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Get on With It.
A personal guide for the average person.
My name is Christopher Harari and I am average. I have no serious political or religious values, nor am I a particularly avid writer. I have no advantages over you of any kind and I certainly do not wish to tell you how you should lead your life. I do have a few qualities and many downfalls, but one small asset I do possess is an unwavering level of happiness. I have always been rather joyous and the only time I get elated with anger is when I debate or rant. Ranting is a great way to let off steam, I believe we all require that from time to time, without upsetting or hurting anybody enough for them to make you feel bad. I believe that we only feel bad due to the reactions of other people. For instance, if I make a joke at your expense and everyone around us laughs, I will feel good about it. If you choose to take me to one side and mention that my joke hit a nerve and your feelings were hurt, I will feel bad. Life is all about the influence of people, good and bad. To be honest, I don’t know exactly what I am doing, but my girlfriend thinks I have a talent for coaching people in times of need, so why not give it a go. So, after slight deliberation, I have created a six-point plan that I think will amuse and possibly help you to become a happier person. Not necessarily a better person, but happier non the less. There will be no Yoga, Buddhism or laws of attraction bollocks, just simple and regular advice for the average human. I hope you enjoy this book, so I may feel like a success every now and again.
Family and Friends
Each chapter will begin with a true story, this is the first.
I grew up in a lovely hovel of a place named Rotherham, ask Jeremy Clarkson, in the South of Yorkshire, England. My parents were separated before I can remember, (don’t worry, I am not about to piss and moan about how and why this affected me) so I spent every second weekend with my father. The Friday evening would be spent together and then the Saturday would be spent at Elland road watching Leeds united play or travelling to the away game. Saturday nights he would send me to my auntie and uncles house in a dilapidated area called East Dene. They had two children, twins, Julie and Edward. Inevitably, I spent a lot of time with Edward growing up. He was older than me and he was cool and inclusive. I had my first drink with him and my first cigarette. I looked up to him a lot. Julie was a bit of a psycho back then, swinging Edward around with his balls and headbutting the wall repeatedly when she was angry (she is a wonderful person now I may add). So, as we grew older together, I followed Edwards every move, styled myself on him, spoke the way he did and generally valued all he became. At some point our Ed found drugs, I think he found quite a lot. It started with bar fights and throwing his shoes on the rooftops of houses and moving vehicles and it culminated in kicking his door down at home, pissing from the roof of his mother’s car and calling the police on himself. Now there was about a year of abuse and crazed psychosis in-between, but this was the moment his family had had enough. A few nights in cells and a change of friends and our Ed was back. Predominantly a drinker by now, we decided to reconnect as my father wished (ever the family man, it broke his heart for family to split apart). We were to go to the football the day after, so I agreed to meet him at his new flat in the center of Rotherham. It was a nice evening in the beginning, but, after a lot of beers and whatever else he had taken (I think speed) he became violent with his friends’ mother. This was a Viking of a woman, missing a finger after punching a guy through a taxi window, and they began to throw and curse and scream at each other. Trying to diffuse the situation I ended up in the middle of it and our Ed offered me outside for a fight. As most men know, its difficult to turn this down without feeling weak, I was young. After accepting I went downstairs and waited. Ed came down and locked the door behind me, with my fucking car keys upstairs, and called the police. The police arrived and began to arrest me for breaching the peace and aggravated behavior or some shit, as I calmly tried to reason with them. Luckily, Ed stumbled out of the house exclaiming in drunken ferocity that he was the caller while simultaneously falling over a wheelie bin. The police, after realizing this was probably not my fault, decide in their infinite wisdom that I shall leave, without my car keys, and will be dropped off at my dad’s house. My dad lives in a nice and quiet area, Brecks, and me showing up at 4 am in a police car got the nosey fuckwit neighbor’s talking for weeks. He eventually had to go and retrieve my car keys and we would not meet for another long while. Fast forward a few more years. We once again decided to reconnect. Ed had developed a condition called RSD. Its like a random paralysis, one day putting your arm into a coma and then six months later magically waking it up. At one point his legs went and one arm, he had to shuffle around and learnt to play FIFA with his one hand and his face better than most people, including me. We are still friends now, even after he had a child with my ex-girlfriend who has my name tattooed on her body three times. He joked that he couldn’t find a position to fuck her where he couldn’t think of me. They broke up before the birth, but he is an incredible father and he really turned his life around. I am once again proud of him and look up to him as a family man. But that’s not the point really is it. Its kind of like Kim Jong Un right now. Mass murder and persecution, nuclear arsenals persist through adverse poverty and labor camps filled with slaves paying the price for a crime committed by the older generation. This man takes one meeting with Donald Trump, agrees to de