It rained today, and I spent some time driving through it, listening to it, and getting wet in it. You see, rain is almost 100% water, and that’s a Good Thing in a nation suffering from the worst drought in recent history. It was the rain which reminded me that summer is well behind us, which in turn served to remind me that time is wearing on, as it does, in it’s plodding and determined way.
So this train of thought carries my mind’s travels to a question I asked someone recently: if you could change one thing about your life at the moment, what would that thing be? Unusually, perhaps, I had not formulated an answer to my own question before asking it, and it got me thinking quite deeply.
I recall saying eventually that I would sleep more, but I don’t think that was the key point. The fact is, during the end of last year and the start of this one I was feeling pretty hectic and equally dissatified with the level of unsatisfying activity I was involved in. But now, upon reflecting on my reflection, I realise something incredibly reassuring: I am, at last, quite pleased with the range and diversity of my life’s activities!
The mundane and the exciting have now balanced out, and while my level of activity overall has remained insanely high, the quality and fun-factor of my choice of activities has increased dramatically. I use the exciting to motivate myself for the mundane, and the result is a certain happiness combined with contentment that is simply superlative.
Finishing is a sweet reward in itself, isn’t it? My assignment now being done, I can safely move on to more introspective and reflective pursuits…
This Yesterday morning I was driving to Uni, not really thinking about much at all, listening to Nova. As is usual on commercial radio, before long I was listening, quite passively, to an ad break. Surprise of all surprises: an ad caught my attention (for the second time in a couple of days, no less) and I was taken in.
It’s a defence force ad, talking about telecommunication engineers. The defence guys have been running this campaign for a while now, and I’d suggest it’s a fairly successful one. These ads contrast a “typically” dreary and unchallenging day-to-day work situation with a high energy, high responsibility, high urgency defence force emergency… The heat of combat. Chopper blades throbbing, equipment beeping, radio comms all around, and then the voiceover saying that a component is malfunctioning and you’re in charge. Now.
The thing is, I love to work “in the moment” – to think fast and use every skeric of detail available when time is short. Analyse it properly – there’s no room for error – but do it quickly, and come up with 3 options or a 5-step plan to remedy the situation. And do it with confidence, a little flair and a lot of good reasoning.
Well, this particular time the ad caught me right off guard, and it really hit home that there’s basically no way I’ll ever be in that kind of crisis/emergency leadership position. I’m studying and slaving and vying to get me a certified desk job, right on the top crease of the white collar, where us lawyers and CEOs and management consultants hob-nob and schmooze while the real emergencies rise or fall on other minds in other places.
I was processing the unexpected immensity of this realisation which welled up from within, and its depth meant that my mind drew a blank for a while. Still, I took the opportunity to change over to some music of my own choice and leave the ads behind. Like the Bond martini, I was a little shaken, but still mostly together.
Mashing play on my still-oh-so-cool Sony NW-S706F Network Walkman allowed its internal Shuffling Leprechauns to play a certain track by a particular diva who shall remain nameless (I’m pleading the 5th here). It was [early] 90s, it was live, and there is good reason for it to have spent time at #1. For a few minutes I was captured by the music, and the beautiful sounds those musicians created together made me catch my breath, enthralled.
If I wasn’t already sitting down I’m sure the second realisation in six minutes would have knocked me over.
I might never get the chance to respond to a crisis situation at the eleventh hour, but I am satisfied with the newfound understanding that I can still put my best white collar hours in at work for whatever greater good I deem worthwhile, and then go and experience the thrill and delight of making music with likeminded creative people. This is one thing at least which makes my heart leap, or soar, or weep, or yearn.
Shaken, and stirred.
Wait, this is silly. I plan my life, wrenching Friday night free from all other activity and now I’m here procrastinating. Well not any more… Work before pleasure and all that.
Next fixation coming soon…just after the Big 2000 is done.
Edit | Same day (just), 3 hours 22 minutes later
1985 words and I’m off for a drink – fixation a bit later.
If you look down a long, straight road, ideally from a slightly elevated position, you will [be able to] notice a number of things. The first is probably that you’re looking down a long straight road for no particular reason, so suppress the feeling of being a weirdo and move onto the next paragraph.
You will most likely [be quite able to] note that you can see all of the construction and objects on either side of the road diminishing in size as they tend toward the horizon. If you could hang a thick cord in midair the same distance off the ground along the whole length of the road, from your perspective it would appear to angle down and in until it vanishes, at the very same point that the road meets the horizon and also disappears.
Of course, I am describing a parallax vision effect, and where everything seems to culminate and disappear is called the vanishing point. Because of learning and life experience, we know that the buildings, trees and cars along the road aren’t actually dwindling to the size of ants, but rather, they are simply getting further and further away.
My six week intermission has had a fortunate early reprise. I am now out of the bonds which held me restrained, and the newfound freedom is blissful. So before the life lessons fade and vanish, like the road, into agèd obscurity…