Life is laughable.

I don’t want to give the impression that I’m a wise, well-rounded sorta person. I’m not that person who has their shit together cause they managed to get one of those well paid jobs in a sector which offers progression towards a dream career. Nor can my personal life be described as a shinning example of what would be considered socially and culturally desirable. In fact, on paper, my life is jumble of inconsequential actions which don’t really have a purpose for the greater good.

But, I have figured something out which, I think, is absolutely fundamental. Well, at least personally. Life is funny. Now, I don’t think that there’s an all higher being who helps creates awkward little life obstacles and embarrassing situations for the shits and giggles. But, if there’s one thing that I’m absolutely sure of is that humour exists. Laughing is a thing we do. It makes us feel nice. Like the tickles but minus that sensation that makes you think you’re gonna pee your pants.

I’ve realised that life is so much easier if you stop being angry at the world when shitty things happen to you. I’d like to put forward the idea that we should try accept life as absurd. I mean, it is sorta ridiculous in so many ways. I mean, how is it that I throw out hundreds of barely eaten boxes of popcorn on a weekly basis, yet there’s someone out there who has never tasted the thing. I could go into the whopper depressing analysis of the vast difference of the quality of life of people all over the world but lets just take that as a given.

When you stop and think about life and the absolute impossibility of having any control over what happens you really just have to laugh. So when I look at my life, my minimum wage paying job, my serious lack of desire to commit to another person and my inability to figure out what I actually like, it’s hard not to see the funny side. When something really terrible happens in work and I get really stressed out and start sweating profusely it helps to know that I can later tell someone who will laugh about it with me. It makes it bearable.

So yeah, laughing and being able to see life as a long series of funny events is what makes my life good. To imagine that I would take to heart some of the awful things people have said to me and to let it affect how I feel is horrifying. Everything is a joke. The unfairness of life is sometimes hard to comprehend. Horrible things that defy logic happen every day. I once read that trauma isn’t something that someone overcomes completely. It is something that becomes folded into one’s everyday life. Their speech, actions and their unspoken thoughts. Trauma is entangled in our very being and can never be completely unraveled from our lives. But if we were to take the everyday ups and downs a little less seriously, then we can use laughter as a type of natural psychological healing. Dealing, accepting and laughing is the key.

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If I do not exist, does anyone else?

Every so often, I remember everyone sees the world through their own eyes. This sounds weird but I’m sure you’ll get me by the end of this blog. I think everyone’s experienced the feeling which I had today as I was smoking a cigarette before work. So, I was doing some of that people watching we all do when there’s no internet access and you’ve no texts to read and it struck me that everyone is so totally preoccupied with themselves (the majority of the time). I don’t mean that in a negative sense, I’m not talking about self-centreredness. I’m addressing the impossibility of completely being capable of walking in another’s shoes, figuratively.  It’s just so easy to believe that you’re the protagonist, the narrator, of the story of everything.

Obviously, your perception of the world is highly subjective and does not necessarily reflect the objective reality. Or is there even such thing as an objective reality? I guess this goes back to the age old ‘if a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one there to hear it, does it still make a sound?’ question. (Which it obviously does cause sound isn’t dependent upon the observer) However, human social life is dependent upon the existence of others and our individual interactions with them. Social relationships allow us to define our roles and this helps further the categorisation of our reality into neat little colour-coded sections. These categories provide us with the tools to assemble the characteristics of our personality like a complex jig-saw puzzle.

But when it comes down to it, the idea that every single human being, or any being for that matter, experiences reality from their unique point of view is baffling. When I try to make sense of this vast thought my brain starts to go numb.

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1999 vs 2013

I remember that when the millennium rolled around a few years back, everyone was freaking out. I didn’t really understand why back then because I was a kid and the arrival of the millennium simply implied the possibility that my alien baby may open its eyes as the clock struck 12. For those of you who are unfamiliar with alien babies, they were these weird little soft plastic-y toys that the kids were mad about circa 1999. Image Anyway, some kid on my road told me that the alien’s eyes would open at midnight and because I was naive and unrelentingly fascinated by such an occurrence, I believed her. So while my parents and their friends did the whole drunken countdown thing, I stared the shit outta that alien baby. Sadly, its eyes did not open and I ended up throwing it at the living room ceiling…where it got stuck.

