Monday, April 13, 2009

Flash-Back, Flash-Forward: 2009

Some things just take ages. Other times circumstances interfere because I let them.

"I don't want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me." - Frank Costello

Interesting character that guy. He's echoing the sentiment of George Bernard Shaw...one Irishman quoting another I guess.

I've let my circumstances interfere with my thought process long enough. Perhaps I like it that way. I'm living in a world where I'm always playing catch up: school work; marking; writing; guitar; contacting friends (or not); doing things I'm supposed to do for family; not doing things I'm supposed to do for family...blah blah blah.

Doing the right thing I suppose encapsulates what I'm talking about.

Choosing the right thing can be difficult enough - and that's the real skill. Knowing what the right thing is, and sifting through all the shit that generally passes for everyday life and contact.

Tough one.

Flash-Back - January 2008. I wrote a bunch of stuff on my blog reflecting on 2007, and what I wanted to get up to in 2008. It's here ---------> x - makes some interesting reading. I suppose I have to say 2008 was a good year. I wrote about that too.

It's taken me until April to get clear about 2009. That's because there's been some shit going down. Actually, I figured it out earlier, but just never got round to writing a blog post. Life got in the way...someone else said "Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

Aha - so that's what happening to me! I'm busy making other plans and life is what's fucking happening. Am I in the stand or on the pitch playing the game? I suppose if I'm in the game I at least have the opportunity to fuck things up. There's a pupil I teach who doesn't really want to attempt doing anything, so he never has to deal with failure.

He's got a fucking point.

Perhaps.

Flash-Forward: 2009. The year the Credit-Crunch Bit. The year my interest in macroeconomics moves from theory to reality. The year I take another step closer to my mid-thirties (crisis).

Against this background of gloom, doom, cynicism and hate. I've got three themes for 2009. (One of them is being severely challenged...but hey as it says on my CV- so it must be true - I welcome a challenge).

1) Comfortable in the kitchen
After learning that what I put into my body has a great effect on me...and my wife getting a copy of a Jamie Oliver book (and me taking a look at it)...I chose to think a bit more about my abilities in the kitchen.

I mean I can follow a recipe, but I'm not quite comfortable in the kitchen. There's a chance for me to actually cook some stuff and perhaps create my own ideas...something at this moment in time which would be unthinkable.

To be fair - some progress has been made. We've had people over and cooked for them. There's something quite nice about working together in the kitchen - perhaps it brings us together - the process of putting together a meal and entertaining. The feedback has been more than polite - it's actually been positive - which has been really encouraging. (She's definitely become more confident and made progress in 2009...I'm yet to match her).

It's also a great reason to actually have some people over to our flat...after practically ignoring everyone in 2008.

Something to look forward to through 2009.

2) The Year of the House
So yeah - perhaps we're moving into an economic depression. (There's a formal definition for it floating around the economic-blog-news-world - I just can't remember what it is. I know that a recession is three consecutive quarters of negative economic growth. Negative economic growth? What the fuck is that phrase? Some half-arsed way of saying things are getting shitty? You gotta love economists...complicating things up and disagreeing for the sake of it...there's some theoretical grounding for it...unravelling it is almost impossible...but I digress). That could mean house prices falling, money getting harder to borrow (despite interest rates being at 0.5%) and getting harder to sell property etc.

Or it could mean the perfect time to buy. (When the fuck is the 'right' time for anything anyway? Oops separate conversation for another time).

Either way - laying the foundations for a family would be appropriate - so having a house with three bedrooms is the way forward.

Not sure how it's going to happen in 2009, but we'll see...as we move to number three...

3) Trusting the Process of Life
Now this idea is the biggie. It pretty much brings together everything I've been writing so far. It's going to take something. Now funnily enough, I thought of these three ideas (including number three) a while ago. I wrote them in green pen on a clear writing board we have in our bedroom.

Life being the wonderful thing that it is, has immediately presented me with an opportunity to demonstrate number three in action.

In other words a huge fucking pain in the arse nightmare.

Am I product of my environment or is my environment a product of me?

Those of you who are close to me will know what I'm talking about. It's affected everything. (And before you even start thinking it - no I'm not going to be a dad just yet). It's coloured everything I think about a darker shade of black.

It's seriously challenging my assumptions about how life works.

Which is fucking horrible, and at the same time wonderful. All that philosophical stuff I've read; all the things I've done to develop myself; all the spiritual bullshit I've chatted - it's all being called upon everyday at the moment.

I can't always see the reason for why things happen to me, or why I make the choices I make. I'm not living in an episode of Lost with convenient flash-backs and flash-forwards...life is messy, complicated, and at times fucking horrible.

Sometimes I'm up to it. Sometimes I'm not.

But trusting the process of life is akin to using the Force (yes alright I had to get Star Wars into it somewhere for fuck's sake). Trusting God. Listening to Buddha. Walking through Dharma. Following the Tao. Whatever you call it.

I'm right in the middle of it figuring it out, failing, succeeding whatever. And it takes a lot to trust in the process of life.

Now I don't mean just sitting here waiting for things to happen. I'm talking about Obi-Wan expressing contempt for Han Solo's idea when he says "in my experience there's no such thing as luck".

It's also a bit more than when people say "oh, I believe everything happens for a reason"...that's almost like abdicating responsibility for my life if I'm not careful (of course the context of that all depends).

This starts to get all spiritual and esoteric, but basically what I'm talking about is being responsible for what I say, do, and as a result have. (Go and read Conversations with God for a fuller understanding...but Star Wars is the best way I can use to explain it)

Am I perfect? No. Do I struggle? Yes. Am I on the pitch playing the game? I like to think so.

Life is here for the creation and at some level I created my environment and my circumstances.

I'm left with Frank Costello's sentiment everyday: do I want to be a product of my environment? Or do I want my environment to be a product of me?