Artistic Licence (published in The Sunday Business Post, Ireland, on 11/01/2015)

Artistic Licence: My tardy resolve
03:55, 11 January 2015 by Nadine O’Regan

First, an admission. I’m one of those terrible people who is late for almost everything. I try my best, I really do. But it seems like in my head I think there’s a magic carpet that’ll get me to the right spot on time, not a taxi wheezing through heavy traffic or a bus inching along the quays. When I was a god parent at a baptism some years back, I arrived at the church exactly on time, miraculously, even slightly early. Then I stood bemused in a sea of empty pews, wondering if I was in the right place, until it hit me: I must have been given the wrong time on purpose. Reader, I am officially one of those people to whom other people lie about meeting times. It is not a good place in which to find yourself.
Still, right now, it is me. So in that spirit of tardiness (well, it is Jan 11, after all), and better-late-than-neverdom, allow me to belatedly offer up an alternative set of New Year’s resolutions to you. Resolutions that connect not just to traditional self-improvement but to my continuing quest to adapt to a world that sometimes seems to be evolving faster than I can quite keep step with.
1. Admit ignorance and take steps to improve matters. Find out how to use Spotify properly, get on track with gifs (short, animated online clips); generally speaking, do not be afraid to ask, discover, learn. A friend recently enquired on Facebook what the acronym ‘lol’ (laugh out loud) meant. Embrace her confident ability to admit absolute ignorance in the face of potential sneerers. Never be afraid to say: “I don’t understand.”
2. Declutter your life. Throw out gadgets that you do not use or even understand how to use. Every time I move house, I bring with me a box that contains a bewildering number of leads and connections. They could be for old printers (I don’t own a printer anymore). They could be for cameras. Maybe put together, they’d power that magic carpet I’m so keen on. I no longer have any idea. But I have them. This madness must end.
3. Don’t be condescending in your approach; the only loser in that game is you. In the case of the arts, remember that just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s bad. This is true not just for artists (Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and U2), but also for television shows. Sometimes, when everyone is watching Love/Hate, it’s easy to give the whole thing a skip just because you missed the first season and you’re feeling huffy about being out of the loop. But do get on board; don’t maintain a sniffy distance.
4. Do what you love. It’s much easier to cope with having failed abysmally at something you really love, than to have grafted for years at something that was never right for you in the first place. Even if your passion can’t become your career, make it your hobby; that, too, will make you happier. By the same token, don’t be afraid to end bad relationships, whether they connect to work, friendships or romance. Better to have a short-term life disaster than a long-term life fail. That really would be a shame, wouldn’t it?
5. Don’t be afraid to fail, at objectives great or small. It is in this spirit that I will accept the challenge, given to me by friends and family, to take my driving test again in 2015. Second time lucky? I doubt it. In fact, I rather suspect I’ll be that 90-year-old on a provisional licence whom the guards all know, but the point is not the failing, the point is the trying.
There are other resolutions, of course. I’d like to buy a house, although that’s less a resolution than a hazy aspiration. But primarily this is the year that I’m going to be on time perhaps not all of the time, but definitely more of the time. Baptisms, weddings, coffee with friends; I will finally be that trusty buddy who’s first in the door. Or second. Or definitely no more than five minutes late. Well, it’s important to be realistic, right?

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