nuclearize, and suddenly all is forgotten. The man is responsible for countless atrocities and world disorder. The point being, if it doesn’t affect the future then why let it bother the present. Kim and Ed, although very different, hold one thing true. I am pretty sure they both had their fun, a damn lot of it as well. All while giving zero fucks about anything and anyone else. They partied, played, indulged and devastated without consequence. Give it a while, they are back to the same level as most. All is forgiven. So basically, I try to be good sometimes, deciding what is best for my family before myself and generally taking decisions to make me a decent person and end up on the same fucking level as someone who fucked and snorted their way through countless situations, disregarding everyone around them if they felt good. Now, I am not having a go at our Ed, fuck no, he got it right. Maybe not the drugs or the arrests, but he ended up on the same status level as me in our family and once the child was born, he went even higher. So, is the answer to be a cunt if you want, then to squeeze one or two children out, or to persevere and hope to be recognized for your constant devotion. No, the answer is simple. Fuck your position in your friend groups, fuck your family’s status requirements. Live for yourself and do what makes you feel personally good.
I don’t mean of course to throw all caution to the wind, disregard everyone you know and systematically abuse your standing. Just try and let go of the restrictions and expectations set upon you by others. You are, and always will be, your own person. You must live with yourself until the end. Mothers, husbands and children may be a very large part of your life but, they are not you and they do not define or restrict you. Life is full of pressures and these eventually weigh down on you until you change your shape to accommodate. Have that extra beer on a Friday night, take that adventurous holiday your struggling to afford. Worry later and live now because nobody else can live for you but they can certainly try to stop you. Like I said earlier, you will not become a better person through me. You will probably not become rich or successful from this advice, but you may become a little happier knowing your destiny is mostly your own and you refuse anyone who tries to change that for their own gain. Everyone projects their own idea of how you should live upon you, basically, tell them to fuck off and do what you want.
Friends are a different subject. You choose these for whatever reason and, if you have a good set of them, rarely listen to their bullshit. Two facts remain true.
- Since childhood you have lost and found friends, why should it be any different in the future. Friends and lifetimes are not synonymous.
- You are expected to treat the closest as family and support and care for these people constantly, otherwise they wouldn’t be your friends.
Popularity is often over rated. Designed by the jocks of Hollywood movies or the homecoming queens at their personality parades. A few friends are nice to have around. Life is better when others join in and its very difficult to laugh at your own jokes alone. Do you look at yourself and feel that you maybe give your friends a little too much of yourself? The late-night calls, the moments of weakness, basically fixing problems and facilitating grief. People have enough problems in this crazy world without overloading with more. Friends should be for excitement and pleasure. Look at your friends’ group right now. Write down their names. Make a list of the best moments you shared together and the worst. The times of support versus the times of satisfaction. If the good outweighs the bad, maybe consider distancing for a week or two. I don’t expect everyone to just shut down their social skills, but if you have a friend’s group with at least six people, chances are that you could use a little distance to get a better view of the benefits of your friendship. If there are not enough benefits then, perhaps, spend a little less time. People adjust to the slightest changes in personality without even noticing. You can shift the gravity of your friendship over a few weeks and possibly enjoy your time out with friends a little better. After all, friends are for enjoyment, enjoyment is happiness, and we already pissed off your family.
Jobs and Money
Approaching my thirtieth birthday was a harrowing experience. I recall my father telling my that my life will go by in the blink of an eye. He used to say, ‘fuck me what was that, oh, it was my life’, to emphasize the gravity of his words with comedic effect. He wasn’t lying. I worked as a steel worker and the money and hours were fantastic for an uneducated man like myself. I was content in life, bouncing through girlfriends six months at a time and spending most evenings drinking at the local pub, watching or playing sports. I had more money than most in my area, but something was missing. As my birthday approached and my twenties would soon be behind me, I took the huge decision, whilst intoxicated, to quit my job and move to Penang, an island in Malaysia. After two months I was working in a hostel, partying daily and almost broke. I had no idea where my life would lead but the freedom and adventure, I felt was awe inspiring to myself. I literally envied my own life. Halfway through my time in Malaysia I met a woman I rather liked. We hit it off and yet again on a whim, I moved to Holland. One year after that, on yet another whim, we left with the plan of travelling full time. She is a teacher online and I work for free accommodation and food for us both. We are not and never will be rich in money. We are rich in life, and this choice, or number of choices, are now taking us around the world with a wealth of experience. Life has never been better. At the time of leaving Rotherham I wrote a small beginning to a diary. It is as follows.
