“I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in, And stops my mind from wandering, Where it will go”
There are many times when I’m out and about and I’ll have a topic enter my head to write about. If in that moment I could teleport into a room by myself with a laptop then no doubt I’d throw a whole load of words onto it about something I was feeling at the time. But when you’re out and surrounded by people living life it is not an ideal time to write and so therefore I usually go onto my WordPress app and write a draft title that is intended to spark my thoughts later on. Maybe I’ll even write a few rough sentences about what I was thinking with the intention of getting back to it. Many times I do get back to it. The idea itches at me and the words I feel like throwing out are there already. It’s just a case of finding the time. The blog about smoking was always going to be written even though it sat there as a draft title for a few weeks (one day there will be a part two to that as it is still a pet hate). But there are other titles that just sit there forgotten until I have no idea what I even meant at the time. These are blogs that never made it. Faded ideas. The fact I was out when thinking about these topics instead of at home was the only difference between the blogs that did get written and those that never materialised and so never got scattered to the wind. Well now I have a few thoughts and felt like writing a bit and thought why not look at my last draft title and see if I can find this “lost blog” inside me? Maybe I’ll look at a few of them and sum them all up so I can delete them all. There’s a part of me that wanted to write about these titles at some point so they must still be around somewhere itching at me and needing to get out onto the internet. So let’s go, starting from the most recent and going further back.
Ego V Ambition
I remember this since it was little over a week ago. I was at work so no time to write and I saved this title on my break. I was working away and a few of us got talking about University and qualifications. I was giving my opinion that degrees mean nothing really and it hasn’t done me any favours at all. It was just a three year party/ chilling session and I didn’t even attend my graduation ceremony because I didn’t care. I do believe we make these decisions about which courses to take far too young and I made mistakes with my path. Then my boss said to me “you’re the most qualified person here and look where it got you…stacking shelves”. Now that might sound harsh but it was said in a jokey manner and it was funny. I’m sure no offence was intended but it struck a nerve nonetheless. Sometimes it does bother me that I haven’t ended up with a career that means something. I know I can offer more to the World than I am currently doing. I used to be ambitious. I wanted the qualifications and I wanted to learn. I wanted to progress. I wanted a career and if I had one then I would have wanted promotions and I never would have stopped. But things changed. I didn’t do as well as I could have done with my degree due to messing about. And it was a competitive race for graduate jobs when I left. Since I lacked confidence and didn’t have the absolute best grade I struggled and then gave up for a while. Then I travelled. Then I got stuck in a rut. Eventually I learnt to not care and lowered my expectations. I threw ambition out of the window. My whole philosophy on life changed and I really don’t know if I changed because I failed or if because I failed I changed for the better.
Most of the time now I see the desire to have a great career as egotistical. I know I have an analytical mind and could be of benefit to a company. But does that mean that I should have more money and more material wealth? There are hundreds of thousands of people working for the company I work for in this country doing a simliar job. I am no better than them. I don’t deserve more than they do. But at the same time we’re not all equal at everything. Not everybody has the ability to get a degree in Maths like I did and maybe I’m so unhappy at times because I haven’t been able to use the skills I was born with and so instead I’m doing something mundane that almost anybody could do. There’s a correlation between my ego and my ambition. When I feel ambitious I also feel like I deserve more in this World. I feel like I should be a boss and calling the shots and helping make decisions that matter in some way. And when I just live in the moment I have no ambition. I accept my circumstances and feel satisfied with what I have given the fact that many people have less than I do. It’s a blessing just to be here and have a roof over my head and some free time in which to relax. With no ambition there is no ego. I feel like you can have happiness right now if you let go of attachments and desires. Once I give into desire and crave a career there will be no stopping it. I’ll fight for more and never be happy and I’ll have a whole lot more to lose.
The problem is that sometimes I really believe in this philosophy and sometimes I don’t. There is a part of me that does crave more and isn’t happy being at the bottom when there are ladders to climb. Maybe I’m resting on my laurels. It’s really hard to tell. Something is definitely lacking. But why should I not be happy? I’m free as a bird. I could give one week’s notice to my current employer and leave and I would lose nothing. I could give up my flat and not feel any different. I have nothing to lose. I can go anywhere and do anything. The idea of being in an important 9-5 job everyday with a mortgage to pay does not sound like happiness to me. The only real time it bothers me is when others around me are bragging about their life and I can almost hear what they’re thinking about me. “Loser”… “Failure”… “Going nowhere”. Well shame on them. You can’t take your riches with you beyond the grave and that’s where we’re all heading. Egos have to deflate after a while. Following your ego will never lead to being happy. It will only need fueling more and more. Let it go. Society provides us with this illusion and I feel that I see through it and though some others do too we’re vastly outnumbered and we’re total outcasts.
