Nine months ago I told a friend to go stick it where the sun don’t shine. And now he has a kid. Some people can be just a little too literal at times. Fortunately, I have a sense of humour about the whole thing (I can’t speak for him though). But all this was just a tweisted contrivance to take us on to the subject of seriousness. For some reason most of the western world (read: USA) seems to confuse being solemn with being serious.

People argue with me that I must take things seriously in order to get them done. This is not true (at least not in the common use of the word serious). In order to get things done I only have to want to get them done, that is all. It’s a desire that leads to an action. I do not need to be ‘serious’ or solemn while I go about it. I can smile, laugh, have a good time and still complete the task. I am apparently irresponsible.

What happens when things go wrong? Well, solemn people have a problem. They have inflated the importance of the issue and that can affect their judgement on not only the subject at hand, but other projects. Someone who doesn’t inflate the importance of the same issue is not going to lose perspective or judgement. The desire is still there. The person still wants to complete the task. There isn’t, however, the pressure. If they fail they suffer disappointment, just like the solemn people. But they don’t have the anxiety leading up to the final result.

People who are less solem are more able to live in the present. There are very few of us and we are told every day that we are wrong. The world tells us, constantly, to live in tomorrow. ‘Plan ahead’, ‘look to the future’, get your retirement funds building up at 20, start saving for your future child’s future. We’re planning over 100 years ahead by the time we’re 22. Do we think we can see that far with so little experience? What happened to today?

I’m not an anarchist. I realise there has to be some thought to the future. The key being some. So many people are so wrapped up in their ‘life goals’ they have nothing of worth in their lives now. The day they reach their current ‘life goal’ they will have set up another and won’t really enjoy it. You have to wonder why.

We could say that it’s because of advertising. We are all succeptiple to it. We are told that we have to do these things to plan for all eventualitles in life. We have to invest now to secure our future, even though we didn’t know before we were told that our future was insecure. We were quite optimistic actually. We thought we were going to conquer the world, remember? Do you remember that feeling from when you were in school. You weren’t going to be ordinary. We were going to be somebody special, someone to remember.

But it’s not advertising. Adverts just prey on feelings that we already have. We live for the future because we fear our worth in the present. If we live in the present we might have to do something real today, to make us feel more alive. We would have to take risks to justify our lives to ourselves. We would have to chase our dreams NOW, not settle for some watered down future version of it. So rather than measure our worth now we measure it in the future. We measure it not on who we are, but what we have saved.

If you ask someone of thirty tomorrow their worth they will answer you in money. If you ask someone of eighty I sincerely doubt they will.

Fight the fear. Feel everything now. Follow what you desire. Do what you want to do today and measure your worth by courage, kindness and intelligence. Measure other people’s worth in the same way. Include dress sense in the list if you have to.

Enough pontificating, I’ve been sober too long.


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