My name is adam fisher and I am a Yorkshire man. It a requires a great amount of pride to be a true Yorkshire man, well pride and self-worth, because somehow in the deepest dankest center of England we find home. My home is Rotherham, for the meantime, a place steeped in mystery and wonder. Where other towns have beautiful scenery, we have Canklow, find me a glistening stream I will introduce you to the river don, rusty trolley and garbage bags to boot, and I swear my friend, you will never look back. In all honesty, which we Yorkshire folk are famous for, Rotherham is shit. I have lived here all my life and as I find myself disillusioned and facing the prospect of redundancy, I have decided to take a leap. Now for any person in our vicinity we do not like change, despise difference (and southern pansies) and fear anything further than Birmingham is abroad. So, my decision to move to the island of Penang, Malaysia, has in truth taken every ounce of daring I held, given to IT the clown, riding a crocodile and charging at me in a shady bar in moss side. I am scared. firstly, I did not need to take my redundancy from work, I applied for it. Secondly the thought of joblessness comes with an uneasy apprehension to most Yorkshire men, well at least half anyway, the other half seem to revel in it. Thirdly, I made this decision in 10 seconds and absolutely, mind numbingly pissed. Note to self, you will not miss the bluecoats public house and the glorious scenic backdrop of the dole office queue. But on a whim, I have taken up what should be a glorious adventure that will hopefully change me as an individual and grow me as a human, well that’s what my friend Ski says anyway. Ski is my best friend, his real name is adam but that’s happens to also be mine, and I’m far more important than he is in this instant. Ski has a soothing calmness about him, like a babbling brook quietly rolling away, or a stranded goat chewing hard grass. He is my best friend and always will be, so to have him not only coming but having already lived there previously, is of great comfort. This, friends, northerners, Yorkshire men, if you would lend me your ears, is my tale.
Everyone I knew told me how bad of an idea this was, I didn’t listen. To live and die in the same place just because I was born there quickly seemed ridiculous. To work at the steel works until I was sixty-five and retire half dead and unable to function properly was madness. So, jobs and money. They aren’t worth the paper they are printed on, figuratively speaking.
The world is changing quickly, leaving a lot of us behind. Ship builders, coal miners, seamstresses and bakers are now jobs for machines. The average jobs for the average people are falling away by the second. For the less creative of us during the internet age, we are losing our place in society. We are born in a gap of skills, where robots replace us for half the price and university students work at McDonalds for less money than will cover travel and rent. We are lost in transition, caught in a world of advancement and intellect. Where will our place be, where will we find home. Mortgage acceptance is at an all time low, university fees at an all time high. I only have one solution, and it is this. Fuck society and break free from this controlled existence that no longer serves you. I’m not saying to follow my footsteps, although I can recommend it, but more to let go of these attachments to money and prosperity we are raised to worship. A new television costs the same as a holiday abroad. Fashion will impress someone a lot less than the story of your last adventure. Imagine you are on a date. You have two options.
- You can turn up and afford to pay for a posh meal while sporting the latest Armani jacket and jeans with your Rolex watch but, you can only speak of your work life as you spend most of your time there.
- You can afford to split the bill at a small café wearing your work clothes but, speak of how you spend your free time perusing hobbies and the incredible trips you take, as you do not value money over experience.
Now if you can afford option one while also doing option two, congratulations, you must live rather well. If you cannot and had to make a choice, which would it be, or which would you want it to be. It is true that nothing comes for free, you will have to work for everything. Where and when and how is not predetermined. Nothing in your life is predetermined. Break free from conformity, do what your heart says, because your brain is a nervous cunt.
