Tag Archives: childhood

Where the Hell is Simon Pegg When You Need Him?

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Hello, lovely reader!  How the devil are you?

I don’t know whether it’s the heat or Brexit or an angry Norse god having a tantrum, but there’s some dreadful stuff going on with my social circle at the moment.  Everyone seems to be breaking up, getting into arguments, losing jobs or just generally feeling sad.  Imagine the scene in Shaun of the Dead when Dylan Moran wants to kill Penelope Wilton and everyone’s getting hysterical and Liz screams “PLEASE can we all just CALM THE F*** DOWN!”  – That’s the gist of things for us at the moment, except that no one is actually calming down…on the bright side, no one is threatening to shoot anyone’s mum.  So that’s nice.

Apart from all of the serious problems, there are also a lot of people who are giving themselves an identity crisis by accidentally reliving their adolescence.  For example:

“I think I’ve got a crush on someone.”
“Really?”
“Yeah.  I don’t want to sleep with him, I just want to daydream about his hair and giggle.”

Or,

“I bought bubblegum the other day.”
“Are you twelve?!”
“Oh God, don’t.  I dug out my Linkin Park CD as well.”
“Good heavens.”

Worst of all, there are a few people who are going through quite serious bad patches in an adolescent way:

“And then SHE was all ‘bla bla bla’, and I was like ‘errrrrr, no!’ And then the OTHER guy was all like, I dunno, weird, and then I just turned round and was all, ‘no way’.  You know?”
“…So you left your job?”
“Yeah.”

There is most definitely something strange in our neighbourhood.

Everyone knows that the hardest thing about watching your friends struggle is that that’s often all you can do: watch.  When I was seven I got cast as the fairy godmother in the Year 2 production of Cinderella (five stars from the Independent and Time Out’s pick of the week, thank you very much), and the whole beneficent-sorceress-covered-in-glitter thing really went to my head.  To this day I cannot understand why I do not own a real, fully functional magic wand.   I don’t think any of us like not being able to fix things.

When we’re kids we think that everything can and will be fixed, either by an authority figure or by our own, unshakeable confidence in an ethical code (which is usually passed on by said authority figure and begins with “Well MY mum says…”).  As adults we are less equipped to respond to our friends’ problems, partly because of social convention – it’s not really the done thing to interfere with other people’s relationships, jobs etc. – and partly because we actually have no idea what the hell we’re doing in our own lives.

The way I see it, there are two metaphorical ways of handling these bad patches: you either go to Mum’s, kill Philip (Sorry Philip), grab Liz, go to the Winchester, have a nice cold pint and wait for all of this to blow over, or you get out there and start killing the zombies with a Sade record and a cricket bat.  Both approaches have their own merits, I suppose.

Whichever way you and your friends choose to act, I think the important thing is just to be present.  If your friends are having an absolute shocker and you yourself are not entirely convinced that the “capable adult” costume looks good on you, standing shoulder to shoulder against the zombies is really your only option.  Sometimes it seems easier to run away or hide when things are getting tricky, but then you’re alone, and no one wants to be alone when the apocalypse hits.   Watching catastrophes might be frustrating, but it means the world to your friends to have you there with them.  See if you can rope Simon Pegg in as well; he’s probably good in a crisis.

Have a gorgeous weekend!

 

 

My (Slightly Less) Naughty Little Sister

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Hello, lovely reader!  How’s life treating you today?

Does anyone remember those stories about a little girl who was incredibly naughty, but essentially loveable?  They were called “My Naughty Little Sister”, and I remember reading them as a child and feeling a bit cheated by the stories’ inevitable happy endings.  If I’d got up to half of her shenanigans, I would never have been able to charm my way out of trouble the way that little girl did.  In fact, on many occasions I was that naughty, and it’s shocking how useless a winning smile and puppy dog eyes are when you’re dealing with angry teachers/parents/older siblings.

Anyway, as most of my social circle know, my siblings are the most important people in my life.  We are five very different people who happen to have the same face, and despite the obligatory childhood scraps and rivalries, we have ended up being very close friends as adults.  Last night I had a long phone conversation with my little sister: nothing major, just a nice, lengthy catch up and a bit of gossip.  But it was, as all of my conversations with my siblings are, very rewarding.  There are a few reasons for this, and for the existence of siblings in general being a brilliant thing.

