Adult/Child: The Battle

I’ve been getting nostalgic regarding my childhood – like most people I think it would be GREAT to be a kid all over again; just to be so carefree, and wild! In this video I mourn over my loss of childhood, and also take a look at some old photos from when I was a kid.

Fun to watch, but the message runs deep for all of us!

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Adult Movies and Angry Stares

I think as an eternally awkward and embarrassed individual certain scenarios are made doubly worse and triply…trebly…erm – errrr…three times as dramatic as they should be. Phew, that was an ordeal in itself! 

But I have somewhat come to terms with this fact and now consider myself to be a somewhat fully functioning nervous wreck, as opposed to a few years ago where I was a full time rocking chair enthusiast…

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That doesn’t mean that I’m suddenly a cool cucumber, reminiscent of Jude Law in his prime (before his hair receded and he started looking like a half peeled potato). You see, I don’t particularly have a strut, and my smile to strangers is still weirdly forced – but I no longer poo my pants at the prospect of talking to someone working in a supermarket. Which is sort of like a victory…in my own strange way…well, it saves money on new clothes anyways – which is practically the same thing.

But on a recent flight I found myself resorting to old habits…as the nerve-racked Mr. Hyde-side of my being crept uneasily back into my life, stammering and sweating with every embarrassed step. You see I was on a long-haul flight just a couple of days ago, and was the reddened meat of a Chinese grandmother sandwich…we had nodded, and smiled to each other – and had even exchanged some muddled pleasantries before growing suitably bored and reaching for our respective sets of headphones. (The internationally known sign for “don’t talk to me please.”)

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I began to look through the selection of films, hoping to catch sight of a new-ish one I’d missed the first time around. There were a few that stood out; a serious looking one with James Franco and Jonah Hill, a thriller with Jake Gyllenhaal, and…the newest Spongebob Squarepants movie – all promised to offer some entertainment, and an opportunity to put a dent in the horrendous thirteen hour flight time. I then decided that I would keep these three in reserve, and would only start to watch them when life suddenly didn’t feel like living…until then I would watch some funnily bad films, whilst I still have the energy to put up with them. Strange logic, but made sense at the time. 

So on went a low budget movie picture about a serial killer…can’t recall the name but after ten minutes some poor lady was being strung up in ropes as she screamed and begged for mercy – it was brutal. Unfortunately this opinion hadn’t escaped the grandma buns on either side…who were now staring at me as if I was the crazy killer myself…I mean, the scene had me uncomfortable, but the looks had made it unbearable: as if they were saying “ahhh, so this is the sick shit you’re into then, huh? I wish I had never smiled and said hello now…I retract them both from our shared history books.” 

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Anyway, the humiliation and embarrassment took over and so off it went – it was a terrible movie in the first place so nothing lost, right? Instead I searched for something else to fill the silence and put on a rather unsuspecting drama of some sort…which opened with a gratuitous sex scene – naturally. But surprise-surprise they weren’t fond of that either, and both began to swivel their heads, and tut louder than I had ever heard anyone tut. “Hmmm-mmm, oh” they began to murmur…but any fool could have worked out what they were really trying to say…

“So this is the sick shit you’re into, is it? That’s the check list for any movie you watch; violence, gore, and overly dramatic and cringeworthy sex scenes? Can’t you just watch fucking Toy Story like a normal human?! You make me sick – and after all we’ve been through as well…urgh.”

So I zapped off that as well; I had got the message loud and clear. There was something nice about staring at the blank black screen after the whole palava – there was to be no judgement, which felt good. I then pulled out the book I’m currently reading (W.H. Davies’: ‘The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp) and flicked through its pages until the grandma bread on either side of me slipped away into unconsciousness…about three minutes later thankfully. 

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I was then free to watch whatever I wanted. So on went the classic: ‘Killer Penis Hostage Bastard’. It was a fun watch, I’d recommend it to anyone! Apart from my new grandmother friends of course. But shhhhh, they don’t need to know about that!

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The Honesty of Children

After a small child walked up to me recently, and massaged my wrinkled brow while repeating “McDonald’s man” over, and over and over again (for the 100th time might I add), I suddenly recognised something that I have came to realise is rather important – and that is that little kids really don’t give one solitary shit.  

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Instead they parade around with a brazen brand of self-confidence – telling people they encounter whatever the hell they want…without much understanding or care for the consequences of these announcements. Whether you like what they have to say or not hinges on pure coincidence as; “you look like a fatty”, and “your hair is beautiful” both come from the same place…they are both just purely observational statements of fact.

