Your Turn Challenge Day 6 – What would Chekov think of this guy?

Your Turn Challenge Day 6

Write about a time when you surprised yourself?

A Man stands in a city street; banging the top of a litter bin whilst chanting in a Rastafarian fashion ‘This town is great!’

In another town, a man in his 50’s regularly attends a nightclub where the music is blasting out; he sits in solitude and reads a novel, whilst men flirt with girls who dance in unflattering dresses.

In a coastal-based town, another man attends theatre shows on multiple occasions, on his own: all who work there understands his passion for an alternate reality as he soaks up the atmosphere inside the auditorium.

As I stand outside a students union with my friend, he points to an oak tree that has been paved around by the side of the road, and observes how it has been there before any of this concrete existed.

A councillor I meet for the first time at a pub explains to me the pride he holds in his job and that because of his duty, people can walk home safe at night, but laments at how nobody appreciates it.

Then all of a sudden, after reading short stories of an author during the day, it came to my mind whilst talking to this man to ask myself, ‘What would Chekov make of this guy?’

I really surprised myself that I asked such a question, but it really aided me in observing what this intelligent man was saying and why he was saying it. My thoughts before were that councillors are generally inept at their job, but here I am standing opposite one of them, having one of the most insightful conversations I had had in the past few months.

The reason I asked that question though albeit subconsciously is because of one simple reason, I decided to invest my time reading and exploring the minds of brilliant artists and writers who observe things that others don’t see, in an attempt to do the same things myself.

Every day, it is easy for us humans to become trapped in our own bubble, riddled with pride, entertaining our minds with trivial nonsense and be hasty to assume and judge others. I think it is important to get in the habit of forcing ourselves at least once a day to shift the looking glass so that we can observe something or someone without our judgement, preconceptions or non-confirmation bias.

Each town, city and village has its quirks, it’s charms and it’s repulsions, but the people there are what make it. It has come to truly fascinate me how the aesthetic of each town is built by such intricate details and characters. The people described above may appear to most as crazy, but in reality they are no different than the rest of us in what makes us human. The more I explore the minds of great writers such as Chekov, the more I realise for myself that life truly is a wondrous thing.

I sit in a café, looking out the window as people pass by rushing to and from places. The clouds gather and a heavy rainfall starts for a brief spell and then subsides to a ray of sunlight. For ten seconds…the street is clear and there is strange but peaceful stillness.

Your Turn Challenge Day 1 – Help! I’m having a post university identity crisis.

I have decided to participate in the YourTurn Challenge proposed by Seth Godin and Winne Kao. This challenge comprises of writing a blog every day for seven days and the following is my first article.

Day 1 – Help! I’m having a post-university identity crisis!

On August 8th 2014, I walked out of the door of the Academy of Contemporary Music and embarked on the first steps of my life where I would be no longer in full-time education.

In all honesty, I embraced the situation rather erratically, I fled off to France for a getaway weekend with friends of a friend, converted to vegetarianism, bought about a dozen new shirts and took midnight walks along the countryside of my hometown in Wales, looking up to the stars with some hope that they would provide an answer to my elusive question…what next?

The feeling of disorientation brought upon oneself after having going through the continuous process of being graded is inevitable. One of my favourite film directors Guillermo Del Toro says in his book that the toughest time in a man’s life is in his twenties because you are fiercely screaming who you are, but you have only half a notion of who you are. I can identify entirely with that. The future can be as terrifying as much as it is exciting, and what is to be experienced in success or failure remains uncertain.

What doesn’t add any assurance to the matter is that the current stream of British government in office could not give a flying saucepan about younger people. The hike in tuition fees and cutting housing benefit for under 25’s is stark evidence of that.

So we have a choice. Either we choose not to have a choice and submit to the rat race in cold comfort scarily akin to Noam Chomsky’s prediction, or we can choose that it be for us to look upon ourselves to gain a stronger sense of conviction of what we have to offer to this world and advise each other. After searching the Internet, I am pleased to say the latter is happening from young writers in good strength, and now I feel it is my turn to partake.

So here are three things that I eventually learnt and have helped me embrace 2015 with an open mind and I hope that it can be of more help to others.

  1. When it comes to learning, you have just started

I’ve discovered that at whatever age you are it’s irrelevant to the fact that you never cease to learn new things. So I’ve spent a lot of time searching and exploring, listening and reading. The power of the latter is undervalued to a certain extent. I have read arguably as much in the last six months than I have in my entire life. Reading forces the mind into thinking for itself and I have truly felt the benefits of reading anything; from Biographies of my inspirations, Tolstoy or Chekov, Plato or Aristotle to the poetry of Rilke and Keats. All of it has allowed me to continue to gain in wisdom in some form or another.

  1. Our generation has the time

For the generation above, I think it was more expected of people to go straight into full time work and live independently. For us, the scenario is different, it isn’t at all accessible for many of us to afford housing of our own for the time being and therefore it is acceptable for a fair amount of us to reside with parents to figure things out slowly but surely.

We can make mistakes; we can try our hand at different career paths how to live our lives following our passions. Whilst the central powers aren’t necessarily opening as many doors for younger people to work up a career ladder as previously, the internet has offered us a universal ability to create our own doors and establish our own ideas and make something happen.

  1. Enjoy the present moment

It’s very easy to forget this when you are young, have ambitions and the future is out there to attain; but the key to being able to truly enjoy it all is by fully embracing the now. Enjoying the present moment.

Whilst I can still walk among the stars for solace and serenity, one of Shakespeare’s quotes comes to mind. It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.

Why are you doing the Your Turn challenge?

Just over a year ago, one of my lecturers, who is a blogger himself recommended that I should start tempting my hand at writing after observing my tendencies to be a deep thinker (a more apt description would be over-thinker). It was great advice and I have seen how liberating an experience it has been for him and have been somewhat conscious of how writing could hold the same virtues for me.

Since graduating, I have published a handful of articles, but in no manner, have I really dedicated to making a committed effort for it due to a number of reasons excuses including the crisis mentioned this article and tackling a host of a new exciting music projects. After seeing this challenge, I feel the time has come to get me into real momentum so that I can blog on a regular basis.