First of all, there is nothing like having someone just like you around to validate your existence (and personality, in some cases).  I know that I can say to my little sister “I’m worried about this”, or “I really don’t like that”, and she will always understand where I’m coming from.  Like everyone else, I sometimes worry that I am very weird and that everyone else is a lot better at life than I am.  Having four people in my life who share my neuroses, genetic predispositions and slightly odd frame of cultural reference makes me feel like a proper human being.  I may well be very weird, but I am not alone.  Having siblings puts you into context, and that’s extremely valuable.

Secondly, siblings – even twins – are never entirely identical as people, and it’s a constant source of pride and joy to me that my siblings all pursue different ambitions.  It’s amazing how different close relatives can really be, and talking to my little sister about her degree (which is in science, of all things.  Can you imagine?) reminds me how important it is to respect other people’s passions.  It’s easy to go through life assuming that we know pretty much everything about our nearest and dearest, and we may not share their beliefs or aspirations, but it’s always worth checking in on them from time to time.  I love hearing my little sister talk about her life, because it’s so different from mine.

Thirdly, I am a very typical big sister in that I hate the idea of my younger siblings repeating my mistakes.  I mean, really.  If you’re going to mess things up then at least have the decency to be original about it.  Jeez.  Seriously, though: I have messed up enough times and been hurt often enough to recognise the danger signs in my little brother and sister, and I dread to think of them going through some of the rubbish that I put myself through at their age because of pride, misplaced affections or your basic, thoughtless drunkenness.  Thankfully, my younger siblings are a lot more sensible than I am, and my little sister in particular is a wise old soul (for a twenty-one year old).  Talking to her and hearing her opinions reminds me that she is a lot smarter than I was at her age, and if she is slightly less naughty than I am, that can only be a good thing.

I know that I am very, very lucky to get on so well with my multitudinous siblings, but I think that the essential elements of our relationships are the same for friends and family members from all walks of life.  It doesn’t matter how alienated you may be now, or how little you think you have in common: your siblings are the people most like you on earth, whether that’s in terms of personality or physical appearance, and their influence on your life is incomparable with anything else.  Even if they annoy you, bore you or just have far too many embarrassing stories to tell about you: they will always be a huge part of who you are.

And that’s a very good thing, because you’re wonderful.  Have a cracker of a Wednesday.

Peter Pan Possibilities

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Hello, lovely reader.  Are you having a nice day so far?

I’m very lucky that I came home from Edinburgh and got to see lots of my favourite people straight away.  It was an excellent way to stave off the post-Fringe blues.  As I type this I am sitting in my living room with two of my closest friends, talking about wedding shoes and boys and cheese (obviously).  We have a Sex and the City DVD on in the background and a lot of food on the table.  We are also all creative types doing bits and pieces of work on our laptops, so it’s a productive day as well as a very enjoyable one.  I am very happy right now.

Yesterday was not quite so good – I got a bit mopey about having to deal with real-life responsibilities again, and told my friend Laura that I didn’t want to be a grown up.  Her response was “Being a grown up is great.  It’s exactly the same as being a child, but you don’t have to answer to your parents.”

I decided to look on the bright side (as per the recommendation of those charming Monty Python chaps), and have a think about what some of the small but significant benefits of being a grown up actually are, particularly those that would have massively appealed to us as children.  Here are a few of my favourites:

1) You can stay up until 4am watching The Vicar of Dibley drinking Cava if you want to (which may or may not be what we did last night).  Bedtimes are a thing of the past.

2) You can do a massive jigsaw puzzle whenever you feel like it, and you don’t have to put it away until you want to.

3) You can have serious, adult conversations about life, love etc. AND you can have the same silly conversations as you did when you were a kid.  Example: “I don’t understand why anyone would bring up politics on a first date.”  “No, me neither.  Who do you think invented cheesecake?  I mean, it was a great idea, but it’s a bit of a random thing to make.”

