Tag Archives: shallow thoughts

>Present in the present

>How true is this?

“Now and then it’s good to
pause
in our pursuit of happiness and
just be happy.”

– Guillaume Apollinaire

Sometimes I look so much toward elusive future happiness that I forget to be grateful for what I have in the here and now. Instead of chasing happiness, perhaps I should just enjoy the happiness I have.

>Rows of houses… all bearing down on me

>I went for a long walk today through Brompton Cemetery, which is very close to my house. Cemeteries here in London are so lovely – they are more like parks and in a city where there is a lot of brick and concrete – you appreciate green a lot.

For those of you too lazy to click the link and check out what Wikipedia has to say about Brompton Cemetery, it opened in 1840 and is one of London’s “Magnificent Seven” (seven cemeteries opened outside the city limits in the mid-19th century when there were so many people dying that it was no longer sanitary to continue to bury them in local churchyards). One cool story about the Brompton Cemetery is that it is where Beatrix Potter got many of her character names from – Mr. Nutkins, Mr. MacGregor, Tod, Jeremiah Fisher, Tommy Brock and even a Peter Rabbett are all buried there.

For some reason, I really like cemeteries, and I’ve been trying to sort out why. I’m not a particularly morbid person. I don’t think that now that I’m in my 30’s I’ve decided to become an Emo Kid. I’m not drawn to them out of depression. I haven’t been contemplating my own death. Perhaps I find them interesting because for all the people I’ve lost through death, there isn’t a marker for any of them. Those that do have a final resting place, I’ve never been. But I don’t feel as though that is what it is.

I think I enjoy being there because it is peaceful and full of love. Granted, I’m sure that there has been a lot of sorrow associated with those stones, but over all it feels like a very restful place. Many of the markers use the phrase “went to sleep” to indicate the date someone died, and many invite the dead to “rest”. And it is a place of love; the markers are testament to that. They are eternal pledges, carved in stone, to never forget the person that has died. “Has left our home, but not our hearts”, as one stated it.

I also enjoy it because there are so many stories. A reminder of how many lives there have been that I’ve never known, and can only guess at based on a few lines of text chiseled in marble. A reminder to live our own lives so that it will be remembered. A reminder that after all is said an done, your life story told in only a handful of words really distills what is most important. Most of the markers indicated very little as to hobbies and interests, few mentioned a career and few mentioned where a person lived and what they did. Almost all, however, mentioned people’s relationships to the living and to the already departed. Mother. Daughter. Sister. Wife. Father. Son. Brother. Husband. Friend. Perhaps that should serve as an indication as to where we should put our energies in life, as after we are gone we will most likely be remembered for who we were for someone, not what we did for a company.

Finally, I enjoy it because I like taking pictures of shapes and textures. And a cemetery is a great place for shapes and textures. I took over 150 pictures today (which I will add to Flickr today, along with a few others). The pictures may not be very good, but the cemetery is beautiful. I feel more relaxed right now than I have in a week.

Original Comments:

Holly wrote (on 03/07/08):
check out highgate cemetery – there are two parts, one’s free and the other you pay for a tour.

Duck and cover

>I know, I haven’t been blogging. Last night I tried. I clicked on “Add Entry” and then sat staring at the blank entry. I couldn’t think of a thing to say. And that worries me… because as most of you know, I ALWAYS have something to say.

I think the problem has been that I’ve been trying to avoid life the last few months. Work has not been going particularly well, and my unhappiness from that has been poisoning everything I do. And work being horrid is on top of everything else that has been going on… and the everything else is a little more slippery to peg down and try to explain. I’m going through an adjustment period again. England is not Korea is not Canada. I spoke with Kirstn today and she reminded me (bless her!) that it can take up to a year in a new place just to get to normal. But between cultural adjustment, not being close enough to my friends (except Colin, of course), having huge money issues both here and home and a million other things keeping me awake at night… I think I’ve been in surrender mode.

I’m tired of being tough. I just want to curl up into a ball and pray that the bear doesn’t eat me. I’m too tired to fight anymore, so I’m retreating. Instead of trying to deal with everything, I’ve somewhat decided to deal with nothing and hope that it goes away. Which, of course, it won’t.

So I’ve decided: enough cowering in the corner. I’m taking back control of what’s mine. I’m going to roll with what I can’t change, and see what I can get out of it in terms of experience or knowledge. And I’m going to change what I can, and roll with the consequences of doing so. Because you can’t move forward if you are standing still.

One of the things I enjoy doing is writing my blog. Probably because it is akin to listening to myself talk (which I also enjoy – HA!) but also because it helps me anchor down some of the thoughts that are constantly and furiously flying through my mind. I’m going to try my best to enter something at least once every day. That’s right: every day. I mean… I think about stuff (caveat: usually stupid stuff) every day, things happen every day… I should be able to write *something* everyday – even if it is incohesive, uninteresting or completely ridiculous and a waste of internet space. Regardless, I’m going to try and write something daily.

There are a few other things I’m going to change, but until those things actually happen (or at least get rolling), I’m going to wait to share them. One should happen tomorrow… so I will have something to write about then. I know how excited you must be, but you’ll just have to wait.

