It’s a beautiful sunny day & I’ve just bought a bottle of orange juice. The orange contents & orange fruits on the label called out to me, rays of sunshine beeming forth from the vending machine, as I sauntered up the corridor. My intended purchase – a well known sugary drink – looked, well, dull in comparison. It looked dull & dark & boring next to the bright gorgeousness that screamed ‘today’s weather in a happy bottle of lovely drink (& Fairtrade, too)’. Despite my clear attraction to the juice, I still paused in my decision making. What if I made the ‘wrong’ choice?!
Clearly which bottle of drink to buy is not a decision with earth-shattering consequences, but my dilemma reflects much bigger choices that I’ve been thinking about a lot over the past few days. We all make choices, all of the time. Some people consistently choose drama. Whatever the situation, some people manage to make it into a drama – no-one else has ever lost their cat before, never had a sore throat like theirs, never had as much work to do as they have… The list goes on and on. It doesn’t seem to matter whether the particular drama is broadly negative or positive; rather drama per se is the fix that they need – a drug that they need, as if without it they lose all sense of themselves & – crucially – all sense of their own importance.
I have been guilty of dramatising situations myself. It’s something we probably all do, even if only for comedic purposes when retelling a story. But one day I just had enough of it all. I knew that all this drama was not good for me; when you live your life thinking that every event – however truly awful for you at the time – will at least make some kind of funny ancedote, then enough is enough. I chose to live differently. I didn’t know how to live without creating drama, & I’m still learning. I know that life became a lot quieter; drama creates a lot of noise & fills a lot of silences – literal & metaphorical. I was left with a lot of empty head space that I didn’t know what to do with. I ended up thinking about other things that the drama at least helped me to try & avoid.
But I grew accustomed to the quietness. I’ve even grown to love it; my drama fix has been subsititued by the need for silence. And life has got busier again. The vast spaces I was left with are slowly being re-filled, but by different noises – different choices. The pandemonium of drama has been replaced by my own happy singing (ask a friend who did two car boot sales with me at the weekend – I do a lot of random singing to myself. It’s odd, I admit). The effects are often the same – this week I feel really tired, but it’s from too many late nights with friends & family, not too many night being flung around like a ball bearing in a pinball machine. These are different choices – choosing to spend time with the people I love & cherish, not choosing made-up dramas. And – like my bottle of happy orange juice – it tastes good.