Tag Archives: enjoyment

Shoulda Woulda Coulda

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Hello, you lovely thing!  How goes the world with you?

It is very tempting to look back on certain life situations with regret, annoyance or even anger.  We have all been known to look at past mistakes and wish that we had behaved differently, or that the outcome of certain circumstances had been different.  I am actually a big fan of regret as a motivator, but I think that our main mistake in these cases is a failure to look forwards.  Yeah, ok, we messed up – but it’s not the end of the world.  We can always do better next time.

Previous errors or foul-ups can be broken down into three productive facets, which (shockingly enough) are based on the “shoulda woulda coulda” principle.  We should have behaved in a certain way; we knew we probably would behave in another and next time we could behave in a third way.  For example, I should have gone to bed early last night because I’m off to catch a train very early today; I knew I probably would stay out chatting to my sister for ages; next time I have an early start I could make the effort to get to bed at a reasonable time.

The idea behind this little trio of approaches is to give ourselves a break and admit that, yes, we may not have handled a situation to the best of our ability, but we can always improve.  Just because you mess up once doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to do so over and over again.

For example: the last time you found out that your ex met someone new, you probably knew that you should have deleted them from your phone and Facebook.  You knew that you would get annoyed and rope your friends in to bitch about it with you, but next time you could not even notice it because you’re so busy being happy and successful without the ex.  Just a thought.

Or you might find that when a colleague lets you down or annoys you, you know you should talk to them calmly about it; being British you will probably smile with ice-cold politeness at them, but next time you could ask them what on earth is going on.  It could equally be that you should only stay out for one drink; you knew you would get stuck having a second or third, and next time you could just say no entirely.

Here’s the most important one: when we say we’re going to have a good time, we should, we would and we absolutely could just have a really bloody good time.  We are so susceptible to getting caught up in our own heads and worrying about the mechanics and the “well, you know what happened last time I wore this dress/drank red wine/went to that person’s house”.  Get rid of all of those associations and just enjoy yourself.

I really hope that this post has made some kind of sense.  I’m very tired right now…basically, I think you should enjoy your life.  Don’t get hung up on previous faux pas.  If you know what you should have done, will probably do and could do to get the best possible outcome, then you’re pretty much good to go.

Well, I’m off to Edinburgh.  You have an inordinately joyful Wednesday.

Play It (Again), Sam

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Hello, and welcome to Monday!  How’s everything going with you?  Did you have a nice weekend?

Today is a big day for me, because this afternoon myself and a lovely bunch of actors will start rehearsing for our Edinburgh Fringe performance of Chris is Dead.  We performed the same piece last summer at the Camden Fringe and had a brilliant time, so we’re all very excited about working on it again.

The thing about returning to a project or repeating an activity is that we put a lot of pressure on ourselves (and the project) to do well.  If things went badly the first time, we are determined to learn from our mistakes, but if things went well then we are wary of changing anything for fear that we lose the winning ingredient.  The elements of the production that have changed since the first incarnation of Chris is Dead are largely good things: this time we have an excellent time slot, a very central venue and some nice reviews to put on our fliers.  These are all great advantages, but in a way that makes us feel more aware of the pressure to do well.

I would love for this play to do well, but I’d also really like us to enjoy ourselves.  There’s no point in spending a huge amount of time, money and energy on something if you’re not actively going to enjoy it.  I think that it would be good for all of us to remember that it’s impossible to repeat things exactly, but that it is possible to enjoy them to a similar degree.  When you think about it, that’s the perfect combination, isn’t it?

This isn’t specific to theatre, of course: people who are wary of new relationships due to previous misfortunes may find a little voice in the back of their minds saying “why bother?  It’ll be exactly like last time.”  Someone moving house might secretly be determined that their new place will never be as good as the old, no matter how much nicer the actual building is, and someone who risked a rail replacement bus service once knows never, ever to do it again if they can possibly avoid it.

Comparisons between things in life are inevitable, but they add a layer of pressure and stress that we just don’t need.  Enjoying experiences and making the most out of every moment is a big enough challenge, so perhaps we ought to concentrate on that instead of worrying about predecessors, precedents or prerequisites.  Let’s just get rid of all the “pre”s, in fact.

So, disregarding everything that past experience tells you, get out there and have a brilliant Monday.  It could be the best day of the week.