Sunday, 31 January 2010

Pineapple Philosophy

Pineapple Philosophy ~ In recent times some of my friends, and people around me more generally have gone through hard times, this blog and my words are inspired from, and written for those people who I care about most, and mean a lot to me. Often I never know what to say and/or say the wrong thing. Hopefully this written articulation will get somewhat closer to what I cannot, but should say in recent times.

I have come to realize, over my relatively short life-span to date, that life throws all sort of things at you. These things can be good or bad, sometimes they are nice and sometimes they are horrible. More often than not they are unplanned but some are indeed planned. We can only play the guessing of who, what and when. By that I don't mean Reverend Green, in the Study, with a Wrench (although I do feel at times that life can scarily be akin to a game of Cluedo...or perhaps monopoly hmmm). What I mean is essentially the deep understanding of, I will quote from Confucius (or was is Plato?) who once inspired simplicity and clarity in our thinking. The one quote which no matter what situation, how old, how too far gone, how deep you may feel under. The quote that when said, people all turn to each other with an inner belief that, yes its so so true. In fact, I bet that no matter who reads this will disagree with the quote, and clearly if you do, I'm afraid you live in bubble-wrap, cotton wooled world, with your fingers in your ears and your eyes firmly blindfolded.(sheltered in a nutshell- the irony in that phrase lol) Without any further rhetoric and successful suspense building, and extreme gilding the Lilly, I of course refer to the universally understood expression of:

'Shit happens' perhaps it wasn't quite Socrates or Artistotle worthy, but nonetheless what I love about the phrase is how much it has transversed popular language, and popular culture. You can buy car stickers, posters, mouse mats (thought: what ever happened to the common mouse mat? did mice just get used to our desktops...anyway tangent), I have even seen mugs with it on. On countless occasions I have verbally heard the expression, and if one was to take a sit back and contemplate its pure genius for one second. Consider your life, consider the times where no greater phrase could sum up your countless scenarios....true no?

Now, I want to tell you two stories about my life, both of which I warn, are random. The first is about a pineapple. Within an episode 10 Series 1 How I met Your Mother entitled 'The Pineapple Incident', a scenario occurs whereby the main character Ted wakes up next to a random pineapple after a drunk night out. He has no recollection of why or how it got there, and sadly it is never explained (part of the genius). I tell you this story, not because I am further plugging the genius that is HIMYM, but because it inspired a present a give to one of my friends, whose birthday it was around the time. That combined with my typical student lifestyle of all play and NO money, I thought it was an apt present. When I gave it to her, at first she was really confused, and then found it highly amusing, and in the end became proud of her unique, yet odd present for her birthday which she fondly recalls to this day.The story goes on, the genius behind this story came from her later on, when Christmas this year came around. Surely enough, she batted back the 'odd' present and gave me a coconut and a pomegranate, genius.

The second story is a little more retrospective and heavy. 3 years ago I travelled half-way around the world to 'THE' most remote Caribbean island of Tortola, its within the British Islands, north-Caribbean. When I arrived I met a man who I didn't know. He was, for all intensive purposes, a stranger to me, and to this day I still consider him a stranger. I then proceeded to spend two weeks on a 30 foot sailing boat in a lagoon, and I slept on deck under the open stars for two weeks on this stranger boat. I then left and two ferries, a jeep, a propeller plane,a boeing 474 and two taxi rides later I arrived home. 5 months or so later I met the same man in the ICU unit back in Cambridge hospital, Addenbrookes. Of those who don't know Cambridge is my home town. That man, as you may have guessed was not well, and in fact was dying. Slowly. He had advanced cancer in the bowel, with moved to his stomach, kidney and liver. 6 months, two operations and a dose of MRSA later he died in a retirement home at the age of 55 years old next to an aquarium, a stark difference from the boat I had once visited. The stranger was, by the way, my father.