Now for me, that’s about as meaningful as the New Years Eve of 1999 was. Meanwhile, my (somewhat) paranoid parents were literally whooping with joy ’cause they realised that the world was not in fact ending, as it had been rumoured in their social circle. Turns out 1999 was home to a retro version of the whole Mayan-calender-ending-equals-the-end-of-the-world malarkey we experienced last year. Though, I imagine it was a lot less stressful for them ’cause of the lack of access to thousands of internet forums of self-proclaimed experts who backed the whole 2012 inevitable apocalypse thing. Yet, I reckon the scale of relief was probably about the same.

That’s probably my most memorable New Years Eve. Before that, I never really realised that the start of a new year was a big deal. I still don’t really get it. I usually spend it at home, in my jammies, with my cats and get really uncomfortable when I’m on the receiving end of those New Years Eve calls and texts. I can never really muster up enough enthusiasm to make my reply of ‘yeah, you too’ sound genuine or sincere. I mean, I hope all my friends and family have a happy new year, but no more than I usually do. Also, you’re expected to hug people you don’t normally hug and I have a sort of lingering resentment towards any holiday which puts me in awkward social situations.

But I guess the one thing I defiantly like about the extravagant celebration of the 31st of December is that it reminds me to reflect on the last few months of my life. I haven’t done much really. Like, I graduated from college and entered the full time working world which I then promptly exited after spending two miserable months in the hotel industry and now I’m in the process of sorting my shit out. I guess I should be proud about passing my exams and writing a real research project and I kinda am. However, I’m much more proud of the broadening of my perspective. I’ve discovered the key to living my life well (or at least my interpretation of well). I’ve been trying to let go my judgmental perspective and come to value truly trying to understand others. It’s a lot easier to like life, people and things. I find it hard to hate anything but tend to feel a sort existential melancholy when I’m faced with those really unintelligible aspects of life. At the same time I’ve experienced these other moments that have shaken my very core, left me short of breath and trembling but also sort of tranquil. Moments of understanding are accompanied by a dawning of acceptance. Although, I have to say that my awareness of my place in the world isn’t exactly something which drives me in a certain direction. Rather, this feeling of just being and connected-ness has made me appreciate the more mundane moments of my life. Not all of the time, but at least 40% of the time. 

So anyway when 2014 rolled around with a, almost inaudible, bang I cheered, hugged my mam and then sat around wondering how long it was til I could get back to reading the rest of my book. 

What I’d really like is for you, the unlikely reader of this blog, to comment about something that you’ve learned that has really affected the way you life your life or understand the way of the world. 

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Mandatory Christmas Blog

It’s December, and it’s finally below 10 degrees outside, so I can spend my nights lying under a blanket on my sofa, staring unblinkingly at my Christmas tree with a little content (bordering on creepy) smile on my face.  I mean, that’s just textbook cozy stuff right there.

Christmas is certainly one of Christianity’s better traditions even if some of it is sorta reminiscent of paganism. Which doesn’t really matter to me ’cause any form of religious worship scares me. But, what the hell, this year I’m gonna embrace Christmas in all of its commercial glory. In fact, I’m  currently listening to ‘Stop the Cavalry‘ by John Lewis which is playing on Christmas FM. For realz. I mean, could I be anymore of a Christmas dork? That’s a rhetorical question, by the way, cause no one reads this blog so I don’t really expect an answer.

Moving on swiftly, Christmas is just a bigger deal this year than it has been during previous years. Like, for as long as I can remember, that excited Christmas-y feeling has always been intermingled with the the absolute stress and dread of January exams. Let me tell you, nothing quite kills the Christmas spirit like the impending doom of having to face that overdue philosophical assignment on the nature of being qua, fucking, being.

But, NOT THIS YEAR. This year, I graduated so they can’t make me take January exams any more or force me to ponder the answers to questions much wiser people than I have already failed to answer. This year, I get to enjoy Christmas the way I’ve always dreamed I could. And basically, since I’ve been really into being nostalgic for the present this year, that means I’m gonna do things like savour all those special little Christmas-y moments. Like these late nights spent in my sitting room with a cat at my feet and a lit up tree in the corner (and electricity bills be damned).

