What I would say to the younger me

I read something quite profound today. It was on one of those really stupid e-card things, but for once, instead of inducing an uncontrollable scroll-the-mouse-wheel reflex, this one actually made me think. A little. The card read “ask yourself this: would your younger self like the adult version you’ve become?”

That moment when

Wow. Like the first time you see boobs kinda wow. Or that time you kissed that girl behind the grandstands and walked home smiling all the way – even though you knew you were half an hour late and dad was waiting for you with his belt at the ready. Man, it was worth it, and you’d probably do it again regardless of the outcome. (And I actually did – quite a number of times after that, he he).

I remember the day in the first grade when our teacher, Miss Barnard, asked the class what we would like to be “one day when we grow up”. The boy next to me wanted to be a policeman, the ponytail in the front (goodie two shoes) wanted to be a teacher, of course, and my friend James was aspiring to greatness as a pilot. Me? Well I wanted to be Superman.

The Epiphany

Miss Barnard, James and even Ponytail didn’t get it. But I did. I wanted to be my dad. He was invincible, bulletproof and how the hell did he manage to lift me up just like that – with one arm? He was a werewolf killer, a boogieman hunter, a detective of note and never, ever did he cry. I’m pretty sure he had a blue spandex with a red cape hidden in some secret superhero cupboard somewhere. (My sister and I will probably find out one day.)

He’s in his sixties now, and he still has his powers – although I’m convinced he only uses them now when it’s absolutely necessary. The point is, he’s still tough as nails. I recon life made him this way because it was an easier task than trying to get him to quit. He is a man who has had his back up against the wall many times, and never backed down – instead he pushed back harder. “They can kill me, but they can’t eat me,” he always says. I believe that to this day.

So would I like myself?

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The present day me.

Actually, yeah, I kinda think I would. At least I hope I would (if not, I could probably give the younger me a wedgie until he did. Or I did.) But the older me hasn’t done too badly really. Sure, I’ve made mistakes and Ive hurt people along the way, but it was never intentional and there are times I wish I could go back and prevent those happenings. But generally speaking, I kinda think Ive done alright.

I’ve traveled the world without any money, played in a real life rock band, lived in more places than I remember – mostly because I was fresh outta cash and couldn’t pay the rent, partied till the sun came up and even, almost, got hitched. It was tough, but I survived.

I have two beautiful, healthy kids whom I’m trying to raise by myself and I am fortunate to have friends and family helping out with that. Went through a terrible break up, lost my job and had to sell everything I owned a few times over to make ends meet – but I survived.

I’ve had my car repossessed, walked my son to school for three months during the winter until I eventually managed the cash to buy an old ’84 Honda which took another two months to get running. I lost some weight during that time, but I survived. During this time my daughter was born. I was forced to work three jobs to make ends meet. But I survived.

It has been little over a year now that I’ve been unemployed in an effort to follow my dream of owning my own magazine. I sold every little piece of furniture I owned to pay the rent – again. Lost the apartment I stayed in because, well there was that little cash issue. Many told me to go get a job in the months that I couldn’t pay my rent or even put petrol in my car. I refused. Three months ago the first edition of my magazine – The Planner’s Notebook – hit the shelves. The second edition is printing in three weeks by the way. So far, I’ve survived.

Even Superman has a weakness

Mine is love. It is the one area I seem to keep screwing up. And again, this is not because I want to screw up, but rather I obviously don’t get “the game”. Or I do, but I’m over it. This “game” is starting to become more and more appealing to the spectator in me. I could rant on about this, but I won’t – this blog is already way passed the attention span limit of most readers. I will say though that the further you keep away from your own kryptonite, the safer you will be.

So what’s the point?

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The younger me.

My point is that I probably wouldn’t like myself as an adult. But more importantly I wouldn’t care about the opinions of that younger me. In retrospect I probably wouldn’t like the younger me. In fact, if I could travel back a few years and meet the younger me, there is something I would say to him. He wouldn’t get it until now. “Pussy”.

Why falling in love has nothing to do with orgasms

A lot has been said about the idea of falling in love, or love for that matter, and what attracts us as mammals to the opposite sex. Religion says it’s a spiritual thing, science claims its all chemicals and Hollywood states it’s all about sex, letters in bottles and rose petals on the wooden floors of loft apartments to entice newly divorced neighbours.

But what makes us fall in love?

