Saturday, 29 January 2011

Easy Going

Anyone who knows me well will understand that I tend to stroll along with projects, rather than beat myself up. Stress just ain't good for you.

I have always lacked ambition and drive and all those other neurotic motivators that the puritan speed-freaks like Mrs Thatcher (sleeps only 4 hours a night, and proud of it) seem to think of as the only way to live.

The Brits have adopted this approach from the Americans, too - so that the richer you get, the longer hours you work. [What's wrong with this equation?]

The poor spend their time watching the rich folks on television, cherry-picking among houses that cost half a million pounds, complaining about the lack of cupboard space, or the distance to the nearest school - and then saying they only have a budget of 50K to make the kitchen the way they want it, and add en suite toilets to all the bedrooms and such. All while driving to work every day in the SUV, and working on the project in their spare time. I feel no envy.

We, the poor also spend a lot of time fantasising about winning the lottery - and most of us imagine Doing Nothing as the first thing we would do...not work 80-hour weeks like the rich workaholics - who probably assume we are poor because we are lazy.

But hey. Each to their own. When motivated by fascination for something I can spend obsessive hours doing it, but I put that in the category of hobbies, personal development, investment of time in self, etc.

I long ago decided the only real freedoms existed at the top of the pyramid (very hard to get to, if you were not born there) or right at the bottom of the heap, with nothing to lose - and that's the direction I chose (if it didn't choose me). Nothing noble like becoming a Buddhist monk, nor as squalid as becoming a total bum. Just living frugally, simplifying my needs, never borrowing money, keeping possessions to a minimum and finding satisfaction in the everyday, rather than using dissatisfaction as a driver.

So I have started compiling the research to finally put a book together, and potter away at it, like a man in a shed.

The Way Things Happened

I have decided I need to zoom in, and zoom out - so that as well as my own little anecdotes you get some idea of context, a drop of social history, a glimpse of bygone eras (if you are younger than me) or nostalgic memories (if in my peer group) and 'what was really going on'.

And speaking of anecdotes - some of the stories have become polished pebbles by now, from constant retelling, and they get detached from genuine sensory memories and the rough edges of real life, so I am also enjoying the quick flashbacks to moments and incidents that have not become stale, events that I have never before described.

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