Something I read recently set the creaking gears in my mind to whirring and grinding: it was a reminder that each of us was the author of our own lives. Not an Earth-shatteringly new idea perhaps, but it had me pondering both the degree to which it is true, and also the implications of such a role.
There are numerous factors that make us the person we are: our genes, gender, sexuality, race, upbringing, social position, wealth, education, and the chance circumstances of one’s early life must all play a part.
Clearly an orphan, growing up in poverty in some war-ravaged corner of the globe, will have a very different experience of life and very different opportunities to the privileged offspring of comfortable upper-middle class professionals in a sleepy Surrey village. So we are certainly not all starting from the same place and with the same degree of literary freedom, when it comes to the authorship of our own tales.
Our lives tend to be ruled by habits. I’m not just talking about a fondness for junk-food, booze, or cigarettes et al, I mean the tendency to repeat any rewarding (or at least not-too-painful) behaviours, over and over again, ad nauseum.
It often seems to be our lot to follow the path most travelled and to boldly go where we have been many times before.
Of course one can try consciously to break free from the habit of being habitual, perhaps by cultivating the more impulsive and adventurous aspects of one’s nature. Although this in itself could become a habit.. You just cannot win.
Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.”
I heard about this guy called Gary, who grew bored with the same old routine every day. So he started trying to shake things up by breaking old habits and diligently trying new approaches. Two months in and he was spotted leaving his office job in the city by abseiling down the outside of the building, dressed in a gorilla costume (no mean feat when you work on the twenty-third floor).
Yesterday felt like a day of strangeness and magic. First came a great deluge that threatened to wash away the parked cars and the occasional cyclist in an almost biblical-style flood. I stood under cover, caught between my local store and home after returning from work. I was listening to some sublime electronica at the time, a unique soundtrack to the cascades of water splashing and bouncing off roads and pavements. For a few minutes I just stood and watched, mesmerised by the experience. I found I was smiling broadly and felt an easing of the hangover headache that had dogged me all day. It was just a moment of subtle, indefinable magic.
Then, as suddenly as it had begun, the downpour ceased and I broke cover and headed the few hundred metres home, trying to avoid lake-Ontario-sized puddles. A rainbow appeared briefly above our block of flats, a fitting appearance at the end of Copenhagen’s Gay Pride week.
I will backtrack slightly to me leaving the cafe where I work, about an hour beforehand. I ran into a lady of mature years, standing outside. She wanted to know more about the place. It turned out she was a fellow Brit and after basic pleasantries were exchanged, I told her all about our lovely little non-profit cafe and the many activities we host within. The lady seemed most pleased at my invitation to come and sample our food and perhaps make some new friends. “You are my angel of the day” she announced, in a warm northern accent, and I was perfectly happy with this description. I have been called lots of things, but don’t often get called an angel.
After something of a hiatus, during which blogging time (and the muse) have been sadly lacking, I thought I’d try and get back to a weekly schedule of posting. Maybe.
In the few weeks that I’ve been absent from the blogosphere, I’ve managed to part company with a small lump – aka mystery spot – via a minor procedure. The test results identified it as a basal cell carcinoma, one that is thankfully no longer around to cause any mischief.
I now sport a fine scar, although sadly on my back, so I can’t show it off like those famous German duelling fanatics.
I’m also on the brink of a new business partnership, but more on that another time. And of course I’ve managed to miss out on all the great posts by my favourite bloggers too. Sorry guys.
I would try to catch up by speed reading everything I missed, but the last time I attempted that I simply gave myself a headache, blurry vision and an inability to say the letter Q.
One reaches a certain age where the thought of a wild night out on the town, crowded bars and long queues for packed and sweaty nightclubs slowly begins to lose its appeal. Over the years we certainly had our fair share of such nights, but then one day you start to see the advantages of a nice quiet, non-crowded living room. No dress code, no queues for drinks or bathroom, very cheap booze and you can be in bed at the end of the evening in seconds rather than endure the awful slog home via night buses or trains.
Life has a tendency to string you along for a while, giving the impression that it’s all rather predictable. Then one day you wake up and find you’ve turned into a giant insect and wham! The world is suddenly a very different place.
Of course not everyone has an experience quite as extreme as Kafka’s unfortunate protagonist Gregor, in his story The Metamorphosis. For most of us those unexpected events that you didn’t see coming may be relatively common, although still life changing. You lose your job, get in a traffic accident or break up with a partner and suddenly the sense of stability is gone and all bets are off. It reminds you of just how fragile a construction our lives can be and how a single decision or chance event, somewhere back in time, can potentially ripple through the universe like a personal tsunami, overturning your plans and hopes like so many little boats.
In the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes”
In these days of instant fame, social media superstars and startup billionaires, there’s never been so many opportunities to suck at life and be really miserable. Here is the handy halfbananas guide to leveraging your personal brand for maximum impact in the smediaverse and beyond.