(Title Quote, Semisonic - Closing Time)
Endings are never an easy thing to handle, because generally the things which are ending were once god, or in some cases still good. Sometimes the choice is stripped from our control and we have to frantically grapple with exactly what we didn’t want to happen. We have to learn to run without any time for the walking and sometimes, it’s good. It’s exactly what we need, it’s invigorating and refreshing to actually be able to stand tall and say, this is who I am, I may not be strong yet, but I’m getting there.
It can be the easiest thing to do to lie down and just let life walk all over you, to shut down and allow your surroundings to gray out and gradually disappear. But if you’re strong, if you’re brave, for that short while; for that immediately crushing moment when change occurs, then you’ll survive, without a doubt.
I think that you can spend a long time thinking you’re being independent and strong, all the while you’re actually relying on someone else to be your anchor, your calm spot in the middle of a storm. However, this doesn’t have to be the case, you can do these things for yourself, you can be alone. You don’t need someone else to be your proverbial sellotape. No, I’m not saying estrange your friends and strike out on an epic quest into the wilds of society, I’m saying take on board the advice you’re given, know that you are surrounded by people who will help if you ask and use it to build yourself. Make sure that you know who you are before you follow someone’s advice to the letter. Because surely the point of advice in itself, other than helping, is that it’s only a suggestion, it’s not an imposition or a command, but just someone else looking out for you.
I think this could be one of those times, one of those moments where you realise that actually, you’re not all that bad, you do have both good and bad qualities. But what I see now is that these things don’t need to rule us, it all depends on how we use them. We can have a quality that is seen as bad, such as not wanting to let go, but then we can mold it, train it, make it what we want it to be. We can turn it into compassion and familiarity, rather than an inability to move on.
Maybe this will be one of those things that will change with every turn in my life, that I’ll look back on each time and wonder how I came to the previous conclusion, but right now, I’m happy to go with the flow and just be happy. I’m looking forward to doing new things and old things, and just experiencing them differently. I’m looking forward to not having a plan.
Title Quote : Lao Tzu
Perhaps the title would be more appropriately worded, “A journey of 365 days must begin with a single intention”. I am, of course, talking about New Year.
Each year, we make a list of promises to ourselves, all the while saying, “This will be the year I accomplish all of my goals.” Each year we convince ourselves that the passing of the last will provide us with a fresh start, allow to begin all over again and for many people, this is a source of irritation. They say that it’s pointless to think that way because the passage of time wont change anything other than cut down on the time you have to act. Why not act now instead, they ask.
However, I think this is the wrong attitude to acquire. The vast majority of people don’t actually believe that there is some miracle cure in the changing of a date from one day to the next, nor do they believe that suddenly there problems will disappear simply because they willed it so. Rather, this changing of the calender, resetting of the clock, banishing of the old and welcoming the new, is somewhat of a symbolism. A long standing symbolism, at that. Surely we would have scrapped it by now if there was no worth. Because, rather than a miracle cure, the changing of the old year to the new creates an opportunity to allow yourself a fresh start. It can be extremely difficult to just pick up and change in the blink of an eye, but New Year offers us an easy, harmless stimulus for change. It helps us to create a new mindset which will lead us to accomplish our goals. Rather than a quick fix, it is a foundation upon which we build the eventual fixing.
This is shown to be something which has not been a recent development of the typical modern culture which must have everything now and must be catered to immediately, but rather a lengthy tradition. One of the primary things which shows this, is the song or poem ‘Auld Lang Syne’ which was written by Robert Burns in 1788. It was quickly adopted in Scotland, and then soon after- many other countries, as a song to be sung to herald the New Year. A song which portrays the forgiving of old hurts and renewal of friendship, a song which has the essence of our ideals concerning New Year at its core. So for over three centuries, this theme of change has been apparent in our annual New Year culture. Surely we must have got it right somewhere along the line? Traditions tend to last for a reason; because people see the sense in them or at least enjoy their sentiments and I think both of these things can here be applicable.