Ideas/ Be Here Now
Right the next two draft titles are pointless now so I’ll slap them together. “Ideas” contains a ranting paragraph about poker. It’s poking fun at tips on how to play AQ when you get dealt them since that day I kept losing with that supposedly premium hand. Everytime I saw a flop you could bet your life I would miss and there’d be a King there and my opponent would always have a King. AQ starts off good but often it’s just Ace high and you lose. It’s probably the starting hand where I’ve lost the most overall. AQ is bullshit.
Be Here Now? I have no idea. I remember hearing it on a tv programme (Six Feet Under) and it’s also the name of an Oasis album. I like the title and it ties in with the whole living in the present moment vibe I’m on most of the time. Be here now as opposed to being here later or being there way back when. I have no idea what I planned to write about under this heading.
I like this title and this could still be a blog one day. There are bullet points under it about various labels. My last name is Cotton and back when I was a kid and I used to go to Cub Scouts the leader of the pack (I forget what we called them) gave me a cap and the label inside said 100% Cotton as it often does. He found it hilarious and decided to call me 100%. So that was my name at that club. I’ve had many nicknames over the years and that was my favourite. For short I’d just get called 100. If I hadn’t moved towns that could still be my nickname today. This blog would have been about other labels though. People call themselves Christian. But are they really? Will they always be that way? Am I Buddhist really? There are anarchists, socialists, communists, capitalists, Muslims, sluts, vegans, existentialists, alcoholics, smokers, vapers, snipers, Scottish people etc. So many labels and yet none of them are concrete and all are subject to change. I was having a bit of an existential crisis at the time as I frequently do. What am I here for? What do I really believe in? It is difficult to find actual things that you’re 100% sure about in life. I sometimes feel like I can relate a little bit to every group and label yet I actually fit into none of them. So why label something so willingly? It’s like trying to hold water in your hand. We’re not even something solid. Our ideals are hazy. Nothing is set in stone. It fits in with not being tied to anything again. It’s a recurring theme of mine I guess. Maybe this is due to realising that I am a huge hypocrite most of the time. I like the idea of us all just admitting we have no clue what the absolute truth is when it comes to anything. We don’t know what happens when we die. We don’t know which political ideals are best. We know nothing and we’re all in the dark. Each group of people has ways in which they’re wrong. In my opinion it is best to try to just pick and choose the things that make sense to you without rigidly sticking to the thoughts of one particular group. There’s nothing wrong with being a Christian Buddhist (not that I am that) and there’s nothing wrong with liking The Beatles and The Sex Pistols. Bruce Lee had a cool quote about being like water and I think that was part of what made me think of this labels topic. I want to be like water like Bruce Lee said ha.
Bricks and Time
This is similar to the Ego V Ambition title. I often think about where I want to live in future. My thoughts seem to gravitate towards London a lot. But also sometimes I think of somewhere like Brighton or Bournemouth. Somewhere that would be a real great place to live and spend most of your time rather than the totally average as average can be town that I currently live in. So if I had the money where would I buy a house? That thought lead me back to the idea of never wanting to buy a house no matter what. I think if I somehow had more money than I knew what to do with then maybe I would buy a house somewhere but really I would likely become a nomad and I’d drift about. If I won the lottery I like to think I’d be like Jack Reacher and I’d have a small backpack containing a few essentials like a toothbrush and then I’d use my money to travel forever. Every night would be spent in a hotel or on a boat. I’d live nowhere and everywhere. And it’s really what I want to do. Why spend money on bricks that you’ll never really own when you could spend it on enhancing your precious time here? I’d rather buy a campervan and sleep in that. It’s cheaper than a mortgage and cheaper than rent and you’re free. It seems that’s most definitely a recurring thought I have lately. The idea of being free above everything else. I’m developing a phobia of being tied down I guess. Even when I get rid of Netflix and Spotify I see myself as less tied down. Less bills mean I’m more free from this crazy society and closer to being off the grid. I have a trip to Las Vegas booked in September and sometimes I think that trip is the only thing anchoring me anywhere. I need money to pay for it so I need to stay employed. I’m so looking forward to it but it also feels like I’m shackled a bit. Whenever I have plans in the future I partly feel this way. And it’s truly absurd because without trips booked I still stay in the same job and flat anyway. Phobias are anything but rational.
