The Wacky Walking Race

Writing

Have you ever had a silent race on a footpath with a stranger? Where you both take it turns  to overtake one another. Steadily and surely picking up the pace in a desperate attempt to outmaneuver your opponent.

I’ve had this too, but what I haven’t had is an argument with an old lady who is desperately trying to outrun me on a  residential road on my walk home from work. Well, atleast that was the case until yesterday.

Yesterday evening it was dark, 5.30pm was fast approaching and my legs were making a speedy getaway from the workplace. On my usual route home I walk through quite a nice middle-class neighbourhood which, to my finding, can act as a quite the backdrop to some not so nice characters. As I trot down this residential road, as I do every other day, I try to overtake  a fellow commuter – a short elderly woman, who was walking at a slow pace and had a grocery bag full of red wine.  This was a maneuver I should have never attempted, no sooner am I inches ahead of her than can I see out of the corner of my eye her grey haired head bobbing straight passed me as she jogs with vigor to get ahead of me. I found this peculiar but thought nothing of it and so attempted to get passed granny once again. Yet this time, before I even had the chance to get parallel to her, she spins her head round like The Exorcist to glare at me before 1, 2 3, going at full throttle running the street to get away from me.

In shock at her antics I held back out of fear that had I somehow managed to outpace the geriatric then she’d have taken it upon herself to do me in in such classy style with a bottle of red wine to the back of the skull. And with that image quickly flashing into my head I decided to detour up a side road to avoid that rather inconvenient yet very probably possibility. And in doing so, the old doll, now an ant-like size in the distance, shouts back –  ‘good riddance, piss off’!

Now, bearing in mind I don’t know this woman from Adam or Eve, I have not bumped off her first born, taken the last red wine bottle in the supermarket or told her she’s a coffin dodger, so what is her problem? Can I not walk own the street without being hurled abuse at?

But I guess this is nothing compared to getting your hair spray painted red by an absolute stranger as you wait for bus no.24 at your local bus stop. Later do you come to realise through the city news rags that your newfound hairdresser is actually an escapee of a local London asylum. But I guess that’s a story for another time…..;)

An Evening Lit By Candlelight

Writing

It’s been a hot minute (I hate that term) since I’ve written anything mildly conducive to that of an Individual with half a brain cell..

I don’t know why but lately I’ve found it difficult being organised, finding time to post anything. I’ve found it difficult feeling fulfilled. So much so that I’ve perhaps exchanged the time dedicated to blogging to doing ‘other things ‘ which may have promise of filling this void of unfulfillment.

So last week I told myself I would try some new things. But one thing I didn’t expect to do was

Grieve. In public.

A friend of mine lost her father earlier this year and invited me to attend a grieving event in London the Sunday just passed. I can’t deny that I was apprehensive to attend. I thought grief was an emotion shown only to your closest of family members, not strangers seated before a candlelit table, but as the experience taught me, sometimes strangers can offer a support of their own in a profound way.

Ofcourse hindsight is a beautiful thing, because prior to the event I was truly afraid incase it would leave me with an overbearing feeling of sadness. A selfish thing to say, I know. But there’s a reason why grieving events aren’t as popular as club nights, I’m sure we can all agree on this. At the same time I was fearful that I may not connect enough, and show a lacking depth of emotion.

Regardless of my internally antagonistic thoughts which churned almost as aggressively as the butterflies in my queasy stomach, I attended.

On arrival I had anticipated an event somewhat structured like that of an alcoholics anonymous session, yet it was far from that. Held in a room not big enough to swing a cat in, attached by a tiny corridor to the rest of the building which took the form of a boisterously bustling bar. Quite a dissimilar fit I thought as I was greeted at the door of this tiny corridor by the friendly faced event organiser. 

 

Entering the room as a latecomer, my friend and I sat in the remaining two chairs at a table already occupied by eight. All women, no men. Which was something quite resonating and sad in itself. I took a seat and looked around at the faces, and was met with a mixture of emotions, from sadness to restraint.

We took it in turn sharing stories of the people close to us who we had lost, I found it a bit too much at times to be honest. Without delving too deep, witnessing the tellings of stories of battles with long term illnesses and overdoses was a sobering experience. Sitting in this little room lit by candlelight, the soft glow emphasising the pained expressions of the women in attendance. The atmosphere was vulnerable and heavy and raw.

I came away from the evening thinking of how we all live in our own little bubbles and sometimes think that we are the only ones going through troubles, that dark times just aren’t as dark for others as they are for us. But that Sunday evening proved to me that this just isn’t the case. 

I’m not saying that it’s a good thing that you or I are not the only ones suffering in the world but what I am saying is that there’s a relatability and with this comes shared understanding and support if needed. If you are facing a challenging time in your life, chances are someone else is too. And what we find is talking outward about an issue is always healthier than internalizing it. 

I thought I would come out of the grieving event on a low and I did temporarily due to the nature of the event but on the whole I came away taking with me a sense that everyone has ups and downs in life and that support is there for you. You really aren’t alone. 

 

 

 

 

Can You Be Too Ambitious?

Writing

Can you be too ambitious in life? By being so are you just setting yourself up for overwhelming levels of stress and bottomless pitfalls? Or  by setting higher goals are you growing your skillset further and achieving more than you ever could even if you shoot and miss the target?

 

I ask this question because I feel like this alot, I feel like I’m maybe trying to do too much at one time, I struggle with organisation and procrastination eventhough I have a list of ‘ambitions’ as long as my arm that I ‘want’ to ‘/start’ doing. Spending alot of time thinking and planning and little time doing is my biggest issue. It really is a game of psychology, perhaps because I’m giving myself so many goals all at once I’m subconsciously feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of tasks at hand and so turn my head to making a stab at any one ambition in particular.

 

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having multiple ambitions, and I don’t like the phrase ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ but maybe when applied to the concept of time it is infact best to master one skill/ambition and then start incorporating another rather than tackling several simultaneously.

 

Another reason why maybe some of us find it difficult to keep on track with our goals is because we lead by the stick and not the carrot, by this I’m referring to the metaphor for the use of reward and punishment to bring about a desired behaviour. It’s a depiction of a donkey either being hit with the stick or chasing a carrot dangles infront of him in order to get him to move forward. For the most part we lead by the threat of something happening e.g. if we don’t do X then something bad will happen, and as a result we put ourselves under huge amounts of stress which may lead us to quit our efforts at reaching our goals. For example – if I don’t nail this presentation my boss will demote me, I need to earn above 50k per year or my wife will leave me, as opposed to if I nail this presentation my boss could promote me, my wife loves me for me not my money, I’m going to aim to earn above 50k to treat her more not to keep her!

 

I don’t think we reward ourselves enough when we do make progress towards our goals or even when we achieve them, maybe we think reaching the goal is the reward but it seems that no sooner have we reached one goal than are we back on the journey of trying to reach another. Perhaps we should give ourselves a pat on the back more often for even the small steps in the right direction. This would definitely help keep the motivation to reach a goal.

 

Bottom line is, I think it’s great to have ambitions, and even better if we start working towards them!

 

I wish you all the best with yours!