Good morning, dear reader! How are you today?
We have very strange relationships with locations, don’t we? Our lives are personalised Monopoly boards. Knowing where the best pubs in your area are is like owning all of the stations, visiting our best friends is like landing on Community Chest, and our homes are obviously Go (although, sadly, we tend not to be awarded £200 every time we get there).
What’s your equivalent to owning hotels on Mayfair and Park Lane? Where do you go each day that makes you think of picking up a Chance card? Is there anywhere in your life that may as well be Jail?
Like a game of Monopoly, life tends to bring us back to the same places again and again. It might be a favourite coffee shop or just the place where you happen to work, but you will return to places and build up impressions of them over time, whether it’s over a few days, several months, or a lifetime. This can be a very good thing: Covent Garden (as in the real place, not the Monopoly square) has been the location of some of my favourite moments in life so far. I’m thinking in particular of the starry, chilly evening a few years ago, when my dear friend Mario and I went and saw the Jack Daniels Christmas tree made of barrels. We were probably on our way to the theatre or something. Anyway, Mario got talked into buying me a rose by a very aggressive and amusing flower seller, which I dried and kept. (The flower, not the salesman.)
Sometimes it’s hard to revisit places that hold a claim over us: places we loved to visit with friends who have long since drifted, old haunts from a broken-up relationship and even previous schools can leave us feeling a bit depressed. The past is very much the past, and standing in the same place where they happened won’t make the good times come back.
The trick to navigating the Monopoly board of life is not to let your previous turn (as it were) dictate what you do next. Even though we should cherish and enjoy reliving our pleasant memories of a place, we ought to be looking for opportunities to make more, not regretting the ones that have gone. For example, I still go to the Southbank a lot. Sometimes I really don’t want to, because I have very mixed memories of being there, but in the present day it’s usually fun, and it’s interesting, and there’s always something new to discover about it.
With that in mind, I think we should all agree to try and be optimistic about going to work today. Who knows what new experiences we might have there?
Have an unexpectedly amusing Wednesday.