So, this week…has definitely been a week. It’s most definitely been seven full rotations of the Earth around its spin axis, and definitely been approximately 1.92% of the Earth’s transit around one orbit of the Sun. No-one could possibly argue otherwise unless, by some happy chance, the Universe is sucked into a time vortex that takes the whole of Humanity back seven days before anyone gets to read this. We can only hope.
As weeks go, though, it’s been a bit of a funny one: not one of the easiest to get through, but one that had to happen. I sort of came to terms with some things that I’ve probably needed to come to terms with for a long while. I’m not sure I’ve completely made my peace with them yet, but I guess the key thing is that my head is now attempting to look forward at what’s to come, rather than pointing at the floor and trying to wish that everything would just work out. Sometimes, in order to see the bright and the beautiful, you have to wade through the murky and the miserable.
Naturally, when you feel like misfortune is clogging up every channel of positivity and nothing seems to work out, you start to question the concept of ‘luck’: despite all my best efforts, I don’t feel particularly graced with good fortune at the moment. I mean, of course, I’m a semi-affluent, white male in the developed world that doesn’t need to forage for food or shelter or safety from life-threatening danger each day, so obviously I’ve been graced with a certain, sizable amount of ‘luck’ in my life already. But removing the long-term vision and focussing just on the short-term, things haven’t really been going my way in terms of major life progress: I’m still in between jobs; I’m single, not exactly in Olympic-level fitness and hardly swimming in money a la Scrooge McDuck. It’s not like I’m expecting to win the lottery or anything, but it’s amazing how effective a moderate stream of minor successes and compliments/congratulations can be; and how confidence-eroding it can be when there’s an absence of a breadcrumb trail of good news trickling into your daily life.
But could I have changed any of this? Am I responsible for my own good ‘luck’?
A lot of people put a lot of stock in the power of positive thinking, and how it seems to attract good things towards your face with frequency and velocity. I appreciate that, sometimes, I’m not the world’s most positive person – I realise that I get bogged down by my own flaws and faults, and stuck worrying about how I’m not any of the people I look up to – but I work hard to try to make things and write things and design things as a way of constantly improving something. In that respect, I take great stock in making small, daily improvements to things; analogous to minor stat upgrades in a Role-Playing Game where you’re ever edging your character closer and closer to the required level at which to take on the big boss. Much of the frustration I feel at the moment is that _because_ I’m in between jobs and relationships and whatever else, it’s hard to feel like you’re making such incremental progress to your own operating system (Simon 3.0) because you (arguably) don’t know what you’re working towards.
[In more simple terms: there are no current users of Simon 3.0, so how do I know what features I should be upgrading?]
Of course, the answer to that question is that it should be the other way around – you don’t try to tailor your own operating system to any users (or potential users), you design your OS to work correct for you and it’s up to the users to discover its smooth features and approachable interface. There are a lot of other operating systems out there in the world, but there’s only one you; and if users choose not to subscribe to your network, or applications decide not to port to your system, then the fault lies not with the OS, but with the external device.
Kris Roe of The Ataris possibly summed up this sentiment most succinctly in ‘The Hero Dies in This One’:
“The hardest part isn’t finding what we need to be; it’s being content with who we are. STAY WHO YOU ARE.”
(Kris Roe, 2003)
For too much of the early part of this week, I was stuck in a digital wasteland; shooting imaginary bandits in the head with an array of powerful semi-automatic weapons (that is to say, I was playing Borderlands) rather than facing the world and embracing the wonderful selection of friends that I have around me. Even if I’m in-between pretty much everything at the moment and feeling like I’m not moving forward at all, I’m determined to pick up the courage to let myself wander out in the wild world again. Wandering out into the real, social wasteland may have the potential for actual bad things and bandits, but it’s the only way to truly improve yourself; and it’s better to throw yourself out to the lions than to say that you’ve never been on a safari.
It sounds silly, but the key to not being invisible is to be visible. Throw yourself into endeavours, show the world your face, rather than hiding it. Sitting alone, weeping, in a corner is not the way that I’m going to make my mark on the world or anyone in it; Simon 3.0 has got so much love to give, and it’s resilient as hell. Let’s go on fucking safari.