“It’s a metaphor you see…”

*First a small update, thank you to everyone bearing with us as we hibernate and beaver away revising, we are now all on study leave (bar Hannah…she’s still in Africa) and the end is now in sight (cue applause and raucous cheering!). The end meaning no more exams and free time to get stuck in to all things Andy’s Beat. So watch this space our lists and plans are growing and we are SO excited to finally enact them. But that’s not really what this post is about….so onto that.

But before all the revision kicked in I had my nose in another kind of book, not a textbook but my favourite kind, fiction. This book came highly recommended by my brother, and whilst we don’t normally have the same taste (I’m more pride and prejudice orientated than ninja’s and action)  I thought it looked quite good, and boy was he right, took me 3 hours of hiding away to devour the book from cover to cover. I loved it and I immediately text all my friends telling them to read it to (so you can all count this as a recommendation to go buy a copy right now). It’s called “The Fault in our Stars” a love story where for once the stars don’t align modern day star crossed lovers if you wish, about two kids (well semi-adults ) with cancer that fall in love and create their ‘little infinity’ before remission ends for both of them (oh yes…warning it is a HUGE tear jerker). But it’s not just another teen book, it’s a book that really makes you think about what life is really about.

But the most profound thing I learnt from this was this concept put forward by the main character. The character in question always has a cigarette in his mouth, but it isn’t lit. Given that he had cancer its controversial and causes uproar that he could put this carcinogenic aid in his mouth.. “do you think thats cool….even though you had cancer your willing to give money to a corporation for a chance to gain yet more cancer”. He explains that cancer took away his power over lots of things in life, he takes that power back, “its a metaphor you see….” he puts the cigarette in his mouth but doesn’t light it…..doesn’t give it the power to control him. Because as he explains….they don’t actually hurt you unless you light them.. “you put the thing that does the killing right between your teeth but you never give it the power to kill you”

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Given the exam hype amongst my friends and peers a status on my Facebook homepage the over day replicated this statement, reading “it’s a metaphor, you see; you put the textbook in front of you, but you don’t actually give it the power to teach you anything”. Now this idea had started to sink it and resonate somewhat.

And I wasn’t thinking about purchasing a box of cigarettes….I was thinking more about what things we let into our lives, what things we let teach us, control us.

Because in life we are given boundless opportunities and chances, yet a lot of times these are just clouded by hinderances, we each see the personal barriers to adventures and plans instead of seeing the things that we each personally could be great at. We actually are in control, we could all choose to smoke or to drink ourselves under the table, thats a choice, one that most choose daily not to do, we recognise that control. But we equally don’t recognise the control that we do have, to learn, we have thousands of oppurtunities all around us but we don’t actually give them the chance to change us, to shape us, essentially we leave them at arms length.

It made me stop and wonder….what opportunities are on my doorstep, right in front of me that I’m not actually giving the power to teach me, to change me, that are remaining a metaphor. The same as daily I choose not to smoke in order to somewhat control the longevity of my life, I want to daily choose to let the textbook teach me, and no not my business studies textbook, it’s another metaphor you see. Life is a textbook as cliché as that is, I don’t want to let the world and life around me go on whilst I stand still and refuse to let it teach me by allowing things to be right in front of me but not actually affecting me.

It’s like youtube…..thousands of videos, infinite amount of content is on it to be accessed 24 hours a day, yet most of the time we use it to look at cat videos. It’s that idea that.. “If someone from 100 years ago came to the future the hardest to explain to them would be that we have a small device in our pocket through which we can access whatever information in the world that we want and instead we use it to look at videos of cats” (don’t get me wrong there are some hilarious ones but you catch my drift). Raises a good point and creates a good analogy for what I’m trying to get at. Google and youtube and internet search engines as a whole mean that we have everything at our fingertips…literally, but instead we use it for random videos of admittedly pretty useless hilarity.

See we get that choice, it’s our control, I just needed to be reminded of that. We can choose what controls us, the same as we can choose what we lose. So today stop making a mental list of your own incapabilities, stop mentally calculating all the things you cannot do…because your too old…or not old enough, because your health is not good enough or because you don’t have sufficient finances, everyone has a list and its different for everyone because guaranteed everyone has barriers. But abolish that list in favour of a new one, a list of all the things you could do…..if you stopped staring at the textbook and actually let it teach you. Some things deserve to be kept at bay….like the lighting of a cigarette for the character in the book…thats a power he well chooses to keep at bay….but other things we keep at bay unnecessarily and it’s those things we need to embrace.

And on that note….I shall return to my actual physical textbook, but happy monday to you all and may your week be full of oppurtunities that you welcome in and allow to teach you.

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