They do things because they feel right in the moment. There is no hidden agenda or motive behind their words (as there is in the big bad scary adult world); where every sentence, word, and letter is broken down and considered in an effort to pick apart the speaker’s true meaning and intention. On the other hand as adults we lie on a daily basis, so much so that it’s actually out of control! Like telling your boss you like her flip flops and socks combination, despite the fact it makes her look as fashionable as a retired archeologist…or promising your significant other they are not getting fat – even though you just had to pay for an extra seat on a rollercoaster to accommodate his/her left buttock. Or even nodding and smiling at a stranger who just rudely barged past you…all the while holding back a loud and long; “FUUUUCKKKK YOUUUUUU MUDDDAAA-FERKA!”

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If only we could carry through this sort of honesty as we grow to double digits, and then continue to retain it  as we meekly wander into the abyss of the adult world and its enforced white lie policy. I mean sure, the world as we know it would surely crumble…but how liberating it would be to just speak your mind at all times rather than being given no alternative but to tell extra large porky pies such as this:

Mr. Knob: “Where is that report Sally?! I told you to have it finished by Tuesday, and it’s now Wednesday…it’s not on my desk, this is absolutely inexcusable!”

Sally: “Oh I sent it to you already, did you check your email? Perhaps it didn’t send properly…I’ll re-send as soon as I get home, as it’s on my home computer.”

Mr. Knob: “Hmm alright…next time make sure I receive it – that’s why a hard copy is always better. Get it to me by tomorrow morning.”

(A-HA! SALLY HAS JUST BOUGHT HERSELF SOME TIME, AND CONSEQUENTLY THE WORLD CAN KEEP SPINNING. THANK YOU AGAIN LIES, YOU BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIES!)

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How would it go if there were no lies though? My imagination tells me it may go something like this…

Mr. Knob: “Where is that report Sally?! I told you to have it finished by Tuesday, and it’s now Wednesday…it’s not on my desk, this is absolutely inexcusable!”

Sally: “There’s this new flavour of Doritos, they’re great – I’ve been spending a lot of time eating those and binge watching sitcoms from the 90s. It’s been a pretty fulfilling two months for me.”

Mr. Knob: “WHAT?! Well when can I expect the report?! Another two months?!”

Sally: “Yeah, sounds great! Now can you leave me alone please? I’m in the middle of an episode right now.”

Man…if only, if only – right? But unfortunately this kind of answer is frowned upon…I’m not sure why…it’s a damn shame though…

But that is our reality unfortunately, and at least for now we seem stuck with it. I guess if I was to be a little less bias it sort of helps in certain areas…it’s a social lubricant (urgh, gross) in situations and interactions that can be tricky. And all out kid’s style honesty is probably not going to make you a lot of friends – I was always taught that “honesty is the best policy!” but I see now that is somewhat of a fallacy…ah well.

Oh, and before I go – you’re the best looking, funniest, and most intelligent person on the face of the earth. I promise. Like, really.

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Where Does The Time Go?

Something happened today – it was a seemingly every day, boring moment…but it seemed HUGE in its meaning somehow, actually, that is a colossal understatement…this realization shook my world by the shoulders and screamed ”WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT IZZZZ THISSS?!”

You see, I was in my kindergarten class, when one of my kids started wiping their runny nose with a clean sleeve, naturally I intervened with a tissue, rather than watching them leave a crusty yellowish snail trail on their shirt (that would probably be rubbed off onto my jeans later, foresight ladies and gentlemen!);

“Big blow! Come on…wheeyyy, well done, feel better now? Good boy!”

WHOA. In that moment I was suddenly frozen still, slack jawed and wide eyed, as the whole world faded to a halt around me…where… had that came from? It was just a few short years ago that I was in that seat with snotty nostrils! Wasn’t it? Seriously what happened? When did this transition occur? I don’t remember my child-self tagging in the adult version…in fact I don’t feel any different right now, I feel like I am that same child with sky high dreams and a vibrant passion for life…it’s not my fault that a big fat adult shape grew over that boy, and suffocated him to death with arguments over education, debt and career prospects…

But I didn’t ask for this physical growth spurt. No one did…I am sure we would all like to stay in our protective child cocoon, where people blow your nose for you, hold your hand and tell you everything is alright. But the fact is, it isn’t going to be alright, no one gets out of this thing called life, alive.

It seems like you click your fingers and the next thing you know it’s a year later, five years later, ten years later, more! Indeed our wildest hopes and dreams may be limitless, but our time on this earth is most definitely limited, and the clock is ticking. I feel like…in fact, I know, that I will have a similar moment ten years from now, when I’m putting my own child to sleep…”Good night son, sleep well”WHOA, when did all of this happen?! And yet again I’ll pause and question time, space and the meaning of it all…well until I tune into my new favourite TV drama of course.

