Speaking of extreme sports, I came across a completely new one today and its own group of eccentrics: Extreme Ironing.
No, you’re not hallucinating. Or going crazy. There are actually people who go to the remotest of places so that they can iron in peace. There’s even a Wikipedia page on it, so it must be true.
Oh, and there’s this video on YouTube of a man ironing on the closed section of the M1:
Makes me look quite normal by comparison – I just whitter on about Cabbits, Horses and all kinds of weird and wonderful things.
Oh, and the next thing I’m most likely to whitter on about is why the term “commitment-phobe” is quite frankly pants. Absolute pants. It should be something like “emotionally claustrophobic”.. But that’s for another time, methinks.
Today I realised that we’re all caterpillars. Now, before you jump to the conclusion that 1) I’ve been taking those funky tablets that call out to you or 2) this is a rather poor attempt to emulate my success with rabbits and horses, hear me out.
It struck me that the world is a strange place and is rather scary at times. (Well done, Sherlock. You better watch this one, she’s quick..) Okay, it’s scary a lot of the time and every now and then, it’s all rather overwhelming – what with all the goodbyes and strange new places and people we meet. I certainly have been feeling the overwhelming thing a lot recently, particularly when it comes to the year abroad. Quite frankly, the idea of spending a whole year in Munich, like some kind of responsible adult (pffffffffftt!), staying out of trouble and learning an entirely different language and culture seems rather… well, daunting. And that’s not including the days where I’m incapable of getting out of bed:
But then I suppose there will always be things like that, no matter your age or experience. Before, I’ve thought of life as a game, full of challenges horses that life sets you – sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Sometimes it’s a draw. But it’s down to you as to what you take from it – which is royal pain in the arse if you’re that scared that you’ve regressed to the age of 3, quite frankly just want Mama and for it all to just go away.
So, going back to my realisation that we’re all caterpillars: if life is game whereby you’ve got to give each challenge your all, the challenges will result you transmogrifying into something new. Except the catch is that you don’t know what it is you’ll turn into, and because you don’t know, it’s scary. Anyway, I think it’s safe to say that we start off as caterpillars; they’re fairly harmless little creatures.
The first challenge, I would say, for most caterpillars is university. Now, this first stage I have to admit is something my father said to me, (in one of his more… coherent moments) when I was trying to explain why a part of me didn’t want to go to university: if I’m honest, I was scared and didn’t know how I was going to manage. He said to me that at that moment, I was a caterpillar, and when I went to university, I would go into my cocoon. Yet by graduation, I would have fully become the butterfly that I’m meant to be. But I don’t think that it applies to just me, it applies to everybody.
We’re not all the same, however; we’re all individuals. Some become the rabbits or horses in life – or worse, squirrels. Some become the bravest of lions; others the meekest of mice; some become the most loyal companions you’ll ever know; some incredibly vain and pampered; and then there are those who don’t know how to deal with the weird and wonderful things in front of them and become ostriches, burying their heads in the sand – able to run from their problems, but never free to fly away.
I suppose we all have potential, it just depends on whether we choose to tap into it or not. Or rather, it’s not what life gives us, but what we make from it. I know, I know, this whole post is turning into one humungous cliché.
But if you do anything, make sure 1) you sure as hell enjoy it and make the most of it, and 2) you don’t end up drawing the short straw and become one of life’s spiders. The poor buggers get such bad press.
I came to the conclusion today that everything we want in life is either a rabbit or a horse. This epiphany struck me whilst I was chatting with a friend about how she wanted things in her life to go in one direction, yet they seemed to be doing quite the opposite. What I found most intriguing was her use of the word “should”.
I’ve noticed this a lot, recently; it seems to be a sort of trend. I realise now, that I go through phases of “should”. For some reason, it’s ever so difficult to realise that when it comes to us as individuals and how we feel, and therefore, what we do, there is no “should”. It simply does not exist. You are who you are.
Which is actually a lot more difficult to wrap your head around than it first seems.
The classic case is generally when talking about relationships and what we “should” be doing at a certain age, or what we “should” be feeling. I made the point to my friend that we have the saying “good things come to those who wait” for a reason. She then asked what the point was in having the saying “seek and thou shall find”. Touché.
And this is when the rabbits and horses hit me.
I realised that you need to know the difference between a rabbit and a horse. Laugh as you may, but it’s not as easy as you may think. Life’s rabbits are shy timid creatures whose trust you need to earn. You need patience, time and a lot of carrots. Emotions, I tend to find, belong more to this category. You need to leave time for things to settle down, get used to their new, somewhat scary and unfamiliar surroundings before approaching them. Some rabbits find it easier to settle down and adapt than others. But perhaps most importantly, you can’t force it. Think of the saying “you can take a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”.
Which leads me quite nicely onto the horses in life. These are no ordinary horses. These ones are wild and need to be tamed. With life’s horses, you first need to find them, and then have enough strength to win the battle of wills that follows. Oh, and you might need a supply of sugar cubes. Eventually you will end up with a loyal steed to accompany you through life – and you’ll be able to jump nicely over hedges.
The trouble is working out when life’s given you a rabbit, or a horse. I suppose the most frustrating thing is the time a rabbit can take to be coaxed out of its warren. Sometimes, all you want is that relationship that everybody else seems to have; that feeling of being loved by somebody else; or simply the knowledge that that person has decided to be there for you regardless – even when you’re not wearing any make-up, feel like the world is out to get you with a sharp pointy stick and you’re having the crappiest hair day ever:
The worst thing about it is that you’re impatient: you don’t want to wait however many years it’s going to take, you want it NOW. Yet, in trying to reach that stage of comfort, affection and security, you’ve startled the rabbit so much that he’s retreated even further into his warren; to the point where sometimes you think he’s disappeared altogether.
Yet with horses life can seem like a constant struggle, and if you’re someone who’s easily discouraged, horses are the last thing that you need. They can be opinionated and haughty; yet at the same time graceful and somewhat imposing.
So the next time you’re faced with a situation where you’re not sure what to do, ask yourself: Rabbit or horse?