Who do you want to be..?

Like most recent graduates I have been plagued, almost non-stop since graduation, by questions about what career I want and what I want to do with my life. Now despite my laissez-faire demeanour these questions do, eventually, plant doubt in my head about the choices I have, and will make. I do, like many others I assume, often ponder my future and the career that I want. What do I really enjoy? Is there a job out there that I won’t tire of? Do I have a dream job? These questions circle around my head like hungry vultures and occasionally land to take a bite out of my confidence and sanity.

Yet, whilst on a visit to London, a situation arose that left these questions seeming irrelevant and lacking sting. A simple act of kindness and generosity from a man to a stranger left me reeling. On this London bus I witnessed a man help an age stricken woman off the bus. He directed the driver to stop, took her by the arm and led her off the bus. Then quickly returned for her bags of shopping. He then, quietly and humbly, returned to his seat. His eyes staying fixed on the floor. No pat on his own back. Pure humility. Now I would like to think that most of us would do the same. This is not an incredible act of heroism but it made me think. I suddenly thought that in the grand scheme of things it is not ‘what do I want to do?’ it is ‘who do I want to be?’. Not what celebrity would I like to emulate or what DJ would I swap lives with but, who do I want to be. Who do I want to be to others? The answer was that guy on the bus. Unassuming perhaps. Not eye catching I admit. But possessing personal characteristics that far outweigh his wage packet or job title.

Now combine these humble, selfless traits with a bit of creativity, charisma and imagination and you have the person I want to be. No matter what I do, I want to be him.

Be a who not a what…

Peace x

Leaving Facebook…?

http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/nick-briz-how-to–why-leave-facebook-405

In recent months I have become less and less engaged with Facebook. I think as I have grown up I have given up on searching for social recognition. As that is surely what a lot of users use Facebook for. To have a post ‘liked’ by your friends creates a little buzz that none can deny. Yet recently the need for my thoughts and opinions to be accepted by my peers is less of a concern to me. This may be because none of them agree (or find funny) what I post, but this is a different issue.

The link attached is an interesting video which shows the moral reasons why we should leave Facebook. I don’t necessarily think the information in the video is anything new to me, I have come to accept that everything I do, especially online, is monitored and recorded by big brother. However it is nicely summarised and does make you wonder if you are in fact slightly brainwashed by the powers that are Facebook.

I have wondered why we are so addicted to Facebook and social media in general. Is it the need to know what everyone else is up to? Is it the need to keep tabs ourselves on others? What is my ex doing? Has anyone else got a job yet? I believe, however, that our addiction stems from the need to feel popular and on people’s minds. If a post of yours receives praise and attention, you are, for a fleeting second, on their minds. You have occupied their thoughts. For a split moment (and perhaps longer) they are thinking about you.

It is this need for attention and appreciation that I think this generation seeks. I am far from above it. I feel guilty to admit that I have removed comments I have made because they have not received an ego increasing ‘like’. Obviously, as is with most things, social acceptance and praise is what makes things popular. It is what sets and dictates trends, fashion and music. Yet surely our own thoughts and opinions do not need critical acclaim.

I have veered off topic a bit. Facebook has power over us and has shown that it can dictate how we feel. Surely nothing like that should have a part in our day to day lives. I feel that morally I should join the increasing number of people shunning Facebook but still something keeps me coming back. I could very easily whittle my Facebook friends down to 50, and it is these 50 that keep my there. The select few that I want to stay up to date with and connected too. This is Facebook’s saving grace. The desire to maintain bonds and reminisce is its unique selling point.

For now I will stay…

A peaceful run..

Recently half the motivation I have for going for a run is so that I can pop my Ipod in and have a listen to some new music. I sometimes struggle to just sit and listen to an album from start to finish, whereas if I listen whilst I run I feel as if I have also ticked a productive box (who says men can’t multi-task).

