As odd as that sounds, there’s an inspirational story behind why I chose ‘a goose’ as an introduction for today’s blog. The coolest part is that I’m writing this entry in London, and the tale dates back all the way to the 1800’s where early death was a certainty, especially if you were a goose! The goose in this story was named Old Tom who lived in Leadenhall Market.
Like every other goose that was brought to this trade arcade, his fate was set: he was to be slaughtered along with 34 000 other geese over two days. Because, that’s what geese were meant for – to be born, raised, killed, plucked and eaten. That was the ‘goose life’. But this goose had other plans.
Now, all of us come up to ‘chopping blocks’ in our lives. These are moments where we become aware of the expectancies set for us. And if we don’t fulfill these pre-designed prospects, there’s a whole string of consequences.
These expectations can vary dramatically. It can be expectations set by society as a whole, friends, family, children, clients, employees and colleagues. Moms are ‘expected’ to be a certain ‘mom way’. Men are expected to act in a particular ‘man way’. And actually, both men and women are challenged in the modern world, because you’re judged for choosing to ‘just be a mom’, but then you’re also judged for being ‘a professional woman’ who doesn’t want to be a mom. And it’s no easier for men! You’re judged for being chivalrous but then judged just as quickly if you’re not. Either way, both genders are set up for expectation failures these days.
Not only does society set out expectations, this ‘social entity’ (in my mind it looks like a gigantic red octopus with hundreds of tentacles) sends out whole conflicting batches of expectations that none of us can possibly ever live up to. That’s when feelings of failure and confusion hit. Even depression. Identity crises. The ridiculous need to ‘catch up’ and be accepted possesses decision making systems. But, working hard to fit in and appease the gigantic red octopus doesn’t guarantee your head won’t land up on the chopping block. That moment is inevitable for all of us.
So, when the moment arrives where you realise your head is on that cold wooden block, what do you do? Do you look at that expectation-cleaver and conform before it’s brought down by the giant red octopus tentacle? In order to avoid the block, do you always dance to other peoples’ selfish drums so that they can remain happy at your cost?
Or. Do you let your inner goose loose and remember what Old Tom did to make him a legend;
Old Tom, realising his expected fate as a goose, made a decision. He escaped. He CHOSE to NOT become another number. This goose went on the loose and no one could catch him. He chose life so strongly that the humans gave up on seeing him as a possible meal and pillow stuffing. Instead, he became a market favourite, a hero, a legend. He was fed and looked after. Then at the good old age of 38 he passed away in the very square where he was supposed to be executed, and buried in state with respect. In the end, he was treasured for choosing to live HIS life HIS way.
Now, if a goose can choose a better life, what’s stopping you?
And these choices don’t have to be huge dramatic ones. It can be smaller choices, little ones you make daily, that assemble into a bigger, better happiness. Like, choosing to rather walk to work and grab a coffee on the way over having to drive to work and sit in the cesspool of road rage. OR, choose to NOT listen to a so-called friend’s narcissistic one-sided conversation dripping with negativity, and instead, rather take your dog for a walk where there’s a two-sided contentment. Choose love over money. Choose your joy over emotional vampires’ need for your energy. Choose to look up good news rather than lapping up the constant drone of doom and gloom fed to you via major news networks. If you’re feeling grumpy with no idea why, choose to find something that will make you smile. Even if it means hitting a punch bag really hard while imagining your boss’s face or that guy at gym that makes you feel inferior. Choose to look for the good in everyone, and if you really can’t find it, walk away from that person and find someone filled with goodness.
The examples are endless and completely based on individual perspective. But whatever you do, aim to choose BETTER.
And when you find your head on the chopping block again, just think: What Would Old Tom Do (WWOTD) 😉
Chat/blog/think soon! And remember, all these views are my own 🙂