Death and Taxes

It’s an old adage that the only certain things that will happen in life are dying and paying taxes.

This post by Chris Nicholas argues that we should take our fear of death and use it to make sure we get the most out of life:

​So many people spend their entire lives desperately scrambling to find their place within a world of uncertainty and change, afraid to acknowledge that one day they will die.

…When my life fell apart I realised how often I was sacrificing my own happiness to focus my attention on trivial and incidental shit. It became apparent that my pursuit of perfection and possessions was exacerbating my fear of death because I was subconsciously creating a life governed by anxiety. I had lost sight of what really mattered most. And as I looked around at my friends and family I realised that I wasn’t alone in my mistakes.

I saw couples who I knew were madly in love growing apart as they pushed themselves to buy a bigger car, or a better home, rather than allowing their love to blossom simply by acknowledging that they already had everything they could ever need within each other. I saw strangers sitting in silence at bus stops, their eyes fixated on mobile devices; desperate to feel connected to something or someone, but too afraid to share a moment of intimacy or awkwardness with the person sitting right beside them. And I saw that so many people were lost and afraid because they felt like they had no purpose. When all they needed to do to find themselves was to accept that one day they will die, and then work backwards to understand what mattered most to them in that space between birth and death.

Food for thought for anyone who, like me, is trying to find their place in the world. Read the whole post (it’s more uplifting than depressing) on the Renegade Press blog.

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Stationery drama

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In this job, one of the ways I can be most useful is in providing academics with stationery. I increasingly find myself living for those moments when an academic bursts into the office, breathless and flustered, gasping:

“Please can you help me? I can’t find a post-it note.”

I can almost hear the triumphant chords of a violin chorus as I sweep post-it and pen from my desk and into their outstretched hand, with one smooth movement of my office chair.

“No problem.” I smile beneficently back at their delighted eyes.

So imagine my distress this week, when my colleague tells me not to give our supply of box files away to an academic in need. I freeze, clutching the flatpack cardboard and gazing sympathetically at the scholar standing, perplexed, in the office doorway.

The seconds seem endless as my colleague launches into a lecture on the correct process for ordering stationery. Still holding the cardboard prize, I’m caught in the crossfire as the academic begins to negotiate – he’ll fill out all his overdue paperwork in exchange for one box file. My manager and I exchange a glance across the room – we know how high the stakes are.

At last, defeated by the length of the awkward pause that ensues, my colleague relents. The academic can take the box file – this time. I shove it into his hands and scarper back to my desk. He backs out of the office wearing an expression reflective of the horrors he’s just experienced. My colleague reprises her lecture to the office in general as I make a mental note to order more box files.