Tag Archives: life

Friendships and the future

January has been interesting so far. Not much has happened exactly, but there’s been a lot of talking.

For instance in Sociology we were doing some Feminism and I casually said that I don’t think I want to get married and that seemed to be shocking. Part of me thinks marriage is just a piece of paper and the other thinks it’s more commitment than I’d ever be ready for. The average cost of a wedding is just over £20,000 but I’d definitely have a low-key one if I was going to have one. My friend reminded me that I could wear a suit if I wanted (I feel horrible in dresses and skirts).

I’ve had some ups and downs in my one of my friendships but we’re close again thankfully. I haven’t known him that long but he offered to take me out for my 18th birthday which I’m looking forward to.

I got invited to go to celebrate Chinese New Year (28th January) with some friends but I don’t think I’ll go because I’m socially awkward.

L’s birthday was two weeks ago and I didn’t have time to get a present so I got her a bath bomb from Lush last week. And I bet £5 that I won’t get any A* grades for my A-levels. Hopefully I’m wrong but it’s not long until my exams.

I treated myself to Firewatch – it was on Steam for £9 that day and it looked beautiful in the trailer so I thought why not?

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Ollie had his first experience of snow.

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All my friends seem to have replied to their uni offers, so I’ve made my firm and insurance choices now too. I did better than I thought I would in my mocks considering I hadn’t really revised – approximately one A and two B’s. I can now just focus on studying hard…

I say as I spent last weekend drawing instead of making revision notes:

Clue: “When I close my eyes it’s like a dark paradise”

Clue: “You were red and you liked me ’cause I was blue. You touched me and suddenly I was a lilac sky. And you decided purple just wasn’t for you.”

I did an experimental watercolour background then outlined in 4B pencil before finishing in biro.

Q: Can you recognise who these portraits are of? 🙂

Sadly I haven’t improved my skills much since I dropped the subject after secondary school.

I brought Cards Against Humanity into college earlier this week and 11 people in total ended up playing so it took  a while! It was fun though, I think I came 2nd with 4 black cards and M came 1st with 7 black cards. Now you can tell who I really am :’)img_4981

I traded belated Christmas presents with M and unlike him I didn’t scoff the lot in the first 12 hours but I can confirm the Twirl Bites are gone now.img_4970 

Notes: featured image mine, above photos taken on my phone camera

(A: Lana Del Rey and Halsey)

I’m excited for 2017 except the part about Brexit and Trump/Pence. That’s scary.

It’s quite worrying that since Trump has been sworn in, pages such as civil rights, climate change, healthcare, immigration and LGBT rights have disappeared from the White House website ( https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/20/white-house-website-trump-policy-agenda).

On the bright side, it was amazing to see how many took part in the Women’s marches. We have to fight back. These are some photos I saw on Twitter/Snapchat which seemed quite fitting:

It’s not fair that a bunch of old white men get to decide what women can and can’t do. No uterus, no opinion.

I’m still struggling to be inspired for poems at the moment and my college workload is increasing so I might not post next week.

Any words of motivation to get work done would be really appreciated. 🙂

Song: Angels Will Rise by Twisted Jukebox (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zAspzNfHCs)

Would you like to save your progress? YES/NO

Notes: May be a depressing post but towards the end it lightens so read on for that 🙂 The featured image is not mine.

If life was like a videogame I think it could be very tempting for some of us to want to go back to our last save point. Or perhaps switch over to an alternate save file and resume from there.

Because when things aren’t going to plan, for me, anyway, it might put you in limbo or discontent which is really frustrating. I kind of agree with some aspects of Marxism which I have been studying in A-level Sociology, such as the idea that in Capitalist society the bourgeoisie have a constant supply of workers (the proletariat) who will work for external rewards/goals (source: via http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/sociology/theories-in-sociology/marxist-concepts/). E.g. in school you’re working to get at least 5 good GCSEs to get into college or an apprenticeship and then you want 3 good A-levels or equivalent for a job or university. So if you pick uni, then you’ll be seeking a degree, or perhaps you’ll go that extra mile for a postgraduate degree in order to be appropriately qualified for the field of work you wish to go into.

There’s always a set of goals which tend to include a well-paid job, family, a nice house to retire to.

And if you don’t know what you want to do, how you’re going to achieve it or maybe whether you’re going to achieve it,  life might leave you clueless and questioning the decisions you have so far taken.

I like to think that I have mostly taken the right choices but it’s hard when they leave me miserable, take A-level Geography for example (the Edexcel one). Going from an A* at GCSE to inconsistently getting passes in all the practice tests leading up to my AS exams has left me wondering why I took it and whether I’m smart at all (my results will come out in mid August). But then again, I would not have realised that I definitely do not want a career in that area, especially not a 3 year long degree.

