Our normal needs more crazy

I don’t think this horse has a name, just a legacy. It is a recent addition to this street and has heads turning every single time. Why wouldn’t it? It is a horse on roller skates for crying out loud!

Then again, that is all it is. A horse and roller skates. Two very normal things combined to completely throw us off guard. Add some bright colours into the mix to truly go off the rails.

Normal+Normal=Crazy.

Something so simple is very effective at grabbing attention, it is that easy to stand out. Our everyday is very repetitive, our work patterns and dress codes, our watercooler conversations and elevator silences. A dog rocking pink shoes at the beach is like an oasis in the desert for our under-stimulated eyes and boy, did he like the attention.

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There is a reason we weren’t satisfied with black and white television. There is a reason colouring books exist. Colour adds so much more to our lives. Nothing compliments a sunny day like a burst of colour. Nothing gives hope to a cloudy day like a brightly painted house or bright yellow camper van. We need colour to stay sane and these bright blessings aren’t given enough chance.

My flatmate never wears black socks with his suits. He insists that avoiding them makes him happier and more motivated for the day ahead. I insisted that my fathers funeral was a colourful one. Even the darkest days need light, you could say they need them the most. Can you imagine if we all decided to wear greens, yellows and pinks everyday? It wouldn’t seem attention seeking or over the top if it was the new normal.

We set the standard for what is normal, why not raise the bar a little? There would be an even greater appreciation for those that go beyond that.

To infinity!

 

On top of the world

Blogging is great therapy. My daily routine has changed completely since deciding to write every day and with that, my motivation to do so much outside of blogging. It is like obtaining a master key but not to enter a room, to escape one. A dark room that left little desire to spread a message, one that I wouldn’t want to spread without a healthy frame of mind.

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That master key thankfully works to unlock so much more. I get out of bed earlier. I have breakfast. I will do twenty push-ups if I know I won’t be able to go to the gym today. I spend the day looking around for motivation for my next post instead of looking for a clock telling me when I will be able to go back to bed. I have more reason to get out of bed and more meaning to my days between sleeping.

Healthy eating is another, I don’t need to seek as much happiness from junk food. I have never been a very unhealthy eater but I am still seeing benefits. There is less boredom in my day, less desire to find excitement in areas that don’t benefit my body and mind. If my mind is constantly stimulated I have less time to rest my head on that pillow of procrastination. It is simple but effective. I used to be Indiana running away from work ethic, I prefer to be the ball of motivation chasing my doubts and pessimism away. Once it is rolling, it is much harder to slow down.

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I enjoy being the ball.

I am saving money as I am not spending it trying to pass time. Saving for greater things to blog about. You will see where it takes me in the next few months, providing I don’t lose my passport before then. Ah! There is another positive. I don’t hate waiting for fun things I have planned later in the year as I am having fun today. They say good things come to those who wait. Why wait, and why not have fun everyday? It is possible. There is a huge wasted opportunity when living for something you have planned later in the year. All attention is on that calendar date and crossing the boxes until it arrives. What happens to the days that have been crossed off? Were they just seen as stepping stones? Each one consists of 24 hours, that is a huge chunk of time to let slip by. After a few of these it isn’t days but life that is slipping by. Don’t make that mistake.

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The more I aim to do the worse I feel when I do not keep busy. As long as this busy consists of things that I enjoy, I feel good. It has been said that one of the biggest regrets from people on their death bed is working too hard. I believe that if work is your ambition and consisting of things you enjoy, it won’t be work. Our aim is to find work that we want to do, not that we need to do to keep going.

If I can live a life mostly consisting of what I enjoy, I will feel good. The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best day is today. There is no quicker way to get to where you want than to start right now, and hopefully I will not have to ride so many cable cars to feel like I am on top of the world.

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Life would be boring without pain

Life would be boring without pain, they say. A life without pain wouldn’t have any meaning, it would serve no purpose. No reason to carry on.

Is marriage only beautiful after divorce?

Is laughter only heartwarming around the occasional tear and suffering?

