A Greenish-Blue Card Swan

A SwanThis is another item from my puzzle box, which I pick at random, all from different times of my life. As it turns out, this one is fairly recent. I say fairly; there are items in that box which I’ve had since I was born and other items which entered the box, quite literally, yesterday. This swan can be found about a year and three months down my timeline, from the 22nd of September, 2013 – my first day as a university student.

The nostalgia flies when I remember the day I moved into my new flat in University, lugging cardboard boxes and suitcases up the stairs, along with fat desk lamps and cooking supplies that I’d use twice a year, and occasionally a tearful mum who passed out whenever she got too tearful (I’m joking, she’s not that bad). Moving away from home for long periods of time is something all parents get emotional about. I guess most kids get nervous about it too, but for me, I was more excited. I had left my old school and was finally able to make a fresh start, and it felt good. I really should have been matching her for tears that day, but I think the prospect of having a little independence and freedom in my life.

When all the unpacking was done and my room was as neat as it would never ever be again, e found the plastic bag on the desk which contained our Southampton Fresher’s pack: a list of leaflets that no one ever reads, a Fresher’s magazine, a notepad and pen…and a condom. The contraceptive packet lay at the bottom, mercifully hidden in the folds of the magazine, away from my mum’s eye. My flatmate was not so lucky. She’d been told by our Fresher’s representative (the second years who are supposed to help us adjust to Uni life in the first few weeks, i.e. get us drunk) to open the pack in front of her parents. Gullible as she was, she did so, and the condom packet flew onto the desk, to the mortified silence of her father observing the tagline “What happens in Uni stays in Uni.” I think if that had happened to me in front of my mum, I’d have been transferred out of Uni.

All seven of us would meet in the kitchen later, after all our parents had gone, and order four Domino’s pizzas together that Saturday night. I look back at that room and think of how much my opinion of each person would change over the year I knew them, and how at the start I loved them all as we chatted over pizza and drinks. By chance I was still carrying my Fresher’s pack, and we all had a laugh about the contraception. Amongst the many leaflets we looked over in my bag was a greenish-blue card one, explaining the movie night in the common room every Saturday night in our halls. Having decided that we weren’t going to watch a movie on our first Saturday night, my flatmate Luke absent-mindedly took the leaflet and began making a swan at out of it as we ate our pizzas, before handing it back to me, to my bemused silence.

I’m not sure why I kept it. Perhaps it’s due to the inherent pizza-box smell it holds, or simply the fact that it was a gift from a quirky human being. But it stayed on my shelf in my room for the rest of the year I lived with that flat, and it came with me to my house when I left. It took its place in my box when the summer came, as a reminder of a year new beginnings.

Rocket Storm

MB1 Rocket Mark I

The object pictured below catalysed the first instance in my life when I knew, without a fraction of a doubt, that I really, really liked rockets. Not necessarily that I wanted to be an aerospace engineer, but just that I liked rockets.

This piece of wood, plastic and explosive takes me back to my first ever trip to Boston to visit my aunt and uncle. I was a bright-eyed, excitable ten-year old, even more so because I was travelling to the USA without my parents. Only my 17 year old sister was with me, and we’d had someone to supervise us through the airport. You know how siblings fight, and how they claim that they “hate” each other. Yeah, we did too. But I think this was the first time I actually “liked” the presence of this evil creature known as a big sister. It was reassuring, and I’d seen Home Alone far too many times to not be scared of losing her at the airport.

My aunt and uncle lived, and still live to this day, in a beautiful American-style home in the Boston suburbs. Their house, I remember, was creamy white, with wooden panelling surfacing the whole of the outside. The porch looked older than the rest, as if they had kept it there to preserve some of the history, sheltered by a wooden roof held up by two pillars on the outside edge. There were two huge spiders’ webs that stretched from each of the pillars to the wall, like transparent sheets, with a spider the size of my hand (a seven-year-old hand, bear in mind) sitting in the middle of each. I still remember the masses of dragonflies that would swarm around the houses during the summer months, flying through the porch as I walked through the door each morning and scaring the living crap out of me. I became grateful for the huge safety nets the spiders had cast; if the first one didn’t catch the dragonfly, the second one would. The dragonflies flew approximately equally from both sides, so both spiders’ webs would sustain about the same amount of damage and capture the same amount of food. I expect it turned out to be quite a lucrative partnership for the pair of them.