But…if it was possible to go back to that last save point, and still be aware of what choices I absolutely don’t want to make, would I?

Well, hopefully I wouldn’t because what’s the fun in that. Perfection doesn’t exist. Like beauty, it is in the eye of the beholder.

Moreover, without struggle and mistakes, I would have nothing interesting to recount and most importantly, I would not be the person I am today.

I guess life is a journey. And the journey is probably better than the destination. We are continually changing and improving (or worsening) and I’m sure you’ve heard people say that you’re not the same person you were, say, two years ago. Hopefully, that means you are progressing. And that’s never bad.

“The only constant is change” – source: via unnamed_artist_1 on Instagram. Her work is awesome and definitely worth checking out! 🙂 I think the quote is originally from Heraclitus.

Song: Price Tag by Jessie J (possibly my favourite song of all time, I especially love this acoustic version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhVeofML_n8)

Life Is Like Monopoly

Whilst writing this, I listened to Mad World by Tears For Tears, but I prefer the cover by Cody Frost (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YFbxFq6Zr8) – it’s a spine chilling song.

Notes: * in this context I use institution to mean police, schools, hospitals, businesses etc. The featured image is not mine.

 

Yep, this post is about that family board game. The one you can’t really complete in less than one afternoon.

It was a sort-of-maybe-not-really spontaneous decision to talk about this rather than go with the story I started yesterday evening (which shared the same title). That was one of those spur of the moment scribbles which was actually pretty terrible once I read over it. I’ll stick to writing like this I think.

I guess I should cut to the chase now!

The word “monopoly” has been in a dusty corner of my mind for some time; it just seemed like a great metaphor for life.

I’m sure this kind of analogy already exists but I’m going to write my interpretation of it. Maybe it’ll just seem like a pretentious and outlandish view, but hey, what would the world be like without opinions?

So, there are many reasons I compare life to a board game. One is that I think there is a lot of luck involved. For example, you cannot control the sides the dice land on. Let’s compare this to your origin. It is up to the player as to how, why and where you end up being born. That makes you the piece on the board. In its simplest sense, I would say that in early life, you are channelled in a certain direction, like the piece being moved by the player (who could be a parent in this instance). Of course, there’s a lot more freedom than in this analogy but please hear me out…

You’re also affected by the interaction between players. Players could be anyone. But the players themselves are generally constrained or at least shaped by the structure of society – institutions*. These could be represented by the squares on the board and the community chest/chance cards. Since those instruct/provide for the players, you are thus affected by the players (other people). Society is sort of like a big machine in which all parts (people) have an effect and function on others.

Maybe the creator(s) of the board game could be compared to the processes which created the Earth and made it habitable. Without a starting point, we would not be living like we do. We were given the means to adapt and evolve over time – over the years, more Monopoly editions have come out. Perhaps that could represent how both our physical world and society has changed. The bare bones of or world are still there but on the surface, we have developed and become captives to a predominantly Capitalist world; by making versions which reflect pop culture and appeal to a wider market, we are harnessing the (often) ingrained values of materialism/consumption and thus make more money.

The fact that to win at Monopoly you have to build as much possible OR own most of the properties to make the most income and bankrupt the other players perhaps also reflects how humans have been claiming more and more land as greed, competitiveness and whims have taken over. The very basics of a game tend to mean that there are inherently winners and losers. Indeed, 50% of the world’s wealth is now under the belt of 1% of the population (source: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/oct/13/half-world-wealth-in-hands-population-inequality-report). Maybe even the desire to save people, partly through ensuring there are hi tech research research facilities is selfish. (I mean, we’re already overpopulating the Earth and some say we’ve already surpassed the “tipping point” with regards to global warming.) The bottom line is that worldwide human activity as a whole is so unsustainable. Remember: once, a lot of the world was actually covered in forests – and now roughly 36 football fields worth of trees are lost every minute. (Source: http://www.livescience.com/27692-deforestation.html) Can you visualise that destruction?

Even the way we play Monopoly could be symbolic of life. First of all, you are going around a board. So basically going around in circles. Life is a cycle. It’s a well-trodden path. Although there’s a variance in the manner you navigate through life; you can get a double roll and travel really far in a short space of time compared to others, but essentially the process itself is structured. There are rules to the game – these are like laws. But in every household, you’ll probably come across some unwritten rules or unique play styles that are specific to that household, i.e. region. Governance is clearly dissimilar from place to place and even within.