Bonobo’s mix for Late Night Tales was my choice today, and it did not disappoint. I stripped myself of my Casio and took a step off my pace so that I could concentrate on the album in my ears. It was strangely absorbing. I found myself in a cornfield with the sun in my eyes and some smooth honey-like music in my ears. These two senses were having a ball. I was feeling quite smug about myself if I’m honest – this is how you make running easy and fun.

My, and I assume others, normal choice of running music is some high tempo, motivational music. Limp Bizcit – take a look around, has often filled my ears in an attempt to provide me with enough rage to power on home. Yet today was a nice change to enjoy a slower vibe and just enjoy the weather.

However as the time ticked by, my aching limbs and raising body temperature quickly overrode my eyes and ears. Music quickly became white noise and my vision was distorted by salty sweat invading my pupils. My running utopia was shattered and I was left dragging my feet and wishing for an upbeat track to push me on home.

A peaceful run was accomplished… but quickly evaporated.

Move them feet…

The power of music is something that has always intrigued me. I can’t think of another aspect of life that in one way or another everyone enjoys. You may not scour Soundcloud searching for tracks and artists but you will, I can almost guarantee it, tap your fingers to a song on the radio or drunkenly dance to a tune! It has taken me a while to realise that a love of music and subsequently dancing (whether a full blown dad dance or a gentle sway) is a primitive thing. Throughout time music and dance has been an aspect of human life, from songs around a camp fire to a rain dance.

It always brings a smile to my face when I see people from opposite ends of the age spectrum dancing. Its contagious and timeless. You have to love the gran that will not act her age and continues to boogie all night long. Equally you have to adore the infants that can barely walk but will valiantly attempt to dance.

Music and dance is so diverse in its genres but is universal in the joy it brings to the masses. Perhaps this is common knowledge and not worth this blog but I will always find it amazing and fascinating how music effects us as humans. I know close to nothing about the structure of music, how to play any instruments or the difference between a key and a note, yet I know that it has a giant part in all our lives. I for one will endeavour to always make time for it.

Lost in thought…?

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/jul/03/electric-shock-preferable-to-thinking-says-study?CMP=twt_gu

Stumbled across this article today and was immediately intrigued. In brief the experiment discussed discovered that the majority of people disliked thinking for up to 15 minutes. Participants were starved of technology or social contact for this time and their responses were negative. So much so that they chose to administer an electric shock to themselves rather than sit there with nothing to do except ponder their own thoughts.

This article interested me on many levels. Firstly I, unlike the author, am not shocked by the results. Many of my friends, I would assume, would struggle being left to their own thoughts and nothing else. Many are so absorbed and kidnapped by technology that to be apart from it would leave them metaphorically naked. I am partial to the occasional downtime with my own thoughts. Meditation may be the wrong term but being alone and just sifting through my brain is something which I do. Most of the time unconsciously, without prior intention I will find myself just meandering through my thoughts. Yet this seems to be a strange past time in this social age, I remember once being caught by house-mates sitting on my floor doing nothing. When I told them I was merely thinking I was lightly ridiculed. I am far from a Buddhist or spiritual person and am also addicted to technology and socialising, however I will always argue the importance and rewards of purely pondering.

The other intriguing aspect of this article is the self administered electric shocks. It is hypothesised by the author that the reason people gave themselves shocks was merely out of curiosity. The finishing line of the article is “curiosity killed the cat”. This is a saying which I dislike. I will never say this to anyone. Yes, curiosity, may well kill the odd cat but it also liberates many others. If you are curious as to what is on the other side of the road, check it out!! Just remember to look both ways when crossing.

I do agree that too many find it difficult to do ‘nothing’ and just think. Yet I believe that giving someone an option to shock themselves instead of thinking is too a tempting offer to turn down. I know I would shock myself in that situation, every time. And I am pleased that we as a race would do this. We are damn curious and that is why we are so successful. Little that we know today would have been discovered for not the curiosity of great minds. In a time of ever growing technology, we need humans to be curious and creative to avoid becoming robots – dull and dreary – ourselves.

Be curious kids…

Be Fickle…?

