I feel fine. No, really I do. I had a low point as the New Year got into its stride – festivities and frolics making way for the realities and uncertainty of life. It’s a personality thing. I need to know. I need to understand. But life isn’t like that. Life is a conversation, not a statement.
I feel fine, yes, I’m quite sure about that. I have moments of indecision and uncertainty. They pass, but like the winter weather, the clouds can hang around for a while. The rain falls and falls. But the sun will come out… eventually.
‘What’s on your mind?’ asks FaceBook. It’s nice to be asked, even if the ultimate aim of doing so is part of a business plan. Getting things off our mind is a healthy thing to do. For an introvert like myself, being able to post and share from behind a screen is helpful. It is an option. Not the best, but an option. But Facebook doesn’t care. It is an inanimate, preprogrammed question. It isn’t even A.I. driven at this point.
It reminds me of those times at work or at social gatherings or at church where people ask, ‘how are you?’, but they don’t really want to know. They are already moving on to the next person or preparing to tell you how their own existence is rolling on. If you grabbed them, stared into their eyes and told them how much of a struggle each day was, that you craved for just one moment where you felt truly alive… or is that just me?
The telesales cold call. ‘Hello Mr Hill, how are you today?’ I have answered them honestly once or twice. Once or twice they have put the phone down too.
‘It’s a test designed to provoke an emotional response.’ We are yet to enter Bladerunner’s dystopian future. A time when it is unsure whether a humanoid being is human and/or android. We still show emotions. At times of great stress, great disaster or while we await the reveal of the reality TV show winner.
Where is my emotional response? Where is my revolution? Where is my desire to fight for a cause? Am I one of a kind or am I one of the herd?
Do I feel fine? Or will I admit to how I really feel?
There is a machine and it needs to be raged against.
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Just a short walk. Down the alley. To the harbour. Find a boat. Get gone.
I welcomed the New Year from the other side of the river. I was greeted by a rainbow, a little sunshine and new friends.
I’d like to take this opportunity to have a little word. This year marks your 18th birthday. You have, as we believe in the west, come of age. 21st Century, this year you become an adult.
As an adult, there are a few things I feel we ought to point out. But first, a few congratulations are in order.
At times we didn’t think you’d make it. There have been some worrying times, especially recently. But then I suppose all teenagers express themselves in different ways, rebelling against the perceived wisdom of the day and exploring possibilities for yourself. After all, the years preceding adulthood are when you ‘find your own path’ and begin to discover exactly who you are. Personally, I would have preferred a little less independence with your decisions, bridges once burned aren’t easily repaired. As you head into adulthood, being independent is what it is all about, but we don’t live isolated to others unless you are a complete hermit and don’t want to do anything… We haven’t had one of those in the family since that weirdo 0, but we’ve pretty much erased that one, going from 1 BC to 1 AD, or 1 BCE to 1 CE if you are more academically inclined.
However, congratulations where they are due. You’ve found your way through your early formative years, learnt along the way and despite, what many of us feel were essentially emotional, rather than fact-based, decisions of recent times we find ourselves here. You’ve made it. You’re (20)18.
So adulthood eh? It’s time to take on full responsibility for yourself. All actions you make are down to you now. No one else can answer for what you decide and do. You can blame your upbringing and things that have happened before, but you will still be responsible. You will have to pay the piper if that particular musician comes a calling.
And that applies to decisions you have made in the past. If they come back to bite you, you are the one who will be bitten, no one else. At the same time, if you have made the right choices, then you will reap the benefits.
Now you are an adult, it’s time to make real long-term friends. Find those who will stand by your side when times are rough, who will always look out for you and who are always there to lend a helping hand. Normally you find those friends by offering the same sort of relationship, but you can always be flexible when nasty things hit any sort of fan. If they cry foul there are always some clever diplomatic options to explore.
So 2018, well done, we’re proud of you. We might not have been the best example as you were growing up, but the ball, as they say, is now in your court.
Our one hope is that you’ll leave the world in a better state than you found it… all the best 2018, Happy Birthday and welcome to the adult world.