Hunting High and Low

header57

Everybody wants to be inspired. It’s what Social media is perfect for. This morning, when I woke up, the first thing I saw was a video about an 80 year old Chinese guy who’s making a name for himself as a catwalk model. The Tweet’s no longer available, I assume because the company hijacking the inspirational message didn’t own the copyright. If that’s not a metaphor for life right now, I don’t know what is.

People call me inspiring, but the truth is that I’m just being selfish. This is me, doing the stuff I’ve always wanted to do but previously wasn’t possible. It is, like it or not,  putting myself first: health (both mental and physical) needed to be addressed before I got too set in my ways and age made progress at the rate I wanted impossible. From the outside, stories sometimes appear lit differently than is true viewed from within. Society dictates that when we are presented with a question, there is often only one answer. That’s science’s fault, to a point: when empirical evidence exists to explain just about everything, trying to pretend its magic or just luck doesn’t really work as a reason. That’s why (despite on certain days it appearing otherwise) this is no longer the Dark Ages.

Except, in the last decade, Science itself is facing up to the reality that what has remained as ‘the truth’ for centuries is now being challenged by our own ability to combine technology and reasoning. Some very well-cherished standards from greats like Einstein are coming close to being reassessed, and once you start poking the established world… well, that’s how wars start. Don’t forget that science (atomic theory) became a weapon that kickstarted a period of societal uncertainty that lasted for decades. Challenging existence itself is a big deal. You could argue that pretty much every religion on the planet did just that too at inception… but I’m getting away from the point I want to make. Me, over here, being selfish is as much a seismic alteration in my own mind as any change to gravitational theory. No, I won’t be remembered for centuries to come, but the decisions I make now could assist the next generation of my family to do just that.

This morning, I found myself wondering why so many carry an unswaying belief there’s just one ‘answer’ that works for them.

pop.gif

This all started as I poured pomegranate into my porridge, which has been my way of stoking up on a reliable sugar fix for a day without it. Then I began to think about dieting: so many people offered me alternatives when I began this journey: some worked, but at least one may well have contributed to the failure of my gallbladder. Some swear by Weight Watchers, others need supplements coming out of their ears… the approaches to getting thinner are almost as varied as the people who try and sell them as the ‘answer.’ Except, in the end, that magic formula can’t be written on a blackboard. It becomes totally unique to you. Mine involves only the minimum of sugar and carbs, daily exercise and an inordinate amount of stretching. Oddly, the stretching has become almost as important as the exercise, as this is where I think about what is happening to me.

The exercise bit is great fun and very enlightening when I have my trainer to help. However, when I’m alone it is hard and I want to stop. My balloon is burst by the realisation that if you want ANYTHING that’s both sustainable and fulfilling, it has to take time. Instant results grant no satisfaction, which I’d argue is true with absolutely everything. Some days you wish it would all just happen, but when that is the case the consequences are normally too terrible to speak of. Once you grasp the inevitability of fighting chaos, then you need distraction. I distract myself all the time when I’m working out, and pretend its not happening. That helps time pass faster. It is why they put TV’s into running machines. Once you’re able to grasp that you’re using a machine not to pretend its a sofa? Then you make progress.

yoga2

A lot of people have come together to help me produce my redemptive path. When people ask for advice, therefore, I always feel like a fraud. I cannot give you the answers. People make millions from self-help tours, inspirational speaking and book/DVDs on how to get fit, be happier, live longer and they’re all selling their own story. Just because it worked for them does not mean it will work for you, yet for years I bought into this belief that somehow, someone could magically make me what I am now. The only person capable of doing that? Me. Take away your magic crystals and downward dogs and seated rows, none of it actually matters one iota unless I DECIDE SHIT IS GOING TO CHANGE. That has been a fundamental shift for me, too. I wasn’t ready for it in my youth, certainly not prepared after the birth of two kids. Only now am I properly receptive, and that’s the key.

If you don’t feel you need to change, how will it ever happen?

blow_brains_out_shawn_of_the_dead.gif

The other key here is fear. Knowing members of your family have passed in their 50’s is a great motivator. Understanding that hormonal changes can potentially produce brittle bones and impede physical exertion… that asthma could cripple progress in the winter months… all of these eat at a rational mind that says you’ll live longer if you just do nothing. Except, I won’t live a satisfying life. My depression will consume everything and… no, not going there any more. I refuse to allow other people to dictate my life. I can manage asthma with exercise, can hold back the effects of ageing with it too. I am a time traveller: I have the body of a 38 year old woman and am almost 51. The mental benefits of long term exposure to endorphins is enough to convince I’m not stopping now. This, quite frankly, is the best my life has ever been.

