Success?


I almost always feel like writing when I’m about to go to bed and am actually too tired to write properly. As is the case currently…I mean, I don’t even have anything planned to write about. I have something to write in two days time, but that post really requires it to be the 31st of December.

Ah, there we go – an idea. I’ll keep it short tonight, partly as it’s a rather spontaneous, not very well thought out bit of writing here, and partly as I really need to sleep…I’ve got a train to catch in the morning after all.

I found myself in an odd position at the dinner table the other night and the conversation turned to future goals/careers/ all that jazz. Usually when you end up on a serious conversation about future goals and ‘success’, words you expect to hear may include ‘work harder’, ‘have direction and goals’, ‘take your work seriously’, among other things.

I got instead, the advice to stop working so hard and to enjoy myself a bit more. First year doesn’t count, the advice goes.

Now this suggestion is quite good fun put into context. The giver of the advice was my dad, who just happens to be a professor at Edinburgh University. In other words, the last person you would expect to hear ‘first year doesn’t count’ from.

The talk expanded into the idea of success – a concept which I often contest the meaning of. Success is in general taken to mean making money and getting to the top of a career, and is one of the roots of this ingrained norm in society: We’re born. We’re kids. We go to school. We go to work or go to university. We work up a corporate ladder. We make money. We retire. We go forever, having been ruled by money since we were kids.

Yet here I am, despite my view above on what is considered a ‘success’, working too hard, to get a top mark, to follow exactly the same chain. And the voice of reason is coming from that system.

I still hold however that success is not getting to the top of the money making machine. For me, happiness is success. Peace is success. Love is success. Knowledge is success. Experience is success.

These things can all be shared without any loss to anyone. When money is shared, one gains and one loses.

I don’t think success should contain loss. It’s idealistic, but I openly have a passion for idealism.

Of course I want success. But money and a career isn’t success.

I work hard for knowledge, not a future dream of money.

But a message from the system, of all places, is helping me to develop an image of what success really is.

.

And maybe one day i’ll be able to say more clearly what that may be, for I fully accept that right now, my view is incomplete, perhaps even ignorant and confused.

Just got to…flow.

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Half way up tiger leaping Gorge, Yunnan, China. That’s a view of success.

Thanks for reading, I hoped you enjoyed it.

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On home


What exactly is home?

Maybe for most people the question seems easy. For me, it’s an incredibly difficult question which only get harder over time. It makes me wonder if it really is such an easy question for everybody.

I’m from Edinburgh and have considered Scotland to be home for a long time. Yet, I spent most of my time in the south-east of England near Cambridge up until I was nearly 20. Already I seem divided between two places – where I come from and love, or where I was brought up.

Then there is that age-old saying of ‘home is where the heart is’, and I’ve always taken that to mean home is where your family and loved ones are. What do you do then, when the majority of your family live far away in other countries? My parents live in different towns. Other than them and my brother, my family is far away in the Netherlands or New Zealand, in places too far to reach often enough. Is the UK home, because my parents and brother are here? Is New Zealand home, because my parents are from there and much of my family are there? Is the Netherlands home, as my dad’s family are mainly living there?

I actually saw some of my Dutch family just a few days ago for Christmas. It was the first time in over 15 years that I’d visited them in the Netherlands. Given that i’m 21, that’s a fair proportion of my life without having the opportunity to know my family. Naturally it was lovely to be there, and I really had a nice time. But I realised just how little I know about my own family. It felt as if I had missed a whole part of my life in a way. My uncle took us on a cycling tour round Den Haag, pointing out where family members had lived in the past. There was, and still is, so little that I knew about my Dutch heritage. I was however comfortable there. Despite not seeing my family in the Netherlands for most of my life, it was almost as if I’d seen them all a few weeks ago – almost like a home.

As for my family in New Zealand, all the way on the other side of the world, I haven’t seen them for over a decade too. I was 7 when I last visited the land of the long white cloud. As I said above however, It’s where my parents come from. Their childhood stories are all from there, filled with people I’ve never had the chance to know, and some I never will. I’ve heard wonderful things about wonderful places across the country, but I don’t know it. Yet it has some sort of magnetic pull: a place of roots; a place with a home.

So there are 4 apparent ‘homes’. Is my home England? Scotland? New Zealand? The Netherlands?

But now, I’ve lived in China for a year. I have my family of friends there, my little Chinese desert town, my former flat, my former workplace. In many ways it was my first clearly defined home; No split between time with each parent, no time divided between Edinburgh and Cambridgeshire, no worrying about family feuding. I was far away, in charge of everything in my own world. Was that more a home than the everlasting crevasse between the two places in the UK deemed as home?