>Light vs. Dark

>

At work I’m finding myself more and more concerned with colour. Specific colours. When I create documents, I am careful to use the exact colours that make up our logo. I use the RGB Colour Model numbers to ensure that I get the exact logo coloured blue (50,87,101) or red (231,51,50) which may seem anal but ensures that there is consistency in my work. RGB is Red, Green, Blue… for anyone who doesn’t know.

Anyway, why blog about this rather dull part of my work? Well, because of something I’ve since noticed. The absolute highest number you can use for each code is 255, and the lowest is 0. If you enter 255,255,255 – an absolute saturation – you get white. Take it all away – 0,0,0 – and you get black.

I just thought this was interesting. There is more to the light… there is everything to the light to be more specific… and nothing to the dark. And if that is truly the case, why do so many people find the dark so frightening? Frankly, I’m more afraid of the light. There is more that lurks there…

>Survival

>

I read an interesting story on the internet recently about how one approaches life. Essentially, the article came down to how you would answer this question:

Are you living your life, or surviving it?

I’ve been thinking about this. Most days… on a day-by-day basis I mean, I feel like I’m simply surviving life. I don’t feel like I have any forward direction and I get so easily frustrated that this can’t be the life I’m meant to live. Thanks to my money situation (or “lack of money situation”… if only I could lose pounds from my arse as easily as I do my bank account – HA!) I haven’t been able to fill my leisure time with the kinds of activities I would like. I feel like a slave to work and exercise. I hate performing maintenance – whether that is housework or bodywork. Each day just seems to slip by, and if I’ve made it through to the end without hurting myself or anyone else, I consider that day a success.

The idea that I’m merely surviving life doesn’t fill me with joy and happiness. Surely there is more to it than that?

And you know what? There is.

First, if I look at my life as a whole, instead of the bullshit that might have happened just today, I really do live my life. Sure there are periods of inertia… sorrow… boredom… but they are punctuated with periods of excitement, growth, happiness, friendship, laughter and love. I feel like I’ve lived a life that can’t be rightly described as ordinary. I’ve been through a lot of things that others haven’t (and haven’t experienced a lot that others have, to be fair). I’ve had a varied work history (to say the least). I’m pretty lucky in that I’m now doing a job for which I have no education and no experience that actually does have cool parts to it (like writing and the opportunity to travel). I’ve been to more than 20 countries (and ones that most people don’t ever visit… mainly those in Asia). I’ve lived in three major cities on three different continents. Even right now, I live in flipping London. How did that happen? And in a city where housing is so expensive that people are willing to live three or more in a single room, I have my own flat (and the rent ain’t too bad). I’ve met the greatest people and have been fortunate enough to have them as friends (suckers!). My work, my travel, and my friends have helped me grow and change in ways that I couldn’t have imagined even five years ago.

Even my day-to-day life isn’t all survival, if I take a moment to breathe and really reflect on what’s happening. Like today, a fairly average day and in a bad mood what I would consider just a “survived that” kind of day. I went running twice today – and I’m grateful that I am healthy enough to do that. My boss told me I was amazing for a job that I completed before she could even assign it to me (I am rather amazing). I had some laughs with the people I work with – who are a pretty cool bunch considering we didn’t get to choose to work with each other. I got to eat cookies (there’s a tin of them at work… and thank goodness for that because until payday, I’m treating the cookie tin like my own personal lunchbox). I didn’t get rained on after work when I went for my run… a run which takes me through a four-hundred year old graveyard, along the Thames and past Bishops’ Palace (not many people can say that). I had a full lunch break today and left right at six o’clock. I got to talk to my moms which always makes me feel better. I have a roof over my head. I don’t commute. And although I’m getting sick of rice, I did eat today and that’s not something everyone can say. And there is free coffee at work (and not shitty Korea-machine coffee, either). I’ve also been fortunate enough to listen to cool tunes all day.

So I guess all-in-all, I am living life, not just surviving it. And I think it is mostly perspective. If you are going to just look at life like a chore you have to complete, it sure as hell is going to feel that way. Instead, each day should feel like a gift and a reward in and of itself. And I for one need to work on remembering that. Because when I do, I’m insanely happy and all is good.

My doggie doesn’t understand you

I was walking home this evening with water (finally!) and on the way this wee white dog came barking up to me. I wasn’t concerned by the dog’s sudden and violent approach – it was so small that it would have been hard-pressed to get its little mouth around a finger, let alone my ankle. But the owners were courteous and quickly called the dog back to them. In Korean.

Although it makes PERFECT SENSE that they would give the dog commands in Korean (as we are in Korea), it still sounded weird. I guess I was living under the assumption that dogs spoke English. Which brings me to my new point.

I was thinking that it would be funny (at this point, in my head, I can hear my moms saying “only you would find that funny…”) if I got a dog here and trained him in Korean. Then I would bring him home and people would be like, “awesome dog, does he know any tricks” and I would say that he knows lots of tricks. So they would say “Roll over…. roll over… play dead… shake a paw… sit…. sit…. sit… HEY! I thought your dog knows tricks but he can’t do anything. Your dog sucks.” And I would explain that he can’t speak English. I don’t know why this is funny to me, but it is. Having to yell Korean commands to my dog and living in Vancouver.

Now I’m thinking this: I wonder if all dogs, regardless of what country they are born in, speak dog. And whatever language we train them in is their second language.

Dogs are cool.

Original Comments:

careybatgirl wrote (on 04/09/05):Deep thoughts… by Jodi-Teacher