roblowgreatjob

I am not your salvation, I do not have all the answers. Nobody does, except you. That’s why, when you are diagnosed with a mental illness, it is only one part of an extremely complex puzzle. Knowing what you are is, of course important, but no two people suffer depression in the same way. You can bond with a fellow sufferer over the means by which your condition overlaps, but pretending there is one answer for everybody is dangerous. Some will be totally receptive to your thoughts, some perhaps too much as to be swayed and influenced and that’s why I always get a bit nervous about pretending I am something I am not. The Universe will offer solutions to your problem, science can rationalise a lot of them to 1’s and 0’s but only you truly hold the answers. It is up to you to listen to your own voice, to accept your identity (faults and all) and set your own journey to redemption. This is why the real heroes in this world never need to tell others what to do.

They understand that the only real truth is that which you discover for yourself.

Every Day is like Sunday

Ah, Easter. This is the time in our house where chores get done, shit gets thrown away and long-overdue promises are finally fulfilled. Today therefore is a fairly typical day of Resurrection: the garden is now cleared of all the rubbish from last week, and we have a man scheduled to come properly remove the last two stubborn tree trunks and roots, so that’s a boatload of progress. Husband is recovered enough from his second bout of elective surgery to go ride a bike, and with the kids at my parents, I have the house to myself. As the end of the Easter break looms large, I find myself thinking about how much has changed in the last four months because, like it or not, I’m in a vastly different place YET AGAIN to where I was this time last year.

Bloom7.gif

I love the life I have. It wasn’t awful before, but now there’s a measure of real control and confidence that simply didn’t exist previously. There’s been a couple of genuinely fuzzy days since last Thursday, I won’t lie, but coming out of the back of everything there remains an optimism that I don’t ever really remember owning. Having cast the die on the Patreon, I’m ready to order the Tier rewards to offer to people to sign up with, because I’m absolutely determined to make this entire venture as professional and polished as possible. That means four tiers of participation, from Casual to Hardcore (and yes they’ll be named after game styles because HEY I CAN IT IS MY PATREON) and a real excitement of what this could mean long term. I’m still quietly stunned that with the minimal amount of advertising the @InternetofWords Twitter account already has followers in double figures. That alone makes me think this whole amazing thing MIGHT JUST WORK.

Bloom5.gif

Then, there has to be content, and there’s already lots of ideas on the table. I’m going to be consulting with some trusted people in the next week as to whether they think these ideas have merit long term, and which should be developed as a priority. Once that’s all in place, starting the beginning of May it is time to just dive in and work on as much as possible so when everything goes live in June we’re future proofed until the end of the year. I hope I’ll have some of you along for the journey, and the plan is to use CoPromote as a means to see if there’s new followers to pick up along the way. There’ll be other means to generate interest too, if it all works out. Only time will tell.

For now, it is time to enjoy a lazy Sunday for all it is worth.

Idiotheque

idiotheque

That definition is over a decade old, but is still the best description I can find of what it feels like sometimes to live Online. It is the reason why I pick my friends with care, and don’t hang around in the same places too long. In fact, I’ve become a bit of a digital nomad when it comes to interacting with others. My homes are many and various, are as close to a constant as is possible but are only visited by those who know the way. The rest of the time I’m out here in the fields on the digital cargo bike, moving from place to place, trying not to cause too much trouble.

cargobike

Lots of people seem to think they know what is wrong with Modern Society. Each of them is only seeing part of the equation however, as has been the case since man came out of the caves and realised next door’s dweller had already invented the hut. Avarice existed well before money was invented. That other caveman’s club is always pointier saying only got properly defined for humanity when that Moses geezer got fed up of his tribe’s incessant bickering over what was right and wrong, escaping for some peace and quiet to think up a mountain. With time to reflect, as he honed his stone tablet carving skills came revelation AND LO we were given 10 Simple Rules to Live your Existence By (and you won’t believe Number Seven!) or as the old folks liked to call them, Commandments.

The rest of humanity wouldn’t have been handed THAT definition of what made ancient society tick unless a bunch of storytellers had written it down (with numerous interpretations of what you couldn’t covet, just as happens on the Internet.) Then that guy had to be nailed to a plank for teaching it as a better way to exist before two centuries of modern history turned the whole package into a series of often questionable lifestyle choices. The biggest single issue for modern society, pundit types, is not how soulless kids are today or how fucking grumpy the older generation have become. It is refusing to accept that somehow, a Holy Grail remains somebody else’s cup to provide.

