Not quite what 8 year old me had in mind

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Futures Past.”

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? How close or far are you from that vision?

Growing up I always had a very active imagination (I still do) and what I wanted to be as a grown up would change every day.  My childhood dreams varied in a number of ways, from nurse (sensible, kind, helpful) to the more unrealistic (read insane!).  Some of my more crazy ambitions included:

  • Astronaut – what kid doesn’t have this dream?
  • Space cowboy – my brother’s influence no doubt
  • Actress – this dream was probably less likely than the two above.  I have absolutely no acting (or singing) ability and quite frankly was lucky if I got cast as a tree in school plays
  • Superhero – I always found it difficult to pick my favourite superhero so imagined myself as an amalgam of all the best Marvel and DC heroes
  • Air traffic controller – this was a slightly more recent dream (from about 10 or so years ago).  There are numerous issues with this one;
    • I have absolutely no sense of direction (I get lost a lot)
    • I cannot read a map to save my life (my dad tried to teach me but soon figured out that I’m a bit of a lost cause in this department)
    • Apparently this job has a really high suicide rate due to the stressful nature of the role.  I’m not a major fan of stress (who is?) so this idea quickly got ruled out.

I have always lacked direction.  I could easily tell you exactly what I don’t want to do with my life, but when it comes to what I do want to do I have always struggled to come up with an answer.  Throughout university all of my friends had specific career paths in mind whilst I happily ambled along figuring it would all sort itself out.  Suffice to say everyone thought I was a bit of an ostrich – cue lots of people offering me “helpful advice”.

Upon graduating the tables seemed to turn.  Of our group I was the first to get what was considered a ‘grown up’ job – the job meant a move to a big city, my own flat etc. and a few jealous friends.  They had all set themselves a specific career path but it was harder to break in to these areas than they envisaged.  The flexibility that came with having no direction meant I was open to try different experiences.

Now don’t get me wrong, my lack of direction has not always been a good thing.  I wasted a few years in a job that made me miserable, working with people I didn’t like – and why did I do this?  The answer is simple; I was good at it, and admitting it wasn’t right for me felt like I was failing.  Things finally came to a head after a traumatic experience in my personal life made me put things in to perspective and I quit.  I did this without another job lined up (at a time of high unemployment figures in the UK).  To this day this is one of the more reckless things I have done, as well as one of the best.

I eventually fell in to my current job which most definitely doesn’t match my more imaginative childhood dreams.  Funnily enough it is closer to the more sensible roles I used to play as a child.  Whilst not a nurse (needles bother me – a lot!) I do work in the ‘health’ industry for a charity and my job, whilst not involving Stetsons or aliens, is for the most part interesting and fulfilling.

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Colour and clutter

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Clean Slate.”

Explore the room you’re in as if you’re seeing it for the first time. Pretend you know nothing. What do you see? Who is the person who lives there?

DSCF1010

The room I am in is small but functional.  It is attached to the living room and has a large window across from me that faces a row of trees that are full of their summer foliage.

There is an oven to my left, work space and a sink in front of me, and a fridge to my right.  The walls are an off white that is generally referred to as magnolia.  The walls are the plainest thing in this room.  Everything else is an explosion of colour; reds, pinks, blues, greens and all the rainbow colours between.  Absolutely nothing matches – the crockery are all different shapes and sizes, but weirdly it all looks like it belongs together.  A stack of geese measuring cups sit facing storage jars covered in matryoshka nesting dolls – they look like they could be having a conversation.

So this is my kitchen – its tiny and cluttered and I absolutely love it.  I am renting so I have absolutely no say in the wall colour (magnolia is so blah!) so to make up for this I have adopted a mantra of ‘anything goes’,  It doesn’t matter what colour or style something is, if I like it I’ll get it.  In not caring whether or not anything matches I have gathered a variety of kitchen gadgets, plates, storage jars etc. that really shouldn’t work together but do (or in my mind they do anyway).

Mine is not a minimalist home – I would struggle with white walls and clean lines.  I like colour and clutter and that homely feel, which for me it is impossible to have without a myriad of ‘bits and bobs’.

Basket case sounds about right

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Don’t You Forget About Me.”