All in all one odd and one sad story I think most will agree. You may also be wondering what these stories have in common, well sticking to our basic philosophy of 'Shit happens, right?' Well don't forget shit can be good as well as bad as we discussed in the introduction. What makes life all that interesting, and all that random, and all that inspiring is how we deal and how we learn from situations, no matter how simplistic and trivial (pineapple) and severe (my father). These all influence us and others around us. It moulds us into experienced individuals. Some for the better and sadly some for the worse. Its true things to happen in life, and rightly or wrongly, it is not for us to decide what happens, or how is happens, how much or little of something happens, no. No, none of that is in our control. What we control is us. So next time anything at all influences or happens in your life. Take it positively, and know that somehow, if you chose to, your are a better person for it. Let the trivial stuff be fun and free and let the deeper, often shitty stuff not get to you. It happens. That is why I believe life should be more random. More like the pineapple incident. So enjoy it :) x9

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Hot Chocolate & Revision Syndrome

The evening is drawing in, and tomorrow I start my first exam, of three this January series. As a MSc student, by now I should be well accustomed to the ways and means of which to survive the, what I can only articulate as, 'revision syndrome'. Those who know me well, or hang around in close proximity have probably already hear me talk about this idea. For those a little more unfamiliar with the idea I shall indulge, whilst I of course indulge in a beautiful hot chocolate, of which I will come back to, and explain further later on.

'Revision Syndrome' is a commonality amongst students, who take exams (sorry Bos, Simon, Scott and Matt to mention a few of whom this doesn't apply to, b******s) whereby your day consists of getting up, very slowly, normally around 9am-11am, grabbing your typical breakfast, if you can be bothered. For those closer to 11am, you decide that screw it you'll wait until lunchtime to justify breakfast, you perhaps stick on a little tv. If your feeling particularly intellectual you'll stick on a little BBC news, sky news if your a douche, if not, you scroll to see the other random crap that's on, typically Jeremy Kyle or repeats of something or rather, and somehow take some comfort in the fact that, yes someone else is more stupid, and less intellectual than you, and/or moreover someone has a more f***ed up family life, than the complex and crazy one you posses. Eventually you feel guilty at the amount of time you have wasted for the morning and consider revising. You force yourself to either go to the library (for those more 'social' revisers), or you stay at home. The home has an unwritten rule that most adhere to, some don't get it, and it pisses me off, that if a door is open, it means you want people to come distract you and be social. This is of mutual benefit as they also secretly desire and wish the same procrastination method. But if you actually wish to get some work done you close yourself in your room, with door firmly shut, forcing your housemates to feel that little bit more guilty, and question further whether the conversation merits any particular value of which to go through the process of knocking, and the formality of asking 'what you doing? etc etc.

You do an hour, maybe two depending on what time you started, by which point, the greatest procrastination hits home...lunchtime, you know that no revision, no matter how important can argue with the basic human right to food and proceed to spend as long as possible cooking lunch, during lunch, you can then watch more tv, either more of the same or something which justifies a small space in time, like a series or episode. I normally take HIMYM (a godly programme for those who haven't seen it, and for those who have...need I say more).

You then proceed to do more revision and the process repeats itself around dinner, by which after 5pm/6pm, you might do some revision, but if you don't its OK, because it does not consistute the 'typical working day' and thus is morally acceptable if you don't. Ironic considering that if you were truly honest you certainly didn't get up for a 'typical working day', but that was hours ago and hours revision have proceeded since then.

Ok, so this brings us to the ultimate symptom of revision syndrome, whereby, at any point throughout your day (namely the procrastination points), and through a variety of mediums (text, phone, skype, facebook message, facebook chat, email, or even a 'coffee catch-up', if your a bit of a girl like me) someone asks you the doomed question, that when asked, all your feelings and emotions just explode, and you cant help but let go of everything and burst out with pure, and utter brutal honesty, that when you look back at it post-exams, you think, 'god I was a douche back then', that question haunts you like a bad dream, day and day, it may even happen to you again, and again... and again. That question is....:

'What you been up to?'

You search your mind, hard and deep, you explore every possible answer, your try to articulate something that would inspire the weak, change the world. Yet all you can produce is... the truth... the truth about how you feel, you reply:

'To be honest.... nothing'

And you can't think of anything! Absolutely nothing! you did the same thing today, and you did yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that. The worst part about it, is that you know its also the same thing as you will do tomorrow. Revision to you seems just a endless loop, and bad version, of that REALLY bad movie 'groundhog' day, just around and around. You feel somehow that you are boring, and to be honest... you are. Temporarily of course (you hope).

