A little bit of a makeover, 1 Life Laughing

A Little Bit of a Makeover

You may not have noticed but… the blog is looking particularly fine today. A few slices of toast, many many cups of tea, a Twix bar and a strange stumpy carrot later and I managed to re-haul ye olde website for this new one (you’d be surprised, it’s actually easier to start a website from scratch than to convert an old one, yeesh). There are not necessarily many options for us impoverished users of WordPress (especially those of us who don’t speak much HTML), but this blog theme will have to do for now, until I marry rich, win the lottery or, hell, maybe even earn riches all by myself.

It’s got a long way to go but I’ve put some primer on the skin and I’m getting ready with the foundation and the blusher next (ha, don’t be silly, I don’t wear make up…)

Hope you like it and thanks for visiting!$%^^

 

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Join the Bridget Jones Brigade, 1 Life Laughing

Recruiting for the Bridget Jones Brigade…

The job description is pretty simple: make me feel less ashamed of melting my kettle on the hob and other such daily Bridget-esque life failings… (I mean at least she gets the guy… where the f*** is Colin Firth when you need him?)

Please find person specification below. Anyone with house plants that are still alive or fully stocked refrigerators need not apply.

1. You cannot see your bedroom floor and you cannot remember what colour the carpet is (or if there even is a carpet… Is there a carpet?! Oh god is there?)

2. You start writing everything down in your diary but you keep leaving your diary at home and writing things on pieces of paper that you lose – another plan bites the dust, another friend pissed off…

3. You keep forgetting things when you go to the shop. Which means you’ve washed yourself with shampoo for five days straight and you’re on first-name terms with the local Deliveroo guy.

4. You’ve run out of underwear. Bikini bottoms have become an acceptable replacement to you.

10. You forget what day it is, what time it is, you say good morning at 4pm, you lose all ability to count. What year is it again…?

5. You have dreams about conversations, trips to the pub, adventures, and forget they haven’t actually happened. Which is why the office can’t remember that time you all met Johnny Depp in the toilets and had a group orgy in a cubicle. You should probably stop talking now…

6. You keep breaking things in creative new ways – you drop your phone into the sink because you were balancing it in a cupboard in the aim of face-timing a friend while washing up (it seemed like a good idea at the time). You then spill water on it at work. Then you smash the screen in on the way to the office. And then you melt the kettle on the hob…

7. You forgot to brush your teeth this morning. You also forgot to shower. Your tops is inside out and back to front.

8. The washing up is turning into an insurmountable challenge. You’re eating over the sink and into napkins.

9. You forgot the bins for the last two weeks and the front garden is developing a slightly off-putting smell (more than ‘slightly’ for your friends…)

10. You’ve downloaded Tinder again. Enough said.

11. You’ve become addicted to an app that leads you on a goose chase around the city, catching Pokemon. 

12. You wake up every morning with a new empty bottle of cider on the bedside table.

13. At work, you accidentally call your boss ‘Scrumpy’ before you remember that your boss is not your dog.

14. You pour a bowl of museli before you remember there’s no milk left. You eat it anyway. With a spoon.

15. You tell yourself it will all be ok far too often… The lady doth protest too much…?

Life lessons from hula hooping toddlers

I was at a random street party in my neighbourhood, the free kind, the kind with quirky folk bands ranting about class, the kind with Morris dancing and Arabic bread. You know… The usual…
It was glorious sunshine. The drinks were flowing.

And yet… while I was watching POG reject their middle class heritage via warbling vocals and banjos, I was checking my phone for emails, messages, my mind was wandering towards that list of things I have to do that never gets done. That worst of all chores, banking, crept into the fray. I started thinking forward, towards that inevitable working week that begins at the end of every Sunday evening…

Thank goodness, I was distracted from this downwards spiral of depression by a young girl, maybe 4 years old, holding a hula hoop. It had a diameter the length of her entire body and she was attempting to spin it around her waist to the music. I know – naw bless. She was about to throw a tantrum because it wouldn’t dance around her like it did for the fully grown people, who didn’t care as much anyway. The upper lip was trembling. The face was getting red. Life is so unfair.

But just in time, swooped Dad, to the rescue. He picked up the hoop and spun it round and round, while free spirit carni in the middle lost her shit and danced in circles, giggling. The day was made. Maybe the year. Christmas had come early, life didn’t get much better than this. I watched this all unfold, nostalgic.

Do you remember a time when happiness was a simple hoop of plastic away? Do you remember when life was so easily turned around? (Pun intended).

One little girl shut her eyes, opened her arms wide and giggled her way round in circles. And I thought, this little girl has got it right. This tiny child, barely out of her toddler tantrums, is smarter than most grown working adults. There’s only one key to happiness. It’s called allowing yourself to be happy.

So where, in her situation, I would have said ‘but I didn’t achieve this’ and fallen into (another) existential crisis, and where others might have resented and feared the lack of control of a revolving world taken out of their hands, our hulaing heroine let it all go. She focused on the most important thing: she was now hulaing. What she had wanted, came about, through love. A happiness barred had become a happiness attained. She didn’t bitch and moan about the social implications or the environmental impact of a toy made from plastic. She processed the event like so: something happened. It was great. IT’S SO FUCKING SIMPLE.