Personally, I don’t have many ideas this year. Get in shape for sure, because that’s always a healthy thing to do and it makes you feel better about yourself in more ways than one. There’s no doubt that self-confidence can be one of our most important traits. However, I have already started doing that so perhaps some would view that as a form of ‘cheating’. I don’t, rather I’m proud of myself for not needing the stimulus to drive my decision this time.
There are some things which are dictated by the date and are hopes for much longer than just the Eve of the new year, things which we make a resolution because we know they are a fixed point and we know we can actively work towards them. For example, I am determined to do well in my second semester of uni, I haven’t done badly this year, but I can see in myself that I could have worked harder and done better. I don’t think there’s any shame in admitting that because if anything the admitting of the fact will drive me to do better. The more people whom you trust that know of your intentions the better, because you then actively try not to let them down when they believe in you.
However, these two things are all very well, but my basic intention for the following year is to live life to the fullest. To enjoy the company I’m surrounded by, to take each new experience as it comes, to go on adventures when the urge strikes me, to travel when I feel the need to, to socialise and to study where appropriate. Basically, to enjoy every minute possible. Something which I feel I did for a large part of this year which is why I intend to continue doing so.
This year, of course, has been a memorable one. So many things changed in such a relatively short space of time, looking back it’s hard not to forget half of it, so I wont go into too much detail but rather just mention the things that jump out.
School, getting to know teachers better, becoming closer to friends and realising who you truly wanted to still be friends with in years to come, exam stress, playing pranks on teachers so that they’ll remember us, coffee, prom, after-prom, parties, summer sun, love, adventures, picnics in Eglinton Park, days with bunches of friends in the park, nights out, nights in, new people, new friends, new residence, new learning, a whole new town, coffee, stressing over essays, cooking for myself, 5am walks in the snow to wake up, searching for lakeside blackberries, discovering I’m not a fan of clubbing, reading new books, catching up, growing up. It’s been a hell of a year, one of the best yet. If this year matches the last, I’ll be more than happy. If it surpasses it, even better.
See you on day one.
Title Quote : W. Edwards Deming
Some would say that all change is good. Some would say that it’s all bad. I am a firm believer that progress for progresses sake, or indeed change for changes sake, is not a positive thing.
Changes in general can be terrifying and new. Their very nature means that change cannot become habitual or easy or even wholly expected.
There are many types of change, whether it’s a new set of curtains, new accommodation, coin return from a vending machine, an end, a beginning. Change takes many various forms, allowing it to be eternally changing and forever unexpected. I would even go so far as to suggest that in it’s essence, change holds the ideals of perpetual motion because everything around us is constantly changing. Though those factors which change may vary, there is always a central theme of one thing becoming another. A constant. It’s like two sides of an equation, or two wings of a butterfly, or halves of a whole, or technology and progress. One cannot exist without the other. Change cannot exist without the basic constant that is it’s being. Predictable and wholly the opposite all at the same time. Change is not good. Change is not bad. It’s somewhere in between but I wouldn’t exactly call it a happy medium either.
But hey, I’m rambling in the realms of the metaphorical, a dangerous place to linger. Let’s get down to the facts. I really don’t like change. I know why it’s there, I know why it’s good, it doesn’t I need to like it.
And I know why I don’t like change, because in general terms concerning my experience, change is not good. Change gives rise to negative outcomes in my experience. Whether it’s a move, a break up, a drifting apart, an argument. Whatever. One of the few good changes I experienced was moving to halls and I think that’s solely because of the people. Change.
I even thought that I had a solid thing going in all aspects of my life, but I was wrong. Change. Suddenly I wasn’t quite sure what to make of all of my assumptions and expectations. Change. Suddenly I didn’t quite know where I was going anymore. Change. Suddenly everything was turned upside down and inside out and was stripped down and left sitting on bricks. Change. Yeah, I’m bitter. Yeah, I’m angry. Yeah…I’m sad. There aren’t much more simple terms I could use. But I think that’s appropriate, because the most basic of emotions are often the strongest.