Meditation, yoga and Buddhism. Unless you have the spare time to indulge in such activities, with no guaranteed return, or have a vested interest in such things, I would like to offer an alternative. I like to call it ‘thinking’. Now I know it doesn’t have the same flare or razzmatazz as the others, but thinking is a lost art form. Positivity is a good thing, we all know that. Trying to be calm and considerate is also good. Taking time to accept your situation and deciding how to move forward is sense and sensibility. There are, of course, many other supposed benefits of these practices, but I don’t know them and I’m pretty sure, if you have read this far, neither do you. It is the new trend, or fashion, of today. To believe you can advance your mind and soul to a greater beyond and experience the world in a different view. I’m quite happy with the mind I have right now and the world I view is big enough already without extra dimensions to worry about. I know many people who engage in these practices and swear by the benefits, I also know many pompous pricks who look down upon us regular folk as if we are missing a part of ourselves or not switched on to our surroundings. Either way, its not for me, but I feel as people, we are already there. All people are born with empathy. Through influence, situation and nurture we change and develop. We know right and wrong from a very young age, just as we know pain and pleasure. It’s the choices that we make that define our mindsets, including the outcome of those problems. I know the main benefits of these practices are for personal use. To collect your thoughts, let go of fears and anxieties, and create a peace away from reality to use throughout your day. That’s what I understand it to be anyway.
My girlfriend indulges in such practices, and she seems to get a lot from them. Who am I to say its wrong, mostly as I don’t fully comprehend it. I do however have a similar system that requires far less effort. It’s a system I like to call ‘fuck it’.
As a young boy, my life was incredibly regular. I had divorced parents, both, at that time, rather poor. My father lived on his sisters’ couch and my mother lived near her family in a small house in Kilnhurst. I went to a Christian primary school and spent most of my time playing with my cousins on my mother’s side. After my younger brother John was born, his father, my mother’s boyfriend, committed suicide. John was six months old, I was five. I remember the somber mood. Twelve years later, my mother had held down various jobs and I had looked after my brother at home for most of my growing years. John was a difficult child, but after he discovered the actual fate of his father, the proverbial rails were not even there for him to go off. John developed a rage of sorts, coupled with self-destruction. Thirteen was a difficult age to try and accept such facts and his coping mechanism became drugs and fighting. I would say violence but, luckily, he wasn’t very good at it. After a few select issues, the run in with the drug dealer for two grand after he snorted all the cocaine and the whole gun incident, with the rules ‘if little brother is gone, big brother pays’, with my life apparently (luckily, I was drunk, or I would have shit myself). Me and my friend solved that crisis as we burnt down his shed where he kept his drugs and he eventually got sent back to prison. Also, the great adventure of multiple court cases, drink driving without a license and the classic assault on a female which he didn’t do, and the girl had lied and got caught out in front of the judge, but it shows you the kind of women he dated at the time. Between his eighteenth and twenty first birthday, me and John had four fights due to his alcohol consumption. The final one, as I was sat having a lovely old time, was after Absinthe. Whilst sat on a chair, me sat on the kitchen side, he changed the conversation from drinking games to the television show Banzai, to this exact statement. Now bear in mind, we were having a groovy time, and everything was nice and fun. ‘do you know what I fucking hate about you, that you have a dad and I don’t’. The culmination of this statement came with a swing of the chair he was sitting on straight to the skull. He stormed out. As I came to my senses, enraged, I chased him down the street and beat the shit out of him. I did not show as much restraint as I usually did, he is five years younger than me and I should, but I did not. About three hours later, after my girlfriend had banned me from having him at the house ever again (fair enough really), he called me whilst I was taking a piss. I answered, and the conversation went as such.
John ‘bro, you need to come and meet me’
Me ‘why the fuck would I do that’
John ‘I’m really drunk bro and someone has beaten the shit out of me’
Me ‘that was me’
John ‘why the fuck did you do that’
I proceeded to explain to my brother the reasoning behind the beating, and he understood quite well. Between a few tears and an hour of apologies, we finally spoke of the situation of his father. John believed that the reason his father killed himself was because of him. He figured that the only thing that changed in his father’s life was his birth, and such was the reason for the suicide. We spoke extensively about this over a few years and John went on a quest for his lost sister he never knew and the family members, most of whom turned out to be smack heads. Eight years later, John is an incredible father to a boy and a girl and holds down a very good office job to provide for his family at home. You see, the moral of this one is that you cannot feel responsible for everything around you, it will eat you up and turn you into something hideous. You just have to say, ‘fuck it’. You have no father, ‘fuck it’, I will be a better one. Your family are hard drug addicts, ‘fuck it’ I have another. Whatever happens to you, apply the’ fuck it’ scenario. Grow a shell, repel all life’s disappointments and struggles and just start again or change direction. If you don’t like something, change it. if you can’t change it, fuck it and move on. We are tough fuckers on this earth. We wandered and hunted and fought great wars against each other. We starved and re settled. A constant barrage of disease and poverty, or expectation and demand. We survive, adapt and continue. Somewhere inside you are the adjustable Homo Sapiens. ‘This field is dead, fuck it, move on, ug ug’. This is how we conquered the world, don’t let the world conquer you.
