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Sunday, 25 May 2014

It's Like A Sinewave

At the beginning of this week I felt absolutely fantastic.

There was a genuine spring in my step. Life was wonderful. I had so much hope, so much optimism - it was overflowing from me. It felt like I'd emerged from a tunnel into the bright dawn and I was running in the sunlight and not even feeling out of breath.

It could have been for a lot of reasons - the hot weather, the fact that my job is working out very nicely indeed and my finances are falling into line, looking forward to things to come - any number of things. Hell, maybe I'd hit just the right combination of sugars to balance my brain chemistry out perfectly.

I could have surfed that sunbeam all the way to the moon.

It's very hard to remember that you're on the rollercoaster at that point. You don't want to remember. This high point - this is where you want to be forever. It's where you want your life to stay. You don't want to go back to hoping a day like this comes along, if you're very lucky. You want this to be your new normal.

It never is.

Sometimes it's the tiniest thing that goes wrong - a phone call you forget to make, a bus being late, spilling spaghetti on your brand new white shirt. Sometimes it's a big thing, or at least it seems big at the time. Sometimes it's something that is actually quite big. Just sometimes it's nothing at all - like a switch being flipped by remote control, with no sign it's going to happen and no apparent stimulus.

That's the downslope, straight to the bottom of the sinewave. Wherein the optimism melts away, becomes an academic matter - you know that such-and-such is coming or so-and-so is good, but you don't feel it, not in any relevant way. When you're reminded of these facts, you have to concede the point. You weren't disputing their veracity. It just doesn't really matter. Not as much as when we were up there - up above the cloud layer, basking in the glory of the blazing sun.

This morning I found myself at the bottom of the sinewave. The rollercoaster has reached the nadir and is swinging around in amongst its own uprights and pillars, waiting for another twist or turn, or - just maybe - to find that chain that lifts it up once more.

Nobody made this happen. No event led to it. I'd like to reassure my readers of that - nothing anyone has done is the cause of my current mental state. Just a flipped switch; nothing much one can do about it. A helpless shrug, a wry smirk, and back on with our lives. I have things that need doing, be it sunny or shitty.

The key to it, as I have found, is to always remember it's a rollercoaster. Be aware at the top of your ride that there will one day be a bottom - and be twice as aware that when you hit a drop, there will one day be a climb. Prosaism can be boring, but it can also put one foot in front of the other when all else fails. Life is, as Bill Hicks put it, just a ride, and all rides have their crappy corners.

I wouldn't be anywhere near as capable of keeping that proasic view, however, were it not for my friends and the people I care about. Thank you, all. Every last one of you. I value you greatly.

(Also if you're one of my work colleagues - you totally count as my friends. The past two months have been a fantastic experience, as rewarding as it has been challenging, and frankly I wouldn't have it any other way!)

So what's the lesson to take from all of this? Basically, Blue October sum it up pretty well right here:

Jump Rope.

Keep on trucking, world.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Jingo Unchained

The forthcoming European election makes me sad. Not due to the process, not because of any involvement with the EU itself, but because of how it is starting to be framed.

Anyone notice that racism and jingoism are becoming news items again? That as the farce of how this country's finances are managed continues, and as the suffering that average people are being forced into deepens daily, we're instead treated to a barrage of news about intolerant middle-aged men? Not a single person on this planet could tell Halal meat by taste, 80% of them wouldn't know what it even means, but now Pizza Express and Subway are under fire for even daring to use the word?

That's the battleground this election is being fought on - and may be the same battleground the General Election is fought on, next year.

Several people are okay with this.

The Tory government, for example. They're loving this, because while everyone debates if immigrants are a good thing or a bad thing, while reasonable people try to quell fires lit by intolerant bigots, nobody is debating how their policies are steadily sinking this country like a stricken ship. After all, George Osborne might know nothing about economics, and Iain Duncan Smith might have a genocidal grudge against the poor, but at least neither of them are racist, right?

UKIP are okay with this too, because the more racist they come across, the more racists will vote for them - and the more they'll be in the news, for free publicity. They'll ride the wave as best they can, and stir up as much fear as possible. Employment being as low as it is, so many people will easily believe that a tide of immigrants is just waiting to snap up what is left. Fear politics is effective.

What we have to look at is actual policies, and the actual actions of the party in question, even the individual in question. Don't be swayed by the push-button racism: vote for the benefit of the country.

(It does bear mention that if you work for a living, or want to, then that vote is best spent on someone other than UKIP or the Conservatives, but then you can probably puzzle that out from their policies.)

This is just opinion of course. I could be wrong. It has to be noted that I've got a strong left-leaning bias due to not being fabulously wealthy, xenophobic or a complete fool - and if you haven't got that from reading this blog previously, you may have missed something. the name of all that is holy, it's an election, not a popularity contest. Make the choice that makes your life better.