Working out what home is has however been a hard question for me always. I spent most of my time near Cambridge, yet I never felt more at home than in Edinburgh. As i got older, Cambridgeshire positively Didn’t feel like home. I still talk about Cambridgeshire being the most dull part of the UK, despite the fact that it probably isn’t – it just doesn’t suit me in the slightest. The point here, is that for me, the place that would conventionally be labelled as my home, is really rather un-homely. Yes, I have some family there. Yes, most of my friends are there. But there is no feeling of home. No Heritage like the Netherlands. No pull like new Zealand. No love for the area like in Edinburgh. No sense of being like in China.

And yet, I don’t live in any of these places currently. I study in Leeds, so the place I’m usually at is the middle of the UK in Yorkshire. I feel relatively strongly that Leeds isn’t home. I can’t explain why, but it simply isn’t.

Home appears to me not to be where you live.Leeds is not my home. It doesn’t seem to be as simple as where you were born – I know my dad for example doesn’t feel that New Zealand is fully his home anymore, and I’m conflicted over whether Edinburgh can be called my home (despite the fact I always do say it is). Home can’t just be where the family is. The family is everywhere…

And so I don’t really know what home is. One day I might know. I plan to keep an eye out for home.

Do any readers have an opinion of what home is? I’d love a comment below with your ideas.

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it.

Kuitun - is this home, or the UK? or is Europe? Or NZ?

Kuitun – is this home, or the UK? or is Europe? Or NZ?

Welcome back – Still ( multi part poem pt1)


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Still.

You stand before me.

Again.

Welcome,

I beg you stay not long.

.

Still.

The trees move slowly.

Surround.

You’re here,

Your departure so long gone.

.

Still.

The trees encroach me.

They bend.

They reach;

The branches hands of thorns.

Still.

.

You stand before me.

.

Still.

.

.

A smile?

Twisted, devil’s spawn

Stillness darkness torn

Torn asunder maw

.

Hell.

Trees fall around me.

You rise

You fall

You stayed here not for long…

Gone.

.

.

.

Still.

.

Gone.

.

.

.

This is part one of a set of poems. The other ones aren’t written yet, but they are needed to make sense of this,

haven’t written a poem in over a year – felt like something different…

Thanks for stopping by.

On meditation…and Drunkenness?


It’s odd that last time I wrote I was talking about my attempts at being honest with myself and others from now on, as apparently in a rather drunken state on Friday evening I almost opened up some things I don’t want to be open yet.

I won’t go into what this conversation contained (or more accurately, what I think it did – large amounts of free red wine is not good for memory…) but instead something more important. it’s reinforced my belief that our subconscious knows ourselves much better than our conscious selves.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it once or twice, but for those who aren’t aware, I meditate relatively regularly. Not enough, regularly nonetheless.

I started a few years ago as part of my personal fight with depression. I am of the opinion that I have not been depressed for over a year now and I feel that meditation was one of the most important parts of escaping its harsh grasp. However I must ask why drunk Tim is apparently of the opinion that I still have an inner conflict.

Drunkenness is associated with a loss of control and a lack of inhibitions. I would say that the majority of people think that whatever strange gobbledygook (never used that word in a written form – what a fantastic looking word)  comes out of a drunk’s mouth is probably nonsense.

But surely a lack of inhibitions and control is more likely to unleash people’s unconscious thoughts, that perhaps they themselves don’t know about?

Because of this, i’m looking forward to (and fearing slightly) what my friends have to tell me when I ask them about our drunken conversations tomorrow. I might just learn something about myself from my drunken self…

Now back to the subconscious knowing oneself better and meditation. After finding out about the second half of Friday evening, I spent some time meditating today on a question – am I actually still completely content, as I was when I first escaped depression?

Turns out that the answer is no.

I’m not depressed by any means, but interestingly I found out a few things, and I think I therefore know what my lost conversations from that evening were about.

And oh, one of those things is controversial. It’s going to be fun explaining that one in the near future. But I realise it’s something that I’ve been hiding from myself for a long time. I’ll leave what that thing is off the blog until I’ve made certain of it. (apologies for the vagueness and mystery!)

My point is, it’s interesting that heavy drunkenness to the point of not being able to remember, and meditation can bring round similar thoughts, considering Meditation is considered to be a means to peace, control and inner understanding, whereas Drunkenness is associated with the opposite.

Perhaps one major difference is you come out of meditation happy, concentrated, relaxed and healthy…

and you come out of drunkenness with a hangover, no memory of anything useful that may have come about and possibly a fair dosage of anxiety to top it.

I’m going to leave today’s blog there, as I want to have a longer think on the above content.

Thanks for reading!

 

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