Get on with it
This is usually known as moving forward with your life, progressing after downfall or obstruction. The incessant moaners among you must realize that a good old complaint doesn’t benefit anyone. Moaning is very different to venting or ranting. This is an expression of anger to purge yourself of the frustration, whereas moaning is a way of receiving sympathy or attention. Whatever has happened, has happened, get the fuck on with it.
After meeting my girlfriend and moving to Holland, I went from managing a hostel to working in a factory picking items. The job in Malaysia at the hostel was an incredible job. Meeting new people every day, drinking and partying all the time. I absolutely adored my position and did not miss the steel works for one second. My new position in Europe required me to pick items from some boxes and put them into another box. That was it, literally. The management didn’t really have any job other than to watch everyone constantly, mainly incase you decided to converse with anyone and to time how long it took you to piss. Three minutes was the allocated amount, I wonder if anyone had the time to wash their hands. Suffice to say, this job sucked balls. I had moved to a new country and within one week my life had changed dramatically so, I changed it. I could have become quite down hearted, my girlfriend noticed how I changed after my arrival and advised me to quit instantly. I refused this advice with the statement, ‘I will find something else soon but, for now, I just have to get on with it’. She felt guilty because of this but as far as I was concerned, shit happens, and it won’t be this way forever. I knew I wanted to travel more, and this got me through the days. I knew that plenty of people hate their jobs, and this gave me the patience to proceed. I had goals and ambitions, and these gave me the fortitude to persevere. I got on with it.
You read awe inspiring stories of cancer patients accepting their impending doom. You see videos of refugees leaving everything behind in the quest for survival. Humans are an incredible species, we create hope out of nothing and we rebound from trauma unbelievably. The mind is a powerful tool and only you control it. Influences may sway your mind, but nothing is impossible to overcome. I know my story doesn’t sound so disheartening but, I had the world at my feet. Every day was glorious and something so simple as a new job made it miserable. I was in a new country, I should have been ecstatic. I was on an all time high and it came crashing down with the thought that I had made a huge mistake and should have waited for my girl to come to Malaysia. I made a choice and it failed, so I changed my situation. It took a while to change but as long as I knew it would change, if I had the drive, I could just get on with it. imagine being a refugee for a second. You grow up around your family, never leave your home town. You don’t have holidays and you don’t own a passport. You grew up loved and safe, enjoying school and weekends. One day, people arrive and begin to kill everyone you ever knew. In the confusion, you lose your parents, the one constant through your short life. Between hiding and fighting for your life, you meet another young friend who advises you to leave for Italy. You have no idea how to get there and you have no idea what to expect. Your mind is full of apprehension. On the one hand you can remain in fear and danger and search for your parents, on the other hand you can flee and try to find a country by foot without a clear direction to start from. Either situation requires you to just get on with it. Whichever you choose, you cannot just wither and die, you must fight for your life. This is a simple choice as you are forced due to horrendous circumstances. Now imagine a young woman in America. She works a dead-end job that she hates, coming home to an empty house that she hates, and she visits the psychiatrist every week. Between her anxieties and her depression, she considers herself suicidal. She could change it, but she doesn’t. She is stuck in a void. She cannot just get on with it, this will ultimately kill her. She cannot change it as she lacks the drive due to the depression. With the same biological brain and, arguably, a better education and far more opportunity than the refugee, why can’t she get on with it or change it. Is it the lack of fear that drove the refugee? Is it the mentality difference between the two people at that certain point? We clearly have in all of us, the ability to persevere through difficulties, but some people struggle to do this. If the woman had to experience the refugee situation she would, undoubtedly, return to her life with renewed passion and power to take control of her mind and destiny. She may realize that her life is far from bad and possibly become a stronger advocate for her own self-control. If you truly want to just get on with it until the tide turns or change it to see the results but lack the drive, try and think of someone in a real, life threatening situation. Someone who was forced into a decision, for better or worse, and made it. There is always somebody worse off in this world so, whatever your situation, just get on with it.