4) Your household organisation system is entirely your own.  (There is a bizarre satisfaction to be had from deciding where to keep your mugs.)

5) You go on trips to museums, take long walks and read books because you actually want to, not because your parents or teachers are forcing you to.

6) You don’t have to do exams.  That’s a big one.

7) It doesn’t matter what kind of state you come home in, because no one is going to ground you.

8) Dinner can be whatever you fancy.  If you are anything like me and Ash, that means that a “sensible” dinner can be as simple as mozzarella dippers and Diet Coke.

9) If you decide that you want to wear a party dress on a Monday afternoon or pyjamas on a Saturday night, you are no longer restricted by school uniforms and parental advice.

10) You don’t have to worry about how bad your acne is going to be when you hit puberty, or whether or not sex is fun, or who you’re going to be when you grow up, because you’re already there and most of the scary, new things have already happened.

The thing about being a grown up is that it is difficult, but it’s also a lot of fun.  I think we should all try to enjoy the good stuff and be proud of ourselves for handling the tricky bits.  We might not get to be Peter Pan in terms of ageing, but we can certainly aim for his attitude.

Have a beautiful Thursday.

“Find a happy place, find a happy place!!”

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Good morrow, fair reader!  How fares the world with thee today?

Ahem.  Anyway, today I’d like to talk to you about happy places, and the different forms they take.  We all have literal locations that we love, but we also have mental go-to places that put us in a better mood.  Here are a few examples of the best happy places.  I hope that you have at least one of each of these:

The Happy Place of the Past
Isn’t it weird that when someone asks you to think of a song, every tune you’ve ever heard goes straight out of your head?  It’s the same when we’re asked to remember a time we felt truly happy.  That’s not to say that we’ve never been happy, but that the pressure of recollecting our bliss on demand is a little too much to deal with.  When we are at leisure to consider, we can all think of a period in our lives that brought us real joy.  Whether it’s a childhood era, an irresponsible summer in adolescence or an eye-opening travel experience, each of us has a memory that can bring back a lot of warm, fuzzy feelings.

The Happy Place that’s a Person
Sentimentality alert – our loved ones are also our happy places.  Whether it’s a partner, a family member or a best friend, the right person can immediately transport you away from your woes and worries into a place that only you two know about.  When we talk about real love, isn’t that what we actually mean?  The people we love don’t have to be perfect, or entirely compatible with our every personality aspect, or even physically present – they just have to represent a safe and happy place. Keane know what I’m talking about.

The Happy Place that Never Lets You Down
Some places make us happy time after time.  Lots of my friends have theatres that they always enjoy visiting, or pubs that always deliver a great night out.  Especially when we feel lost in general, or when life is confusing and annoying us, it’s a great thing to know that there is somewhere we can go that will always make us feel better.  If you’re stuck for ideas (and you happen to be in Richmond), I would like to recommend The Farmery, which I have visited three times in the last week.  I’m not even a tiny bit embarrassed about that.  Their frozen yoghurt is seriously tasty.

The Happy Place that’s a Good Old-Fashioned Metaphor
Whether it’s a memory, an idea or a vague daydream, we all have a handy bit of our brain that allows us to transcend the humdrum and the horrible.  We might not like to publicly admit the exact nature of our personal happy place, but it’s very healthy and helpful for us to have them.  Heck, have more than one.  Have as many as you like.  As long as you daydream in moderation, there is no limit to the places your mind can take you.

The Happy Place that’s Yet to Come
This might be a literal location – for example, I really want to visit Egypt one day – or it might be an ambition that you hold dear.  Either way, the best days of your life might not be ahead of you (although I sincerely hope that they are), but there is definitely happiness of some kind waiting for us one day.  If we keep working towards what we want and where we want to be, we can take comfort from the fact that we will always be moving closer to another, exciting happy place.

Have a glorious Wednesday.  May the place you are in be extremely happy.

Let’s Not Give Ourselves Monophobia

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Hello, lovely reader!  How are you today?

Fear is something that unites us rather than divides us.  The most common phobias in the world include all of the usual suspects – claustrophobia, acrophobia and arachnophobia – and the bizarrely comforting thing about them is that people who suffer from them don’t have to feel alone with their fear.