Aside from that, I recall the tangled but rather quaint garden they kept, and the huge open space in their house that served as the living room, dining room and kitchen. Last but not least, I find myself dreaming of the short drive we would take, on the wrong side of the road and the wrong side of the car, to visit the science centre in Boston.

There was a rocketry class here, run by a lovely man called Jim Salem. It’s still in business, by the way. The rocket below is made by Jim Flis, who runs a site called FlisKits.com, and I encourage you to use them for any rocketry needs. In one week, we designed, built and launched rockets, complete with a parachute. As soon as the solid-rocket fuel ran out, the last part of the fuel would burn backwards, firing up the hollow tube of the rocket’s body, and heating the air inside until the nose cone, the black bit, popped out, releasing the parachute. The rocket was reusable, as long as you put a new piece of solid rocket fuel in it. Depending on the grade of the fuel, the rocket could go anywhere between 300 metres and 1.5 miles into the air.

I loved that class, and that rocket. It launched 3 or 4 times, and we would run after each lift-off, as that windy day carried the parachute for a few hundred metres through the huge, long-grass field. And every time, we’d pick it up and clear the grass, or the fire-ants, off it. The smell of burnt wood and cotton greeted me every time, and smoke would drift out of the top as we brushed the inside of the body to clear away the ash.

The reason this post is called Rocket Storm is because of the design I painted onto this piece of engineering. The nose cone is supposed to be the storm cloud, and you don’t need to try too hard to see the lightning bolts starting fires in the bottom to launch it.

I think there’s something telling about the fact that this post focuses more on my memories of the house than my memories of the actual project. I don’t quite know what it is, but those three weeks with my aunt and uncle were magical. The rocket itself is not actually from within the puzzle box, but it would be if it fitted. It’s easily the largest, coolest-looking memory I own.

A Jigsaw Puzzle

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I don’t really enjoy summer holidays as most people do. The weather is beautiful, which in the UK means it’s not raining, and the whole world is outside and happy.

Most university students use the holidays to catch up with the school friends they missed while in term time. For me, I feel as if I’ve changed too much to enjoy their company. And as you might guess if you read a post of mine from a long time ago called Never Nostalgia, those old school friends are limited. When I wasn’t in Thailand or the USA, and I was bored at home, I’d work for an hour or so on this enormous (well, enormous to me) jigsaw, and put together a starry background.

My summer was spent piecing together this jigsaw puzzle. It’s rather therapeutic. In any case, the empty box for this puzzle, which I must keep, became the box for all the other things that I must keep. Tomorrow, I start telling the stories of the contents of that puzzle box. But tonight, I leave you with the puzzle itself. It really is rather beautiful.

A Jigsaw Box

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Last year for my birthday, one of my close friends, who’s referred to as Chipmunk or Chippy due to her chipmunk-like cheeks, gave me a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle of a dazzlingly complex looking space scene as the completed picture. It was a tapestry of colours and vibrant stellar art and over summer, I finally found time to start it. Aiming to put in about 20-25 pieces a day, I worked on it and finished it by the time I went back to university. It now lies in my room, waiting to be glued onto a backboard and framed as a picture. A part of me is tempted to slightly displace the corner piece, which is a tiny imperfection that lets people know that it wasn’t always this stunning.

The question, then, was what to do with the empty box. Feeling in a productive mood, I cleaned out my room that summer in less than three days. I literally took the whole place apart and divided the contents into several categories:

(1) Useful items which belong in my room (e.g. alarm clock)
(2) Useful items with no place in my room (e.g. hair straightener)
(3) Useless items that have no place in my room (i.e. crap)
(4) Useless items which do, for some reason, have a place in my room (e.g. old school jumper)

You’d be amazed how little of (1) there was and how much of (2) and (3) there was. Category (4) quite literally consists of my memories, and all of them, with the exception of the plastic water bottle in which I took water to school in every morning during my Thailand adventure, are contained within that empty jigsaw box. The water bottle, which I bought for 10 baht (about 20 pence), is tapped to the outside.

I keep it in my room in Southampton. If there was a fire in our house, I would go back for this box and nothing else. That box contains every part of my life that I want to remember. Most recently, the ticket from my Diwali Ball this year as well as the decorative placecard from our meal went into it, preserved in a puzzle box. I could sit you down next to me and open the box up, and tell you story of every single item. It would take literally days, but I could do it.

Between that box, the bracelets on my wrist, my wallet and my keychain, my entire life story could be told.

