It’s all too easy to feel afraid. One swift perusal of the latest headlines would be enough to send a nervy type running for the hills. We’re haemorrhaging staff from the health service (my future sister-in-law is being ground down so much by her shifts as a paramedic that she’s readying herself to leave the job altogether. In spite of spending several years and expending a butt-load of effort getting herself qualified in the first place. A modern medical fairy tale), sperm counts are plunging (and the Handmaid’s Tale and Children of Men show us where that particular slice of imminent dystopia leads), an individual with a paper-thin skin and the temperament of an especially moody toddler is in the White House (bringing with him a revolving door of colourful characters incredibly unqualified to actually carry out the roles in which they have been so inadvisably placed) and more besides that I’m becoming far too blue to get into right about now.
Oh go on then, we’re still got Brexit to contemplate. It’s ploughing on regardless of the fact that we’re going to continue to lose talented and skilled members of the workforce based solely on the fact that they happened to squirt out of their parent’s genitals in a foreign land (and of course, there are those in my generation and below who’ll become increasingly disillusioned by the state that refuses to represent their interests and set off for pastures greener). There are yet more crashes on the horizon as car loans and similar look to sink the market in a depressing reboot of 2007 (everything’s a remake nowadays).
But rather than sending your mood into a nosedive, you were wanting instead to find a way to have no more fear in your life. Well, live in ignorance. If you don’t know that excrement is poised to hit the fan in a noisy splat of a catastrophe then you probably won’t be all that worried about it.
Fear no more – All-4-One
We live in a more instantaneous culture than ever before. With a speedy click, tap or swipe you can have pretty much anything delivered to wherever you happen to be: a pizza, a handy gadget you suddenly can’t live without or a well oiled professional person ready and able to relax you (I meant a masseuse, you understood that right? Ok, so that sentence has a happy ending. I didn’t mean like that). Alternatively, a quick tappity tap and an ill advised button press can share the dark inner workings of your mind with the rest of humanity.
Off the top of my head, I can’t think of anything I’ve shared on here that I’d rather I hadn’t. However, there’s an extensive back catalogue, have a skim through and see if you disagree with me (admittedly, as I typed that last bit something did occur to me but I’m fairly sure that I was sufficiently vague that it won’t come around to bite me in the rump. Plus you’ll never be able to identify it so ha).
However, it’s all too easy nowadays to make a mistake and thanks to the public nature of the web it’s remarkably difficult to take it back. For a random example, if you’re frustrated at work and choose to share it online (I’m very happy where I am so please don’t fire me for making general allusions to the workplace, evil overlords. Oh damn) then don’t be so surprised when colleagues find your tirade.
Once the misstep has caused your foot to lodge itself firmly in your mouth the regret will come. Or maybe my wise musings have caused you to wish that I hadn’t pointed out quite how silly you were in complaining at length about your boss’s propensity to cut his toenails at his desk or whatever it was. They will find it (someone may helpfully plop it in front of them) and then the repercussions will rain down. Hope the likes were worth it.
Wish I had not said that – J. J. Cale
This variety of thing can be rather tricky depending on what sort of secret it happens to be. The key factor to have in place when you begin your secret holding is the timeline. Is this the sort of information you’re going to have to take to your grave? In which case I would suggest doing your best to avoid all mention or remembrance of it and practising methods of turning the conversation round to something else entirely. On the other hand, there are plenty of interesting nuggets of information that only have to be locked away for a predetermined period of time.
I have a worked example for you (and not just because it’s almost time for a plan to come to fruition and I’m nervously excited about it and therefore need an opportunity to vent some of this energy). Months ago I came up with an excellent idea for my then-boyfriend’s now-fiancé’s birthday (have to mention that fact as often as possible or it’s definitely not real – those are the rules of the internet). We’re going to Diggerland.
That’s right, there’s a theme park (probably the sort that merits inverted commas around the word ‘theme’) based around diggers (I don’t care what you think, just what he does and I’m betting the farm on him relishing the chance to drive around diggers for the day). I’ve booked the tickets, the hotel, planned the route and figured out all important things like where we’re going to eat. And he’s mostly none the wiser.
Sure, he knows we’re going somewhere because weekends are getting booked up with wedding venue viewings and I don’t want the early start to come as a complete surprise. However, thus far he knows nothing of the substance of the day because I’ve managed to hold my secret to my heart (various family members do know though so I don’t know whether or not you’d factor that into my success). So, er, be excited about the secret and you’ll be more compelled to keep it. Yeah, that’s a good lesson.
Hold your secret to your heart – Miracle Fortress
Sometimes it can be difficult to be sufficiently full of the milk of human kindness. We’re supposed to forgive our neighbours and, when we can bring ourselves to, love them (somehow this particular argument doesn’t fly in divorce court). So, even if you’re a grumpy little ball of hate who’s suddenly terribly riled at having been described as such, it’s the moment for a bit of light. Anyone can complain, some have particular talents in this area that become increasingly wearing of time.
Even if you’re surrounded by fools or the intolerant or downright nasty folk, you can do this. Hugs are a great way to transmit love (I would say kissing but it’s enough for you to bring yourself to the point of physical contact. Lip locking or similar might be taking it a little too far. Plus, you don’t want your enemies to get the wrong ideas about your intentions towards them) but a non sarcastic handshake (they exist) is a fine way to start.