The term fickle seems to have a negative stigma around it. I always associated it with a lack of loyalty and trustworthiness. Recently I have started to think of myself as fickle, as I bounce from one ambition to the next. Having one life changing idea only to disregard it the next moment.

I couldn’t escape the overriding evidence which suggests I have a fickle personality. This has been filling me with unease for a while as I imagine myself unable to stick to a job, hobbies or friends/loved ones.

Yet once again Google has come to my rescue. I hopefully Google’d ‘is being fickle bad?’. Childish and weak I know but I wanted answers, and what answers Google and Yahoo gave me.

“Perhaps shallowly judged, the character of being “fickle” may have negative denotation, in the sense that the particular person who is seen as fickle does not inspire / evoke reliability in the one or others that would love to rely on the particular person.

Persevering in a state of fickleness might mean that the particular perseverance may be due to the fact that something certain or solid to rely upon, to dedicate oneself to, has not been found yet; thus the fickle soul is in an active state of search, in a state that cannot yet find a definite choice; thus being fickle may be a character of the searching soul, of dynamic life itself that cannot definitely settle down, that has not yet found the solid rock upon which to install its further living!

A sense of youthful freedom can be very important! As an indication of love for freedom, the quality of being “fickle” may be a glowing one; the fickle soul may not easily decide or accept to prostrate or surrender into becoming a robot for somebody else or for some idea or ideology!”

I couldn’t help but become soothed by these paragraphs. It so heavenly eradicates my fear of being termed fickle and supports my wandering ways. ‘Searching soul’ is a phrase I will use in the future and will endeavour to explain my fickleness with it. I have not indeed found my solid rock – whether this be a passion or person – and I will remain a wanderer until I do.

This is, yes, one Yahoo response on the question of being fickle and received a meagre 1 ‘thumbs up’, nonetheless it has eased my worries and I hope you fickle…ers out there are also relaxed by this passage that I am now regarding as gospel.

Crossing the selfless line..

If there is a trait I admire more than any it is the ability to be selfless, or at least attempt to be selfless. There is a classic ‘Friends’ episode where they debate whether there is in fact a selfless good deed as surely you feel good about yourself every time you do something worthy for another. And I can’t help but agree that being purely selfless may well be an impossible task, but should not ward everyone off from trying.

I don’t attempt to claim I am selfless or worthy of a halo or knighthood. Yet I hope that on occasions I think of others before myself and look at things through their eyes before my own. At the very least this is something I have been attempting to do more as my years drift by.

Today, however, I believe I may of crossed a line. Again this deed was not selfless as I felt strangely proud of myself after (hence this blog) and in reflection it is quite an odd thing to do but I will share anyway. Let me paint the picture; I am jogging. Slowly and painfully. Beads of sweat populating my forehead. Legs like stiff wooden boards (just building the atmosphere for the great deed, as it may now be referred to). In the distance there is another runner. Female and I am guessing new to running – discovered after a rapid glance at her attire and pace. After a quick BMI calculation she sneaks overweight…Just. My dilemma is this; I am on the other side of the road and gaining slowly. At the end of this road I want to go left onto her side. As the end of the road nears it becomes apparent that I would have to overtake her on her side of the road on a narrow pavement.

I have no qualms with potentially awkward situations (I quite enjoy them, which I may explain in a future episode) my ‘selfless’ thinking though is that it may dent her confidence and potential desire to jog again if I – young and spiritedly 22 year old – come bounding past her. Thinking about this now I feel I may have over thought this situation. I am sure she wouldn’t have blinked an eyelid, given a shit or cared an ounce. However in my tired state I believed I was being a saint by turning right instead of left and extending my run by an extra 10 minutes.

Have I in this instance thought too much? Perhaps doubted her strength of will. ┬áIn any case I am still in a way happy that I struggled through a few more minutes of painful running to potentially avoid upsetting another. I only hope this situation doesn’t arise on a daily basis, and furthermore backfire on me one day.

It may be a bit like ‘Yes man’.. say yes to things in doses. Be nice. be nice man/woman but selfishness is needed sometimes. Anyway till next time…

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