Weirdly, a phobia is often defined as an irrational or disproportionate fear of something.  How does that work?  Being afraid of heights is perfectly logical, because you might fall and hurt yourself, so why do we call that a phobia?  Likewise, nyctophobia (fear of the dark) makes sense because humans are hard-wired to mistrust the unknown.  Ophidiophobia (fear of snakes) is also very reasonable, because snakes are creepy and poisonous and biblically untrustworthy.  In case you haven’t guessed, I really hate snakes.

The strange thing about phobias and fears is that they make us feel vulnerable, whereas they’re actually very useful for helping us to work out essential parts of who we are.  When we come across a fear in ourselves that seems strange to others (or vice versa), there is an immediate clash of confusion and incredulity: “How can you be afraid of snakes?  They’re so cute!”

Leaving aside for the moment how ridiculous it is to call a snake “cute”, I think it’s worth mentioning that everyone’s fears come from somewhere.  It might be an experience during the formative years of childhood, a reinforced impression that has formed over time or an isolated incident in adulthood, but everything that you’re afraid of makes perfect sense in the context of your life history.  I don’t know where my snake issues some from – maybe watching Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom at a very young age – but they definitely have a valid origin somewhere in my psyche.

In modern life, we have many fears in common with other people: the fear of making a social gaffe, a fear of tripping over in public, or even a cold, clammy dread of falling victim to the whims of rail replacement bus services.  Having these worries in common makes for empathetic conversation and stronger connections between us, which is lovely.

Having said that, we deserve just as much understanding and compassion when we express fear of something that another person is not scared of.  Everyone’s fears are valid, even if we have no idea where they come from.  If we make each other feel weird about our fears and phobias, we are preventing ourselves from getting over them by making us deal with them alone.  Isolation is the enemy of progress, happiness and successful ball games, so let’s not do that.

Have a stupendously enjoyable Tuesday.

The Smaug Complex

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Good morning, dear reader.  How’s your Tuesday so far?

Today I’d like to talk about hoarding.  It’s on my mind because I’m visiting my parents today, where all the childhood things are.  All five of us kids insist that we don’t have that much stuff here, and that we’ve moved most of our possessions into our grown-up homes.  We have not.  We own a lot of tat, and a good chunk of it is being hoarded here.

There are many types of hoarding, and the one that my siblings and I are guilty of is downplayed hoarding: we are actually holding on to all sorts of books, toys and knick knacks accumulated over years of childhood, but we deliberately downplay it to ourselves because throwing our Year 2 exercise books away is harder than we thought it would be.  I don’t know why exactly (Year 2 was not all that, let’s be honest), but it is.

One of my best friends has a garage which she uses for storing all manner of things, including some practical items like furniture that she’s going to put on eBay.  So far so sensible.  Until a couple of months ago, she was also using it to store pretty much every item of clothing she’s owned since she was sixteen, and a veritable avalanche of shoes.  (She also had my A Level Philosophy & Ethics folder and text book in there, which was a pleasant surprise.)

Her hoarding type is cover-all-bases hoarding: you never know when you might need a dress you wore to your Year 11 prom.  I’m being a bit flippant about it, but her hoarding drive comes from a very good place: she likes to be prepared, and being the lovely person that she is, she wouldn’t want to get rid of something that might be of use to someone one day.  Having said that, she and I spent a day clearing out her garage a couple of months ago, and like a hero she willingly sacrificed a lot of her old shoes to the charity shop gods.

Every hoarder is different, and the drive to keep hold of stuff can come from all sorts of areas of our lives.  We might be prone to nostalgia, or be afraid of letting things go.  We might just like having lots of bits and pieces to decorate our homes.  Whatever our reasoning, I think that hoarding can actually be a good thing.  Not in itself necessarily, but because letting go of something when you’re ready can be incredibly cathartic.

Unless of course you’re an angry, thieving dragon who is sitting on a bunch of dwarf gold.  Have a stupendous Tuesday.