I have one other example that almost works, and I really like the story. Its not exactly get on with it, more like accepting your fate. About three weeks into my time in Holland I was sitting in the bedroom watching a movie. Quite relaxed and laid on the couch suddenly a huge siren started to wail around the neighborhood. I have only ever heard this sound on war or dystopian movies. I jumped up like a gazelle and ran to the door, my heart beating faster than the speed of sound. The noise continued, and I could hear multiple different sirens in the distance. This was it, there is a nuclear attack. My mind frantically rushed, and I knew deep down that I had no chance of escape as I didn’t even know which way to run. I scoured the street with my eyes darting rapidly but no one was there. I instantly tried to call my girlfriend who had just left for work and I wanted to make sure she was on a train out of there. She didn’t answer. My heart sank, and I accepted my fate. This is how it ends. I sat down and lit a cigarette, my veins pulsing with adrenaline. I was about to die, alone, and I was strangely okay with it. I was literally thinking ‘I am decidedly calm’ as my death approached. As I thought this a man walking his dog turned the corner as if nothing was wrong and I stood up staring at him, which he noticed. The sirens stopped and the lady across the road opened her front door and walked towards her car. I gradually realized that this may not be the end, but it did take a little time for my brain to catch up with my observations. Holland has a nuclear siren test every first Monday of the month, I felt like an idiot. My girlfriend called me back and I explained to her what had happened, and she laughed. In my defense, I have never heard one of these sirens in real life before, but I do take some comfort knowing that when I was faced with what I thought to be certain death, I sat down, lit a smoke and got on with it.
Experience vs wealth
I have two contrasting examples which portray my feelings towards experience vs wealth. Firstly wealth. After working at the steel works for a few years my girlfriend left me, and I no longer had to provide for her and her son. I had quite a lot of spare money each month. My car wasn’t the best and had started to have problems that would have cost more than the value of the whole vehicle. I decided I wanted a new one. One of my new acquaintances had earlier commented that he thought I would have a cool car and not a grandad one and this stuck in my mind. I was financially sound, and I wondered ‘why don’t I have a nice car’. So, I started to search. I settled on the Jaguar XT, until I discovered that they were automatic. One day while out with my new girlfriend I drove past a car garage and decided to have a look. In the middle of the indoor showroom was the Ford Focus ST 500. Red leather Sparco interior, GPS with reversing video and DVD capabilities and a kick ass engine. As the impulsive boy I was, without negotiation, I walked to the first salesman I could find and bought the car within an hour. I was to collect it two days later. On the drive home, my actual car broke down, perfect timing. We got it going again and I went to pick up the new car after two days. Driving it out of the car lot felt incredible. I was proud of the car straight away and I wanted to show it off, the big-headed shit bag that I was. I drove straight to my local bar, knowing most of my friends would be there, and showed it to them. Everyone was impressed and that made me feel great. This proud feeling lasted roughly two weeks. I never stopped liking my car and I still enjoyed driving it, but the initial feeling faded fast. I missed the feeling of excitement for something new. I couldn’t afford to buy a new car every few weeks.
My first visa run whilst staying in Penang was to the beautiful island of Bali. I went with two friends, Evy and Adam, for two weeks. Evy is rather well off and she had booked the places to stay and a private driver, we were incredibly lucky. We traveled everywhere around Bali, exploring anything we came across within a kilometer of the car. This wasn’t enough for me and every bar we came across, or every beach we relaxed at, I felt the urge to explore the jungles or cliffs, or caves. A lot of these adventures ended in little more than a great picture or an exhausted story for my compatriots. I was rewarded with the name ‘Bolang’, the name of an adventurer in a children’s program. One day we were on the island of Nusa Penida, an epic island of both beauty and culture, at a beach with old broken-down steps that trailed away into the jungle at the side of a cliff. Sat at the beach bar there, as was normal, I said to Adam and Evy, ‘I am going to see what’s at the top of those steps, I will be back shortly’. The entire trip took me four hours in the end, exhausted and sweating like a stuck pig, the experience was worth every drip. Upon reaching the top of the cliff I was presented with a conundrum. I was already tired, and the summit was a disappointment. There was a rock at the top with a pink arrow painted on it pointing down the other side of the cliff. Do I return and chill with a nice cold beer, or do I proceed and discover the meaning of the arrow? I was intrigued and decided to take the arrow route. Upon descent the path disappeared, and thick jungle became almost overwhelming. I knew I could find my way back as it was basically just up, but I was a little nervous about snakes and such things. The very moment I pondered giving up I heard the distant sound of waves. Once I continued to the end, the jungle opened onto a private beach with a cove. There was no sign of life ever, the beach had one piece of driftwood. No footprints, no other way in or out. The world could have ended right then and there, and I wouldn’t have known. I stripped naked and ran into the water. After a while I returned to my friends and showed them a small video I had made, with an apology for taking so long. This was the single greatest experience of my life. Every time I think about it, even now as I write, I get the feeling of freedom and excitement.