I’m taking a leaf out of hula heroine’s book. I’m going to let myself enjoy things just because they’re enjoyable. I’ll let happiness in, via simple stand alone moments. 

Because, okay, things have long term implications. But they’re never what we expect them to be anyway. So really, the only accurate thing to say is this: life is a thing counted. We just add all the moments together. So why on earth wouldn’t you start by making each moment the sum of what your whole life could be?

A life in music, 1 Life Laughing

A life in music

This week has been a roller coaster of music-induced emotion. I’ve mentioned music and memory before (I know, broken record, how topical) but this time, let me take you on a ride…

I don’t know what music you play in the office (or if you even work in an office) but in our second floor cubby hole, there’s all kinds of gems. Classical music is a big front runner. As are old, calm musical numbers from the likes of Doris Day. A bit of Neil Diamond always hits the sweet (Caroline) spot. I know, I’m not paid enough.

It’s amazing how music can master a mood. A selection of Kooks, Jason Mraz and Bruno Mars had me suppressing the urge to dance around the office. It had me cracking inappropriate jokes I should probably have kept quiet until after my probationary period. My work suddenly seemed easy, writing was effortless.

And then came Neil Diamond. Every word was dragged from my finger tips as if each was a nail ripped from the skin. Every sentence out of my mouth was a complaint, irritating even to myself. Who is Caroline anyway? And why is she so fucking sweet all the time? I’m exaggerating a little here, I’ll admit. But I’m not making it up. Music matters. The right chord puts me on top of the world. Have you heard Sean Paul and Sia? They get me. I’m honestly thrilled (and it really was cheap). Let me at ya, let me at anything, give me a blank page, a bottle of vodka, a man. In fact don’t give me anything, I’m already there.

Then we switch, quite suddenly, to an eighties breakdown. We’re swimming in the mellow eerie chimes of Talking Heads. I’m in my dad’s Saab, imagining long blades protruding outwards from water stains on the window, chopping down the trees that line the motorway. (I was a strange child, okay…) Some Lou Reed and I’m sitting on my dad’s lap in the living room, falling asleep. He tells me nothing feels the same as your child nodding off on your chest. Some Pink Floyd and I’m torn between the stark still of my dad, a bouncy castle, attempting to nap on a Saturday afternoon while me and my sister jump on his prone form. Torn between that, and the stark still of a church full of sober figures, of people crying, of my dad spoken of in past tense by 7 different people over a podium.

It’s nice, lovely, I tell myself, to have these memories. It’s a miracle that a simple song can take me back so far, can give me this crystal clear memory.

I used to run away when ‘Wish You Were Here’ played on the radio, appeared on shuffle or vibrated through the office speakers, blasting out from a communal Spotify playlist. But now, I’ll enter a room just to hear it. Because suddenly, I remember what it was like to have my dad in a room with me, living, breathing and physical and nothing else in the field of science, technology or psychology has ever mastered the effect quite so completely.

The art of waking

The art of waking

When I moved house, I left a lot behind. I left my keyboard (predictably coated in an inch of dust anyway), my toolkit (I don’t know how to use any of the weird heavy metal things inside it – banging works. I bang things.) I left my alarm clock. I left my family (a WhatsApp group doesn’t quite fill that void and no one can beat my mum’s roasties or my sister’s ability to play fight at the age of 27). They’re on holiday without me right now so I can safely compliment them without being discovered.

I left my cat too. That was hard. She’s really cute.

The art of waking, 1 Life Laughing

See.

Anyway. My point. I left all of these things intentionally for the sake of a job, a life by the sea, growing up, opportunities, a puppy and so on. I miss them all. Except. The alarm clock – the only forgotten object. It took time to realise that I had even forgotten it.

Let me explain. I am a deep sleeper. But not just ‘sometimes I can sleep through a thunderstorm’ deep. Think bottom of the ocean. Think Pizza Hut base. Think Chris Martin, after 4 joints. I sleep with the curtains open, I sleep with 2 alarms set, I change my alarm every few weeks so that I don’t get used to the sounds and sleep through them. It’s almost a medical problem, how deeply I can sleep.

So now, with no alarm clock, why do I always wake up an hour before I need to?
Well, it could be the avocado in the fridge that I can’t wait to spread on toasted multiseed wholemeal bread. It could be the chance to go to work and do a challenging job I worked so hard to get. It could be the prospect of the sea view at the top of the hill, the fresh salty breeze. Maybe it’s the temptation of puppy cuddles. Or the discovery of coconut milk in decaf coffee (try it, try it now.)

Maybe it’s all of the above. You don’t have to drop everything and go travelling to have an adventure and you don’t need to get a job in the city at a bank to grow up and settle down. There are little things in life, such as chip butties on beaches or vegetables on a BBQ, such as waking up to silence, that are the real big deal.

‘Big life changes’, ‘huge milestones’ – they just don’t compute. I can’t see myself in 10 years (and thank god for that) but I can see tomorrow, eating a lunch of spinach and falafel, on a beach. I can see a phone ringing, with a friend’s name onscreen. And I can see myself waking up in a bed, wanting to get straight out of it. Why can’t a big change just be a bunch of small ones? And why can’t settling down be a massive adventure?