Humanity has always been the problem.

noidea3.gif

Hand people rules, they ignore them. Tell them to worship your God and they’ll refuse. Tell them how to dress, off come the undercrackers as people protest. If you’re foolish and enslave, kill or repress them for being different you will feel revenge with the tenacity of a cornered beast, for that remains what we are. Please don’t tell me anyone is better than the Animal Kingdom that is farmed, killed and culled for our own notions of vanity and necessity. Mother Nature, who has existed here long before we crawled out of the ocean and even considered a cave, is ravaged by us with a brutality that demonstrates that most people don’t have a fucking clue what it means to live in harmony with anything. Everybody is the problem, even the Green warriors and the UN Special Ambassadors and the lovely old lady that gives you extra filling in your daily Subway because you’re a top lass yourself. Nobody gets off scot free from blame: there is no point in letting the women and children go first when you discover it was the 12 year old girl who hacked the wi-fi and then sent your boat into the rocks.

The next few years therefore is gonna get really tiring as everyone decides they get a swing at who to blame.

science_neil_degrasse_tyson.gif

The nodding dog of Science cannot save us this time. It is probably too late for a lot of things, including the polar icecaps, unless some pretty major about faces take place. What can we do as a race to stop this assault upon the existence that has only very recently in planetary history terms been afforded to us? If it is sweet Fanny Adams, should I not as my mate suggested stop trying to express my anger and indignation and just focus on taking care of myself? Well, I COULD do that, but that’s how the planet got in such a fucking mess to begin with. Don’t worry about it, someone else will fix it. NO THEY WON’T. The only way change is going to happen is if you make it happen.

The only way to make a difference is to start caring, and so many people don’t.

hellno.gif

Maybe, JUST MAYBE, if I say it enough times, people will listen. If enough of us volunteer, things get better. If enough people complain, stuff does change. What we absolutely, definitely and positively do NOT need is those of you who have already decided that this whole game’s already ruined for you before you even start playing. It’s already someone’s fault and they need to be blamed. Most importantly of all, when the World is burning around your ears, it won’t matter how many subtext messages you sent on Twitter or the number of shitty abusive DM’s you posted to diss that person on your Friends List who took the piss out of your outfit choice. What everybody needs now is a sense of proportion, and the understanding that at this rate of self-destruction, Humanity’s gonna be lucky if it makes it to the end of the Century.

Don’t take, people, Contribute. Don’t expect, be surprised.

Stop complaining somebody else is ruining your life and start living it for yourself.

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

There are points in your life, I have discovered, when you know shit is going down.

Sometimes, like Thursday of last week, the signs are too obvious to ignore. Having traced back from that point now with a medical person it becomes apparent that I’d been suffering for some time, but kept ignoring the signs. It was simply easier to write off my lack of appetite, fatigue and pain as menopausal, without grasping there might be a larger significance. Now there is new knowledge, many things make sense. Sometimes however you can overthink stuff to the point where it loses all relevance or significance from the place you came from, and the balancing act to keep integrity intact… well, it’s tiring. This morning’s fatigue is only seven hours kip for a body that probably needs ten right now.

bollocks2

For everything else, you have to play it by ear. Today is one of those days: life is out of my hands, and yet I feel the need to try and wrest back some notion of control. Am I overthinking a particular set of circumstances or is my fatalist streak worth assuaging? I am, like it or not, a fateful optimist: I know that glass is half full, but am always thirsty. It would be lovely to think that everybody’s here to love each other and live together in harmony, but when I see how United Airways treat their passengers when a flight is oversold? Money is the problem in pretty much every situation, and when people want to save it, others suffer. I think this attitude at least softens the blow when everything does go south: of course, it doesn’t make things any better, but at least its not a surprise.

doIlooklikeIcare

The biggest problem is that I care too much. I might say I let go of stuff but it is always a fight. My memory of injustice is seldom diminished, and after decades of being kept out of key conversations or decision making processes because I wasn’t a bloke, I should probably be angrier than I am. Keeping quiet for an easier life is nearly always the best resolution. I was incredibly lucky, I now grasp, at key junctions in my existence. I’ve invested wisely. I have a pension plan, and most importantly of all jointly own this home. However depressing a situation can look at one spot, there is always a better place to view, and ways to change your prognosis. Those who claim to serve God may love slamming doors in certain people’s faces, but by doing so they surrender control of the windows which inevitably open as balance.

Today, I stop tying myself in knots and simply wait it out.

Carrot-v-stick

In my gaming life, a lot is made of the notion of effort versus reward. Do you get more from offering a sweetener or beating your donkey, on any given day? Is it not more sensible to tie one to the other and never let your donkey get rewarded? Is there any point to effort if, expansion after expansion, you’re just forced to start effectively from scratch? This is the moment where the reminder is needed, that we are here for the journey and never the destination. Making to most of the moment, not overthinking, simply coping with what is handed to us and trying to enjoy that process when it happens. Honestly, that is what should matter above everything else. Don’t sweat the stuff you can’t change.

Just wait it out.