Happy Friday, everyone! Did you know that on this day in 1958 Grace Kelly gave birth to Prince Albert of Monaco? Me neither.
As you may already know from previous blog posts, the songs from the film Frozen have been very popular in my flat of late. The sound of my house mate wandering around singing “do you wanna build a snowman?” has become pretty normal background noise. The other song from the film that’s had a lot of attention (and not just in our bizarre little household) is Let it Go, which was made unbelievably creepy by this kid on YouTube. I like the song (film version, not scary children’s choir version) because it has such a simple message: let go of things that are not good for your well-being. Fair enough. It seems like very basic common sense, but how easy is it to actually do? And how many of us are holding on to things that we shouldn’t?
So to round up a week of fairly self-help focused blog posts, here are some things that I think we should all let go of:
1) The Unfinished Argument
The comedian Ed Byrne talks about obsessing over things he wished he’d said in arguments that happened eighteen months ago. The routine strikes a chord with people because it taps into a problem that lots of us have, i.e. Post-Argument Eloquence Syndrome. You can be left spluttering or even speechless by someone’s cutting words in the middle of a row, but hours or even days later the perfect witty response will come to you, unbidden, and usually when it’s far too late to do anything about it. It’s frustrating that our brains don’t work fast enough to make us the Oscar Wilde of every argument, but there’s nothing we can do about it. in the long run, it’s probably better that we can’t think of the ultimate put-down when we would have used it. It probably makes us nicer people (even though it’s not by choice).
2) The One Who Won’t Go Away
A lot of people have an ex whom they always think of as “the one who got away”, who invariably won’t go away in terms of your thoughts and feelings. I hate to perpetuate a cliché, but honestly, if it’s meant to be – or rather, if getting back together will ever be right for both of you – then it will probably happen. Your job is to crack on with being a fabulous human being. It’s not even a case of waiting for that other person; it’s about accepting that things are not what they were, and trying to move on. Don’t try to get them out of your head just for the sake of it: get them out of your head so that you can concentrate on other things. There’s a lot of cool stuff to think about, you know. Like what you would call your pet dragon if you had one. (Mine would be called Jiminy Billy Bob, and you have to ask why then we can’t be friends.)
3) Bottle It
We’ve talked about this fairly recently: you are the only person who lies awake regretting stupid things you’ve said or done. No one who loves you or cares about you thinks about inebriated errors you’ve made or silly things you’ve said while sober: they think about nice things you’ve done for them, or times you’ve made them laugh. I am terrible for thinking about stuff I wish I hadn’t said or done (especially after one too many ciders), but it’s not going to do anyone any good. You and I will just have to trust that our friends still love us, and that maybe in future we can avoid drunk dialling by turning our phones off at the start of a night out. Or, you know, by drinking less…but who am I to tell you how to wind down of an evening?
4) Opportunities Wasted
Because so many of my friends work on a freelance basis as actors, writers and suchlike, I have a lot of conversations about ‘perfect’ opportunities that they are dying to grab hold of: casting briefs that seem to have been written for them, directing placements at that brilliant fringe theatre or writing workshops with their literary idol. We apply for these things in feverish hope that this will be the key turning point in our meandering careers, that this one thing will open doors for us and make us better practitioners, and if we don’t get them we are bitterly disappointed. That opportunity would have been perfect for us. Sigh. I am no stranger to the deflated feeling that comes with professional rejection, but I don’t think that the chances we miss out on were quite right for us in the first place. On a pretty basic level, why would you want to work for someone who hasn’t got the common sense to accept an application from someone as brilliant as you? Don’t worry about it. There will be other jobs and projects.
5) The Artist Previously Known As
You are not who you were ten years ago. You are not who you were three years ago, or last month, or when you woke up this morning. We change in tiny, seemingly inconsequential ways every time we feel or experience anything, and that’s something to be happy about. You know when someone says something odd like “tomorrow will be a better day”? (How do they know, by the way? Do they have some kind of prescience that surpasses the freakish knowledge of television weather forecasters? Very suspicious.) It’s not tomorrow that’s going to different, or better: it’s you. In a way, I miss being sixteen and having the time of my life at sixth form (and working my bum off for my A Levels, of course). I know for certain that I miss being eighteen and feeling like an independent adult for the first time, and being twenty-one and discovering how much I loved directing. I am not any of those versions of me anymore, and although it would be lovely to keep hold of the good times, we have to trust that the person we are now is all the better for having adapted.
Have a lovely day. Maybe treat yourself to a take away coffee or something. What the hell, you deserve it.