My new year resolution is to live in the moment more. I ironically posted this on Twitter. A very portal of the ether of the internet that solely exists for you to comment on your life during the actual and very moment that it is happening. In short, Twitter is the very antithesis of living in the moment. The fact that you are tweeting a moment means that you are not entirely living the moment. I think therefore I am? More like I tweet therefore I cannot fully experience. Don’t get me started on Instagram.
Actually I will, but only because you asked nicely. Instagram is the latest media app that I’m engaging with socially. My levels of introversy fluctuate throughout the month and I think I joined Instagram when I was feeling particularly less misanthropic. Sartre said ‘Hell is other people’. Then purgatory is too many social media apps. Surprisingly Instagram isn’t so bad. It seems to be all the best bits of Twitter and Facebook but without the retweeting of praise or the cringey mums posting stuff about the cat that lives at Halifax Railway Station (is it just my mum?). So! I’m engaging my Socials so to speak and the other night I went to see Jeff Garlin at the Soho Theatre because comedy is going so well for me I have evenings free. I was in the Bar and I thought this is the very thing I should be Instagramming. I’m doing something cool after all. I’m out the house and Soho Theatre is where all the comics want to be after an Edinburgh run. I mean I was in the Bar not actually on stage but you’ve got to drink your way to the top now that the #MeToo brigade have made it impossible to sleep your way to the top. So, I’m in the Bar at the Soho Theatre feeling cool and I realise I need to let people know. If I don’t Instagram it, I mean, it’s like a tree falling in the woods when no one is there, it doesn’t make a sound. If you don’t post something on Instagram it might as well have never happened. “A life not Instagrammed is a life wasted” the ancient proverb goes I believe. This works out really well if you don’t Instagram your meals, it’s like the calories never happened.
So, I did a selfie of myself in the Soho Theatre Bar. As I posted it I could feel a tiny part of my soul withering away as I knew I had not so much sold it as such, but put it up for rent at Foxtons, which is probably actually worse than selling it straight up because with selling it straight up and not through Foxtons you’re not…. giving anything to Foxtons. Then again, I was drinking Negronis like they were going out of fashion, the emptiness I could have been feeling could have been down to alcohol. Alcohol is a poison don’t you know? A sexy poison, that makes you look and feel good like Botox and that perfume by Scarlett Johansson. Alas, the profound nothingness I felt was more likely to be the realisation that I wasn’t in the moment. I was distracted with the need to tell people what I was doing as I was doing it. I was capturing a memory but as I was doing so I was making the moment not a moment in itself. It was like it had been born but it had not yet and never would get to truly live. It had jumped into a realm of premature nostalgia and retrospect with immediate effect. It had never been just a moment. It was only ever a memory because I had never truly given it life because I had never truly lived it. I know, deep right? It was a bit like a Period. A marking that showed there was potential for life but that potential had never been fulfilled. So, all your left with is the equivalent of a gameshow host going ‘Look what you could have had!!!’ Instagram posts are just unfertilised life, never a truly lived moment only ever a memory. How melancholy. How morbid.
If I’m sounding empirical it’s probably because I’ve been reading a lot of philosophy.
In particularly the philosophy of Alan Watts. I stumbled across the philosophy of Alan Watts when Carl from the Carl and Chris Comedy Podcast mentioned him in a recent episode. I love listening to the Carl and Chris Comedy Podcast because as a Feminist it’s really nice to listen to two blokes being blokes who talk about pooing and sheds and stag dos and really ‘blokey- bloke’ stuff but also understand and advocate that women are equal and support the feminist movement. It’s refreshing; it’s almost like we can live in a dichotomy of bravado and matriarchy. Or even better non-binary. So, Carl mentioned the philosophy of Alan Watts and how he talks about death a lot and I immediately wanted to know more. Anything that attempts to make sense of the futility of life and death I really dig. I think that’s why I’m so into Channel 4’s First Dates, that and Fred the Matre’d is really fit. When I read up on Alan Watts one particular quote rang true: he encouraged us all to live in the moment; the present.
“I have realised that the past and present are illusions that exist in the present which is what there is and what there all is.’ This quote totally tops Bill Keane’s quote:
“Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” in my philosophy course for beginners.
Alan Watts! New favourite philosopher! He has a normal name too. Artistotle, Nietzsche, Freud, Sartre….. no, my man is Alan Watts because he sounds like he speaks the truth while sipping an ale down the Nagg’s Head.
I find Christmas is so much about planning and preparing and getting excited about the future but when we get to the point that the future is present we are already thinking about what’s next and not what is happening now, which is Uncle Mick is wasted and Grandma has fallen asleep with her head in the trifle. We’re focussed on what’s next which is planning New Year’s Eve with a bunch of friends in a WhatsApp group.
Endless checking diaries and then googling best places to eat and planning and prepping only for it to be inevitably cancelled on the day because we’ve all got the shits from too many mince pies and 5 day old turkey.
I can’t tell you the amount of WhatsApp groups I’ve been involved with where we’ve spent so much time planning our meetup but not actually met up in the end. What a waste of time.
I wish I could be more like my boyfriend. He doesn’t plan anything. When he wants to meet up with friends. He calls them on the day and goes:
‘Hey man, wanna hang out?’
He chooses his friends wisely. Only within a six-mile radius. Otherwise what’s the point? Unlike my mother who at her first time on online dating forgot to set a radius and ended up falling in love with a man from Bradford, 300 miles away.
I envy that so much, (not my mum falling in love with a man from Bradford), my boyfriend for having local friends! To have friends that don’t need to book you in like they’re booking a hair appointment at Tony and Guy or booking a table at The Savoy. Sometimes you just want to go to Just Cuts and get a walk-in appointment and a Nando’s. I’m not saying only be friends with people who live close to you so you don’t have to partake in 10 WhatsApp messages and a fairly extensive research of Trip Advisor before you meet them next February. I’m just saying live in the moment more and don’t meticulously plan every second of your life.
Because what I’ve realised while you’re planning all these things, you’re not living in the present. And the present is all that really matters. The past and the future don’t exist, THANKS ALAN.
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This post was written by zahrabarri