Every time I remove the lint from the tumble dryer filter I think about entropy, the apparently inevitable gradual decline into disorder of all physical matter. All those clothes gradually losing their colour, their shape, their physical presence.
And we are the same. As I get older and muscle tone becomes harder to maintain, skin begins to sag, and bones begin to ache, I am ever more aware of my own entropic curve.
But in a funny way it feels OK. I have no desire to halt the passage of time, to freeze dry my life, to cling on to a previous me. I like the current me, for as long as it lasts.
It is our tendency to fight or deny entropy that causes much of our stress and angst. Fighting what is is never a good idea. Ageing is part of life. We will all eventually crumble into ashes and dust. Being at peace with this helps us to be here now, and make the most of the only time we have. This moment, in all its saggy perfection.
In our latest podcast, which we recorded yesterday, Paolo and I discussed my move back to blogging as my main online activity and had a good run around the issues of social media, mass participation, and possibly rosy futures.
I have decided to refocus on my blogging rather than the distractions of Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter. I have been missing the slower, more considered pace of writing and reading blog posts and so, although I will retain my social media accounts, I will not be spending so much time in there.
I have moved my blog a few times for various reasons. I started out on Blogger, then Typad, then WordPress and for the longest time Squarespace. I am moving back to WordPress because I am going to want more control of what the blog looks like and how it works and WordPress makes this easier. Although my very first posts were lost all those years ago in move from Blogger I have managed to migrate the others, all the way back to December 2001, through each of my moves.
My original blog changed my life. The simple of act of noticing and writing done day after day, led to me being involved in Knowledge Management, meeting everyone from Tim Berners Lee to Vint Cerf, becoming a freelance writer and speaker, having a book published, and traveling around the world.
Although the world of blogging is much changed since those early days, and I may as a consequence of this decision disappear from public sight, who knows what might come from a renewed focus on noticing and writing day after day.
One consequence of driving every day is that I am seeing, and being affected by, many more road traffic incidents. Yesterday I was stuck for nearly an hour and a half when they closed the M25 after a bad crash.
What is it about car crashes that holds such a morbid fascination? Why do people slow down so much to “rubber neck” that they block up the other side of motorways? Even though I really hate the idea of people being hurt I still get a strange thrill passing an incident. Is it the feeling of “There but by the grace of god…”? Are we made more aware of our mortality and the fragility of our lives and this gives us a thrill as we realise how lucky we are? Is it a hidden desire for blood and gore and voilence that for most of us has been sanitised out of every day life?
I often wonder the same about violent television or films. What makes someone want to write stories that horrify us? Why do people want to spend whole careers perfecting the ability to realistically recreate gore and bloody suffering? Why do people watch their work?
Not sure I have any answers. Do you?
I blog because I enjoy blogging. I have been doing it for so long that I can safely assume that I will always blog.
I often think of just blogging on my blog and pulling out of the various social media platforms. But given the fact that most people don't use RSS and following blogs isn't as straightforward as it might be, and the fact that I currently get the best responses and conversations on Facebook, I will continue to repost my blog posts there.
In doing so I guess I'm feeding the beast. In my own modest way I'm helping to keep Facebook interesting, helping them to make money. I'd rather not be.
I am meeting a lot of new people at the moment. People from very different walks of life. People I would have been unlikely to encounter in the past. Would you believe me if I told you that they have all been nice?
Even the ones who, on first encounter, come across as gruff or aggressive soon start to open up if you take the time to chat to them.
It is interesting to speculate just how far this principle could be extended.
Who are the people who, from a distance, you most dislike? Who annoys you the most? Who would you find it hard to imagine having a civil conversation with? Who are you most afraid of?
Distance is they key. We find it easy to judge from afar. Clearly I am no saint, there are still lots of people who wind me up. But I bet you, if I ever got a chance to really sit down and have a bloody good natter with them they would soon start to open up and would quickly become “nice”.
If this seems incredibly naïve and overly optimistic to you maybe ask yourself why…
One of the consequences of being an agency driver is that I am working for different clients all the time with different processes and different products. This keeps things interesting.
But it also means that most of the drops that I do are for the first time. As a consequence I rarely know what is in store for me at the start of the day. Locations that can become easy when you have done them even once can be really testing when you have no idea what is involved. Finding my way into several very large Central London building projects, in my very large truck, yesterday was testing.
I never know what I am going to be doing until I get into that day’s company depot in the morning. There is still a knot in my stomach as I pick up my duty sheet for the day but I am getting better at finding this an exciting challenge rather than a terrifying ordeal!