So there I was

So there I was, the best stories in life always begin with ‘So there I was’. The reason being that the sentiment implies a sudden revelation based on your current circumstance. This has certainly been true in my life and I often find myself approaching one of these moments. I shuffle my feet, look down and while slowly drawing back my head I sigh. A slow biting of the bottom lip can often finish off this involuntary move perfectly. It is an unmasked gesture that indicates to the world in the subtlest of tones, a body in reflection.

One of the few benefits of growing old is that we begin to understand ourselves a lot better or at least we spend a lot more time trying to understand ourselves. This self analyss though insightful is probably detrimental because it often leads to regret, regret of ones behaviour or ones quirks. I like to think that is the exact result the ‘no regrets’ crowd are trying to avoid. I like to think that, because otherwise I would just be filled with hate and contempt for them. Oh you regret nothing? Nothing at all? You just spilt that lovely pint you just bought, don’t regret that? Don’t want to reflect? Oh your Gran just passed away, still no regrets? Okay, don’t get me wrong, I understand the sentiment, it’s a mix of shit happens and making mistakes is human. But personally I just can’t buy it as a philosophy, I mean life is about highs and lows. To have highs you must have satisfaction and to have lows disappointment. The philosophy of ‘no regrets’ seems to be the idea that you jump about smiling during the highs and then when the lows tick around you pretend that it’s bad karma and the world is all at one. God forbid should you accept any responsibility or reflect on a ‘mistake you made’.

Reflection is something I’ve always used, I’m not a student of  Action Reflection Learning and it certainly wasn’t ever drilled into me, it’s just a practice that is a part of my behaviour. For example, right now while I am trying to formulate my desired path for this paragraph I am reflecting on how I feel that I was perhaps a bit too bitter towards the ‘no regrets’ crowd in the last paragraph. And how in fact quite a lot of the time I use the ‘no regrets’ pledge as a justification for promiscuous behaviour, perhaps that is just what it is though, a mask to help us push forward. Perhaps… I don’t know, decide for yourself. But one thing I think is true, is that the reason we so desperately crave our childhood or a time of being innocent is because at that time we had so little self analysis. Think back to when you were a child or a teenager, sure as a teenager you are filled with self angst and doubt but you aren’t critiquing your past or where you went wrong, you are judging how you fit into the world as if you have to mould yourself into the right shape or you won’t get in.

I guess in the end what this post has been briefly about and what it comes down to is that while we all adopt similar techniques and methods to describe/understand ourselves, it is all subject to the individuals factors. And in fact no matter how hard we strive to be unique, happy, exuberant, desired, successful… we all end up tripping up and when we do we pick ourselves up,  shuffle our feet, look down and while slowing drawing our head back we let out a sigh and say, so there I was…

William Goodspeed

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