I know that all change takes time to adjust to. But you know what, it’s not easy. I’m not saying it should be, because what would we ever learn then, but it would just be nice sometimes if there were some sort of rule-set that suddenly became very obvious when we needed them.
But of course, change often isn’t as clear cut as that. It often leaves you wondering, where do I go from here? What’s my next move? That’s a troubling thing for the control freak in me. But you know what? I’m learning. I’m learning how to make myself feel better, I’m learning how to surround myself with the right people in order to do so, heck I’m learning how to -every now and then for a few moments- just enjoy what’s surrounding and not think about the bigger picture. Now that’s difficult. Because as soon as you stop enjoying the tiny picture within a picture, then you remember all the problems of the wider picture. All of the threads that don’t quite tie up, all the areas where the paint is spread a little too thinly. I think it’s the transition that’s most difficult. Isn’t that funny, the hardest part of a change is the change within the change.
I’ve officially lost my train of thought now, so I better leave this rambling mess at that otherwise I’ll go on forever.
Title quote : Samuel Butler
It’s funny how there’s some events in your life which pinpoint an exact and precise change to everything that makes up the thing we call life.
Whether it’s an event, a person or a combination of the two, sometimes you can just look back and say ‘that changed me for the better’.
Coming to university did that for me, except it feels like it’s still ongoing because I’m still experiencing new things and I’m still adjusting to this new way of life.
My first day in halls of residence was terrifying and wonderful all at the same time. I met new people and was forced to come out of my shell and be confident in order to do so. But I’m glad I did.
Already in two short weeks, I’ve made some firm friends, people who I truly believe I can trust, people who I have already put my faith in and who have shown themselves to be the best of humanity in every way.
I’m having the time of my life in every aspect. The experience itself is incredible and gratifying, I’ve learned so much in such a short time. I learned to stand on my own two feet. I can admit that prior to coming to university, I was lacking in life experience. I knew the ins and outs of life, but there’s only so much you can learn from a book or spoken stories. You can’t always bullshit your way, sometimes you have to genuinely experience what you’re talking about. I feel constantly grateful that I have this opportunity to escape from under a parental lid of over-protection.
Though, this isn’t the first time in recent months that I’ve gained life experience. I fell in love properly for the first time. I entered into something I would never go back on or regret. It changed my life, he made me happier and pulled me from a pool of relative loneliness. Something I will be eternally grateful for. There’s just something about the way I feel around him that makes me incredibly happy and that’s the way love should be, in my opinion.
That is most likely the hardest thing about my newest life experience; not being able to make last minute plans to see each other, not being able to phone at one in the morning just to chat for a couple of hours, not being able to seek him out for a hug when I need one. But although all of these things are difficult, they are what makes it so very worth it.
That moment where we meet again in Glasgow Central becomes a miniature reunion, it empties the place and makes you forget what anyone else may think of public displays of affection.
The time spent apart makes that which you spend together perfect and completely unwasted.
I love you.
Title Quote - Leo Tolstoy
Sometimes in life it seems as though everything simply falls into place in an effortless display of serendipity. It brings with it a certain feeling of satisfaction, not unlike the feeling of placing the last jigsaw piece or filling the final page of a diary. It’s almost a feeling of accomplishment and pride because no matter how much you can say something was ‘meant to be’ or uncontrolled by the person to whom it happened, an act of fate or outside influence, we all mold our so called destiny to a certain extent. If you were not the person you are, you would have all that hold, simple as that. You may not have made the same choices which led others to cast a certain influence on you, you may not have taken the same path in life which presents the so called ‘uncontrollable’ outcomes.
However, to get back to the point, sometimes everything just feels right. Comfortable, satisfactory, unbelievable, mind-blowing, perfect. But that is a dangerous feeling, I think. You feel on top of the world, you even feel untouchable. Like nothing can take away this new-found happiness and joy. I propose this, that high of emotions leaves you incredibly vulnerable to the negative and those who would seek to purvey the negative in order to bring you crashing back down. There is no harm in feeling happy and displaying it, but to some they perceive it to be unfair or stupid or naive or silly or pathetic or a waste of time. There are a million more ways to put it.
