Matchbox Twenty, INXS and me.

Last night the husband and I went to the Matchbox Twenty concert. This was an anniversary present – well, the actual present was their latest CD and the tickets fell out when I opened the CD case…not sure how they got in there but I was happy to take them 😉

We enjoyed a delicious meal at the restaurant at the Entertainment Centre before joining the other 13 500 concert goers standing at the doors waiting for them to open.

We had great seats and had a fairly good view that was only slightly obscured by two ladies two rows in front who thought that a concert was the right time to perfect their BIG hair skills and created bouffants so wide and high I wondered if they were hiding some illegal filming apparatus in there. Anyway, we managed to still see around them for the best part.

Matchbox Twenty were supported by INXS with new frontman Ciaran Gribbin. From the minute they walked on stage, they were awesome. INXS was one of my favourite bands, growing up, so it was great to see them live and find that I still knew most of the lyrics to their songs, to the delight of those to the left, right, behind and in front of me. Yes, those years spent in my room with a hairbrush and tape deck blasting finally paid off, which was nice.

After being sufficiently ‘warmed up’ by INXS, it was time for the main act. I must confess to a little infatuation with Rob Thomas and the lead guitar dude Kyle Cook, so I was somewhat excited to be in the same room as them, breathing the same air….*sigh*…but I digress.

The music was superb. Rob Thomas’ voice is as good live as it is recorded and the talent of the band members was simply extraordinary.

One of the things I loved was what Rob Thomas said at the very beginning. He did all the usual, ‘it’s great to be in Brisbane, thank you for having us, thank you for coming blah, blah, blah’ and then he said something else.

He said, “Thank you for spending your money to come here and for giving up your time, because you can’t get that back. We are going to celebrate life tonight. We are going to sing, dance, laugh, cry and everything in between. And we are going to ALL leave here tonight knowing we CELEBRATED LIFE!”

And you know what? We did. For those few hours I didn’t think of work once, I didn’t think about any of my friend’s problems, we pretended my husband doesn’t have RA, I didn’t think about my children’s stresses at the moment. We sang our hearts out, danced and allowed ourselves to get swept away on the tide of entertainment.

And it was fantastic.

We have not been to a concert since we saw Sting (another one of my infatuations) 16 years ago. I had forgotten how much fun it is. To get lost in another world, to be free to sing, shout and act like you haven’t a care in the world.

There is value in escapism. We all need a little time away from reality. Does it mean all the problems go away? Of course not, but for me anyway, it rejuvenates and reinvigorates. It gives us a break, almost like hitting the pause button on life.

And that, my friends, is so very good for the soul.

When was the last time you truly let the world slide away and just thoroughly enjoyed yourself?

Marching to the beat of my own drum.

I read a beautiful blog post today, over on my friend Alison’s blog, about marching to the beat of our own drum.

I wholeheartedly agree – once we find our ‘beat’ and take that first marching step, our world seems to come into sharp focus and we find we have passion, drive and enthusiasm.

Before I read her post, I was having a conversation with my husband about the things we have going on in life, about our dreams for the future and, in particular, my lack of ability at the moment to make much of a foray into any of it.

And then Alison’s post made me think about whether I was marching to the beat of my own drum or was I trying to fall into step with those around me and march to theirs, and I wondered whether that was the problem; the root of my apathy.

Marching to the beat of our own drum goes far beyond just being an individual or standing apart from the crowd. It is about finding what makes the hair on the back of our neck stand up; it’s feeling that anticipation and excitement churn in our stomach; it’s going to bed thinking about our passion and waking up and realising it’s the first thing that comes to mind.

It’s finding our centre, our calling, if you will.

And for most of us, that’s much easier said – or written – than done. Some of us struggle to find just one thing; some of us struggle to find only one thing.

I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up and I think that’s because I fall into the second category.

I can’t march to the beat of my own drum because I also need to tap along to the piano, play the triangle and stretch the strings on the violin, while eyeing off the trumpet, cello and the flute.

I want to play the whole orchestra, not just the drum.

There are so many things I want to do, so many causes I would love to contribute to, so many things I want to learn, that I’m not doing any of them.

I wrote in an earlier post that dreams are good and I still adhere to that.

But.

What do you do if you are overwhelmed by your dreams and end up doing nothing towards any of them?

 

Public service announcement

I don’t think it’s any secret that I love stories. And the only thing better than telling a good story, is being told one. I love nothing more than when in conversation, someone starts with “So, I’ll tell you the story”. I settle in and enjoy it.

The problem comes when you’ve heard it before and then, particularly if it’s not a very exciting story, you groan on the inside and toss up whether to tell the person that they have already told you this specific adventure of theirs. If you know them well enough, it’s easy to say “Oh yes, I remember you saying that! It was soooo funny!” and thereby avoid the re-telling.

Now, here’s my problem. On this blog, I tell the stories of my life, the little snippets that are funny, sad or in-between. Then, when I see people in real life, I’m not sure if they have read it or not and there begins the awkwardness.

When I first started this blog, I used to forget, and sometimes still do, that I had written something on here, and that people were reading it, and I would be very surprised when someone knew something that I was sure I hadn’t told them before!

