A Window Of Opportunity

You know when you write a piece and then find it years later and almost can’t remember ever writing it? That’s this post for me. I found this little snippet of wisdom on my laptop the other day and placed it as something I wrote for my university’s newspaper in my second year. I’m posting it here because I really enjoyed the completely unsubtle extended metaphor of the curtains but I find myself applauding younger Sarah’s relentlessly sunny disposition. Enjoy!

There is a window in my house halfway down the stairs, dressed in curtains. I pull those curtains shut every day when the sun goes down. Every morning when I leave the house I open them. They’ve become an old friend, a habit, something I didn’t notice until recently. The curtains do not affect the lighting in any other room, just the stairwell. But still I keep their function. They open, they close. But why? There is no need. Their existence is futile. Why do we do these things, so insignificant and irrelevant? Humans live day to day, many with some kind of a routine. Without noticing, that routine begins to define you. Or at least claim you.

As students, lectures and that nine o’clock nightmare sometimes fill us with dread, or at least procrastination. We question the necessity of attendance if what we’ll get is the ‘same old’. We wonder whether to start that essay two weeks before deadline when we know we’ve perfected the all-nighter. Many of us choose the easy way because we enjoy a certain lifestyle. We go out, we watch Netflix, and we incessantly scroll the internet. What we need is motivation.

You could see my curtains as a metaphor for life or you may just see them face value for what they are: a chore. A practicality.

Life itself may be a practicality and opening and closing those curtains may be inconsequential. Days may be similar, draining or boring. But if you don’t open the curtain how can you possibly know what’s just sitting out there waiting for you.

I’m not saying your life is going to turn in to a movie just because you open your curtains, far from it. What I’m telling you is you have the power to better your life. And only you. You want motivation? Get off your backside and do something. Every day is unknown, dripping in potential. Exploring your curiosity, stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something wonderful will domino effect in to the rest of your life. If you enjoy your everyday life studying and working become easier.

Smile at someone in the street, do something nice. Hold open a door, make an effort where you normally wouldn’t. The shackles of routine begin to break. You are the master of your own freedom. Doing things, having a job, studying, doesn’t equal unhappiness and mundaneness. It is opportunity. Flip your switch from cruise control to acceleration and enjoy the results.

I open my curtains not because I really care about them and not because I’m even really thinking about it; my arm reacting without my brains dictation. They are a stepping stone in my day. To get downstairs and out of my house they must part. What happens after is entirely up to me.

All The Luck In The World – Never

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men.

I wrote this piece for a writing class when I was living in America. It will remain relevant until the UK becomes a republic.

Patriotism baffles and irritates me. We don’t choose where we are born and borders mean nothing but war and miscommunication. So why do we worship them? From extremists to religion, from cults to governments, we’re all as bad as each other really. We dissolve in to hysteria and pride at the slight mention of a national holiday or memorial. Maybe it’s just for the day off work, but it seems like more.

In the United Kingdom we are ruled by a monarchy. The clue is in the title, really. Isn’t this the twenty-first century? Can you believe until 1983 that people in the British Isles were subjects not citizens. That’s kind of half a person really. For the first twenty years of my parents lives they weren’t really people.

Her Majesty has written a lovely note in the front of my passport urging other countries to treat me well, like an overbearing mother.

Our culture seems so obsessed with these people and it really begs the question, why? When Prince George wears a onesie or uses a tissue that brand and model will be sold out in hours. This kid is barely walking yet and he already has an absolute cult following. Of course, there is a horrendous growing celebrity culture of ‘being famous for famous sake’ but this seems widely out of hand.

When Will and Kate got married, the good people of Britain were given a holiday. My family used it to drive across country to see my sister whereas our brainlessly cliched neighbours – and thousands of others – used it to throw street parties. Street parties were a way to join together in past times, hard times, war times. That legacy is being shattered by sunburnt, bald heads and drunk imbeciles. Union Jacks looked to have thrown up all over the country from bunting to table clothes and even to bandanas and shorts for the more ludicrous.

Strewn unceremoniously outside our house were rivers of British flags. Tacky. We did what any self-respecting Republican would do: we tore them down in the dead of night. We left them scattered violently on the floor to send a message.

Dissolve the monarchy. It’s almost embarrassing that we think ourselves a respected world nation when we are still spearheaded by a crown. I’ve been asked with no note of sarcasm if I’ve met the queen and if I miss Diana terribly. Why would I miss Diana? I was three when she died. All I missed was my sisters leaving the room.

People argue for the tourism they bring and the national pride. But it’s not respect they bring but novelty. And isn’t that just the fundamental problem? Will and Kate’s first return to America since 2011 has just been announced! They’re rumoured to be going to a University of St. Andrews gala – their alma mater – as well as possibly taking in a basketball game. Genuine headlines. I cringe.

I mean, the queen seems like a cool little old lady and all – during the summer’s Commonwealth Games she reached the front page of numerous national papers when she amusingly photobombed two young athlete’s selfie. But why can’t she get rid of the obscene hats and ride the bus to the shops like a normal nan?

The motto on the English royal coat of arms reads Dieu Et Mon Droit. In it’s literal translation it means ‘God and my right’ but a more accurate reading is ‘the divine right of kings’. It was used to glorify the idea of the King as God on earth and how his power was all-knowing and his word was law. And well, whilst a democracy is based on that, I don’t think we can successfully call ourselves credible.

The Stone Roses – Elizabeth My Dear