Half A Dream Away











Aside from having one of the finest character introductions on film in recent memory, another ingenious aspect of Pirates of the Caribbean was one of its plot-driving devices - that of Jack Sparrow’s compass.
Jack Sparrow True enough, this compass does not point north.
Elizabeth Swann …Where does it point?
Jack Sparrow It points to the thing you want most in this world.
And, dotted at points throughout the Pirates films, there is always a moment where Captain Jack takes the compass out, and it is simply free-spinning, indicating that - at that particular moment - whoever holds the compass has no idea what they want at that point in time.

Ladies and Gentlemen; welcome to the somewhat laboured metaphor for my life in the last year or so.

My life has no direction.

In part this is nothing new - I have always (and maybe will always have) no real drive to achieve something in particular in my life. And by that I mean academically/careeringly (hah, I used a different meaning word to represent a less-used meaning). [That’s another thing, I’m often easily distracted].

My academic progress is fairly well recorded - I’ve still got my school certificates in a folder somewhere - university beckoned with Music and Philosophy because both subjects held an interest to me - even though I had no (indeed have no) desire to commit to those subjects professionally - I play music for fun and {apparently} for upcoming future local am-dram pantomimes; I think about things for “fun” but can’t draw a salary based off either. {Insert reader’s expectation of a life as a university philosophy lecturer that I wistfully miss - only that’s just not something that interests me}.

I think like most people, the stuff I learned at Uni was more about finding out who I was and who I am [oh god I can’t believe i’m drawing on cliches (except they’re an inescapable fact of life - every answer you find inside your mind is a brand new one) - often distracted am I!].

Yup. If you only came away from university with a brain full of facts and statistics from textbooks and articles, then you obviously weren’t paying attention.

But you already knew that - you’re clever enough - you’ve already spotted that I’ve wandered off topic slightly.

Well venture with me more.

This isn’t an oh-my-god-I-don’t-know-what-I’m-doing-with-my-life moment.

I know that people have these (cliched) moments - and to dismiss these as the manic episodes portrayed in popular culture (because you have to distil these things to a common/simplified ground otherwise not everyone gets these concepts - that’s not in a derogatory way; that’s just about the ways in which you can share things across the universe) - would be wrong.

I don’t for one second think everyone else has life figured out, humming along, things planned out - nor do I think you’re all spinning around like crazy going OMGOMGOMG. Certainly a number of you display the facets of behaving “normally”; having relationships, some of you raising kids; some of you progressing in your career/career-aspirations.

On some levels that is me too.

99% of the time at work, I trundle in, do my work, get on with most people, leave the office and think nothing more of it. I like to think I’ve cut myself a respectability at work - I’m told I do good work; I partake in civilised banter around the office; I get the 2nd best average lap-time at the recent IT go-karting trip.

Naturally there is the counterbalance to all that, that I’m only doing it to pay the bills - everyone will have that line to hand on some level - I have completed accepted that is the easiest way for me to get money to pay for the roof over my head, the heating in my house, the food in my kitchen, etc. etc.

Again, nothing special there.

It’s maybe more when I’m away from that structured place that everything begins to wander - mind, body, imagination - because, starting point Square One I have approached this all from a fatalist perspective.

I have logically concluded that this is all there is to it - magnificent as it might be - I am on a one-way journey, that - don’t mistake this for an entirely depressing thought; I assure it’s not - ultimately will end, with only memories to show for it.

Actually yes that does sound pretty depressing.

Digression No. 2

I did think for a while that I was depressed (like an actual medical/physical/mental condition); and I apologise for using ‘depressing’ in a more colloquial use - I’m conscious that some of you are having more real and medical battles with depression, and I don’t wish to offend. And whilst at a few times I wanted to actually be depressed; to have a diagnosable reason to say to everyone that I actually have a problem here - I had to conclude I wasn’t.

Sure there were a few moments where I would stare into the void and be dragged along by my own thoughts and runaway dreams - but never to the point that it would infringe on my working life. Never did it stop me from functioning properly as a 'normal’ human.

Yes there was one, maybe two, weekends where I just closed everything up and shut down for a while - avoiding everyone. But if you took a pulse survey of my life every day for the past 18 months, 99% of the time I’d rate a 7. (That’s 7 happy hippos out of a possible 10; Ed.)

-

But ask me what I was doing with my life, that would be a very different question. Obviously. I just used different words and EVERYTHING.