Looming/Loving Deadlines

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Good morning, dear reader!  If you are struggling with the whole “oh God where did that entire weekend just go?” feeling, remember that you are at the start of a mere four-day week.  You can absolutely handle that.  I have utter faith in you.

Like most people, I have a very love-hate relationship with deadlines.  On the one hand, it’s nice to be given a sense of structure that will lead me to plan my time effectively, and discipline myself accordingly to ensure that my work is finished in time.  On the other hand, deadlines also bring out the adolescent, “you can’t tell me what to do!  I hate you!!”, stomping-off-to-my-room-and-slamming-the-door side of me.  We may not like to admit it, but I think that that’s the case for a lot of us.

When we are teeny tiny, the deadlines are our parents’ to worry about: “shouldn’t he be walking by now?”  “Was your daughter talking at this age?”  “How long has he been stuck in that dustbin?”  And so on.  As we get older we take some responsibility for ourselves, most notably for the interminable GCSE coursework deadlines.  (I’ve just remembered: I never handed in my Physics coursework.  I just didn’t do it, on the grounds that I freaking hated Physics.  How did that work?  Why do I have a GCSE in a subject I didn’t do the coursework for?  Worrying.)

By the time we reach the grown-up world of work, university and real life, we have supposedly learned to work to any deadline that gets thrown at us.  Having said that, I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of uni students everywhere to say that module conveners really, really need to communicate better: having all of our essay deadlines within two days of each other is just not cool (although the managing directors of Red Bull and Nescafe must be very pleased with this state of affairs).

By now we have also reached the stage where we give ourselves deadlines in our personal lives: I want to be married by this age, I want to have been travelling by this time, and I want to have saved x amount of money before y happens.  This is all very well and good, since it shows that we have learned that structure can be good for us and we have taught ourselves a sense of purpose and direction, but it’s also pretty scary.

Last night my friend Harry and I were having dinner in a Wetherspoons (obviously) and I made a sweeping declaration, ala Marshall Eriksen in How I Met Your Mother.  

Me: I swear by THIS pepper pot…
Harry: Why the pepper pot?
Me: I dunno.  Anyway, I swear by this pepper pot that if x has not happened by the time y occurs, I will no longer do z!
Harry: Good.  Put the pepper pot down.

What Harry knows (and the poor pepper pot probably knows now, too) is that personal deadlines are all very well and good, but that we have to use them to grow and develop, not to limit ourselves.  If we want to go travelling, we need to set ourselves a deadline for the trip that reflects the reality of our financial situation, visas and so on, not a deadline that will make us feel like a failure in twelve months’ time.

If we don’t manage to meet our personal deadlines, it doesn’t make us failures.  It just means giving ourselves a bit more slack next time.  The countries you want to visit and the things you want to save up for will still be there when you’re ready.

Have the kind of Tuesday that is worthy of folklore.

Songs for When You’re Sad

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Good morning, reader!  How’s your Thursday so far?  Yeah, same here.

What is the one thing that can make you feel better when you’re low?  The answer varies from person to person, but I think we can all agree that certain songs always put a smile on our faces.  This is tricky to do accounting for everyone’s different tastes, but here are some songs that I definitely recommend listening to if you find yourself flagging a bit (we’re nearly there, but it’s STILL not Friday), and need cheering up.  YouTube links are in the titles:

1) The Middle – Jimmy Eat World
This is a great song for people who are feeling a bit stuck or lost.  The song itself is upbeat and rocky (I should apologise now for the fact that I have no idea how to describe music, by the way), and the lyrics are encouraging.  An all-round excellent motivator for anyone who feels victimised at work, left out by their friends, out of the loop or just fed up.

2) I’m Not Crying – Flight of the Conchords
This is for anyone on the verge of tears.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t know or watch Flight of the Conchords (although you really should check them out).  The reason that this song works so well for when you’re upset is that it covers all bases: its tone is melancholy and appropriate to your mood, but the lyrics are so funny that you end up laughing at your own sadness.  Any time that I’ve been crying or upset and listened to this, I’ve immediately felt better.  It’s like the Pro Plus of uplifting music.

