Posts Tagged ‘thoughts’

On being 35

Posted: 19/06/2012 by Toby in Other

I turned 35 this year… half my life definitely over, and the rest of it to be spent healing slowly, moving slower and becoming more and more aware of all the things that I could do if only I had the discipline to do it. I’m guessing discipline comes from discipline, and yet I don’t have enough of it yet. I keep thinking I’ll hit my stride at 70, right about the time it’s time to kick the bucket. It would feel good to hit my stride though, that future feeling of having achieved success may yet get me on the path towards it, even now at this late stage of my so called life.

Your Natural Reaction

Posted: 23/02/2010 by Toby in Other
Tags: ,

Subtitled: She Didn’t Have To Die

Sub-subtitled: Well Actually If She Hadn’ta It Woulda Lessened The Impact Of That Story

Today’s topic comes from a book I just read in which one fictional character is killed by another. The book: Of Mike and Men. The book is short, and you should’ve read it by now, no excuses, so I’m going to go ahead and discuss the climactic scene. Lenny, a big and very stupid oaf, likes to pet soft things. The only girl on the farm has paid him a visit, mostly because he is too dumb to avoid her. She’s terribly lonely and hates her husband. When she finds out he likes to pet soft things, she asks him to pet her hair. She may have been hoping it would lead to a romp, but quite simply, it led to her death.

She wanted him to stop, and started yelling, which caused Lenny to panic and cover her mouth and nose, which caused her to struggle more, which caused him to panic more, thinking he would get in trouble, and he shook her, and snapped her neck. Only when she went limp did he let her go.

And the whole time, I was thinking, “if only she’d gone limp in the first place, or quietly and calmly talked him from petting her and then got outta there, she’d still be alive.” But it would have been so contrary to a person’s natural reaction (especially a female’s) to stop yelling and then with a hand clamped over her mouth, to stop struggling, but instead to go limp, hanging and waiting for Lenny to recover his wits and let go. The whole scene is that much more tragic because both were victimes of their own nature.

It made me think about our natural inclinations in life, and how many times we’re happier if we fight against them, and yet, how many times it’s simply impossible.

Throughout this move I have had to face my own humanity in ways I’ve not liked at all. I hope to get through it with minimal damage, and I feel strongly that the sooner I can learn those truisms that make life better, and apply them, and make them habit, the less aftermath there will be.

I say ‘those truisms’ but I think I mean those habits of self denial that are part of every successful life. It goes back to something that C.S. Lewis said, about the tamed man versus the feral. Not to bring God into it, but Lewis’ point was that as much as God loves us, He couldn’t invite a feral into His home. We ourselves decide how civilised we will become. I’ve long held this belief in self control, I think I get it from my mother, but what I have realised is that, like the immune system, the emotional system has its ebbs and tides, acted upon by stress and circumstance. This is what I have not liked facing about my own humanity, that I am still learning how to stem the tides and capitalise on the ebbs that result from one’s decisions.

Currently, it’s an overwhelming tide, filling emotional caverns, spouting from blowholes, and flooding my psyche at higher levels than I remember experiencing before.

Getting back to the idea of doing the opposite of what comes natural. After reading about Curley’s wife, and then reading on, as George gets to Lenny before the mob does and puts him down like a dog, the same way Candy’s dog was put down, and with the same gun. What came natural to Curley’s wife, and to Lenny, led to the tragedy. I find that in many things, what comes natural would not only lead to tragedy, but seems so overwhelming at times, that the opposite, the correct response, the lucid response, is almost completely overrided (sometimes not almost). Take parenting for example. The natural responses, such as choking the kid, yelling, grabbing, making angry faces, and so on are sometimes so overpowering that it takes supreme effort to take a deep breath and try to think rationally about the situation, give the kid a chance, use a little patience, and try something new.

I read another good book, Never Say Die by Chris O’Brien, a former surgeon and he mentiones a French phrase, “l’esprit de l’escalier” or the wit on the staircase, refers to the retort you think of just as you’re leaving, and while you’re reviewing in your mind a conversation had just before. How many times does the perfect retort escape you in the moment, only to pop in your head a few minutes or a few hours later? I think this phenomenon can be applied to so many situations, not just ones that call for wit. Ones that call for patience, and understanding, and wisdom.

If only I had been wise enough to throw up my hands and let someone else swap out my rear sprocket.

10 Most Livable Countries

Posted: 13/01/2010 by Toby in Informative
Tags: ,

Turns out Australia is number two.

Beaten by Paris, France.

Turns out we upgraded 5 spots as the US was down at number 7.

Not sure how Canada was at 10 though. It’s a beautiful country, hey I’d live there!

This of course is all subject to the person who got to publish this article. What I’d like to know is, who determines these lists. Have they actually lived in each of these places. Is it just a vote at some pub during “Happy Hour”? who knows.

I just found another list where the US didn’t rate at all. I wonder if people from Countries that don’t even rate on these lists, see these statistics and think that’s it “I’m moving” DONE….

Perhaps one thing we can guarantee is that the countries that have the highest Emigration are the countries that aren’t even put on the consideration list :)

Note: There are many reasons why people might choose to emigrate. Some are for political or economic reasons, or for personal reasons like finding a spouse while visiting another country and emigrating to be with them. Many older people living in rich nations with cold climates choose to move to warmer climates when they retire.

So where are the Top 10 unlivable lists for these? Seems no one wants to put their name to that article.

I certainly can think of some things that make a place unlivable for me, how about you? Do share…