One of the side effects of all this humid weather is that I seem on occasion to be completely unable to sleep. The plus side is that having this time awake but staring at the ceiling means that in the gaps between stressing that I really should be getting to sleep because I need to get up early for work and not piss away half my day barely awake, my mind seems to have occasional creative bursts. And so I find myself blogging on here…
Something of an achievement that it seems. I started this blog about seven or eight months ago with really good intentions. Back in my university days and for brief times afterwards I kept a diary and, while most of what went into it was navel-gazing nonsense, if nothing else I was prolific. I think it was with that spirit of expression that I had the idea to start writing this, plus the romantic notion that regularly updating it with what I am up to would cover for my shocking inability to keep in touch with friends and family in the last few years.
And then of course, there’s the fact that what goes on here is, by design, for the world to see. In the last few years, since I’ve been with Helen probably, I’ve become conscious more and more about how much we all (and me probably more than many) keep private; not deep dark secrets, past emotional gremlins and bank details kind of stuff, but more mundane day to day things. One of the interesting lessons I think I’ve picked up from being in a long-term relationship is how much I had grown over the years to keep things to myself under the false flag of self-reliance. Getting to a point where it’s natural and instinctive to be open about things was quite an effort. Helen of course might well argue that I have some way to go.
Anyway, it sort of led me to the thought of what would our lives be like if we did the opposite. What would our lives be like if we made a conscious effort to articulate who we are, what we are thinking and let our whole lives, our plans, our friendships, our hopes and fears, all of it, out into the world? What would happen? It’s a romantic notion I think and fraught with some serious obstacles; there are things that we legitimately keep secret for good reason. But still, that idea has fascinated me and was certainly in the back of my mind when I started this.
In the last few days I’ve been reading Authentic: How to Make a Living by being Yourself by Neil Crofts, a book that I semi-discovered a couple of years ago and have returned to, which has some interesting things to say about some of these thoughts and how the pressures of conformity that are instilled into us from an early age make us naturally disguise who we are, what we want and what we believe and offers a process for moving away from that and learning to express ourselves. At the same time, I’ve recently attended a conference in London for work where I had a number of discussions that talked about the whole social networking phenomenon and led me to ponder the psychology behind and the effects of things like Facebook. Since I started using Facebook I have grown accustomed to daily, even hourly updates about friends that I haven’t seen for several years, I’ve got used to the idea that when people move away and leave your day to day life, that while they log in every day they never really leave, and I’ve slowly got into the idea of putting more and more of myself online for the world to see. I am fascinated by the question of what social interaction will be like for a generation younger than ourselves, young people who are just starting to enter the world just as Facebook and MySpace become ubiquitous, even if I don’t feel qualified to give an answer.
Anyway, to return to the question that the title of this blog posed, basically, for all my lofty ideals, I simply don’t have the stones for it. I could post more about what’s going on in my life but even as I type the feeling of self-consciousness is bearing down. If this blog were anonymous it would probably make for a much more interesting read, but instead it’s amusing snippets from the web mixed with political rants and rarely, insomnia-fuelled whimsies such as this one. And let’s face it, even this post is asking many more questions than it’s attempting to answer. Sorry about that.
Thanks for reading though.