Cosmo just recently published another completely construed, sensation-seeking piece of defecation entitled “What makes men fall in love“.   In this pile of horse manure the world’s 13A-Can-you-Love-Someone-without-Physical-Attractionleading cause of heartbreak and dysfunctional relationships claimed to have found the four reasons that make a man fall in love with a woman. Being a man I developed Tourettes syndrome while reading through this crap and decided to set the record straight. Because let’s face it, it’s always the guy that cheats, its always the guy that’s not romantic or well mannered enough, or not well dressed enough and its most always the guy’s fault that the relationship didn’t work. Really? So you don’t think that maybe he also gets a little fed up with your crap as much as you do with his? Maybe he doesn’t think that Hollywood’s version of romance is actually romantic at all.

Why do guys and girls fall in love? Nobody knows, least of all me. Especially not me in fact – but what we do know is that being in love is fantastic. But why don’t we stay in love if it’s so amazing?

Sometimes we do, and sometimes those moments are the ones we hold onto.

Cupid, the Scientologist 

So Cupid’s quite a clever little bow-toting angel winged assassin. Another “recent study” has found that a lot of the times this little dude really is blind. And that it actually a good thing.

Time clipping Cupid's wings. By Pierre Mignard back in 1630.

Time clipping Cupid’s wings. By Pierre Mignard back in 1630.

At least it has to be if nature is to ensure that a species continues to procreate. So a number of tests were run and a number of people interviewed etc etc and what they found was that basically there are three stages of falling in love namely Lust, Attraction and Attachment. (And in the process they debunked the whole Cupid idea which I foresee will be the cause of many a Valentine’s Day break up.)

Each of these stages are driven by different sets of complex hormones and other really clever sounding chemical reactions – all of which have allegedly been studied to the nth degree by really clever dudes in white coats somewhere in the States. Isn’t it funny how “they” are always scientists from somewhere in the States?

Be that as it may, these guys asked some of their shrink buddies for input on the matter. These Psychologists showed that it only takes between 90 seconds and four minutes to decide if you like someone. Their research stated that this has little to do with what is said when you first meet, but that it kinda works in percentages as follows: 55% is through body language, 38% is the tone and speed of their voice and only 7% is through what they actually said to you. So it’s mostly very superficial.

The first stage – Lust

As it states, its all about getting it on. It’s that simple apparently and it’s because of the sex hormones testosterone and oestrogen in both guys and girls. So would all the girls please stop with the “guys are so pathetic, all they wanna do is have sex” nonsense. It goes both ways, or according to science at least.

The second stage – Attraction

So here it would seem we have the three musketeers of all those butterflies in your tummy moments. Apparently attraction is all because of Adrenaline, Dopamine and Serotonin. imagesRoughly translated it means that the same stuff that helps you scale a six foot wall when that Rottweiler is coming at you from across the road, is the stuff that causes you to like someone. Which is probably why its so scary. Not the Rottweiler, the really hot girl in the bikini applying sunscreen at the pool or the six pack wielding hunk of man meat washing his Kawasaki in the drive way.  The initial stages of “falling” for someone activates your stress response, increasing your blood levels of adrenalin and cortisol. This has the charming effect that when you unexpectedly bump into your new “love”, you start to sweat, your heart races and your mouth goes dry. Nice!

The third stage – Attachment

Love_Hormone_InfogramAnd finally we have the evil sorcerer, the big bad wolf, the ogre in the woods. Oxytocin. Even the name sounds a little “dark side of the force-ish”. This is a powerful hormone released by men and women – you guessed it – during orgasm. Pay attention dudes, an orgasm is that thing you didn’t know girls also liked. Scientists have agreed that it probably deepens the feelings of attachment and makes couples feel much closer to one another after they have had sex. The theory goes that the more sex a couple has, the deeper their bond becomes.

So now what?

Well I don’t know. Do I care? Nah.

What I do know is that “falling” implies that the process is in some way uncontrollable and risky – as in the phrases “to fall ill” or “to fall into a trap”. The famous biologist, Jeremy Griffith, suggested that people fall in love in order to abandon themselves to the dream of an ideal state (being one free of the human condition).

I for one believe that it’s the physical consequence of a spiritual awakening. I like the fall. It is exhilarating and if it were likened to skydiving I would never open my chute. Hitting the ground at terminal velocity would be a welcome reprieve from the notion that pulling the chord and playing it safe could  forever take you from me.

And if I were forced to look at this through the Petr dish in some lab, I would still see you there under the microscope of things. Because maybe it’s all just chemicals and maybe it all boils down to stages and hormones and natural progression. Maybe they’re right and maybe all their scientific research has finally proven it…

Chemistry exists

and

you

are

my

drug.

Love is jealous….oh wait, no it’s blind.

Let’s talk cliche for a minute. But, let’s not waste your time with the insignificant ones shall we? You guys don’t like reading anyway so I’m going to start with the biggest of the bunch – “love is blind”.

