Friday, 18 February 2011

there are things which we have seen with our eyes, heard with our ears, and our hands have handled the word of life

Do you live in the real world? Or is your reality a fanatasy spun by your mind to make you feel at ease or in touch with your desires? Do you think that where you live your life and how you live it is indicative of your own view of the world? Of what is right and what is wrong? Of how people should live, or of how people shouldn't? Do the tasks you accomplish, the hobbys you keep, the job you work or the friends you make fit into this view you have of yourself and your place in the world? Do you think that you, and everyone else, are living a lie? Because the truth is unattainable?

Sometimes I feel like that. A lot of the time I think other people are like that. I mean, who are we? How do you ever know that people are being truely themselves? People lie and act differently to each other all the time. How do I know that I am being myself? When you are with someone you have to act to you usually are aware of it. You have to put on an act of being who they desire you to be, or who you are expected to be. That's life I guess. And usually the problem is being yourself and not what others want you to be. Is there anyone in the world you can be 100% yourself with? Probably not, but at least you can be yourself with yourself.

What if the problem isn't who you are though, what if the problem is knowing who you are trying to be? If it's accepted that most are not content with life exactly as it is and aspire to something they are not, or no longer are, then what happens if you feel yourself straying off the path? Is it okay to feel like something has changed you without you even knowing it? Or should you strive even harder to reach what you thought you wanted, and who you thought you wanted to be? When faced with the vision you had for youself and the new you that is becoming, how do you know if the new you is acceptable? Is ditching the original giving up, or worse, becoming something less valuable? How do you know that the new idea isn't just a lazy one or a bad one?

I live in the city. I live in the city centre. I work literally 500 metres from where I live. I study 1000 metres from where I live. I also can study from home. If I need something (anything really), it is at most about 6-8 blocks away from me. I need never use a car, or any transport other than my legs. I shop at Aldi. I live in a flat. I need not take my shoes off at the door for they are never dirtier than dust or petrol rain water. I sleep through sirens. I sleep through shouting. I sleep through broken glass and car crashes and drunken arguments. I don't really know my neighbours and I don't care to. For exercize I go to the gym 2 blocks away and run on artifical moving ground. There are three different take aways within 100 metres of my home. There are numerous willing to deliver and all within 2 minutes. I am used to streetlight, helicopters and tall buildings and I no longer know the stars. I could easily spend a whole month without going out of a one mile radius and probably not notice. My life seems like a city, the length measured upwards, a column with multiple layers, rather than the tumbling extensive, horizontal lengths of the country.

I don't know if this is a good thing or not. I never used to think about it. Before I was 18 I lived in the country and was fairly happy with it. Apart from poor transportation to get to the things that are spread so wide, I liked the country. I liked being able to go for walks. I liked the quiet and the darkness and all there was to see. I was sure I could return with a big house and a bigger garden and all the space to roam. I still want this, but now I feel like it is somehow alien to me. Like somehow the city has brainwashed me.

You may think that living in the city is dangerous. Without regard for statistics, I venture that all that is dangerous is what you aren't used to. When I first moved here it felt like rapists and muggers were every solitary man walking up the road. Every car parked over night was bound to be smashed into the next morning. Every clean wall graffitti-ed, every clubber in hospital poisoned or beaten on the corner. I suppose that is still the case but you become used to such things. And it's not like I even see them. Learning to live within the pre-exsisting timetable of the city, and forming your timetable around this means enaging with such dangers happens rarely. The worst will be a drunken fight on the corner or a cosmetic shunt as someone jumps the red light. To be honest I am more safe here than I am in the country now. Singular cars following as you drive put you on edge. The air is colder, stiller, and everything achingly silent. The darkness is immense and overwhelming, you feel like you have jumped into a dark pool and sunk to the bottom to drown, with only the stars watching it happen. Going for a walk seems fearful; if someone were to attack you the nearest place to seek refuge may be miles away. In the city, even in the dead of night, somewhere will be open within a few blocks, of that there is little doubt.

I suppose the point is that it feels like I may have lost my way in life a little. I never meant to live here for this long. I intended to be out of Glasgow within four years and back to grass and trees and bungalows. Living here is the sensible and logical option, but I fear that it is far more than that now. I love my flat and it's dingy carbon monoxide poisioning gas fire, tall heating-bill ramping bay window, and fruity wallpaper. It's a stylistic challenge. I like living in the city where everything is everywhere and there isn't ever a question of everything moving on. Progress is rife here. It's like I've been institutionalised.

Maybe the idea we all have of the life we want to live is always merely something to aspire to. Maybe we know deep down we would never really want it in its entirity as it would be too much, and too foreign. Maybe we just grasp at little whispers of it and adorn our lives with these to show such aspirations. Perhaps if we got everything we dreamed of it would be the worst thing in the world to happen, for then there would be nothing left to wish for, and our days would be dull indeed. I think the word of life is a fantasy, one which colours our real life endlessley.

1 comment:

  1. I know just how you feel.

    I moved to Glasgow from Shetland in 2006 and it was a shock to the system, big time. But now that I've settled in Glasgow I want to be here for a good while yet. I might move home someday, but not yet.