Yes, these things may bring you down no matter your mood, but surely the fall from such a high will be much further, much more painful. It may just be the same old argument replayed and escalating, or maybe it could be new hurtful words plucked from the ethos with the sole intention of being spiteful. Some minds can’t bear to allow themselves to be happy and in doing so lash out in order to bring down those around them. “Misery loves company” is most certainly an accurate description. For example, the case where an argument gets out of hand, neither party will leave said argument feeling a sense of pride or happiness, instead both moods will be soured or hurt following the said pointless display of angst and unhappiness. It’s a coping mechanism for those who don’t truly know how to cope. For those who bottle up feelings and allow them to burst forth in ugly explosions which do nothing to satisfy anyone.
Having said this, I do believe that happiness is something we manufacture for ourselves. Yes, it can be difficult to overcome anger or unhappiness and you may think that you need support from other people around you. Indeed, this may help somewhat but ultimately it is your happiness and therefore no one can repair it but you. Life would be so much easier if you could change the battery of happiness like it’s a watch that’s stop ticking, rejuvenate it and replenish it, but it’s never going to be as simple as that. For each negative thing that happens in life we must find the sole root of the feelings it causes us and then discover the way to get over it or change it or simply deal with it. Then, I believe, you can find what makes you truly happy, what you truly want and in doing so you can also find exactly what you don’t need, exactly what is holding you back and having a negative impact on the processes of your life. I think that in the minds of many, they fear they cannot make themselves truly happy and so they give up in a way, relying on other people to do it for them, but never truly becoming fully and blissfully happy while sustaining this state.
So yes, Leo Tolstoy, I think you’re right, but I would say that at some point everyone will reach a stage where that is not so easy to see.
Title Quote : Oscar Wilde
In times of unknown outcomes, anxiety becomes all too apparent in the actions of many. Whether it’s harsh word, terrible nightmares, nail biting, physical sickness; it displays itself. I don’t know what’s worse, knowing that you have tried so hard and there’s every possibility you wont do as well as you need to to get where you want to go; or what comes next if you don’t get what you need, if you have to make decisions you don’t want to or shouldn’t have to. They’re both equally terrifying for me. I am, of course, talking about exam results.
Already I can feel that sort of butterflies feeling in the centre of my chest, so perhaps there wont be much sleep on the agenda for tonight. All that is left to do is hope but to a certain extent it is a completely futile thing to do. Those marks have already been decided, already been printed, already been posted even. So what use is there in hoping, in envisioning the letters A to F dancing about on the page, taunting you as your fingertips tear open the letter, settling into place only as you finally lay eyes on them. However, such is human nature that even in the most dire of situations we will hope against all odds. People can say they’ve given up, but there will always be some tiny flicker of hope kindled deep down. They may not even know it but to stop hoping is to give up the essence of humanity, surely? To become some sort of automaton, uselessly accepting all that is given.
So, yes, I’ll still hope. Of course I will, it’s the only thing to save from feeling entirely helpless. Therefore the plan is to fight. No matter what happens tomorrow, I will fight for my place where I want it to be. I had to fight this far already and I just hope so very much that I don’t need to fight anymore. But if needs must, I will. Yes, indeed. I’ve had time to reevaluate and now I know exactly what I want from the next few years, from the future in general, from life. So, yes, I will not give up hope and I will not lay down and accept the consequences of poor results. No.
Nothing like a self-made pep talk to do absolutely nothing to console yourself..
Title Quote : Haim Ginott
Day Three - A Letter To Your Parents
Yeah, I’m not going to post the original version of this, it was far too personal to even show my couple of followers. :)
However, I’ll say this. One of you, I can’t wait to forget about and move on. The other, If I ever do that to you, remind me of you because it would be the worst mistake of my life.