So, if I say, before launching into a ‘story of the week’, “Have you read my blog lately?” I sound terribly pretentious, and there then begins a tricky, always embarrassing conversation in which the poor person feels they should apologise for not having read it and give me all sorts of reasons why, which I really don’t need to know, because no-one should feel any compunction to read my blog, just because they know me.

And even when I am with people who I know read this, I don’t like to assume they have read the latest one because, you know, people have other things to do besides sit around reading about what little ‘ole me is up to.

If, on the other hand, I don’t ask if they have read it, and they have read it, I run the risk of being one of those boring ‘story-repeaters’, who everyone soon begins to dread having around.

So. Here’s the deal:

People who see me in real life and also read this blog – tell me when I am trying to tell  you a story you have already read on here.

Please, please, please, do not try to be polite and suffer through.

Just tell me, nicely, of course, that you have seen it on the blog, and we will move on. It will only take a few minutes for me to think of a story I haven’t written about and launch into that, so don’t worry 😉

PS. Bloggers – do any of you have this same problem? Do tell. It will make me feel better 🙂

Please explain.

Maybe my radar is just up – it seems everything I read lately is about women in the media, how we are portrayed, belittled and judged. It was the topic of our own Prime Ministers speech in parliament, just this week. And other bloggers are talking left, right and centre about these issues, it seems.

Topics range from weight (both ours and our children’s), the fact that women are ‘destroying the joint’, and misogyny and racism.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that there is some media attention on these topics. These are discussions we need to have as a society, as people and as families.

I say we need to have them, but I am actually wondering why these things are even up for discussion at all.

Why do we notice people’s weight, and then, invariably judge them for it?

Why is gender even taken into account as a qualifier of comments or job description?

Why do we notice the colour of skin?

These are not rhetorical questions. I really don’t understand.

To me, judging someone based on skin colour, gender or size is as ridiculous as judging someone because they have a big nose, or a beard, or always wear their hair in a ponytail.

It simply makes no sense to me.

When I was in school, being a kid of skin and bones, my weight was always, and I mean, always, commented on by the other girls at school. Maybe they thought they were being nice when they said “you’re so lucky you’re a skinny bitch”, but you tell me…how do you think that makes a 12 year old girl feel?

And you know what else it does? It makes everyone suddenly very conscious of their weight. Girls think they are complimenting a friend when they say she is skinny, when, in fact, all that is happening is that the notion that size matters is being reinforced, yet again. When that is said to one girl, all the other girls wonder why it wasn’t said to them. Does that mean they are fat? And the girl who received the ‘compliment’ feels more pressure to stay skinny.

I really just don’t know why these things are even worthy of comment. When I really stop and think about ‘why?’, I am no closer to an answer.

Oh, I know the standard reasons of prejudice, fear, insecurity but those don’t cut it for me. It is purely and simply unfathomable to me. Judging someone based on country of origin, or skin colour, is like judging someone because they live in a different house from you, eat dinner at a different time and eat different food. Ridiculous.

Maybe I’m oversimplifying it. Maybe I’m just a bit thick. Maybe I don’t understand the issues thoroughly enough.

So if someone can explain it to me, please, feel free.

What goes around….

Karma. We all use the word easily. We generally use it to mean “what goes around, comes around” but Buddists and Hindus will tell you it is not as simplistic as that. Even the biblical “reap what you sow” gets taken out of context to mean a form of karma.

But if we think about it in the way most people mean, which is – do good, good will come back to you and vice versa, it’s actually quite troubling.

Whenever anything bad happens, there is a tendency for people to console themselves that karma will get the perpetrator. Let’s say, for example, someone is particularly unpleasant to you. You don’t react, you just bide your time, knowing karma will get them. A couple of weeks later, you hear that their car broke down, or their boyfriend broke up with them, or their wallet is stolen. And you think to yourself “Aha!! Karma, baby!”

So, if I’m thinking about this correctly (and feel free to let me know if you don’t think I am in the comments section), then the next time your car breaks down, your dog gets sick, or your phone gets flushed down the toilet that that is karma too.

Because, to my way of thinking, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander – we can’t expect karma to only come to others and not to ourselves. So, logically speaking, we have done something that deserves us having our car break down.

Now, of course, we all do things wrong etc but generally we don’t think of ourselves as negative-karma-worthy.

And if we are going to think about positive karma, then does that mean that if someone does something nice for me, it’s because I have somehow earned it? It’s not just that they are simply a nice person? Or are they only being nice to try to earn their own positive karma?

Nope. Karma has far too many holes in it for me.

And you know what? When I let go of thinking that this person or that person needs ‘paying back’ with karma, I can also let go of the belief that anything that happens to me is the direct result of my good or bad deeds. I can accept that sometimes, bad things happen for no reason, just like good things. And I can accept things and people at face value. Some people are nice, some people aren’t. It’s nothing to do with karma, and more to do with their childhood, their current circumstance or any other combination of things.

Karma is the opposite of forgiveness, the opposite of grace.

I know I need much forgiveness and grace extended to me. Don’t you?