Why does something have to end for it to have been beautiful? And why do we desire negativity to give positivity any worth?

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Courtesy of Bill Williams over at Unsplash

I refuse to think like that.

And I don’t hold a God in high regard that needs such a method to keep us occupied. An intelligent creator would be able to provide a species a life of worth without pain every now and then to remind us of what we used to have. A family member isn’t only worth loving after they are no longer with me. A beautiful building doesn’t attract my attention after it has been demolished.

No-one should be imprisoned to help them value freedom.

No-one should be given bouts of depression to help them value life.

I don’t value a world that is full of pain and loss, just to value love and joy.

Am I grateful in this life? Of course. Should I expect God’s punishment just to value his praise? No.

There is a beauty in that.

Youth is wasted on the young 

Go out tonight, even if you are at work early tomorrow morning. After all, what is the point of working if you don’t get to spend your earnings doing what you want to do?

You might feel like shit when that first alarm sounds, that feeling will pass. The memories you make the night before may turn out to be the best memories you will ever have. Meeting the partner you will marry later in life, maybe you will find the inspiration to start a blog, write a book or make music. 


Missing the event that caught your eye in preparation for the start of your 9-5 may please your boss and make you feel a little more productive, but if it is in a job that you don’t want to be in, it’s a wasted opportunity.

When you look back at your life, you won’t remember the mornings in which you had a great nights sleep. 

Father’s Day reflections

Walking down the river today (with Hold Back The River by James Bay coincidentally and amusingly stuck in my head), I reflected.

It’s Father’s Day. For some, not others. Those who choose to embrace it despite loss, some angry or upset growing up without a father figure and wanting the day to end. The lucky ones spending the day with dad. There are many, many ways people will be looking at today, for many understandable reasons.

I for one, am spending my second Father’s Day without my dad. So it’s still a bit surreal. I still feel he could pop around the corner at any time or call me and I’d hear his voice. That may never go away, I’ll have to see. I’m sure many can relate.

My dad was religious, but not overly. We would have debates but they were never intense, we would have a cup of tea and share a laugh about something afterwards. When I was younger I’d sometimes find him asleep on the couch with Christian radio on, yet I felt no pressure to go to church or say grace before a meal. He believed and kept it to himself. Something I don’t think he had the freedom from as a child, so he has decided on this for me. For that I am entirely grateful.

I’m getting pretty annoyed with myself as I write this, because I feel I didn’t do enough back. He was always there for me no matter what. He would pick me up at the most ridiculous of hours, my safety and comfort was top priority. Sometimes I feel he was too generous for his own good, yet as I get older and hear more and more awful stories around the world, I don’t think this is possible. Hindsight is a wonderful thing indeed. I love my dad and he knew this. We never fell out and sometimes I find I’m reminding myself this so I don’t doubt myself. As humans we always fear the worst and let negative imaginary scenarios overwhelm and override the positive truth.

As a Christian, I do not feel my dad benefited. I was brought up by an amazing Christian, yet as a follower of The Lord he did not exactly seem, let’s say, prioritised by God.

Just into his sixties, my father suffered an awful, terminal disease. One that was only diagnosed on the day he died. One that our hematologist only encountered eight times that year in the whole of the UK. It turned out to be a T- Cell Lymphoma, one rare and aggressive enough to only give me another three months with my dad.

I was in a state of shock. I still am. I do believe the brain limits what we can take in at times to help us from going insane with grief, for whatever reason. I remember feeling more overwhelmed with emotion at funerals of the deceased I was less connected to, which didn’t make sense to me. It is something I want to look into.

So this is why I know I do not need to believe. Did my dad suffer at the end because he never went to church despite believing? Not a good enough reason. Was it down to me being an atheist? No way, I’m not having that. Was it because we are only human and still succeptable to many diseases we are not familiar with? That sounds pretty reasonable to me. Religion just doesn’t do anything for me. And this tragic event is not a good advertisement. If God helps you, well I have a right to be annoyed and angry. My family deserve some divine intervention just as much as anyone else. My dad never had any signs from God to look out for what was coming, we needed human technology to help him remain as pain free and stable as possible towards the end. No matter how many times we are told A, B and C are reasons to believe, they aren’t good enough. The closest thing to God we have are believers with a kind heart, and I’m incredibly lucky my dad was one of them.