She sank to her knees,
And I watched as she cried, she cried.
She lifted her head,
And I watched as little by little, she died, she died.
Screaming for justice,
She can’t understand,
Why they have left us,
She wont understand.
Left to remains,
Void and like dust.
She gloats over pains,
And gives into lust.
A shadow of ‘she’,
She cannot remember.
A picture of ‘he’,
Once, twice, three times dismembered.
The world is changing,
But she’s standing still,
She sees her mistake,
But it’s had it’s fill.
Pushing her out,
She cannot describe,
What it’s about,
But her feelings she can imbibe.
Left to her bones,
She’s weary and tired.
Giving in to her moans,
Her heart has retired.
3 in the morning, weird ass dream that I don’t remember. Who knows.
Well, where to start? We talk so much via mail that there’s not much I urgently want to tell you, so I think I’ll keep it simple.
I am so happy right now. I just need to think your name and it makes me smile. We have so much in common it’s scary at times! I think it’s fairly safe to say you like me too at this point…:)
I love spending time with you, even if we haven’t had much of a chance yet, here’s looking forward to lots more little days in or out. Plus…I really enjoy breaking ‘the rules’ with you.
That first bit was me getting the…nerves, I guess, out of my system. So, down to the genuine feelings (I appear to be bad at admitting any and all feelings to myself).
You pretty much amaze me. You have this wonderful and crazy personality that just lights up the room. I’m almost a little worried that I wont be able to match up to it and you’ll lose interest in me, but I seem to be doing pretty well so far. I feel so lucky to be able to spend time with you and get an insight into the many layers of your mind.
I love that the silences are comfortable, not awkward. That they don’t always need to be filled with conversation. I love that you ask me questions which really make me think and contemplate my answer and that you seem to be genuinely interested in what I have to say.
I love that you’re the first person who’s ever told me I’m beautiful -even if it was in an ever so slightly roundabout way :P-. Every time you look at me I get butterflies and they only double and more when you put your arms around me.
I like that you seem to trust me, because I trust you too.
And I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you that the reason it took me so long to think of the thing that nobody else knew about me was that it’s something I find hard to admit to myself. I love my family but I just don’t see any way back for my Dad and I once I leave home. Which is a shame, because I think that without the more volatile and petty aspects of his character (whether they developed over time or not), we could have had an amazing relationship.
Anyway, I’m rambling. This isn’t nearly as eloquent as I would like it to be, but it has my genuine feelings tangled up in it, so I’m kind of proud of that.
There are a million other things about you in my mind, but I can’t put them into words. I hope you understand.
This time last year, it was the run up to prom and my birthday as well. Same thing now. Last year, on the 26th June a boy who’s been in my class since primary one died. Craig Kirkwood. If I’m honest, it was the most shocking thing that had ever happened to me. I think the realisation was maybe the worst. Seeing everyone at school pull together was amazing and touching and made it seem like there was such a bond between everyone with no concern of their usual social groups.
Today I found out that my neighbor died. He was 18 years old. I knew him for most of my life, we used to play together when we were little. He was always a little crazy and so easily distracted but he was one of the most fun people I’ve ever met. He was always happy and he always had a smile for you when you passed in the street. It’s been almost exactly a year since Craig and it’s still hard to believe and now I’m wondering how you’re supposed to deal with the same thing happening again, minus the support system. It sounds so selfish. How am I going to cope? What does this mean for me? And I hate that. But honestly, I can’t do this again. I knew Craig for a long time but we were never close. But Alex? It’s different. I can’t believe that such a vibrant and colourful thing as an 18 year old’s life can just be gone, faster than you can register.
Now more than ever, I realise that life is for living. If you don’t make the most of every single day, you’ll regret it forever. Opportunities are made to be taken. I know that I’m going to be thinking about Craig and Alex for the rest of my life. Maybe not every day, maybe not even that often at all. But it will always be there in the back of my mind, reminding me to live life and not let it pass by.