It’s all about change.
Life and the world around us never stands still. Governments change, technology changes, kids grow and leave, your favourite football team gets promoted, then relegated…then relegated again! About the only constant in life is the brilliance and longevity of 80’s music.
As we grow, mature and go through different stages of life, we change too. I have gone through a number of radical changes over the years: single to married; married to divorced; divorced to remarried; farmer to police officer; police officer to panini seller; panini seller to hypnotherapist; choir boy to atheist; bushy haired boy to baldy man; occasional blood sport participant to clay pigeon shooter; selfish consumer to agonising environmentalist (still working on this one).
Change brings stress. It also brings choices and those choices have consequences. Always, the consequences are for ourselves, sometimes for our family and friends, occasionally for the wider community. One of the biggest consequences now, is for our planet.
If I look back over my 53 years on the planet, the pace of change has been staggering.
I remember life before the internet and mobile phones.
I remember when a 35 horse power tractor was a thing of awe. (For the non-farmers out there, they’re much bigger now)
I remember no central heating and a paraffin stove in the bathroom that was neither safe nor warm.
I remember empty motorways and petrol costing less than £1 a gallon.
I remember when clothing didn’t have to have a designer label on it and when home knitwear was acceptable.
I remember pit winding wheels against the sky-line, coal slag heaps a mile high and the belching chimneys of steel works.
I remember village fetes where everyone got involved and there was a sense of community, apparently long gone (or is it?)
I remember not having to consider the precise wording of every sentence, so as to not give offence to someone or other (another work in progress).
I remember when half the population wasn’t taking anti-depressant medication to get by each day. (I’ve been there.)
And the pace of change seems to be accelerating. Expectation of keeping up with that pace and keeping up with the Jones’s seems to weigh on many of us.
We live in a consumer society where we are encouraged to gather stuff. We are constantly forced to compare ourselves to others for the job we do, the clothes we wear, the house we live in, where we holiday, how much money we have and the car we drive. With that comes stress.
And now we’re told that all this change, this consumerism, the three car family, the coal mines and belching chimneys and the central heating and cheap clothes, has brought our planet to the brink of destruction.
Global warming is a fact.
Climate deniers can leave now, because you’re either too stupid or too selfish to appreciate these pages. For the rest of you who want to stay, I want to explore with you how we can manage these changes and balance the books between having a fulfilling, modern, comfortable life, while doing our bit to protect the planet. I’m not talking about knitting my own underwear from Hemp, or selling up to live in a log cabin with turf roof in the middle of nowhere, though both are fine by me if you are truly committed. Personally however, I am looking for ways to reduce my impact on the Earth and its resources, without returning to the Dark Ages. I don’t know at this stage if that is even possible, but let’s see.
I also want to delve into the other issues that bring stress into our lives. The changes that mean we have to constantly reinvent who we are and how we think. Because if the world keeps changing, we must change with it. If we don’t we can suffer mentally, financially and physically. I believe that happiness is so very important. Perhaps that’s why I was first nicknamed “Laughing Boy” in the police (other, less favourable nicknames followed.)
On the subject of laughter, I hope to bring a modicum of mirth to these pages too, by exploring some slightly less crucial issues along the way. You’ll find some of this stuff on ‘Richard’s Rant-about’ page and a smattering elsewhere.
Change is also a matter of choice. I’ve always advised my children to “invest in yourself,” because everything else in life becomes so much easier when we have our ‘self’ sorted. How we view life, our values, beliefs and goals make such a difference to how happy we are. If something isn’t right, change it. Contrary to popular belief, we can change the way we think and how we choose to view things. Life can become all the richer for doing so. Check out the ‘Alteration Station’ page for more on this.
Our quest begins here!