I want to start telling those stories here. Some are short, some are long, but on Monday when I’m back in Southampton, I’ll take you through one of them. And the next day, another, and another, and another. For now, the picture in this post is the contents of that box laid out on my floor, as they were at the end of summer.

Distractions

I find myself doubting my intelligence and common sense, right now, as I reflect on the fact that I’ve made an enormous mistake in the field of romance, for the second time in the space of less than a year. I convinced myself that I’d learnt from the last time, but apparently it didn’t sink in. I’m frustrated by my own stupidity and how easily I give in to temptation. I could continue moping about this, but instead I’ll reflect on the positives: This time, I’m out early, and I won’t be putting myself through hell as a result. The other change is that I know what not to do this time, which is continue to pity myself and plunge into a spiral of depression. This paragraph is the first and last time I discuss this, and the rest of this is what I should be doing: distracting myself with humour.

It’s been a few months since I watched a George Carlin sketch. Iconic, sharp and charismatic as always, Carlin never ceases to make me laugh. His old sketches are like a good book – you can read it over and over again and always find something new and interesting to talk about. I don’t quite know why I took a break from his comedy, or all comedy sketches in general. I’ve been YouTube surfing from video to video, going from comedian to comedian. I always smile a little when I see Louis CK in the “Suggested Videos” section next to Carlin’s HBO Specials. When Carlin died, Louis CK spoke at his funeral and revealed to the audience that George Carlin had been his idol, his role model and that, I quote, “…everything good that’s ever happened to me has been thanks to him.” I love Louis CK’s comedy. It’s not quite the level of Carlin, but then again, no one’s is. In any case, he filmed his first HBO Special the same night that Carlin filmed his last in 2008, and he’s a fitting person to take up the mantle.

I’m sitting on Level 5 in my library right now, surrounded by people typing away at computers, trying to finish work. I should be to, to be honest. I have a lab report due in on Monday and I’m going home this weekend. Hopefully I’ll have time to finish it over the weekend. I didn’t really prepare for this, because I arranged to go home at the last minute. As much as I convince myself that I am independent from my parents and don’t miss them much, I find myself wishing for my mum’s steaming food and, right now, a hug. I won’t be able to spend a lot of time with her. As I go and see my parents tomorrow, she is leaving for India for two weeks to see her parents. Apparently she’s taking them on a tour of North India. My grandfather is always happy to leave the house and be adventurous, but my grandmother is more home bound. I find it amusing that my mum only managed to convince her to go with two things: the promise of playing on my mum’s IPad, and the promise of visiting a temple at every place they go.

I love my grandfather as a person. He used to serve in the Indian Air Force, and speaks several different languages, including fluent English and a bit of Russian, from his days training Russian soldiers during the war.  It’s a mark of his decency that he took the time to learn to speak the language of his trainees rather than force them to learn Hindi. He’ll sit on his chair with all of his grandchildren, and tell us stories from the war, about how his plane caught fire as they  were travelling over Egypt, forcing them to make an emergency landing in Cairo and wrestle terrorists off their plane the next morning. The way he speaks, the way he tells his tales, his mannerisms, his calm, relaxed demeanour – all of these things make his stories the best in the world. My mum says that I take my ability to tell my stories from him. I’m happy with that.

One day I’m going to look back on this day as part of an ancient story that I can tell my own grandkids and laugh about. And like my grandfather’s stories, there’s always going to be a point to them, a lesson learnt that I can pass on. In my case, the lesson is simply this: All is fair in love and war. In my grandfather’s case,  it was the same, but with the addition of:

“And remember, my children, that you should never  let terrorists near your plane, and if you must, keep it locked.”

The Black and White and Fiery Night

The Nobel Prize in Medicine this year was won by a trio of scientists who discovered the answer to one of the most interesting questions in neuroscience – how do our brains map the world around us?

Independently, they demonstrated the existence of the newly-named “place cells”, which record the places that we’ve been and embed them in our memories. When we discover a new environment, the neurons from these parts of the brain fire, and when we visit them again, they fire in the same order. In other words, there are different parts of our brain that fire when we arrive at a place we are familiar with.

In the figurative sense, the places we spend our limited time in become part of us. I always find it quite lovely when the pursuit of science confirms the figurative into the domain of reality. The places we go, quite literally, become part of us. Some people are repulsed by the idea that our adventures can be stored in our minds merely as electrical impulses firing between neurons. For me, it’s no less than an astonishing testament to the laws of physics and their ability to produce marvellous objects.

