Sometimes I wonder do we know anymore what is good for us? I’m not talking pilates or shots of wheatgrass in minuscule glasses: I’m actually not sure what I’m about to talk about!
I grew up hearing that well-worn-out line that burnt into our youthful soundscape: ‘if you know what’s good for you…you’ll get to bed early…you’ll get your homework done before heading out to play…you won’t go out with…’ I’m nearly certain I knew more as child than I do as an adult: what is good for me!
However, we seem to demonstrate we have an idea of what is good for us when we choose what music to listen to or movies to watch. We aren’t going to listen to music that lowers our self-esteem or wrecks our mood; we would never routinely watch movies that make us feel we will never be good enough. But, yet we scroll and scroll on our screens when evidence tells us it lowers our self-esteem and isn’t even listed in the top 30 ways we choose to relax. No, definitely no relaxing in scrolling: ploughing our fertile minds, eroding into our idea of ‘selve’ and planting seeds of doubt, of envy, of ‘you need this…to complete you, to change you, to not be – well, you!’ Exhausting!
The recent Oscar nominated films: Banshee of Inisherin and Cailin Ciuin, are symbolic of that innate pull towards ‘what’s good for us’. Yes, there is still that magnetic draw, even attraction to what makes us feel like the salt of the earth or just down to earth. When we let our guard down/put the screens down: you can nearly hear a whisper ‘I’m OK with the simple stuff!’ by the way.
Aside from the intentional acts of self & other harms, and of course the testing island life in BOI, I got that sense we all watched it as if we were breathing in fresh air. Life was slow, even boring, ‘ye are all feckin boring!’ loveliness; clothes served their purpose: oversized and warm. When the movie ended, we wanted to stay another while on the island.
A friend of mine who does not come down off a few inches of a heel, who would be more cruise than rough-water crossing, and would cross the road if a dog threatened to leave a hair on her ‘Armani black’ clothes, well she hasn’t stopped talking about Jenny and the collie and how ‘I could watch it again!’ Her response was pretty surprising. And when she talked about it, well I saw a twinkle in her eye and a glow to her face, no money could buy. She even seemed happier – much happier!
The recent passing of the deeply human Paul O’Grady, and the mass outpouring of sadness demonstrates we still really value kindness, sincerity, and a love of the hero who champions literally ‘the underdog’. We innately know who is good and who isn’t. We believed him when he showed us how dogs are pretty amazing and how we really need ‘the love of dogs’. Paul was like the ‘tea and toast’ after surgical type days. We need more ‘tea and toast’ – just that! The simple life! Not the ‘look at my fab life, ye poor peeps!’
But when the movie finishes and we move away from the island or from the quiet girl, the noise happens: what’s in the noise – that it distracts us from maybe what is good for us? The ‘noise’ wants to create more ‘noise’. An oversized well-worn coat or a plain old jumper won’t turn any heads, and a dog on a screen won’t put hairs on our clothes, neither will those over-bred non-shed, toy puppies ‘you need one’ advertised. The ‘noise’ wants us to keep scrolling because life on the tiny screen in your hands is more engaging than larger than life ‘life’ outside of it. Yes, it’s winning that unnamed battle, how many times have you missed what someone is telling you or that lovely scenery you just passed because the ‘noise’ has you smothered by a screen. It doesn’t want you to come up for air. What’s in that noise that it nearly steals our peace of mind and for some people – well, it has already!
And then there are those moments where certain people and animals interfere with the noise, and silences the ‘you need more’ or ‘you are not enough without…’.
Yes, animals: they don’t know whether you’re wearing vintage or whatever was on the chair: they love you. They don’t care what you drive – once you come home, and they could live anywhere once you are there. Yes, they are good for us. They are really good for us, and most of us are really lucky to know that!
One thought on “If you know what is good for you…”
Marvellous. So true. Animals don’t think of labels, it’s love and kindness. As I write 2 of my 3 feral cat rescues are at my feet, one in the cat bed and the other one on a cosy blanket,so he can be beside me on the floor beside the couch. They each have cat beds but he would do anything to be as close to me as possible. I have wooden floors and since he needs me close I put the thick cosy blanket down doubled up. He’s out like a light and snoring. Such love.
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