There is no try

Life starts as a journey full of possibilities, and at each turn we make a choice which leads us down a different track.

Whenever I contemplate writing an autobiography I suspect the world is not yet ready for the torrent of self-obsessed drivel which would result. However, if there is a lesson I believe I have learned over the past half century, it’s this: we choose.

Don’t give me excuses. We choose whether to be kind or hurtful. We choose whether to be ruled by heart or head. We choose when to laugh and when to cry, when to let it fester and when to let it go. What happens in the world is just that. It happens. But we can choose how we react to it, how we deal with it and how we precipitate events for others to respond.

Life is not necessarily easy, in fact it’s never easy. Fooling ourselves into thinking it’s something that happens to us, instead of around us, just makes it harder. There may be constraints that make some things impossible. I’m pretty sure I still can’t fly like Superman; but Superman is fiction and wanting something doesn’t mean it’s possible, even with effort and cool gadgets and solving difficult problems with science and stuff. We can’t choose to break the laws of physics, for example, although with medical science we may nudge around them to give ourselves a helping hand. We don’t get to choose what limits us, but we do get to choose how we deal with it.

Now I feel a bit like Yoda with his “Do or do not. There is no try.” It sounds harsh. I don’t mean it that way. All I mean is that I try not to blame anyone for where I am, and if something bothers me enough then I try and work out what compromise I can make to improve it.

Dear reader, I still get incensed by life. I write my ranty blog posts, most of which never make it onto your screen. I write caustic letters in my head to CEOs of companies that have failed to provide a suitable level of service. I deliver sarcastic diatribes to the ears of dribbling service operatives who appear to think it’s OK to be appalling at what they do. (I also like to remember to thank those who do things well, and forget to do so far too often.) In my dreams I rule the world; peace and order prevail, because all the silly, fighty, shouty people have been locked in a room and told not to come out until they have shaken hands and made up. And they have to really, really mean it too.

Given that I don’t listen to my own sage advice, there is clearly no compunction on you to do so. I choose to act like an idiot, and sometimes I choose to be better. Hopefully some of those around me choose not to mind.

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