And then there’s the cheating or rule-bending. Just as in life, there are deviant individuals. Sometimes they will get a good turn even if they most likely do not deserve it. Drawing a beneficial card in Monopoly can also be interpreted as privilege (it depends). Those with a fortunate origin may get privileges from the institutions.

Overall, you can’t really expect what life will throw at you. One can simply be more prepared. The cards and squares are like events: they can either make you or break you.

If you have any other comparisons or metaphors for life, comment down below, I’d love to hear them.

Over 7 billion

That’s the number of ways this very moment is being experienced. Pretty amazing if you think about it, right?

While you’re reading this, someone else is just waking up. A child is being born (a child is probably also being conceived)… A woman is carrying water from a well.  An athlete is training. A worker is catching a bus. A child is working in a sweatshop. A long distance couple are skyping each other before they go to sleep. You get the picture.

It’s perplexing and a little taxing, to me, that what you physically see is different to what I physically see. For instance, you never see yourself other than in pictures or a reflection. When looking at a mirror you might think you are as you see yourself. But not too long ago, it really sank in, that everything is, well, mirrored. E.g. I’m used to seeing my parting on the ‘right’ but it’s actually on the left. Maybe it’s just me overthinking how mirrors work. From birth to death, I’ll never see myself like how others see me!

(On the other hand, I think it’s astonishing that we all see different things and have different thoughts and characteristics about us. If we were all the same, would we have any creativity in our blood? What if, consequently, we built everything in our lives to match our personality? How would we appreciate art?)

Perhaps this is one of the reasons why it is often easier to see beauty in others; you’re looking through a different lens. You’re not the one who ‘sees’ and probably scrutinises them every day. I empathise with people who are critical and self-deprecating of themselves or their work. You have expectations, and if you fall short, it isn’t as satisfying. (And I’m quite a perfectionist. That part of me can be a real bummer.)

Anyway, the bigger point I wanted to stress here, was about alternate universes. Sidenote: I have a passion for reading fanfiction, including a well-written AU.

I’m by no means encouraging anyone to reflect on the consequences of their decisions and life chances with a heavy heart. I’m just going to illustrate the idea of alternate universes with a personal example.

I haven’t completely ruled the possibility of parallel universes out, but scientific theories to do with that are far too mind-boggling for me to begin to understand. I know it’s it not the same as an alternate universe, but the common denominator is that there’s another me – and another you. There’s countless ways our lives could’ve gone, all depending on how they commenced.

For example, would I still be academic if I came from a poorer background? I want to make it clear that I don’t think social class background necessarily determines someone’s educational career. I’m just going to point out the statistic that in England 2012/13, only 38.1% of pupils eligible for free school meals achieved 5 A*-C GCSEs compared to 64.8% of those who are not eligible. (source: via https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2014/jan/27/education-inequality-in-england-where-is-the-gap-widening-demos) To a large extent, I think it is due to the way the government runs the education system – I’ll go into more detail in a later blog post.

And in terms of my character, would I be the same person if I hadn’t moved house and schools as much as I did in this life? I doubt it. It’s really cool imagining an alternate universe where, for example, you grow up with a next-door-but-one best friend. However, I think everything happens for a reason. And the best but not always easiest way to be happy is to embrace the hand you’ve been dealt.

With regards to the nuances of life, perhaps it would be nice if a different version was written in the stars. Like erasing all those cringey moments that might keep you awake at night…

On a darker note, your alternate universe self could be in a much worse situation. Maybe you’re the 1 in 4 (or 1 in 6 for men – source: http://www.lwa.org.uk/understanding-abuse/statistics.htm) who are affected by domestic abuse in your lifetime.

Further towards the lighter extremes, maybe it would be exciting to be a hawk, or a walrus, or  a gibbon in another world. Maybe you’re born as the opposite sex. Imagine that! If you’re a woman, on average, you can look forward to being paid less than a man! Wow! (There are a number of reasons which can explain this – also a topic for a future blog post.) To back this up, the full-time employee gender pay gap was at 9.4% in 2015. There’s good news though: it has been steadily decreasing over time. (Source: http://visual.ons.gov.uk/what-is-the-gender-pay-gap/)

Anyway, I like to imagine that in another universe, I attended an art college possibly, and went on to become a renowned artist, one who makes epic graphic novels and takes commissions.

Today’s song is Candyland by Tobu (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhchfhxvPKI). Another chirpy song, but this time without a singer. I recommend it when you’re in a good mood, or want cheering up 🙂

So what do you think of this conjecture? And what do you think you could be in an alternate universe?

NB: I’m aware the statistics I’ve cited are ethnocentric – I live in the UK and that’s the area I’ve studied the most, so it made sense to use these.

Notes: The featured image is not mine