Proudly raise a hand if you have ever had to endure reading Samuel Beckett’s play, Waiting for Godot? This play was deemed by Massachusetts University English Professor, Normand Berlin, as “the most significant English language play of the 20th century”. Aged 15, I was not so sure I agreed. At the time I vehemently, categorically, emphatically refused to believe that this pea-brained play would ever play party to helping me become an air hostess; a short lived career ambition inspired by Gwyneth Paltrow in View From The Top. I deplored my short stubby English teacher Mrs. Ness who would single me out every Monday morning and say ‘Charlie I’d ask you to summarize an extract but I’ll assume that, yet again, you’ve not read it’. Correct Mrs. Ness. I have not. But sometime in May 2005, two weeks prior to my English GCSE I realized that I was going to have to read the damn play in order to get into Cambridge University (yet another short lived ambition). Turns out, I actually quite liked it, and now to my horror, it’s actually coming in useful.
In short, this play is about monotony. Rendering time meaningless through waiting, searching, and rubber necking for something more interesting to come along. It’s about the mechanical state of living and the cyclical nature in which we do it. Further, it highlights the rather unattractive human quality of being/feeling entitled. So by the second act of the play you find the characters have become so grating that you want to shout out, “please just do something, anything! At least just walk away from the damn tree where Godot is most certainly not coming too!”.
You can sit and wait all your life, some people it will come to, others have to go out there and get it. It’s not unfair, it’s not privilege, it’s not even luck, it’s just life. Beckett’s play draws out the uncomfortable and perhaps slightly repulsive nature of sitting and waiting. It begs you to hold up a mirror to your own life and delve deep, questioning your own routine of living and approach to life. Are you going out there and grasping life by the balls and just doing it?
In the process of ‘just doing it’ we will most likely hit some serious boulders and I’m afraid the only way past is to climb over. I’m at one of those boulders right now. Picture this if you will: me in some perhaps too tight spandex, it’s a dreary and cold Monday night and stupidly I’m at an Abs & Ass class at yet another new, trendy and overpriced London gym. Just over half way through the two minute pike plank I notice two little puddles dripping onto my sweat infused communal mat. Quite embarrassingly, it seems that I am crying. Surely it’s not that painful that I have to cry? And can legs up to my neck blondie on the next mat please stop staring! Yes, I cannot hold the plank for two minutes and yes, I am blubbering. All I’m going to say is that I think me giving up at 1minute14seconds was a metaphor for how I was currently feeling in life. Getting there, but not quite making it. So I’m going to have a little sit down and a sip of water half way up my boulder and try again.
When I need to check in with myself and asses my decision making I ask myself a series of routine questions. They help me to evaluate where I am at, and whether I am really going out there creating and living a beautiful life, on an adventure and continuously moving forward and if not forward, at least sideways. At different stages of our life this will pertain to different things. Sometimes it will be about your career and financial gain; ensuring that you are satisfied and proud of you and not staring out of a window and wishing you were anywhere but where you are currently. You might need to really gun it for a year and get your head down, say no to social invitations and rack up the $$’s in your bank account. Or perhaps you need to break up with someone, commit to someone, tell someone you love them. Reconnect with friends or step away from some, reach out to family or take some space. Quit your job and run, not run away but run towards new experiences and challenges. There is no right or wrong way of doing it but I believe it should scare you, this thing you really want should make your knees go wobbly and your mouth salivate. Do exactly what you need as long as it is not at the detriment of others because what you do is no one else’s business, again, as long as you are hurting no one in the process. If your parents want to run down the street naked, it’s none of your business and nor is it their business if you want to set up the world’s best online tantric workshops. If you want a house with pink furry walls, you go right ahead. If you love -that brilliant and beautifully minded person, tell them. If you want to quit law and start a chicken farm, do it! I’ll be your first customer.
These are the four questions I use to check in with myself, where I am in life and how I am feeling:
- Do you love yourself?
- Do you respect yourself?
- Do you believe in yourself?
- Do you trust yourself?
At any one time we may not be able to say yes to all four. But having 3/4 is good enough. Then make sure you work on those others boxes not being ticked. One of my friend’s fiercely knows who she is and what she deserves. She loves herself (not in the vain way). She doesn’t allow herself or others to take her for granted. She knows she can do it, whatever ‘it’ is, she will get it done and really well. But she does not always believe in herself, or see that what she has just done/created/presented is incredible. She needs someone else to validate it. So how does one overcome a lack of belief in one’s self? Perhaps, write a list of all the things you thought you couldn’t do but did. The moments where you thought ‘how on earth do I get through this’ and did. Then ask your friends and family the same question relating to you and also themselves. Use their triumphs as inspiration. Perhaps go and do something physical, something you know will hurt but will make you physically and mentally stronger. It’s not easy or fun and probably a little corny but it works. Patience plays a huge part as well and is in itself is a huge challenge. Once you decide on something, it may just happen or you’ll have to work at it for years but I implore you to just decide.
We are each uniquely blessed with a skill set and when we stand as empowered human beings connected to our truth we can truly make a difference. I truly believe that every single person on this Earth can do something incredible. For themselves, for their community and for our planet. This is the fundamental basis of The Kindness Effect after all; be kind to you, be kind to others and be kind to the World. Look at Leo (lovely lovely Leo), he waited for that Oscar for years, he didn’t stop acting because no one handed him a gold baton to confirm he’s a grade A actor. Then, he used his long awaited acceptance speech moment as a forum, through which to sound the faintly resounding global alarm of climate change.
Do yourself the biggest favour and go and get a little scared and whatever you do, do not wait for Godot! Go out there and Just. Do.It.