people like you

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Right now there are people all over the world who are just like you.

They too feel different.
They’re not always comfortable in their own skin.
They have dreams that would make you gasp.
They have secrets you wouldn’t believe.
They wish and they dream and they hope, and they look out the window whenever they’re in the car or on a bus or a train, and they watch the people on the streets and wonder what they are thinking and feeling.

They wonder if there are people out there like them.

They’re like you, and you could tell them anything and everything, and they would understand.

And right now, they’re sitting here reading these words, and I’m writing this for you and for me so we don’t feel alone anymore.

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surprise

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I wonder, I wonder what you would do if you had the power to have everything that you want.

A new iPhone — the new iPhone 10 — with a PERFECT LIFE button. With just a touch of this button you can design for yourself the most perfect life. The perfect job. The perfect partner. Perfect kids. A perfect pet. Perfect weather every day. A perfect home in the perfect location, with perfect furnishings.

Imagine now that you do have this power; the power to create your perfect world. And imagine you’ve had this power now for a few months. What then … ?

Methinks that after a few months of ‘living perfection’, your perfect life would start to feel a little predictable. Stale. Not as interesting. Kinda boring. Flat. And that’s because if you want guarantees in life, then you don’t want life — you want rehearsals for a script that’s already been written.

Life, by its very nature, cannot have guarantees, or its whole purpose is thwarted. Otherwise we’d all buy plastic roses that last forever.

And so the new iPhone 10 would soon be superseded by the iPhone 11 — now with a new SURPRISE! button.

Surprise!
Fuck me, I’m alive!

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the face of a stranger

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Just imagine living in a world without mirrors. You’d dream about your face and imagine it as an outer reflection of what is inside you.

And then, when you reached forty, someone put a mirror before you for the first time in your life.

Imagine your fright! You’d see the face of a stranger.

And you’d know quite clearly what you are unable to grasp: your face is not you.

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Milan Kundera, Immortality

what’s for breakfast? what’s for life?

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You create your life every day.

You decide whether or not you’re going to get up when the alarm goes off, what to wear, what to eat for breakfast, and how to get to work.

And as you run into people throughout the day, you decide how to respond to them, how to treat them, and who to avoid.

Your intentions for the day affect what you do, what you experience, and how you experience it.

At the end of the day, and when you add up all these little choices, that’s when you realise you’re creating your life.

And every little choice you make [or don't make] counts.

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the dash -

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I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning to the end.

He noted that first came her date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears [1964-1994]
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own;
The cars, the house, the cash.
What matters is how we live and love,
And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real,
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile.
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy’s being read
With your life’s actions to rehash.
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

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The Dash by Linda Ellis

giving it all away

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We come into this world with the only real possessions that ever matter:

– our body
– our energy
– our thoughts and ideas
– our autonomy, and
– the time to live our life

And then, as the years pass by, we slowly give all of this away. We get endlessly caught up in other people’s games and battles, wasting energy and time that we will never get back. We come to respect our own ideas less and less, preferring instead to listen to experts and conforming to conventional opinions.

And so, without even realising it, we are nibbled to death by ducks as we slowly give away everything that makes us a creative and unique individual.

Unless we don’t …

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as old as your fear

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You are as young as your faith,
as old as your doubt;
as young as your self-confidence,
as old as your fear;
as young as your hope,
as old as your despair.

When the wires are all down
and all the innermost core of your heart
is covered with the snows of pessimism
and the ice of cynicism,
then you are grown old indeed.

– Samuel Ullman

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i don’t want comfort

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In Brave New World everyone exists in ignorant bliss thanks to the drug Soma. The Controller explains that, “universal happiness has been achieved by shifting the emphasis away from truth and beauty and towards comfort”.

But one person objects. “I don’t want comfort, I want God. I want poetry. I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness, I want sin.”

Amen to that!

the itch you can’t ignore

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Life comes in two flavours – the fixed, and the variable.

Most of the people I meet prefer ‘fixed’ over ‘variable’. They want a world that’s safe and secure. They want certainty over doubt. They are dead set on building a world and a future they can count on. And they have a plan to get them there.

At the same time – and in spite of their preference for things ‘fixed’ – they have a constant, nagging itch for the taste of something ‘variable’. The itch to take a risk. The itch to test, to prod, to dare, to try.

And then, like all itches, it stops itching, and is forgotten. And so it sits in the background of their lives, like an annoying pebble-in-the-shoe that pops up every now and then.

Unless they scratch the itch. Flare it up, make it even more itchy. But no, that never happens. And that’s because they have all been taught not to scratch their itch. At school. At home. By their parents. By their friends. “Stop scratching that itch Richard, you’ll just make it worse.”

In this way they have been fed a diet of ‘fixed’ food, off a menu that offers predictability; staying focused; being in control; playing it safe; lying low; avoiding danger; being reasonable; always having a plan; making it safely to death.

The brainwashing is subtle. It doesn’t change their basic need for safety. Instead it just uses that need to convince them that the comfort zone is the place where they need to live their lives. After all, “That’s what sensible people like you do”.

And yet, there is still that part in them that itches to climb trees, to leap about, to shout out, to throw the dice, to take it to the limit. YOLO!

For some the itch will become so overwhelming that it will dominate their days, and ask them put your soul on the line. And if that’s you, it is entirely possible that there won’t be a massive standing ovation for you at the end of today.

That’s okay. There’s still tomorrow.

And at least you lived

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may the force be with you

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Each morning we turn the door handle and walk out into a larger world.

Turning the door handle can be a moment of adventure, or dread. Of anticipation, or anxiety. Of purpose, or habit.

Whatever the moment, what is helpful is to turn the door handle with some sense as to what is the inner force that drives you forward.

To believe that this force exists … well that’s a great start.

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