Obviously, you can read the difference of those two contrasting stories. The experience outweighed the expenditure and the car will never feel as good as the beach. What my money could buy me was a small amount of pride and happiness, my beach adventure just cost me sweat and balls. Money can’t buy you everything, and trust me when I say, I was broke for the Bali trip. With the money I spent on the car, I could have lived for two years in Bali, including visa renewal trips. The world is built for excess nowadays and we are encouraged to stay at home and buy the new phone or watch the next blockbuster. Economically, the government requires you to stay and spend where you are. Advertisements make you feel that the next fashion trend will make you happy, the best lipstick will make you attractive, and therefore more confident. No governing body owns your thoughts and emotions, they just spend a lot of time convincing you.
Ignorance is bliss.
I have a good friend David that lives a good happy life whilst retaining a healthy ignorance towards almost everything. He does not care about refugees or politics, international relations or history. He has his own life that he controls and everything else is another person’s problem. The global warming situation that could potentially end humanity, “I will be dead by then or it will kill me” is his answer. Racism and sexism in Asia, “fuck it I’m Chinese, these are white people problems”. Its not that he doesn’t understand, but that he just doesn’t pay attention or care enough to let it bother him. His view is one of brilliance and ignorance. He just doesn’t give a shit about world problems and he doesn’t really engage in the conversations that come up at his hostel. He has his own life to deal with and, as he is no Gandhi on earth, he doesn’t really feel he will benefit or change anything. I know that this approach will never alter anything in the world, but how many people really do. How many people have changed the course of history in comparison to how many have lived? How many try and succeed? We worry and consider things we cannot affect. I don’t want the world to become full of ignorance and I appreciate the real-world changers that create a better world for me to enjoy, but all of us spend far too much time looking at the pain and strife in the world before sorting out the shit in our own lives. Remember, we are survivors, but in order to effectively survive you must start at home. You are the most important person in your life and everything else can wait or go to shit while you sort yourself out first. A good example of this perfected ignorance is as follows.
As a young man my father was a huge influence on me. His brush it off approach was great, and he really managed to concentrate his entire life on family and football, although not in that order. A rather joyous man that managed to keep his happiness and belief even as his one true love in life failed. His team was not what one would have hoped for a long time. In case anyone knows English football, his team is Leeds United. After two relegations and failed promotion attempts, they continually disappointed a man whose entire existence revolved around their success. Every year was their year, every game winnable and every shot unlucky. This devotion, I later realized, was not blind hope but pure ignorance. He paid no regard to terrible management appointments, scaling debts and awful player purchase. All the signs were there to show that this, obviously, would not be the year. He cared nothing for it. This is the single most important thing in his life and regardless of all facts and information, he chooses to ignore them. He does get frustrated and he does get upset. These are after shocks from the ignorance he has developed. From milk thrown around the kitchen, countless smashed radios and the occasional burst of rage. This is not, however, the ignorance. It is taking what is important to you personally and not letting anyone else tell you why it is wrong or why you should change. The man is a genius. He managed to find hope where there is none and consistently believe in something regardless of the facts. His love and devotion know no bounds, against all common sense. He truly loves his club, although he gets nothing back from his commitment, and finally after fourteen years, as I write this, they are top of the league hoping to push for promotion. I’m not sure if blind faith in something that consistently lets you down is a good thing, but the ignorance to what anyone else says and just focusing your attention on what you care about is paramount to success. Who is anyone to tell you who what and why you should do anything. Ignorance to all opinions, all problems, and focus on what really matters to you is essential.
Conclusively, all your problems are under your own control. All your decisions are yours to make. You are the master of your own destiny, within reason. Fuck the world and everyone in it. Live a selfish life until you find true happiness, then you can concentrate on others. If you’re not happy, change it. If you can’t change it, get on with it.