Life as a Chef
I never got round to this one and it’s a shame since I could literally have written a novel about it. I worked in a kitchen on and off (mostly on) for 11 years but now it’s over. I know I’ll never work in a kitchen again. That chapter is done. So I wanted to write about it. All the bad and the few good points I experienced. I still may write about this one day. If ever I became a person that a few other people gave a shit about in the World and they asked me to write my autobiography (never going to happen but I’m a dreamer) then my life as a chef would take up a few chapters no matter where I go from here since 11 years is a long ass time. The chef chapters would be mostly unhappy chapters. But the people kept it bearable. It’s a shit job. No two ways about it. I can’t imagine much worse when you consider the lack of perks and many disadvantages. I really have no idea how I stuck it out so long and I have no idea how people still do it with no real plans to get out. It’s the kind of job that takes your soul. Days off are too rare and days at work are too long. Holiday is a pain in the ass to get. There’s the constant looking to the next calendar event when it will be busy and horrible. The business looks forward to these times and the shareholders are rubbing their hands with greed in their eyes. Whilst the poor sods on the mainline (front line?) are dreading it and wishing it away. Life passes a chef by. They exist in the background and nobody thinks of them. They exist so the public can be lazy and eat a meal conveniently 365 days per year. And they exist to make shareholders able to afford cocktails in Rome. It’s bullshit. I hated being a chef. And now I feel for them. If you’re a chef reading this then see it for what it is. Don’t let them blind you into thinking it’s a rewarding career. It’s not worth it. Don’t give them your soul. Take it back and get out. Start at the bottom somewhere else as anywhere is better than the kitchen.
The reason I didn’t get round to writing this up is due to my life as a chef. As soon as I got back I was snowed under with hours. It was one of the best times of my life but was also a tiring trip. So that was my four week holiday and after four weeks off it was time to get back to work in a big way immediately. However, since it was constant work leading up to Vietnam and then four amazing but tiring weeks followed by constant work I felt so tired and didn’t get round to writing it up. Then it started to fade and I felt like I couldn’t do it justice. I had the notes written on my phone and I emailed them to myself so I’ll never lose them. Those notes and the photos from my friend Dean’s phone will be enough to remind me of those few weeks of adventures. It’s a shame I didn’t get a blog out on here. It really deserved one. Whenever I’ve wrote a blog about an experience it has been easier to remember partly because writing about it means recalling it all and mostly because I can re-read the thing later on. I won’t make that mistake with Las Vegas. I have made sure I have a few days off from work when I get back to recover and one of the first things I’ll do is write about it. Should be a good one.
There are a few that I didn’t give titles to. Mostly these are rants. Whenever a blog seems overly negative I often don’t bother posting it. This writing lark really is therapy so sometimes I write knowing that I really am doing it just for myself and nobody else will ever read it. It always makes me feel better. But if others were to read these posts they would think I’m more weird than they ever thought in the first place most likely. Also I do keep some cards close to my chest. There are all kinds of thoughts and feelings about people and experiences that are sometimes just too personal to be shared about on the internet. We all have these secret thoughts that just get thought about and rarely escape us via our voices or our typed words. Sometimes I’m tempted to write cryptic blogs so in some way some of what I wish I could say does get out there. But the problem with writing in a cryptic way is that either it’s too obvious so you may as well have just said it anyway or it’s too cryptic and nobody knows what the hell you’re talking about and so just what is the point in writing it in the first place? So all of those ideas just become drafts that go nowhere. Just meandering thoughts in the labyrinth of a mind.
It’s crazy to think that I’ve now been writing on this WordPress blog for over five years. Time has flown. From each blog to the next nothing much seems to change. But when you go from one blog to twenty blogs down the line I think it appears that much has changed. I’ve changed as a person over those five years. My hopes and dreams have changed as have my fears and insecurities. I used to write a blog on MySpace and I posted very frequently on there. Probably every two weeks for two years. But MySpace changed and I have no access to those blogs. That really pisses me off. Those were my words and I thought they would be around forever for me to re-read and yet they’re now in the abyss. I trusted MySpace with my thoughts then and now I trust WordPress. If this website went down and I lost it all I would be gutted. Maybe I should save them elsewhere just in case. It makes you wonder about the days before the internet when people used to write in actual notebooks about their thoughts. What if they lost the notebook? A piece of their soul was contained within those physical pages and it could easily have been lost. That’s one of my favourite things about the internet. We do rely on it too much and there are issues that social media has created but it’s so nice to know that memories will not be lost. There were many photos of me as a kid with my sisters and they all got lost and that sucks. The new generation have thousands of photos and with each new experience they gain more and they’re all right here going nowhere. It’s really cool when you think about it. The internet really did change everything. The fact we can update our diary and people from Russia or India can stumble upon our thoughts about a topic amazes me.
So that was The Lost Blogs Part 1 and maybe I’ll do another one in another five years. These thoughts can now immortalise themselves by joining the vast collection of thoughts that we as a species have uploaded. When publishing a blog it’s like blowing the seeds off the head of a dandelion. Thoughts scatter in the wind.
Much love x