Thursday, 26 November 2009

A Little More Conversation

It's amazing what happens when you have a chat. With yourself. Not in a "walking down the street, talking to the trees, counting the hairs on your palm"-kind-of-way. No, it's more about once in a while being in a position to cut out the noise and fuzz from the inane soap opera on TV or the inane soap opera of your life in general, and being able to provide a bit of framework and focus to your existence. It's at those times your inner voice quite happily finds some purpose to what you're actually doing, as in reality it's you that's dictating the terms. It's a great attribute to have. The ability to shape your destiny through a bit of purpose. And on this day that offers us the chance to be grateful for all we've got, it's one more thing we can be giving thanks for.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Manic Monday

Maybe I was having a manic or, more like, morbid Monday, and thinking about how flimsy a form our sack of flesh and bones really is, but today I found myself drawn to a few stories that reinforced the view. The main trigger came from a friend that phoned me up seeking some assistance on a few things. In the course of our chat she mentioned she was at the funeral of a friend of hers over the weekend. He had been hit by a bus. My friend had been at his wedding only six weeks prior. I don’t know the guy personally and don’t know anything more about the story than she was willing to tell. But I guess it’s just another reminder for us all to live more, laugh more, love more. If not now, when?

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Never can say goodbye

In this ever-changing world of migration, globalisation and the collapse of barriers (be they physical, cultural, institutional or just plain-old mindsets), more and more individuals are coming into and out of our lives from near and far-flung places. Only last month, a friend of mine got offered an excellent and challenging job abroad. In accepting the position she knew that she would also be initiating a period of farewell drinks, dinners and tears along the way. As she packed up her life to-date, she noted on her blog the large number of boxes full of chattels and stuff she’d collected along the way. It was going to be a mammoth task. Yet as huge as the transportation effort was going to be, she did comment that the largest element storing her history was, in fact, the lightest. So much of her recent history was stored in her mind. Fond memories. There’s no knowing when the sounds, the smells and the sensations will be triggered again along the way. But they’re not disappearing any time soon.

I know change is part of life and with the end of one chapter comes the beginning of a new one. But it’s only human nature to want to hang onto the way things are. It’s not easy uprooting to a brand new country – I’ve done it twice. You invest a hell of a lot of time, money, energy and emotional capital making your new life work and it’s worth the effort. And then you have to give it up all over again. Change is good (often), change is natural (always). But still. I said au revoir and not goodbye to this friend (which is just as well as she was, after all, moving to France). Who knows when we’ll be able to catch up again? It doesn’t mean that there should be finality to it, though. New priorities, timezones and distractions are bound to have an impact. But in this ever-shrinking world shaped more by international travel and easy connectivity it really shouldn’t need to be the end of another friendship, now should it?

Friday, 13 November 2009

The world as we know it

Sometimes we really don’t realise what an amazing period of history we are living in. Okay, maybe all times in history are amazing, but still we just don’t realise some of the extraordinary stuff going on around us until hindsight kicks in. We sometimes look at history as if it’s some alien, distant world where things were so incredibly different. But with this week’s anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, it gives us a chance to realise what an amazing 20 years it’s been. History is always in the making and the next 20 years are probably going to look incredible when people look back on it. But it feels like a distant world 20 years ago when the Iron Curtain was cloaked across a large swathe of Europe, when Nelson Mandela was still in prison and Apartheid still had some ‘validity’, when the IRA continued to bomb mainland Britain, when it wasn't the done thing to travel to or from China, the Soviet Union, Hungary, East Germany etc etc.

In an era when everyone is jetting off for stags in Latvia, driving holidays around Germany, visits to the Beijing Olympics, and all creeds and colours holidaying in Cape Town, it’s amazing how different things were not so long ago – how we almost accepted that that was the way the world was. Thank heavens good men and women round the world asked enough questions about the status quo.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Play time

“What a horrible day!...Is it really morning already? …Woe is me!” I woke up in the foulest of foul moods yesterday. I had so intended on going to bed with a positive spring in my step but instead went to bed with a little bit of worry gnawing away, talking nonsense to me as I slumbered. And as I kicked around my apartment getting ready for work, I quite contently moaned about the weather, the state of the economy, etc etc.

This mood took me into the office and straight through to lunchtime. Everything was crap, I was rubbish at what I did and quite frankly nothing was going right. This state of being may have stayed put had I not taken a step back and stopped taking myself and some of the small stuff so damned seriously. All that petty noise in my head really had to stop. So I took on the ‘playful’ mode that I’d read about in the past and started ‘playing’ at doing things, started trying a few things out without a care in the world. Looking at the world through different eyes. Childlike, and all that. I'd read about the exercise sometime, somewhere but I've rarely stopped to try it out. Yet when I have given it a go, it’s made my surroundings feel so much lighter, so much more carefree. Maybe it won’t work all the time but this time my self-created sword of Damocles certainly disappeared.

Monday, 2 November 2009

This is indeed it....

You don't have to look too far to find some reference to a certain film that's recently been released - "This Is It". So the post-MJ circus rolls on. I haven't decided yet whether I'm going to catch this one or wait for the sequel (mmm, that's probably in bad taste) but the clever blokes at Sony have timed the release so that the DVD can also become that must-have stocking filler for grandma. Regardless of the rights, wrongs and the artistic merit of the whole Jacko event, I was actually more struck by the title. "This Is It". To the point. Pretty final, don't you think? The phrase suggests none of this hoping, waiting or praying for something or someone that may or may not be waiting around the next proverbial bend. No, this is it. Life. Or to steal another fine phrase that is the scourge of the procrastinator: "If not now, when?".

And if I were to be so bold as to put it into cold, hard terms: sometime in the future, when we're laying there taking in our final gasps of air, decades from now or not so, surrounded by friends and family or just faceless dudes in white coats, do we really want to be saying, “So, was that it?”. I'm guessing not. Best get a move on then.