Last night, I spent about five hours in a place which became a part of me in both the literal and figurative sense. I’ve mentioned it before. The roof of the Physics and Astronomy building, in Southampton University, is one of my favourite places in which to simply exist, and I show people this place because it’s part of my story.

I don’t think I could have chosen a better night in which to take someone to the roof for the first time. It was slightly cold, perhaps, but it didn’t really matter. The view in every direction was stunning, under a clear night with every constellation visible. Orion was missing, but we found him later. The Big Dipper, the Summer Triangle, Cygnus, Polaris, Seven Sisters and Andromeda all made their appearances, telling their stories in cosmic whispers and songs unchanged for three thousand years. And so I told a few of them, inexplicably familiar to me, to my companion that night. Quite frankly, I’ve never known anyone to be so attentive to someone telling them nerdy space facts.

The fireworks gave a shot of colour to the black and white starry night. They were so close by, and so utterly breath-taking. Neither of us spoke in that time, and it’s a mark that two people understand each other when they can feel perfectly comfortable with not talking. Most find silence threatening somehow, a sign that things aren’t going right. It’s not. It’s merely an acknowledgement that not all friendships depend on constant conversation. For those friendships, the words that are exchanged contain in them more depth that any others. We kept each other warm, and just waited.

There’s a poetic nature to watching fireworks from a distance. I always find it amazing to see them explode silently, and then wait for the sound to hit you a second later. Another set of fireworks, so far that they came from the horizon, were silent for perhaps ten seconds before the pressure waves reached us and echoed around our eardrums. It’s almost eerie when the light comes without the sound, and reassuring when the sounds comes without the light. It’s gorgeous, all the same.

What dragged the night on so long were the conversations. I could never spend five hours on a rooftop alone. But we talked constantly, occasionally munching on chocolate doughnuts (and in her case, spilling chocolate on her hair and squishing the last one under her shoe), just chatting for hours on end. When it got too cold, we went inside and found some comfy seats in the seminar room and continued. We only left when we realised, in a kind of Cinderella moment, that it was five minutes until the building locked for the night and we had to go before being trapped.

The best conversations are natural, the best times are always unexpected and the best friendships are emboldened by silence. That, a starry night, and platonically romantic fireworks display. The only additions I could have made to this meomory of memories is a ship gliding silently by in a glass ocean. And that the Southampton docks will gift.

Apologies for leaving it so late to blog, by the way. As once before stated, life tends to get in the way.

Moon Cake

Don’t try moon cake. It’s a little snack  in Thailand, and it’s basically a salted egg yolk with some kind of bean paste to coat it. Genuinely, don’t go near it. It is a vile creature, designed to cause a mass-suicide of your taste buds.  It’s one of those things that sets you up to believe it’s amazing (I mean, come on – MOON CAKE) and then disappoints you brutally.

The same, however, cannot be said for a for a friend of mine from Thailand who, even though she gets her nickname from this assault on your mouth, is nothing like it. I call her that because of an unfortunate incident during a drunken game of beer-pong, in which she awoke from her alcohol-induced nap (having laid across four people), shot bolt upright and announced her craving for moon cake. She would then proceed to visit the 7-11 down the road, under the watchful eye of a friend of mine, with a look of sore disappointment on her face when she returned.  Even alcohol, it seemed, could not mask the taste of this particular snack, which she’d been so looking forward to. For the rest of the night, the remains of the moon cake lay abandoned on the table, whilst she, with the expression of a sulky five-year-old, continued her nap.

The events of this day, according to my calculations, happened on about the 17th of July, well over 3 months ago, in our little accommodation in Koh Samui, Thailand. Madam Moon Cake, as she is now known, is in fact the girl I mentioned in These Islands: Part III, my friend from my travels and my companion back to Heathrow. And when I said in that blog post that I thought I’d never hear from her again, I was wrong.

It’s a lovely feeling when someone you grew fond of messages you out of the blue, and tells you about their life. A 45-minute phone call, updating each other on work, university, parents, love-lives and the future, and we’re back where we started 3 months ago.

I think, in the last year or so, I’ve become more and more old-fashioned. I’ve learnt my dislike for Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp and texting. Instead, I always prefer to meet in person, or at the very least, talk on the phone. There’s something too clinical about typing to another person when you could just as easily talk or spend time face-to-face. Given that she lives in Aberdeen, the latter is somewhat ambitious, but phone time will do. At least I hear  a real person on the other end of a connection, someone familiar, whose mannerisms and voice and emotions, once upon a time, I knew.