3) Send Me On My Way – Rusted Root
This one’s just common sense by now, surely?  Alright, none of us know the words, but does that really matter?  It’s been a firm favourite since childhood thanks to Matilda and Ice Age, and it’s still got an irresistible cheer factor now.  I defy you to be unhappy while listening to this tune.

4) Every Little Thing – Delirious?
This is a song by a Christian band (don’t knock ’em til you’ve heard ’em), and it has been making me feel better about life since I was fifteen.  It’s actually more of a cathartic tune than an immediate happy-maker, but its message is very simple: everything is going to be alright.  And it is, you know.

5) Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da – The Beatles
Really?  Out of every Beatles song ever, I’ve gone for this one?  Yep.  Two reasons: firstly, it’s got some cracking lines: “Desmond says to Molly ‘girl, I like your face'” which is just brilliant, and b) during recording Paul McCartney  sang the lyrics wrong at the end, implying that Desmond and Molly Jones are actually a gay couple, which you can hear them all trying not to giggle at.  I think it’s very sweet that they kept and used that recording, because the song is just a cute little love story – who cares if it’s about a gay couple or a straight one?

6) This Too Shall Pass – Ok Go
Cracking, cheerful song and, as always from Ok Go, an insanely amazing video.  In fact, any of their videos will do the trick.

7) You Should Be Dancing – Bee Gees
You know, you SHOULD be dancing.  Forget your troubles and have a boogie, I guarantee you’ll feel better.

8) The song that reminds you of your best friend
This one has no YouTube link (obviously), but it’s probably the best song on the list.  You might recall from this post that my lovely friend Becca introduced me to lots of very good music when we were at university together.  Whenever a song comes on that reminds me of her, I think about how brilliant she is and how much fun we’ve had together.  So go and find the song that does the same thing for you and your best friend, and then if you’re still feeling sad, give them a call.  That’s what best friends are for.

Have the best Thursday since records began.

Stuff We Are Apparently Too Young For

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Good morning, dear reader.  Are those shoes new?  They look ace.

First of all, I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has contacted me to tell me how much they enjoy reading this blog.  I am truly touched by the support I’ve received, and I hope that future posts will prove equally entertaining.  One of the posts that I’ve received most praise for is this one about stuff my generation is too old to do, so I’ve decided to try the opposite approach and talk about things that people in their twenties are supposedly too young to do.  (And yes, I know I’ve stolen the idea from an episode of How I Met Your Mother.)  I think that this list might cause a bit more controversy, because I know for a fact that my friends do some or all of these things, but this list is according to society’s expectations of our generation more than our actual preferences.  I personally think that most of these are fine for us to do, but apparently I’m just old before my time.

1) Go to bed before 9pm

As recently as 2011 I regularly stayed up talking nonsense with my friends until the unsociable hours of the morning, but these days I can rarely stay awake past pumpkin-transformation time.  Occasionally a night out will go on too long and I will accidentally see the sun rise, but in general my attitude seems to have done a complete one eighty since childhood.  Fifteen years ago, I would rage against the injustice of being sent to bed before 9pm.  Present day, I grumble morosely if my social life obliges me to be out of the house after 9pm.  I think I’m still tired after fours years of being a Drama student.

2) Wear slippers

Between the Spiderman/Thomas the Tank Engine/Bagpuss footwear phase of early childhood and the fluffy shufflers of old age, there is no socially acceptable footwear for those of us who like to keep our feet toasty while we potter around the house.  But d’you know what?  Socially acceptable be damned: I wear slipper socks most days and very few people have to see them.  I’m wearing my favourite pair right now, in fact.  They’re pink and stripy.  Take that, society.

3) Have a mortgage

According to high-up financial people (i.e. the ones who lost all of our money in the recession), a quarter of people under the age of thirty live with their parents, and practically nobody in that age group can afford a mortgage.  There’s also an argument to stay “free”, i.e. not tie ourselves down to long-term responsibilities, but actually this should come down to the individual’s preferences.  Some people my age are still going travelling, and some are married with children.  I personally am not ready for a mortgage, but I have friends who are and I am proud of them.  Why shouldn’t they invest in their future just because some people their age are backpacking around Thailand?  Why do we all have to be the same?