You see life just gradually rolls on, it doesn’t pause to check if we are okay, it doesn’t stop to pick us up when we fall, it just keeps going. This seems difficult for our brains to comprehend, so more often than not we ignore our worries and concerns until they pop up like an ugly hemorrhoid to remind of us of our morality, and it may squawk something like, “WAAAHHH, YOU’RE OLD! GET A NICE CAR AND IT’S BASICALLY LIKE THE LAST TEN YEARS DIDN’T HAPPEN!” But I think we all know that isn’t how it works.

If it is then get in touch, I would be ready to make that investment tomorrow.*

 

So I urge you to live in the moment, follow your passions and do what makes you happy. After all, you may snap out of a daze and realize a huge chunk of your life has just passed you by. I heard a lecture by a South Korean writer recently, who described how children do what makes them content in the moment and don’t possess that very adult worry of how long it will last or who else will see it and give it value, instead they pour their heart into creating the most fantastically wonderful sandcastle they can make and then shrug with a smile as the tide washes it away.

If only we could possess this mentality, if only we were not so obsessed with celebrity and legacy…after all, in a way we are all that sandcastle…we may build ourselves up and layer ourselves with the best decorations, but ultimately the tide of time will wash every one of us away too.

So tell me, when it’s all over, will you shrug with a smile as you enjoyed the time you had to the fullest? Or will you fade out as a blank…regretting those years that are now lost into the ether forever, the choice is yours. But listen, if there is a God I am sure he would want you to enjoy the gift of life…and if there isn’t, don’t you want to enjoy your life because it is all you get?

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So don’t let your childhood be “the happiest days of your life”…live so that every breath you take fits that bill.

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Please buy my collection of stories! Get it in paperback here – or on Kindle here! ALL proceeds go towards Macmillan Cancer Support!

Kids Go CRAZY.

So there was some weirdness today, as there is every day…actually it is so common place that I feel silly even reporting it to you – but nonetheless I will, as it got me thinking about something…

You see I was in the soft play bit of the kindergarten school, and had probably just fell down the slide, or been accidentally headbutted in the groin – when one of my students began to yell for my attention… “JOHNNN! LOOK. JOHNNNNNN! JOHNNNN! LOOK, LOOK, LOOOOOOK!” Well of course I span around, wondering what was so urgent that I couldn’t miss – you know,  what was it that meant I had to drop everything just to gaze upon it?

I wasn’t disappointed….there little Daniel was – flailing his arms in a frenetic motion, grinning from ear to ear, eyes half open – as if the joy of the moment was too much to fully witness. There was no rhythm, there was no steps, technique, or order…it was just whatever feels good, do. And oh my was he doing…

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I laughed, and he laughed…and the others laughed too, they didn’t join in – they just appreciated that he was having his own little kind of crazy moment, and he was having fun with it! And I thought it was amazing – adults are so restrained, and limited, and…well, let’s just say this – if I did the same thing it wouldn’t take long for the men in white coats to take me away, and sedate me for the rest of my life…how depressing. 

I love to just let loose – and just be yourself…your true self – not the pretend one you show people…it’s unfortunate that people find it quite weird, and unsettling when you just go with whatever is lurking in your head. Like on a date this Sunday I found myself laughing out loud quite literally – a thought I’d had crept into my head, and forced this reaction…then I had to explain myself to someone who really didn’t get what I was talking about – never mind find it funny…

“You see…well…the sections of that store – they have like…the BODY section, weirdly close to the HAIR section. So it looks like the BODY HAIR section, hahahaha…at a beauty store, haha…yeah, like…body hair – you know? Body…erm…hair…yeah…” 

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“There’s nothing funny about that. At all.”

And that was me put in my place. She was right of course, I suppose that should have just stayed in my head along with a bunch of other things I find myself saying, and doing – but it just gets so congested in there sometimes – it’s not surprising some hop out almost against my will!

I wish we lived in a world where we could just say, and do what we liked (as long as it didn’t hurt anyone else)…kids get an out. Where’s ours? And when did I trade it in – I don’t remember that at all…

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“All Grown Up.”

I hate the expression “grown-up.”  There’s just something about it that is so depressingly final. I don’t mean to say that I want to live a completely infantalized  life*, I am merely trying to suggest that the idea of being a “grown up” is a lazy slump…in fact it is more than that, I would suggest it is a totally flawed concept altogether.

(Please note: I lied there…I would love to be a child forever, unfortunately it just isn’t biologically possible – as soon as such a procedure is available I will set up a Kickstarter campaign, and I expect your full support.)

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Continue reading ““All Grown Up.””