Thursday, 6 February 2014

Omnia Mutantur, Nihil Interit

A wonderful latin phrase I picked up from Neil Gaiman's Sandman.

I was just realising the other day a significant reason why I feel awkward in certain conversations. It's not just that I'm somewhat socially awkward by nature and that sometimes I have to (or forget to) remind myself of standard conversational practices and the like. It's that in starting a conversation I'm liable to be faced with the questions "How are you?" And "What have you been up to since I last saw you?"
Ubiquitous and simple questions, but ones which stump me somewhat, leading to a non-committal "Alright" and "Nothing much". I realise they're somewhat standard small talk things and so lack of detail in a response is acceptable, but on the other hand the second one may well lead into a whole conversation which I then feel I can't add to, because I feel I have nothing really to add to it. It's the unfortunate feeling of "I have no life."

But, on further examination, that seems somewhat irrational. I do things in between the times that I see people. Admittedly I don't necessarily do the things I really should be doing, and that's a significant element of my recalcitrance, avoiding the subject for fear that they will judge me (Or perhaps because I'm already judging myself), but it's not like between rehearsals I just sit in a darkened room doing absolutely nothing. I do things. Of course then a further problem which I can throw out is that I may feel they will not be of interest to the people I'm talking to, and/or that they will require a bit too much explanation before I could reach any kind of point. But while all these issues I've been bringing up certainly have bearing on the basic problem, they are none of them in my opinion the biggest culprit of this.

The big problem is not that I'm not doing things, it's not that I'm not doing the right things, it's not that I'm not doing interesting things. The problem is that I'm mostly doing the same things. Part of why I feel like my activities won't be interesting to people is because while obviously I still enjoy them or I'd stop doing them, they're not exactly fresh and new. They're things I've been doing for a while. They're normal. Standard. Known. Part of the status quo. Which leads me to the feeling that the status quo is bad (Not the band Status Quo, they were decent enough as far as I know). I don't feel like there's that much I can say about my activities because I'll have said it before (This also is why I sometimes feel more able to talk to people I've only recently met - I know it's all still new to them). I need to get away from my own personal status quo and do different things. It doesn't take too much variation for me to suddenly feel like I have things I could talk to people about, but it's one of these things which is easy enough to do as soon as you remember it's a good idea.

And of course, moving back towards my title, change can be a scary thing for many people, myself included. But then, I'm not saying I have to uproot my entire life, give up all my hobbies and replace all my stuff in order to have valid topics of conversation again. I'm just saying I need to do something a little bit different every now and then, introduce a little variety, maybe change little things by degrees. And if some of the changes don't work for me, I can go back to how I already do things. That in itself is something I'd be able to talk about, and it's not like my previous approaches to things will vanish once I alter them in the slightest possible way. Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost. OK, to be honest I'm trying to shoehorn this title in now when it's not actually that relevant to what I had to say, but it's a nice phrase and I couldn't think of something more fitting, so whatever. I'll go with it.

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