred to me. Have you read Catch-22? I haven’t. I think it was a real early “70s thing when people had time for holidays and dense reads. But I know the gist. A bomber pilot wants to quit his job due to the inherent dangers. But he’s denied because the fact he understands the danger means he’s sane, and only mad pilots can be relieved. So he has to keep flying, even though it’s insane to do so. Read more

24 top tips for inner-city bike buying + riding

Posted on July 29th, 2011

My philosophy is this: when more people ride bikes in cities, the safer that city is for cyclists. Actually, it’s not my philosophy. It’s a fact. And the raison d’etre of my Campaign To Ride a Bike.


But I know many of you get stuck on how to start out riding – how and where to buy a bike. So let’s get back to basics. If you build bikes in your area, or if you know a great mob who sell bikes and look after green kids to the scene, please add to the list in the comments below…

1. Always test-ride. Bike shops will always let you do this. If you live in a hilly area and are planning to buy a single-speed, test-ride up a hill.

2. Try a three-speed. The retro look is rad. But if you’re new to riding, having no gears can be tough. Think about a hybrid – retro in look, geared in functionality. I’ve written about this here.

YouTube Preview Image

(apologies for the blip at the end of the video…)

3.  Learn how to carry a bike up stairs. I’ve given some tips in this funny little video we did outside Bondi Bikes, above.

4. Switch to slick tyres if you have a mountain bike. It’ll make your bike faster, and cleaner if you’re keeping it indoors. Again, above.

5. Get a bike lock that you can sling over your shoulder. You can then stick the key in your pocket or down your bra (with an ATM card or $20) and the lock over your shoulder and off you go. No bag. No clutter.

6. Don’t be a complete cheapskate, says 7PM Project’s Charlie Pickering. “You don’t have to spend thousands on a space-age carbon fibre uberbike, but if you buy the cheapest thing you can find it will be Read more

question: what’s the deal with your divided life?”

Posted on July 27th, 2011

Every now and then I answer a question from a reader that I figure best to answer en masse…here’s one that struck me recently:

It’s come up a few times in comments on this blog. What’s the deal with my two speeds – my heels/red carpet/hair extensions/smile-for-cameras existence, and my live-in-the-hills/simple/non-shopping/biking/no makeup life? How do I do it? Does it tear me?

via 79ideas

It seems to confound a few people. Or suggest to some that I’m inconsistent.

Normally I don’t feel obliged to explain myself (should we ever if we’re not harming anyone?), but I have put some thought to the issue lately.

I think many of us have two speeds. Our busy, crazy self and then the self we try to come home to with friends and family and with ourselves.

I think many of us feel that somehow we need to be marrying the two. Uniting them. Or finding a middle ground between. We call this balance. We seek it.

I ask, though, is balance about finding a middle?

Or can balance be about dancing between the two, or three, or four aspects of ourselves? Can we not be all the things, authentically?

BUT, cry some, that’s fine if your values are consistent across the selves. I agree. And this part of the dance isn’t always easy. Read more