Perhaps even these measures are a shade or two more positive than you can handle. I would say if that’s the case then maybe you weren’t shown enough affection as a child but that’s not particularly nice so I’ll attempt vague encouragement instead. You can do this, you’re far more tolerable as a human being than I believe you may have previously realised.
Start saying nicer things than you’re thinking. Not to be an interfering stranger on the street or anything, but smile a bit more. Eventually these behaviours will become habit and you’ll find that when people aren’t avoiding you for being insufferably optimistic they’ll be flocking to you to bathe in the righteous beauty of the love you have to give out to the world. From there it will spread. Like a magical zombie infection.
Give the love around – The Script
Oh, I can already see this swerving into terribly dangerous territory so let’s take a detour and see if I can manipulate things into a mildly relevant position by the end. I’m on something of a fitness kick. I can’t say it’s a choice I came to without a hearty smattering of reluctance but when an esteemed member of the medical profession casually mentioned that before I even consider having children I seriously need to get my weight down it’s not exactly easy to brush off. Especially as this was in front of my mother. Burning shame does love a witness.
Because of my catastrophic laziness and general unwillingness to leave the house unless strictly necessary (you know, to go to work and that), there are only so many options for exercise. I don’t even know where the local pool is and I refuse to go running. I don’t want further witnesses to the wheezing, sweaty mess that is me trying to drag myself onto the path of healthiness. So I bought myself a folding exercise and the obsessive within me is already enjoying seeing those digits tick upwards. I even get to watch Game of Thrones as I toil (although I’m far more likely to be reading while a bangin’ soundtrack pounds away in the background).
But we were speaking of runners. Smug folk in Lycra (it’s probably worth me mentioning the fact again that I’m the only non runner in the family. I’m definitely not thinking of any of them as I say derogatory things about the jogging community. I also certainly don’t harbour any ill feelings because of that fact either) ambling about smacking it into me that they resemble elegant gazelles gambolling about and I would resemble an increasingly maroon hippo wading through jelly. So shoot them, but only with tranquilisers as we skip away, giggling uproariously.
Shoot the runner – Kasabian
This is definitely going to be a difficult proposition for me to write about. I’m essentially incapable of overthinking, be it down to a general ambivalence to vast swathes of subject matter or by having a largely practical bent of mind that means I’d hardly commit unnecessary consideration to an issue that is, for all intents and purposes, done and dusted. But, my lambs, you aren’t as blessed as I in the brain department so will naturally have concerns that bubble over from time to time.
Is it really the brain that’s liable for blame in this particular arena? Where precisely do brain and mind meet and how can you readily discern between them? Will folk out there be somewhat perturbed that I’ve gone ahead and labelled them as mentally subpar at least in comparison to myself? Is the intention behind my words clear that I’m attempting for something vaguely satirical? If that endeavour has fallen completely flat on its face is that because I’ve moved over into the realms of contempt for my common man (and woman, can’t forget the gals)?
It’s hardly as if I’m the obsessive sort, capable of turning the tiniest of moments over and over in my mind, twisting it out of reality until it represents something entirely unrelated to and yet far more dangerous than the original instance. Sure, echoes of previous embarrassments come raining down the very moment I let my guard down but that happens to absolutely everyone and working my way through the various permutations of how that interaction could have wound up better is merely good practice for future social occasions.
Overthinking can be helpful in certain circumstances. There are those who will tell you that it’s utterly impossible to overthink that those that accuse you of such are merely jealous of your thoroughness. It definitely won’t paralyse you with uncertainty of how to proceed. Just cut the blue wire, what’s the worst that could happen?
Overthink it – Emma WHite
Sure, this might be ever so slightly complicated if you don’t happen to have a girlfriend. This is perfectly possible by way of inclination (if, like me, you prefer men when it comes to this sort of thing and wouldn’t be happy to accept what you would consider to be a cheat in getting in touch with a close female friend) or general circumstance) on the other hand, you may be all too interested in women but have thus far been frustrated in your attempts to land one as your lady).
If you don’t have one, then by all means, go away until you’ve acquired one (I’m definitely not the person to come to for relationship advice. I’m essentially marrying the first person who really looked my way and liked what they saw. I swear it’s more romantic than that though). When it comes to human interaction in general, I think you’ll find that open communication is somewhat important.
Upon examining the opposite side of the coin though, who says that actually calling is even necessary any more? Does anyone actually make unscheduled phone calls beyond recruiters and psychopaths? Couldn’t the same result be achieved with texting or messaging via any number of handy dandy apps? The benefit of such chat obviously being that you don’t have to break off from watching that captivating episode of prestige drama or whatever it is that has you so thoroughly hooked.
But that’s what makes the gesture even more compelling. Anyone with thumbs and a half rate education can string a few words together and fire them across cyberspace. Picking up the smartphone with the intention of actually using it as a calling device, now that’s special. Take the gamble and settle down for a long and heartfelt conversation with your special lady. Even if she’s just in the next room and thinks your insistence on not seeing her face while you converse with her is deeply strange.
Call your girlfriend – Robyn