So what about that hot chocolate you mentioned earlier mat? (rhetorical question), well. If it really is a syndrome, then my particular remedy to revision, and indeed similar syndromes (think about it...there are a few), I prescribe something within your daily routine that reminds you that life will always be sweeter (in my case...literally...sweeter). My cousin got me a tub of Whittards Hot Chocolate, it was the gold praline one, and its amazing! I know its only hot chocolate, and you would be justified at this point to think 'what the ****, this is mental. But actually there is a truth to having something, no matter how small that is in your life, that... that just makes you feel that little bit happier. It is not there because I need it, I don't need it to study, its not a cigarette, nor is it paper or pen. But, it makes me like any utility maximizer, I have 3 more, now with a collection of four tubs of hot chocolate sat with my Costa mug(yes I 'acquired' a mug, don't judge). One praline, one original luxury, one caramel and a white chocolate! Actually amazing. I find it a great antidote for revision syndrome, it makes me smile and happy, reminding me that life can be so sweet at times, it can give me toothache.

Ive just finished my mug, and the other side of the yard arm holds a 9am exam on economics, so I wish you good night


Monday, 25 January 2010

A Timely Reminder...


I know it has been a while since my last blog, and it seems a small mix of nostalgia and inspiration has lead me to search frivolously for my user name and password for the google blog. I have decided once again to indulge into my thoughts and share them, mainly for an audience of one...and indeed this person will know who I am talking about.

Since my last blog, time has flown, our environment has changed. New friends appear, old friends reappear, only to disappear again. I have moved house (twice), I have uprooted my urban philosophy and enlightened myself into a rural environment,I have enrolled in a new MSc course, I am now single, a disposition which I find somewhat untimely (as they always are), and unsavory. For all intensive purposes, with the exception of a few fixed constants, everything else has become a variable.

This leads me to the point and direction of the blog. Although I accept, and almost admit my life is in a state of flux. I find in same time my thoughts are many, they are very frequent (all too frequent), and interestingly...happy. A month ago, my thoughts were filled with a combination of doubt, self-confusion, fear, disillusionment, and discontent. Of which I must confess a lot was self-inflicted, now I see direction, despite the fact I cannot see around the corner, I know that whatever I face, it does not matter, I will be content.

My thoughts in recently times have become an intense series of questions about my future life, and where I will be, even by the end of this year, what do I really want in life? what is important for me? And perhaps often not considered by a lot of people is, regardless of what I want, and whats important, what is really good for someone. Whilst I indulge in such almost irrelevant and crystal balling, I find myself often reflecting on the opposite end of the spectrum, which surprisingly is not something I do often. I think of old memories I had, for all intensive purposes forgotten about.

Today I remembered two things, firstly I remembered a time, I had forgotten. It was when I was in Antigua, on a beach, the night before I met my dad for the first time. The events that followed had been so extreme, so imprinting on my mind I had almost entirely forgotten about, what I can only describe as an amazing day and night, somewhere so cliche, yet so beautiful, and so so calming. The second memory I remembered, involved the greatest combination of items one could possibly possess (although I admit this could easily be contestable)Drumstick bars, maltesers and golden eye. It was this memory that led me back here on this seemingly ordinary night, under seemingly ordinary circumstances.

I wanted to have a timely reminder, and as an important girl said to me once (para-phrased and with added rhetorical value) 'although I'm not around, it is not the time I spend with you that resonates, but the value in which I place, and the influence that a person has on you'. This is a truism, and one I hold dearly. A lot of people have influenced my life, in ways I thought unimaginable, in the matter of days, minutes, seconds even. By very nature, those people sit in a time and memory in my past, but they are not forgotten in present. I have learnt in recent times, that people are only important to you, if you believe they are important. Sounds stupid right? Well, no, the smallest most insignificant thing can be important to you, if you found it to be important. The value of something is the very value you put on it.

I have learnt that, and I feel that there are times whereby we should reflect and remind ourselves, that although our lives are different. Although we all walk different paths, often in self-interest, self-spontaneity and self-ignorance, that people, times and places should not be forgotten, and in fact they are not forgotten, but we take them forward along the way and they comfort us, they inspire us, and one day you will look back and say wow, 'look how far we have come! Yet how amazing that journey was, and thank you so much for being apart of that. A cliche phrase which I will never forget, and I am beginning to only understand is that 'it is not about the ends, but the journey'

So until next time...until we cross-paths again, which we unquestionably will, until anon