My ability to enjoy Christmas this year is partly related to my approximation to glittery, glow-y things and partly to my incredibly cool job. I, ladies and gentlemen, am spending this festive season working part-time in a cinema (because that’s what you do when you’ve graduated with an Arts degree). I’m putting my really vague ambitions on hold and I’m living my life as I want to. Which means sleeping in, getting paid minimum wage for a cleaning job and spending large quantities of time in the cinema. Okay, so it’s not exactly thrilling but the peace is welcome. Sometimes it seems that people are running after their dreams and past their realities missing their own lives in the pursuit of their future happiness. I’m not a patient person though, I’ve slaved away for three long years and I’ve ended up somewhere I never thought I’d be. So, I’m going to live in the now and spend hours picking out the perfect but inexpensive Christmas presents for my friends and family. I’m going to blog and think about my life and sing along to seemingly joyful Christmas carols even if the lyrics directly translate to ‘and if the Holy Jesus has not been born all of humanity would be in hell right now’.

So to recap, ’tis the season to be jolly because I’m taking a year out from life and losing myself in those small, beautiful little moments that I’m afraid I’ll regret not appreciating when I’m on my deathbed. I can see the memories of this time of my life will be triggered by the lyrics ‘that kind of lux just ain’t for us, we crave a different kind of buzz’ from that Lorde song. I will be able to visualise myself writing this blog but the memory will have a blurred, hazy quality to it like an out of focus photograph of fairy lights.

Merry Christmas reader!

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Life is a dance – Alan Watts

Yesterday, I met up with a friend of mine which I hadn’t seen in a couple of months. I’d sorta forgotten about how similar we were until we started talking about our feelings and shit. Turns out she’s going through the same life crisis I am at the moment. Which is actually the most reassuring thing that she could have told me. Like me, she’s in between jobs and hasn’t gotten a clue as to what she wants to do or should be doing. So lets just say there was a sentiment of dissatisfaction which underlined our conversation.

So as we sat on my bed making our way through some apple pastries we started to talk about how hard it is to actually be happy. Like, we went to college and had all these major life lessons either in the form of lectures or what appeared to be enlightening moments of self discovery and understanding or just during drunken nights out and now we feel like we’re in the same place we four years ago. Basically, we came to the conclusion that happiness is always somewhere over there and life is an obstacle course we have to cross in order to get to it. Which is the worst possible way you can look at things.

So I tried to think about what I think life really means to me. I’m not a religious person. Although, I think it’s fine for people to use religion to form a perspective about their lives (as long as that perspective doesn’t hurt anyone else). I mean, I kinda just think that we’re all just stumbling around trying to figure out exactly what is going on. I also don’t think things happen for a reason. Like, I think shit just happens to us and we can put it down to karma or fate but really it was just a random occurrence. For me, this doesn’t belittle the incident in any way. But some people need a purpose or reason for their existence and I can understand that a lack of one can be a little scary sometimes.  I find this a little uncomfortable myself. It leads to panicked thoughts like ‘seriously, what is the point in anything?’.

However, after the initial paralyzing panic of such a thought, I came to realise that, for me, there is no point per say. Rather, I am alive because I am. I’m going to experience the world regardless of whether I think I’m here for a reason or not. And if I can improve someone else’s experience while am at it then that makes my life worth while.

When I was in college, I used to sit around in my dorm room, listening to Alan Watts and thinking about how glad he came into my life when he did. Basically living every college cliche there ever was. Sometimes, I even had a scented candle burning. Watts basically reminded me that the journey is way more important than the destination. Which is actually one of those cliche things everyone knows about but never really appreciates. But it makes me feel like my life is important because I get to experience the world and influence it. That’s enough for me to be happy. It takes the pressure off of trying to figure out the answer to the question of why and adds a whole different dimension to the question of how.

I’m over two decades old and it’s taken me this long to establish that the way in which I do things is equally as important to the choices I make.

