During the past many months I’ve done a lot of thinking. This thinking, I’ve realised, equates to about ten hours in each month I’ve ever lived, which I’m sure is a waste of my time so I’m going to write down some thoughts so I don’t go over the same ground again.
The 2011 census will form a major part of this post because I happen to be filling it out right now. I say I like multitasking but I think I just get distracted too easily. It IS in purple and white and that colour combination is seriously one of my favourites! Although maybe I shouldn’t multitask as I filled in my name wrongly... I always get too eager and give more information than asked for (I used to love filling in forms when I was younger… made me feel all grown up). Thankfully the census was so kind as to give me another two opportunities to get it right (or to write something totally different to confuse them). Why is question 17, ‘this question is intentionally left black, go to 18’? This isn’t Monopoly where you land on a box with the sole aim of getting to another one, each should have a purpose. Very weird. Anyway…
Using the old ‘life is a rollercoaster’ analogy wouldn’t be inappropriate. Over these past months I’ve experienced ecstatic highs and stomach-churning lows. Seemingly I’ve been trying in vain to find out who I am. Yet this struggle only exists BECAUSE of who I am. On my walk home this evening, I came to realise that there are two paths to my personal happiness: one is being a free-spirit and the other is seeing people happy. Surely the whole purpose of life is laughter? This life dual-core is decorated with several aids to happiness that are not essential, e.g. work success, interesting books, plays, films, good food, travelling etc etc. Part of being so free is the willingness to explore. “What’s the point in freedom if we never really use it”, said Mole. This is all well and good until your freedom and eagerness for exploration cause discomfort to others. When my two fundamental purposes to life conflict then I am conflicted and tumble into the future totally unsure of myself because I’m either too cowardly or have too much sense to make any drastic changes.
…I’m sitting here thinking about my soul yet according to the census I am defined by immaterial notions such as religion, ethnicity and marital status but being classified in this way is farcical (OK, I realise that isn’t the point of the census). It is boring though. Maybe this household should host a huge sleepover for 27th March to give myself a little bit more form-filling joy…
As heart-breaking thoughts of how I have quashed the tenderness of others sprang to mind I saw a shivering homeless man and thought, ‘there is so much more wrong with this world than my life and that of the few others I have affected’. This didn’t really help lift my mood but I figured that people can look after themselves and everyone has some amazing things in their lives. I decided to count my blessings (and hope that the others to whom I eluded are doing the same):
- I’m working in a fascinating area of science (or so I think) with some amazing true friends
- I have a breadth of friends with whom I share different experiences and joys – variety is the spice of life. They’re all different and I love that. The world would be so boring otherwise
- I have a pretty decent family and awesome parents who will be fantastic role models for when/ if I become a mother (as an aside I’ve recently discovered that kids are pretty amazing…I’m worried it’s the first step to broodiness. I did consider changing my facebook profile photo to one of me with Syarif and Yati’s baby but they might get scared, decide that that’s a hint I want to steal him and a) never talk to me again and b) never let poor Adam venture into Oxford himself until he’s old enough to beat me up)
- I live comfortably in a nice house with a garden containing a huge shed and a pear tree. I also have fab housemates.
- Although I don’t think I excel at anything, I do have talents in a few fields and I should really apply those and build on them more
And then the more immediate blessings:
- I’m going to San Francisco on Sunday…hasn’t really sunk in yet, to be honest that hasn’t been at the forefront of my mind. I’ll probably notice a few days in when I ask myself why it takes me half an hour to walk across my local bridge compared to the usual ten seconds.
- I’ve just bought some Lyle’s golden syrup – viscous heaven
As I said, I’ve done much thinking, most of which I haven’t eluded to because it is so conflicting. There are some important lessons though:
- You can think too much. Focus on the task of the time and being carefree will come naturally. Reflecting is important but too much can consume you. In the words of the Buddha, “do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment”
- Accept that true happiness comes from acceptance of my quiet, easily excited, summer-loving self, from not being at all self-conscious and from having the bravery to let go of anything causing hurt whilst supporting and uplifting everything and everyone I love.
A few notes on quotes:
“The greatest thing you ever learn is just to love and be loved in return”, I thought this was easy but I’ve changed my mind. Guess that’s why you have to ‘learn’ it.
“Friendship is the flower growing by the side of the road – never try to pluck it or possess it and it will blossom for you”, sweet and very true. However you shouldn’t forget that it will blossom more strongly if you feed and water it.