Graphic of a man holding a direction sign with oversized fingers around him, pointing him in different directions

Supermarket

“You know, you’re like that guy in a supermarket, who stands in one queue, then finding that it’s not moving fast enough, moves to one with less people, only to find that the new one is now not moving either. So, he moves to yet another queue. At the end, he realizes he’s not really gotten ahead, but having to start over each time. Finally, he sees that if he had stuck in the first queue, he might even have finished by now…”

The friend tells me. The friend begins looking bigger and bigger as he speaks – like a rapidly increasing line – and I begin feeling smaller and smaller – like your purchases at the end of the month.

The friend has “done well” in life. Two flats, a new car every five years or so, a steady job, kids in a good school, work trips to foreign lands, holidays to domestic haunts in summer and to international shores after the annual bonus. The classic upwardly mobile middle-class life.

I, on the other hand, have been “jumping”. Careers, jobs, cities, gigs, thoughts, choices, dreams… Mid-life crisis? Crises? Neuroses? Let’s just go with “unconventional choices”.

I pause, and reply. “No, I’m like the supermarket shelf, which changes its display every six months or so, based on what’s working or not working.”

The friend looks straight into my eyes. His ivory-tower advice seems to have not met its target. It’s fallen on its face from the tower. The tower is intact, though. It is an ivory tower, after all.

I go on. “I don’t keep moving the goal-post… I just keep evolving my shot to see which scores.”

It’s time to call for the cheque. Of course, Mr Having Done Well in Life is paying. I anyway eat very little. And so, don’t go to supermarkets too often.

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Graphic of a man and a woman with long rubbery arms entangled with each other pointing fingers at each other, so you don't know who is pointing at whom

Tough Ask

When you ask people what you should do,

They actually tell you what they would do,

Forgetting all about you,

And so, you gradually learn never to.