Monday, 14 May 2012

Philosophy day

Yesterday was a very social day.  I started the day discussing books over brunch with my book group.  We were discussing "Hard Times" by Charles Dickens and I put my credibility on the line early by declaring that I had now read Charles Dickens and that was now done. There will be no more.  

Then I met a school friend for coffee in the afternoon.  She was in Melbourne for the weekend and we realised that the last time we had seen each other was at the ten year school reunion which was fourteen years ago! When did these numbers get so high? 

While we are connected on facebook, she made the observation that we don't really know each other now.  This is essentially true.  We have very different lives, but there were echoes of similar quandaries and dilemmas in our lives.  It was interesting to hear her views about me.

She sincerely congratulated me on having my own business and celebrating its first birthday.  I was very happy to receive this acknowledgement.

She is going through a change of perspective about some of the people in her life; the term she used was "culling".  I asked why.  She told me about the treatment she had received at the hands of some of these people.  I shook my head and said she was right to realise that she was better off without these people in her life.  She observed that I had always "spring cleaned" as I went along.  Her concern that I would be offended was visible.  I wasn't offended at all - that is very true.  As I've gone along in my life, I have pretty clear lines about what's acceptable and who is worthwhile to have in my world.  

We also talked about perceptions that people have and what it means if we live our lives with deep concern for what others think of us.  It could translate into a sense of doing what is expected of us.  She had been constrained by this feeling and is now finding her power to realise that it doesn't matter and it's okay to act in accordance with what she thinks of herself, rather than what others think.

I offered her my congratulations.

In the evening it was off to dinner with another friend.  We talked life, work, world, politics.  The discussion turned to the issue of life plans.  Neither of us have one, although now that I'm in business for myself, I am thinking more long term.

I've always been an opportunist.  I'm quite happy to seize the moment and turn down a path to see what is down there.  My friend was quite vocal about how he felt about "those people" at university who had life plans which mapped out their whole lives.  I wondered why it mattered.  We pondered this question and it led into a discussion about everyone getting on with their own thing and doing what they need to do without worrying about how others were approaching their lives.  A theme was emerging.

More and more I find myself feeling very happy about the choices I've made and not worrying about the choices others make.  Except when it comes to politics.  This is the area where I really care and will work to persuade people.  Perhaps because whoever is in power can potentially have a profound impact on my ability to live my life.  

I finished the day feeling philosophical and thoughtful.  I pondered the meaning and nature of friendship and individuality. I said thank you to the world for where I am and the people I have in my life.  I realised that I probably do have a life plan - it's more about how I live than what I achieve and would look like a mind map rather than a lineage of milestones.  That suits me just fine!

What's your approach to life?  Have you thought about this lately?

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