4) Play Bingo

Apparently this is an old person’s game, but I know a lot of people my age who enjoy it.  Actually, I quite fancy having a go myself.  That might be because I’m secretly hoping that it will be like the scene in The Mighty Boosh when Richard Ayoade and Noel Fielding turn up, but I’m sure it’s a fun game on its own.

5) Utter the phrase “Back in my day…”

This also applies to “When I was young…” and “Back in the good old days…”  These days we speak of are not that long ago, but I don’t have to be an old lady to know that my youth was better than the present day: children were better behaved, reality television didn’t exist and social media hadn’t ruined the art of conversation.  Obviously there are things that I quite like about the modern world: the internet is pretty handy, tolerance for different ethnic groups is better and at my age I can eat whatever I want for dinner.  (I eat vegetables Mum, don’t worry.)

I think that most adults are a secret combination of childish wishes and elderly habits; nobody my age is a straightforward grown-up.  There’s nothing to be ashamed of, though: I’m sure that the people who expect us to be taking drugs every night, renting trendy flats and eating instant noodles secretly miss owning Batman slippers.

Have a glorious Wednesday

All the Small Things

Good afternoon, lovely reader!  I hope you’re enjoying your weekend so far.

Today’s blog starts with some wise words from a fairly well-known American dude by the name of Abraham Lincoln: “Folks are generally about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”

I usually have very little patience with trite little sayings like that, but I am (begrudgingly) forced to admit that Abe might have a point.  Obviously there are enormous, life-defining factors that shape a person’s happiness: upbringing, career, love life and so on.  But there is a spectacular amount of joy to be taken from the tiniest things in life, and I think we should pay closer attention to them.  They might not fix all of our problems or make us wealthier/more attractive/more talented, but these tiny injections of joy can add up to generally higher happiness levels.

Here are some of my favourite examples:

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1) When the Tubes Align
There are many reasons to get cross with the London Underground, but there are also several things to love about it.  Firstly, have you ever arrived on a platform exactly as your train pulls in to the station?  It’s like you SUMMONED THE TRAIN.  Also, standing in just the right spot so that the doors open precisely in front of you.  That’s a win right there.

overheard

2) Overheard Conversations
The sensation of overhearing a snippet of someone else’s conversation as they walk past in the opposite direction is always entertaining, because they’re out of context and you can have fun imagining how on earth the chatter went in that direction.  For example , I overheard a girl on the phone to someone the other day, and as I walked past her I heard this: “So I turn to him and go ‘no’, and he goes, ‘what about the sausages?’ and I’m like…”  I will never find out what she replied to this unfortunate chap, but imagining it amused me for several minutes afterwards.

3) Childish Food
This morning my house mate and I went to Asda and we found THIS:2014-03-01 12.34.35

Behold: the inexplicably red elixir of my childhood!  I haven’t had this for about fifteen years, and I am daintily sipping a glass of it as I type.  As an adult I shouldn’t still enjoy drinking an undoubtedly mental numbers of additives, but I do.  A lot of our childhood pleasures were simple and attainable, and there is nothing wrong with revisiting some of them as a grumpy grown up.

blink182_10

4) Anthem for Doomed Youth
Speaking of nostalgia, going back and listening to those songs that you and your friends loved as teenagers is an incredibly simple way to make yourself happy, even if it’s just for a few minutes.  As you may have gathered from the title of this blog, my generation’s anthem is probably the aforementioned Blink 182 song, although other contenders include Song 2 by Blur and Last Train Home by Lost Prophets (well, this is awkward…let’s move on).

5) New Friends
Stumbling across an episode of Friends that you’ve never seen before is THE DREAM.  It’s such a tiny thing, but on some fundamental level it reminds us that there is still mystery and adventure in the world, and that even stories you think are long-since over can still surprise you.  I might be reading slightly too much into it, but the point stands that something routine – and let’s be honest, Friends has been on television non-stop for over a decade – can still bring you unexpected joy.

I hope that you’re having a deliriously happy Saturday.  If you’re not, other contenders for the top 5 list included blowing bubbles and watching popcorn pop, so give those a try.