“I’ve been everything. nothing’s worth the trouble”
– Emperor Severus
One of the better posts on FaceBook is Humans of New York, a delightful fest of New York’s finest pondering the great vanities of our age. Below is one of the best of recent. Ponder deeply.
Almost three weeks ago I wrote that I feared I was about to be fired. In the end I wasn’t but I have ended up in the same place by resigning. The whys and wherefores are a case of “he said, she said” and, while enlightening and a learning experience for me, they will to you be just another sob story. Suffice it to say that when one door shuts another opens and although I don’t have a new job, a few projects that were stuck at GO in my mind have now rushed mightily to the fore.
Over time I have gotten older only to look wistfully over the shoulder at all the things I could have done but didn’t. There were some good ‘uns, as they say, but still I wasted so much time and sadly, spent time is the one thing no human can ever buy back (along with youth). Life, I now understand, is really not a rehearsal and I better shoot for the stars now (not tomorrow) or stay the frustrated and silent nonentity forever. So here’s to pursuing my startup project and the great novel.
[PAUSE] However, however … being also a realist I fully acknowledge that dreams and action plans don’t pay bills or procure food; and so absent the regular pay check my lifestyle will have to undergo a substantial downshifting. The Top 10 quick wins that come to mind are:
- Eating out: I wasn’t doing a lot of it but the occasional Michelin star and the more frequent “good food, price irrelevant” mantra will have to be exchanged for a copy of Cheap Eats and lots of home cooking.
- Wine: Every fortnight at £30-40 a pop will have to go. In comes once a month at the “good value” end of “outstanding”.
- Clothes: Just as well I didn’t buy that expensive new suit. What I have now will just have to do. Designer underwear? Pffft!
- Perfumes: £80 for a 50ml bottle is great when one is comfortably above the poverty line (with no kids) but not when on the breadline.
- Hair: I’ve got dreads which needed maintenance every four weeks to look sharp. Now, every six weeks.
- Books: I buy an enormous amount of the stuff. With a couple hundred or more still unread and lying about I think I’ll be OK for a good while.
- Holidays: Nice hotels, nice places, cocktails, nice bills … bye, bye.
- Coffee: Tough one this ’cause I love the well made £2.50/cup variety. I carry around with me the London Coffee Guide. Well, no more 3-4 at weekends and cutting down to 1-2. It’s about time I got full value out of that Nespresso machine in the kitchen.
- […. buffering …… still thinking…..]
- Water: I heard on TV (so it must be true) many moons ago that London water has been filtered multiple times through sewage or something equally distasteful. After that I switched to bottled water but since I hate paying for still water I took to sparkling, particularly San Pellegrino (yeah, only the best). Back, back, back to tap, tap, tap. Tap is not that bad tasting after all!
What is consciousness … We find it difficult to sympathise with the emotions of a potato; so do we with those of an oyster. Neither of these things makes a noise on being boiled or opened, and noise appeals to us more strongly than anything else, because we make so much about our own sufferings. Since, then, they do not annoy us by any expression of pain we call them emotionless; and so qua mankind they are; but mankind is not everybody.
– from the chapter The Book Of The Machines in “Erewhon” by Samuel Butler
I have found myself lately consuming a large jar of assorted nuts for dinner and being quite satisfied. Absurdly or nut(!), there’s a faint feeling of naughtiness that this must be wrong, after all, nuts are not food and I should be eating something substantial like steak or chicken or fish. I put this partly to my upbringing where having a distended gut after a meal was sought; and partly to the fear of fat in nuts. Looks like the game so far is: 1 to Nuts, and nought to Fear. Now I just have to give up candied nuts for surely that road, sweet as a nut, is fraught with peril.
A thought popped into my head at the gym tonight:
“What do you have to lose if you give life your all?”
I couldn’t think of a thing. That surprised me. What happened next was even more surprising. I worked out beyond where I would previously have given up. This was crazy. I can actually go beyond what I think my body or mind will sustain. How much further? That’s the point! No one knows, not even me and I thought I knew myself! Foul! Who wants to know how far I will go once I get going? I do. I fucking do. I do not hold much by fate, destiny or a divine plan. History suggests I’m living here on this planet once. Once! That’s it and it is almost certain that I will be forgotten as soon as I’m as dead as the proverbial doornail. But I don’t care, I want to know how far I can go. How high I can fly. Tomorrow is the first full day to apply this new way of thinking. I’m really quite excited.
Enjoy the video.