Don’t get me wrong, I like technology. I love it, in fact.  It’s one of the most useful things that exists now. But for me, it’s something I employ when reality is not possible, as opposed to something I use in place of it. There are exceptions to that rule – blogs, for instance.

Blogging in my case is about disseminating a message to many people at once, It is important to me that other people see some of the things I write (not all of them; that’s what private posts are for). The difference between talking and blogging is that I don’t get to see your reactions. I know you are there, and hopefully I’ve made you smile, but I will never know for sure.

If you want a guaranteed smile from every post you read, you’re not going to get it from this blog. I’m too serious sometimes. You’re better off visiting the blog below, which happens to be the blog of one Madam Moon Cake:

empoweringpositivity.wordpress.com

Do you think she’ll mind that I told the moon cake story? Ah, one of these days, I’m going to be taken out by a sniper, aren’t I?

Caffeine High

It’s been eight days since my last post, and this time, it’s not because I’ve been lazy. The last week has been the most packed week I’ve had in a while, trying to balance all of the start-of-year university socials, the new assignments, the new course notes and new people, all whilst trying to get enough to eat and enough sleep. One thing had to break in the life-sleep-eat routine. In my case, it’s the “Eat”.

Don’t worry, I still eat. I’ve just had very little time to cook. Nowadays, my meals are the epitomy of student life: Uncle Ben’s rice, pasta salads, and of course, the still wonderful frozen pizzas.  I have a friend who really doesn’t eat, and if she’s reading this blog: Eat.

When you start a new academic year, or even term, you’ve just come back from a summer during which you’ve most likely done close to nothing. Your work ethic is summed up by the space between the following quotation marks: ” “.

I come back to University, and my course, and all of sudden, I’m in second year. Second year is worse than first year, for many reasons one:

- No Fresher’s week.

- No getting away with things “because you’re new.”

- The work is harder.

- I don’t know how it works for other Universities, but for Southampton, you only have to pass first year (get above 40% on average) to get into second year, and whatever you get doesn’t matter because it doesn’t count towards your final degree. Second year,  on the other hand, counts.

Now I have to work. And I haven’t worked since I got here. Not properly. Not like they expect you to in Uni. Just because I’ve not gotten into my work ethic yet.  Many things changed however, in the last day.

For one, my laptop is officially broken. It’s taken a mind of it’s own, turning itself on and off at will, generally pissing me off and being impossible to use. Apparently it’s a motherboard problem, and it’s expensive to fix, which means I need to find a new laptop. In that time, I have nothing. I am forced to use the university computers.

This was a good move for my work ethic. The library environment is incredibly conducive to work – the presence of strangers around you doing exactly the same thing compels me to work too. Indeed, I’ve just come back from finishing a lab report due in on Monday. Putting aside the fact that I’ve done it a day early, which is incredible in itself (as the old saying goes, “If tomorrow is not the due day, today is not the do day”), I’ve actually done it well. This done, of course, with the help of a significant amount of coffee and Red Bull, which is currently still firing through my system. Incidentally, that’s why this post is called “Caffeine High”. My caffeine highs, by the way, are characterised by short sentences – it reflects my brain pace at the time: short and sharp.

The other thing that changed is that I finally broke out of my cycle of laziness and went swimming in the morning. With the help of a friend of mine, who said she’d come with me. And yes, that is the same friend who doesn’t eat. She does exercise every day, and somehow doesn’t appreciate the fact that monstrous amounts of cardio and no calories is not a healthy lifestyle.

Now that I’ve broken that cycle, I feel better. I’m about to have dinner with a friend of mine, still high on caffeine. And no, this is not the  friend who doesn’t eat. This is the friend from last week.

Ah, this is going to be interesting. So is sleeping.

You Meet People Twice In Your Life

I was having breakfast with someone who is becoming a good friend of mine, and in our discussion, she used the phrase “You meet people twice in your life.” Putting aside, for now, the Sheldon-Cooper-style statistical rebuttal I could give to this idea and instead assuming it to be true, let’s examine it a little.