The Black Sheep

Made famous in classic literature way back by the revered novelist, George Bernard Shaw in his masterpiece An Unsocial Socialist. The problem is we have gone and misquoted the guy, as it seems we like doing with any literature from our past. The full sentence reads “You can hardly blame me for that: I was in love myself; and love is blind and jealous.”

But we left out jealous. Because jealous is not cool, and it certainly is not in line with what another famous writer said when he wrote “love is patient, love is kind… love is never jealous…”  In contradiction to this, the very author of the book containing this statement said “God is love” and later also that “God is a jealous God”. But love is not jealous, so that means that either God is not love or that there is a god called love and another called jealous. (No blasphemy intended here by the way, just taking a neutral and objective look at all the angles).

Anyway.

So now we have a problem. If jealousy is the opposite to love does that mean there can be not one without the other? Like a twisted Yin-Yang. That would mean that if you aren’t jealous you are not in love. Or am I completely missing the point here?

A little closer to home

Now, for a very long time I was the flag-bearer of the notion that love is a choice not an emotion. But, as of late I have given that some thought. If love is not an emotion that means you can chose and that means you can control it, right? So why then can jealousy not be controlled? Why is jealousy an emotion then? And after thinking for a minute I realized that jealousy is blind, not love. And jealousy can be controlled – by love. According to the Word Smith in the now-popular-and-soon-to-be-completed (uhum) novel, Dial Earth For Operator, “Love is the pair of spectacles you place on the weary eyes of jealousy to make it see the obvious.”

I like that. In fact I believe we’ve made a bit of a breakthrough here really. Two people see one another for the first time and they fall in love over time as they get to know one another. Obviously there is the physical attraction too…which is noticed through the use of….your eyes. That alone cancels out the blind part. But I think what the cliche intends to say is that when you truly love someone, you notice their faults and slight imperfections, but chose to look past them because the feeling you get from being around them is just too amazing to risk. And I agree in some way. But when a guy starts beating his partner, or she starts cheating on him, don’t you think “love is blind” is just a way for you to hide the fact that you actually like that kind of attention?

Surely there has to be a limit set somewhere, because I’m sorry but even a person who is really, physically blind would realize that when someone continuously inflicts harm upon you, they really don’t like you too much.

So the point is?

Okay, so back to the cliche. I think we can lay this one to rest. It has become clear after investigating the crime scene that love is not the perpetrator, but that it was jealousy…in the ballroom with a candle stick…

Tell us what you think, because your opinion matters to us…no really, it does…so do your shares and likes and participation in the poll at the bottom of this blog. Also, we know we’ve touched on some sensitive stuff here and that you all want a chance to have your say. So here ya go…here’s a soapbox.

 

So if right is to left then…

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Chess. It’s said to be one of the oldest forms of entertainment in the history of the human race. Or at least the story goes that it was actually not a game at all and it started as a way for generals to strategically plan their campaigns.

Life. It’s said to be even older than the game of chess. So why is it that not one human being has successfully mastered it? Could it be because life is so short that by the time we get to mastering it, it’s over? Is it too short then? How can we say that life is too short when it really is the longest thing we will ever experience? Or is it? Maybe Experience is the longest thing we’ll ever…experience? Or maybe we are just that, an experience. Maybe we are a part of something that is using each one of us a separate experience? Like maybe God. Or at least what we perceive a god to be. Maybe “god” is a collective noun for experience? Maybe collective is a verb?

So then does that mean that chess is really more than just a game? Perhaps a game is more than just chess and perhaps the idea of pitting oneself against another over a few pieces on a board is a way of testing your own experience against that of another version of yourself?

That would explain anticipation. Or would it? If we are all connected through the same subconscious does that mean we are all really good chess players? Or really good at avoiding asking questions about life because thinking is an experience most have never experienced to begin with? Like love for example. Perhaps love is a game too. And perhaps in this game nobody really plays but everybody kinda wins somewhere along the line. Even spectators win as watching two people in love can be rather entertaining. Unlike watching two people play chess, which is kinda boring, except for the opponents who excitedly watch for the next move?

So then maybe this collective noun verb thing has two sides to it’s… umm, brain. A left and a right. Much like ours. Which explains why you have creative people and analytical folk. Some can play chess and others can’t. The left brain people might just be the left brain of god and so too the right brain people. But if that is true then it brings us right back to love. What happens when a lefty and a “righty” decide to play THAT game? Do they form an ambidextrous union then? And which will be more dominant? More importantly which one plays white?

So despite all of these questions that will inevitably remain unanswered I have a theory. It’s simple really. Life is a game of chess played between two sides of a godly brain struggling to come to terms with its own existence on a board of life with pieces carved from love.

Yes, really.