Imagine yourself at the end of your life. What sort of legacy will you leave? Describe the lasting effect you want to have on the world, after you’re gone cheerful thought Daily Prompt!

Admittedly it would be pretty cool if my headstone included either of the following…

  • “She saved the world…a lot” (Buffy Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
  • “She did it the hard way” (Bette Davis)

To be honest though the first is unlikely – I am prone to laziness and I don’t possess any of the skills that might one day save the world (unless eating chocolate or having the ability to retain completely useless bits of information may one day save mankind from an asteroid or plague?).  The second epitaph is getting closer as I do seem to like to make things difficult for myself (not always intentionally).

That being said I don’t mind if my life doesn’t leave a lasting legacy on the world, but I would like it to have had a (positive) impact on those around me.  To make those around me happy and to hopefully enrich their lives in some small way is all that I really hope for.

Whilst my name may never go down in the history books (that is unless I die in some weird manner) I would hope that I would be remembered fondly amongst the people I love, because after all theirs are the opinions that mean the most to me.

“You see us as you want to see us—in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain…and an athlete…and a basket case…a princess…and a criminal. Does that answer your question?” (Breakfast Club)

She said

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “S/he Said.”

Pause whatever you’re doing, and ask the person nearest you what they’re thinking about (call someone if you have to). Write a post based on it.

“What am I going to do with my life?”  Nine simple little words in response to asking her what was on her mind.  On their own these words are harmless, however put together they make up a question that weighs heavy.  A questions that ebbs in to every part of life – work, love, friendship.

In a twist to the prompt I decided to write about a recent conversation I had with a friend who had noticed that I seemed a little out of sorts and asked what was on my mind.  Those simple nine words were my response, and it’s a question that I have been toying with for a while

I’m stuck in a rut – I have been for a while.  I feel as though my life is at a bit of a standstill and I am not sure how to go about getting things moving again.  In a bid to try and get some momentum back in to my life I have decided to try and get out of my comfort zone and make some changes in my life.

Now being a bit of a wuss I’m going to start small and work the nerve up to the bigger things.  Here are a few of the things on my list of things of changes to be made:

  1. Haircut – I detest going to the hairdressers with a passion, which is evident from my extremely long and messy barnet.  It’s a little thing but I’m going to cut it short (not too short – I’m not that brave) so I have a visible reminder of the changes I want to make to my life each time I look in the mirror.
  2. Get fit – Following a bad injury a few years ago my fitness has slipped.  So I am going to do something about it – starting with a Zumba class at my local gym (it should be interesting especially considering my two left feet!).
  3. Work/life balance – work has always won out between these two.  I have finally got to a point in my life where I earn a half-decent salary in a job that I am good at.  The problem is that my job is stressful and whilst I get some satisfaction from it I’m not sure if I really enjoy it.  I’m going to have to ponder this some more and decide whether a career re-think is in order.
“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself” Andy Warhol

It’s not all Flux capacitors and hoverboards!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Advantage of Foresight.”

You’ve been granted the power to predict the future! The catch — each time you use your power, it costs you one day (as in, you’ll live one day less). How would you use this power, it at all?

As a natural born worrier I’m not sure I would want to be able to predict the future.  Sure it might be fun on the odd occasion, but it also could be scary or depressing if the future is bleak.

Lets say you look in to the future and see something bad is going to happen.  Not only does seeing this knock a day off your lifetime, but it would be likely that you change your actions in order to avoid this bad thing.  The fact that you did something different could ultimately lead to the bad event, or could trigger something worse.  I am terrible at explaining this so I would recommend watching Stargate SG-1 episode ‘Prophecy’ (season 6 episode 21) which covers this much better than I can.  Glimpses of the future are open to interpretation – which is risky in itself.

A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.” Jean de la Fontaine

Putting all that aside I have made a few decisions in my life which initially seemed to be bad ones.  As it turns out things had to get worse before they got better.  If I had glimpsed in to the future chances are I would have done the exact opposite and who knows how things would have panned out.

And because there is no way I can write a post about glimpsing the future without referencing one of the greatest films of all times…

George McFly: “Lorraine.  My density has brought me to you.”

Lorraine Baines: “What?”