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7 Books YOU should read & why.

You know that great quote that goes something along the lines of ‘people who read live many lives, while those who don’t live only the one pitiful existence’? (I may have paraphrased a tad, forgive me). Well, I’ve decided to do a blog post about the top 7 lives I’ve experienced as a result of someone’s creative, beautiful and essentially productive mind. So, here we go:

Numba 7: Waywalkers (Catherine Webb)

Lucifer (that devil dude who really likes sinning) is the main character and he has a sense of humour. Catherine Webb manages to bring time itself to life. As in he, Time, fathers children. Well, gods really. Sibling rivalry at its worst and its best. There’s nothing like reading a book whose tone is essentially sarcastic. What’s better, you get to be sarcastic to all those anthropomorphic gods the Greeks always went on about. Oh by the way, all those wars over the years are the result of all the negative vibes the gods were sending out from heaven when they were bickering.

Numba 6: Guitar Girl (Sara Manning)

Now, this one is a bit of a teen/chick/girl rock band kinda thing. For a tone-deaf girl like me I’ve always wondered what life would be like if I could carry a tune and manage to learn those four cords that could help me transform into a guitar goddess. But since I lack the motivation, skills and general funds I’m gonna stick to living through Molly. The protagonist gives you a (more than accurate) glimpse at what that bitch called fame would do to your life. It’s quirky, lighthearted and oh-so funny. It’s great to read early in the morning or when your trying to avoid studying for exams.

Numba 5:  The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)

I probably don’t need to go into detail about this one because if your reading this blog than you’ve probably heard about the Hunger Games. My piece of advice: read the books after watching the movies so that you can enjoy both. But when you finally sit down to read this epic but very readable trilogy, make sure you’ve got a good chunk of free time, a party packet of Doritos and a 2 litre bottle of whatever. Important: bottle must have one of those caps you can open with your teeth because you’re gonna have trouble tearing yourself away. But to sum up the actual story-line:  crazy totalitarian systems, kids killing kids, major media bias.

Numba 4:  The Dark Magician Trilogy (Trudi Canavan)

Trudi Canavan, man can that lady write. She’s one of those authors who decides that inventing an adventure for her character isn’t enough. She has to rename and recreate all of the animal/insect species her characters encounter on their adventure as well. That’s right, you read her books you enter a whole new fantasy dimension. Granted, while personally I think her characters are a little too ethical, she helps to really take the strain off your mind as you see her characters use their wit, and sheer determination, to win at life.

Numba 3: Harry muthafackin’ Potter (J. K Rowling)

Bitch please, one word: Hogwarts. If ever there was a way to make education fun its to give us all wands and magical abilities. Imagine the following conversation: ”Non-HP reader: I brewed some tea earlier. HP reader: I brewed a potion which is basically liquid luck so you can pretty much throw anything at me and somehow it will miss :P” Also, apart from going on loadsa amazing adventures and getting to pet extraordinary creatures (without worrying about the ethical implications of scientific mutation) you also get to learn how to deal with stress and a fear of dementors (or fear itself, hardcore, I know).

Numba 2: The Amber Spyglass (Philip Pullman)

This one is part of a trilogy but I actually read the third and final book before the first one. To sum it up in three words I’d have to say: religion, souls, Oxford. The characters souls take on an animal form that they can speak to and shit. Imagine, feeling a little lonely and being about to cuddle your soul-cat/daemon. Those boyfriend pillows are way lame compared to Philip Pullman’s idea.

The tide is high but I’m holding on, you’re gonna be my numba 1: Namaah’s Trilogy (Jacqueline Carey)

What’s that, you want to read three books but travel across numerous lands encountering magic, legends coming to life and a bit of sexy time? Well, Miss Jacqueline Carey can sort you out. Man, you can actually feel yourself growing at the same rate as the characters of her books. The worlds encountered rely heavily on political intrigue, mythical lore and a sense of belief and honour which underline your actions and choices. Three words: destiny, bears, love. It’s one of those books that make you want to go out and experience the world yourself. Or at least give it some serious consideration as you sit on a bus on the way to work.

So that draws this blog to a close.

Thank you and goodnight.

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