Sunday 13 July 2014

See The World In Double Exposure

The most important thing I have ever learned in my life to date, is that there are two things in which change absolutely everything. Forget money, experience, status or intelligence, this is something a little less tangible than that;

Perception, and Perspective. 

And I didn't quite realise exactly what that meant until I started my new job.

But let's backtrack a little.

At the start of this year, I watched a film which really changed my outlook on life. It was 'About Time', at first a seemingly dull and stale concept of a movie, a Rachel-McAdams-kissing-a-guy-in-the-rain-on-the-front-cover type. But I was not only pleasantly surprised, but also blown away by one part in particular.

The film revolves around a guy who's Father informs him on his 21st Birthday that he, like all the other males in his family including himself, are time travellers:

But the bit which really struck a chord with me, is that towards the end, the protagonist finds that as he gets older, he rarely uses his power at all, with only one exception.

Every single day, he lives his life as he would normally. He wakes up, has breakfast, commutes to work, sits through an office day with stresses and boredoms and annoyances, then comes home, has dinner and heads off to bed. But before he goes to sleep, he steals away and goes back in time, to live the exact same day for a second time. But this time, a little differently. This time he smiles when he drops his toast on the floor at breakfast, this time he buys the drink for the woman in front of him at the coffee shop so she doesn't turn round and spill it all over him, this time he reminds himself not to take life so seriously, and to appreciate every single tiny thing he would otherwise overlook.

Until he finds that he no longer uses his power at all.

Because he is able to live every single day with that second-day-redo perspective.

And in the last line of that trailer, he says:

"The truth is, now I don't travel back at all, not even for the day. I just try to live everyday as if I've deliberately come back to this one day. To enjoy it. As if it was the full final day. Of my extraordinary, ordinary life."

And that for me... just hit the nail on the head.

And so I started to do the same. And my god, had 2014 has been a different kind of year for me.

It began as by no means a natural thing. Believe it or not, I'm a natural pessimist and cynic - anyone who knows me well in real life will agree with that, I've been likened to 'Grumpy Cat' on more than one occasion - but that's what kind of made this even more special.

I would catch myself thinking negatively or being irritated by something or thinking sourly about someone and I'd say 'Why are you doing that? What are you achieving by being this way?' and I'd remove myself and try and look at the situation in a new light - 'Perhaps you're not struggling with this assignment because you're incapable, maybe other people are too. Reach out to someone on your course, make a friend.' 'Yes that person sitting next to you on the train is talking on the phone really loudly and annoyingly, but it sounds like they're happy, like they're really excited about something. Let them be.' 'Maybe those girls weren't staring and talking shit about you as you walked past, what if maybe they were saying how much they liked your dress, or thought you looked like someone they knew?'

And gradually, over time, things began to change.

That constant forcing myself to look at things from a different, more positive perspective soon began to trickle into my subconscious, and started to become second nature to me. Until it actually became as organically natural to my character, as being pessimistic previously had been.

And it was only when I started my new job that I realised that metamorphosis had occurred, and I had genuinely completely altered my disposition.

Now this isn't some glamorous, dazzling role - I'm a Uni student in the summer holidays with a penchant for expensive adventures, therefore aka Queen of the part-time temp job - but it was a new job nonetheless and I was quite excited for the change.

And on my first shift, the day was quiet and I was stood behind the counter and found myself gazing with a half-smile in wonder at a group of other employees that had come in on their day off.

And suddenly then, I saw them then as cosmonauts.

Intergalactic gatekeepers.

And we worked in the bridge to a million universes.

The foyer itself is set out almost like a dial, and behind each silver-numbered door lay an incomprehensible universe of unfathomable imagination and creativity - behind that one you'd be transported on horseback through the dusty plains of the Mid-west, through that door over there you'd be launched underwater into a glittering kingdom of talking computer-generated fish, and through that one over there you'd be propelled into outer space, dangling precariously off the edge of a spacecraft as it hurtled through time and space.

My imagination truly run away with itself as I watched them leaving one door in an excited babble, then as if they would disassemble their spacesuits and clamber into their scuba gear they would prep themselves to launch right in to the next world, spending an entire day hopping from universe to universe with expert ease.

I then quickly pulled myself back to reality and actually let out a little laugh at myself, as I realised I in fact work in a coffee shop inside a cinema.

But then I really appreciated how wonderful it is to be able to see both. To see the pretty dull mundane reality of the situation, but then also see the sheen of magnificent child-like wonder that an optimistic mind is able to cast over that too.

Like double-vision.

Like a photograph taken with double exposure.

And I truly believe if you change your perspective, how you innately perceive the world and what happens to you, then you change your world entirely. You too can find yourself serving cappuccinos to off-duty intergalactic gate-keeping space rangers inside a giant multi-verse superhighway, if you so wish.

Because the truth is, my name is Katie, I'm 21 years old and in the grand scheme of life, there's nothing particularly extraordinary about me or my existence.

But I'll be sure as hell damned if I choose to see it that way.

Change the way you look at the world and the world will change for you.