Y'see, two years ago I did have this all figured out. My philosophy has led me to conclude that there is very little that is absolutely true other than my own experiences: Sure I have to open my life up to a constant barrage of social, moral, ecumenical constructs that have no doubt evolved to distract every sentient being from the fundamental truth that we know from a very early age (okay that’s not a completely accurate example of what I mean, but it’s already getting pretty late and I have a lot more to go) - but most of these experiences are 'bonus features’ of living in a multi-peopled universe.

And when you reach that understanding of life - you take a very zen approach to many things {again, I’m misrepresenting - I don’t fully understand what zen is, other than the popular culture meanings of the word - yes I read 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ (thank you again Alf), but I couldn’t relay back to you - or even do a university essay paper on what it was about}.

But because I accept the inevitability of everything (or at least the very limited world that I truly know), I struggle to establish an external meaning.

And by that I mean I lack the belief that what I do can have a lasting effect; because ultimately I know it fades.

Now now now, before you all stampede in here and go 'ah yes, but what you can do, can affect those around you - maybe profoundly so’ - and I don’t deny that. Hell, those are the things that I take the most pleasure in doing! Crafting experiences for friends; doing some music with some; watching and discussing films with others; playing [an increasing amount of] table top games with some of you also.

These are the things I take the most pride and satisfaction in.

And, I do not say this lightly nor to reduce the significance in what I’ve done; I sincerely hope that some of you enjoy what I do to you, as you do to me. Nowhere near as sexually true as I’d maybe like to think(!). But yes. That.

But I will always be moving on after a project has reached its conclusion - only to look back on them after time has passed and reflect on them fondly.

-

[Digression 3 - Future thinking point]

What is interesting to observe perhaps is that I am often trying to apply a framework around these projects - an all enclosing concept that ties things together; even in a very physical sense by transforming my spare room. Those of you who have been paying attention, or will at least pay attention over the coming months, will maybe figure out what I’m referencing.

But yeah, interesting how a transient thinker such as myself, tries to still lash himself to a constant of sorts. [Metaphor for, um, everything?!].

[/End Digression 3]

-

So yeah, um, then you throw emotions into the mix, and stuff goes a bit haywire. Breaking News: Everyone knows this already.

I’m not going to say that stuff comes in like a wrecking ball… Aw hey. I’ve already given you that image already; too late ;-)

It’s more like [ooo cliched metaphors! level 2!] an asteroid impacting your planet. Irreversible. Uncompromising. Yet - if you’re lucky - more or less only enough to let you carry on living; albeit never feeling the same way again.

I’ve already articled about a couple of significant events over the past 18 months, so I won’t recount too much - but all I can say is that I’m a changed world now. I can’t go back to my previous state - all things change, and eventually come to pass - but these whimsical statements that I swear I haven’t stolen them from some Tumblr, yet I could so easily see them being bandied about as gifs - these aren’t getting me anywhere.

At the moment, I’m stood on a spit of land, with a weather eye on the horizon, unsure if up is down or down is up; and the compass just spins in my hand.

-

Sensible, logical me, looks to my calendar - I have events plotted over the next month or so that will keep me busy. Keep me distracted. Keep me entertained.

I have some projects that will take more time (least of all getting my spare room 'done’ if it kills me). I have some 30th birthdays to go to, which will be nice.

And it will be nice. And it will involve some cake. And we’ll teach ourselves not to think {no idea where that OCS lyric came from - but I listened to Marchin’ Already the other day and it was glorious}.

But at the same time it’ll be fleeting. Magical. But brief. Flirting. But briefs. Silliness. Sadness. Unbridled joy. Unicorns without reins. World without end. Last Orders Please. I could never get the hang of Thursdays.

-

I think it is best I stop there. Often wise to do that when you’ve run out of things to say.

But yeah - if I seem normal to you in the next few months; that’s intentional. I am not about to completely lose the plot. I’m just not going to be very good at answering the question “so, what are you doing with yourself these days” at all these 30th birthday parties I’m going to.

Further dull and uninteresting answers will be made available for both “so what do you do?” and “ are you seeing anyone?”. Actually I’ll probably deploy humour to deflect. Or at least give you the perspective that I’m deflecting. When in my reality, I’m just not in a position in my own universe to be able to answer those questions thoroughly and in such a depth that it will scare you about how far I’ve come.

=

I can’t force something amazing to happen. The universe doesn’t allow anyone to do that. Not even God.

Don’t get me wrong - I’m not stopping myself from trying to find something amazing - there are some ideas for next year that are more than just 'passing the time’ - and, as quite often with everything; these things will not always happen quite how I dream/expect them to happen.

But the results will be interesting.

But probably inconclusive at that.

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