Have the best Father’s Day possible, whatever you are doing.

Everyone has that certain song

Nostalgia is pretty powerful, not many things in life bring it out faster than music. The song used to be a favourite but now has more of a meaning, for the better or worse. 

Maybe you listened to it with your ex. A song that reminds you of a favourite holiday perhaps, you want to jump straight into that photograph sitting on your work desk and be there again. 

  

We all have at least one. A song that was great but now holds much more weight. The whole Country genre reminds me of moving abroad on my own at 21 and meeting a girl, it doesn’t take much for me to look back and reminisce.

One song in particular for me is Blurry, by Puddle Of Mudd. My dad played this piece of music over and over again, to my delight as I loved it to. I still do. 

I went to see the band live a couple of years ago, my dad later regretted not going and unfortunately, never got to. This is not to say he did not have experiences in his life, he went to see some of the best bands around at some amazing festivals. It just means much more when I had the chance to see the gig with him.

Watching the video brings even more emotion as it is about a father and child. Thankfully, I can relate to the love between the two. 

  

It is amazing how powerful the feelings of loss can be with the right trigger. I could be out in a bar socialising and one song can catch me off guard, to the point of sitting down overwhelmed by emotion and over-thinking things. 

Whether it be love and happiness or sadness and regret, I am grateful to experience such a phenomena. And out of it I’ve learned to live my life so nostalgia of the future will be with a smile.

What is your song? Maybe it’s an album or something else completely, it could remind you of a person, a favourite place you have been or a childhood memory. 

I’d love to hear it.

Would you cause misery without God?

It’s a worrying trend. Religious folk are trying (well, failing) to convince me that because there is no God cementing laws into the fabric of this Universe, we can do what we want. Good or bad. 

Oh, but there is no bad. Anything deemed evil can only be truly so if God says so. 

I am now starting to picture those with this mentality coming to the realisation there is no God. Flapping like a kid taking off his armbands for the first time in swimming class, breaking into a cold sweat at the realisation they have a choice to be moral on their own accord. Not because God says so.

Reading various blogs it does seem (sadly) that many believers wouldn’t choose a good way of life in a world without God. The apparant option between good and evil would be a no brainer. 

Because there is no God, evil has to be the way. Although we have well established social etiquette and understand when we make others suffer with no apparant benefits to ourselves, if there is no afterlife, meh, why not cause a bit of misery? We are just empty shells lacking direction if we are alone.

  

Yep, morality differs between cultures, there is no absolute. In an ever more multicultural society there will be social conflicts however steps will be taken by both sides to reconsider what is believed to be a ‘good’ person.

Atheism, or a life lived without the belief in a God, is not the threat. The threat is the religious believer that feels religion preserves a stable society but would happily go against all morality if there is no praise to gain.   This is cowardly beyond belief, not to mention a huge step back. I like to think this is just a scare tactic more than anything though, if it came down to it I think those in question would be a lot more civil.

I fail to comprehend the notion that pain and suffering are not experienced if a God is not present. Christians feel pain, Muslims feel pain, atheists feel pain. Regardless of belief, this is observed. We know we feel pain. To use this as a reason to cause suffering, as after all it is ‘just a natural sensation with no higher power determining it right or wrong to inflict on someone’, is disgusting. The works of a bully. 

Dear believer. You are really threatening your own welfare by making such silly claims. It is an open invitation to bully, manipulate and treat you worse than you deserve. You know as well as I do that individuals would suffer just as much without a God determining morality.

Guess what, there is a possibility that God does not exist, I would like to introduce you to this new reality. And if you are happy to cause anarchy in this new Godless world, well good on you for acting immature. The truth hurts, you can either grow up and contribute productively or create the awful fate that you would oh so like to see just to get a point across.

There are 7 billion people you can set a good example for instead of your single God. Please think of your future generations instead of yourself.