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Week Ending 8 January 2012

January 8, 2012




w/e 8 January 2012

Playing it cool = playing it safe

People in general are social beings and yet when confronted with the kind of opportunities they crave, be it meeting new people who we like, opportunities to better ourselves or simply projecting the right attitude to others, we often get the whole rigmarole of any given social situation wrong. Thus this weekend after some soul-searching, it dawned upon me that I personally have developed a new trait which I don’t like now, albeit one which I would have loved to have developed when I was the uncool, almost geekily sad, kid in school, namely that I have come to play it cool too much.

Playing it cool is equal to playing it safe in many ways. This could rarely be better illustrated than on New Year’s Day when someone who I get on really well with, who if I had dared to dream would be the one person I would want to see on the first day of the year, rocked up my friend’s club night and instead of sealing the deal either which way, I was merely cool and friendly. Direct questions rather than a good attitude are often necessary essential to get what you want out of life, particularly where people are concerned.

By way of illustration, try listening to the refrain line from Embrace’s sublime 1998 masterpiece Fireworks: “I thought I found my place, Before I knew how much it cost to play it safe” and you will understand: 

I saw Embrace live at Glastonbury 98, my first. If you have never been, I would heartily recommend you consider going next year (there’s no Glasto this year. as they take a break every five years). The guys I was out with last night are my Glasto crew, they are among the most “adult” of all the people I know and we are almost all over 30, but still know how to get ruined in the most time-honoured fashion, camping out in a muddy field under the stars!

The ups and downs will always be there no matter how positive you are, it is how you use the highs to manage the lows that counts

Last autumn I let go of the past and freed myself from the cloak of all my previous failings. In this remarkable period I changed my attitude from “maybe / soon / I’m not sure / I can’t / I’m depressed” to a potentially life-defining one of “definitely / this week / I am sure / I can / I am happy”. From early September until the end of the year I had 

only five periods when I did not feel positive and all but one of them lasted less then fifteen minutes. That is an astonishing statistic but is quite honestly true.

And this to a backdrop of hard partying almost every Saturday night and all day Sunday, usually the ideal breeding ground for the buzzing mosquito of depression with her infectious midweek disease comedown. Maybe 12 out of 14 weekends this continued. The preceding summer I had not partied much due to the state of my mind, health and life and each time I had, the “blues” had manifested themselves violently in the days and weeks after.

You need to free yourself from constraints to fly, you Bird of the Sun

“Come fly with me, bird of the sun…” Wilbur Smith, The Sunbird

Two emails I sent to my work colleague this week sum this up perfectly. More on this subject again soon.

“F*ck your conscience. New year, new you. You just need to look after your health – emotional, physical and sexual. Throw those goddamn inhibitions out of the window and see yourself soar. You can see what my own inhibitions are doing to me – the effect aint pretty right?! Get rid of them and the world is your oyster in every way. Constraints affect us and need to be eliminated from our lives as much as possible!”

“You and I share one major trait in common at present. We are both trapped in some aspects of our past and trying to move on and escape from that cage to make a better future. We can talk about this on the way to the pub but we’ve both got hard work to do, serious changes in thinking, attitude and approach if we are to see our dreams become reality and fulfil our potential and arrive at that holy grail of what I like to call destiny….

Don’t over-analyse a situation

You will often come across the kind of situations where you will go away thinking what you could or should have done better to deliver the result you anted. Even sometimes when the result is a positive one you might muse over what you could have done better. But while it is good to look back at key situations and work out what you could or should have done better so as to get it right next time a similar situation occurs, you really don’t want to get stuck into over-thinking.

As my friend Munroe Bergdorf once said, memorably so:

“Snap out of it and make yourself a cup of tea, have a wank, shower and pick yourself up coz no one else will”

It may be stating the bleeding obvious but this is particularly relevant insofaras relationships are concerned. My friend and I had a conversation yesterday, the gist of which was essentially that we are both over-analysing things and thinking too much about wanting to be in a relationship. She opined that it will happen as soon as you let go. The only difference was that I was never actually wanting a relationship at all….until last week when for the first time I started to feel lonely, like maybe I had reached a nadir in my life, that the time had come to find someone to share it with. This point was particularly important for me to have to take in as it was the catalyst for me to snap out of what had become excessive analysis of each situation and crack on with the important things; getting to know the new people in my life, seeing existing friends, making plans for what is such an important year, cracking on with the creative stuff like this blog….

There is even a Facebook page about this:
You can spend, minutes, hours, days, weeks or even months over-analyzing a situation; trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could’ve, would’ve happened – or you can just leave the pieces on the floor and move the fuck on.

Post-glasnost (as described in The ups and downs will always be there no matter how positive you are, it is how you use the highs to manage the lows that counts), I took the open-minded view of just meeting new people and seeing where that takes us and the above lesson this week has thankfully taken me back to this way of thinking, one which is far more likely to bring positive results…you just cannot force these things, they really do just happen!

Last but not least, there something I re-learnt this week, having forgotten it….

The button in the middle of the CD case is there to release the CD

This is massively embarrassing to say the least – at 33 I have to relearn how to remove a CD from its case, and yet they’ve been around almost as long as I have, since 1982 in fact. Say no more!

That sad, it is

 great to work so many diverse things out so early in the year: I am learning new things all the time at the moment and as a result this feels like an such amazing time of life!

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