George McFly: “Oh.  What I meant to say was…”

Lorraine Baines: “Wait a minute.  Don’t I know you from somewhere?”

George McFly: “Yes.  Yes.  I’m George.  George McFly.  I’m your density.  I mean, your destiny.”

Back to the Future (1985)

Be kind rewind

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Going Obsolete.”

Of all the technologies that have gone extinct in your lifetime, which one do you miss the most?

There aren’t too many technologies that I miss but the VCR is one of them.  Mine sadly died a death about 10 years ago leaving me with a pile of videos that can no longer be watched (it’s nigh on impossible to find a video player these days).

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not stuck in the old days – I have fully embraced dvd’s, blu ray, online streaming etc.  What I miss is the random things I used to video off the TV.  Random recordings that I have mostly forgotten now but seemed hugely important at the time.  I miss being able to take that trip down memory lane, even if it is just to watch the second half of ‘True Lies’ because I couldn’t stay awake long enough to watch the movie in full!

“I’ll be Bill Murray and you’ll be everyone else.” Be Kind Rewind (2008)

“We’d like to get a sample of your brain tissue.”

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Generation XYZ.”

Think about the generation immediately younger or older than you. What do you understand least about them — and what can you learn from them?

I’m an 80s child so I’m stuck between a couple of generations that seems to be polar opposites to mine.

So, about the generation above me – I don’t understand perms or double denim, both of which seem to have been pretty rife with this generation.  ‘Dallas’ just seems like an advert for shoulder pads and the dangers of too much hairspray (surely they are all highly flammable!), and no matter how hard I try I just don’t get how Burt Reynolds was a heartthrob (sorry Burt – the moustache has got to go).

The generations below me confuse me even more.  They talk in text speak (for the record it isn’t quicker than saying the actual words when you take in to account the time it takes to decipher what they are saying).  I don’t get how words like ‘twerking’ end up in the dictionary, or how ‘The Only Way is Essex’ (TOWIE) is considered good TV (if you don’t know what this is look up Chris Pratt talking about it – he sums it up perfectly).

Whilst I’m certainly not a luddite I think technology has, to a certain extent, lessened younger generations abilities to communicate.  Sure, they are more tech savvy but it is much harder to find a younger person who can get through a meal without checking their phone. (No offence is intended to younger people – this is based purely on the experiences of me and my friends).

And finally … my friends and I like to try and insert movie quotes in to regular conversations (partly because we’re weird, mostly because it’s funny) – try inserting “We came! We saw! We kicked its ass!” or “She’s not my girlfriend. I find her interesting because she’s a client — and because she sleeps above her covers. FOUR. FEET above her covers! She barks! She drools! She claws!” in to a conversation – it’s not easy but when it works it’s great.  My best friend and I were extolling the virtues of the legend that is Bill Murray when her teenage cousin (who was visiting) uttered words no person should ever hear – “Who is Bill Murray?”  I’m not sure I can handle a world where young people idolise Justin Bieber but don’t know who Bill Murray is – the horror!

I reckon each generation struggles to understand those around it – tastes change, as do pop culture references.  I’ve decided that I’ll embrace the bits I like from the generations immediately older (Godfather movies) and younger (Taylor Swift music), and keep hold of my Ghostbusters references.

The quotes are all from Ghostbusters – the two in the main body are Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) quotes.  The subject line quote is said by Egon Spengler (the late great Harold Ramis).

Celebrations – Low key? Love it!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Celebrate Good Times.”

You receive some wonderful, improbable, hoped-for good news. How do you celebrate?

Wonderful, improbable, hoped for good news has come my way – hurrah (and it’s about time – what took you so long?).   How to celebrate this news is easy.  I would celebrate with the people I love, so basically it would be good food and great company.  Nothing fancy is needed – the wonderful news is enough.

Whilst I could take this opportunity to share what wonderful, improbable news I hope for, I’m a little worried that this could be a similar deal to the birthday ritual of making a wish when blowing out the candles on your cake.  If I tell you then the wish may not come true.  So for now I’ll keep this one to myself.