Extensive research (“research”, noun, synonymous with “Google”) indicates that this phrase is German in origin, from an unknown date and unknown time. This was surprisingly difficult to ascertain, because the phrase has been translated into many different languages, and some claim to be the first to say it. It doesn’t matter who said it first – rather, it is important that people claim to be the first, and that it has been said by many, because both of these facts indicate that people really, really like this saying. It shows that people find it to be truthful, or at the very least, desirable.

My conversation with my friend was about something most people I know are getting sick of me mentioning: my summer trip to Thailand. I was talking about the people I’ve met, and how I missed them a great deal. In saying, “We meet people twice”, she was reassuring me that it wouldn’t be the last time I saw them. I guess there’s some rational in this. I met the people I did because I loved travelling and so did they. Is it not unreasonable to suggest that like-minded people might think in similar ways and be drawn to the same place at the same time, more than once? Clearly, there is some truth behind it.

For me, however, there’s a further meaning to this phrase, which goes beyond the realm of reassurance, to trespass into territory of teaching. It’s not just meant to tell you that you might meet people more than once.  It’s meant to prepare you to meet people the first time. It teaches you to not burn bridges, to not act as if this is the last time you’ll see a person, because you don’t know what kind of a role that person may end up playing in your life. And you don’t. Trust me, you don’t. And if you think you do, you’re wrong, and moreover, you’re wrong most of the time.

You won’t meet everyone in your lives a second time, but treat them as if you might.  Burning bridges, not caring to get to know people, is something I feel I’ve been guilty of the past few weeks, and I would be wise to change that practice.

A prime example of this idea, this principle that people may turn up again in your lives under different circumstances, is contained within this blog post. At the end of last academic year, I took a girl on a first date. The lessons learnt from that are detailed in an earlier blog post, somewhere in mid-June, called Time and Reflections. I never thought I’d see her again, because she was going to graduate this summer. I was wrong.

The getting-to-be-a-good-friend of mine who inspired this blog post, the one who I had breakfast with? It’s the same girl.

herlittlejournal.wordpress.com

A Sunday Doublethink

I said I’d try and do a blog post a day, but life tends to get in the way. That phrasing reveals something of my own perception of this blog – the only way that life could get in the way is if this blog was not part of my life.

From a technical standpoint, that is clearly utter garbage. My life is the only thing I can ever do from start to finish, and all other things I do are subsets of subsets of it.Metaphorically, however, my life is my day-to-day activity, my experiences and stories. When I write about myself and my actions or thoughts, I have to remove myself from my own life, and treat it as if I was telling someone else’s story. This blog allows me to step outside my own world line (my progression through space and time), and therefore outside of my “life.”

I always find it fascinating to compare the figurative and physical realities. More specifically, I like to note where the physical reality differs from the metaphorical in an overt way, and then why it does so.

Take the phrase, “What goes up must come down.”

I won’t go so far as to say that NASA proved that wrong in 1969, when Apollo 11 “came down” on the Moon instead of Earth, which is the intention behind the phrase. I’d like to say that, but the Moon is part of Earth’s gravitational field. To be sure that you’d never come down, you’d need to be outside the significant influence of the Earth.

The Soviets did, crash landing their Venera 4 space probe on the surface of the planet Venus in 1967, the first instance of utter independence from Earth. The Voyager One space probe has, as of 2014, gone further “up” than any other man-made object in the recorded history of the human species, currently about 30AU (1 AU = Distance from Earth to the Sun = 150 million km) from Earth. It is approaching the region known as the heliopause – that is to say, the point where the sun’s gravitational influence becomes less significant than the surrounding stars. In principle, Voyager One and Two could continue travelling indefinitely through interstellar space, and never come down.

Why does this phrase exist then? It does seem to parallel a lot of rises and falls of peoples, empires, ideologies, religions and most other man made objects. Crucially, it exists because at the time it was first stated or conceived, all things that went up always did come down. The reason this phrase contradicts reality is because reality is far more imaginative than we are, and humans are far better than our ancestors ever believed of us. It gives me a little bit of hope.

Would you believe that all of that was a side note on what was supposed to be a short note on something I’ve noticed? Here is what the original post was meant to be:

Do you remember, as a child, being told, “You are perfect just the way you are!”, and believing it?

Do you also remember being taught that “Nobody’s perfect…”, and agreeing with that, too?

Does it strike anyone else that we repeat to our kids these two phrases, believe them when we say them, expect our kids to believe them, and yet both phrases directly contradict each other? It’s one of the larger examples of doublethink I can think of, and if you don’t know what that is, read Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell.

I think it’s time to pick one, and roll with it.