Sorry I know this is probably a boring read but I always did prefer low-key to extravagant.  Rest assured – if the news was that I have won big on the lottery (which really would be improbable seeing as I don’t play it) I will do my best to celebrate in a more extreme manner.  Open to suggestions (you know, just in case!)…

Clean pants – no worries (and other useful titbits)

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Take It From Me.”

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve given someone that you failed to take yourself?

I’m not a big fan of advice – either giving or receiving it.  I like to figure things out for myself, making mistakes along the way.  I’ve found this is how I learn best.  My Mum is the exact opposite – she loves to give me advice, be it from how to bake a cake to how to deal with a difficult work situation.  The advice is not sought out however I have learnt over the years to listen to it because even though Mum knows I’m independent, she is still my Mum and simply wants to help.

My advice - don't wake me before noon!

My advice – don’t wake me before noon!

My family have put up with me insisting that I want to do things without any help all my life and I know they are proud that I can take care of herself.  But despite this the advice still comes.  Some of it is not particularly useful (I don’t want to use the word ‘bad’ but…) – like the time when I was about 12 and was going to a friends party in a brand new dress.  I wanted to wear pretty shoes but despite my better judgement Mum convinced me that sneakers were the way to go and that all my friends would be wearing them – they weren’t!  I spent the entire evening feeling as though I stood out like a sore thumb.

Some of the advice however is actually pretty good.  Probably the two best pieces of advice I’ve received that I have actually passed on (generally under duress because like I said I don’t like giving advice) are:

  1. Always wear nice underwear as you never know if you might get hit by a bus (or be involved in some other less-specific accident).  Now on the face of it this seems like pretty grim advice, what with the threat of potential vehicular injury and all, but I actually really like this one.  I’m a fan of this titbit because a) you wouldn’t wear grotty underwear in front of someone who you actually wanted to see you in it so why would you potentially run the risk of a stranger seeing it?, and b) because if you get hit by a bus you have plenty of other things to worry about other than whether your bra and pants match.  For the record I follow this piece of advice religiously.
  2. People aren’t thinking about you, they’re thinking about themselves. (Despite it being more of a statement I am counting this as advice).  As a born worrier who is prone to over-thinking things I spent most of my teenage years in a perpetual state of paranoia worrying that people were critiquing me and generally thinking bad things about me (I was bullied a bit at school which laid the foundations for these worries).  Someone could glance in my direction and I would think they were secretly laughing at the way I looked etc.  It took quite some time (longer than I’m proud of) to realise that people have plenty of their own problems to worry about – I was simply projecting my own criticisms about myself on to them.

Whilst I would love to say that I follow the second piece of advice all the time the truth is that I don’t.  I still get a little self-conscious if someone gives me a funny look, wondering if I have spinach in my teeth or have grown an extra eye, but then I ask myself the question “does it really matter in the grand scheme of things?”  More often than not the answer to that question is “no”.

Morning glory

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Golden Hour.”

This is a nice easy one.  I am a total morning person.  That’s not to say that I particularly like getting up early, it’s just that I function better in the morning.  I have more energy, my thought processes seem clearer – all in all everything is just easier.

By evening time I’m less than useless – simple things seem difficult and I often struggle to string a sentence together.   I’m not a fan of clubbing so it’s rare these days that I’m coming home late (or should that be early?).

Now this might have something to do with the fact that I don’t really sleep much.  I get by quite happily on about 4 broken hours a night – any more than that and I generally feel awful the next day.  Weird I know but I have always been this way.  My brain is always ticking over so I find it difficult to ‘switch off’ at the end of the day.  Tsuki

If I mention my sleeping habits to anyone then they often morph in to a sleep expert telling me what I need to do to get a solid 8 hours (drink a glass of milk, don’t drink milk, don’t watch TV, count sheep, heat the room up, cool the room down…).  Over the years I’ve tried all kinds of things, none of which have worked.  But you know what, I don’t mind not sleeping much.  I have a rule that if I wake up in the middle of the night and I’m wide awake then I get up.  It turns out that whilst I’m useless in the evening, I am insanely productive in the middle of the night – I can do a mountain of housework, ironing etc. without the distractions that crop up during the day.  That in turn could be why I like mornings – I’ve done all the boring jobs already so I can enjoy the rest of my day.