On Fear, and (Lessons From) Dimmu Borgir

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Everyone is scared of something. Clowns, spiders, penguins….it takes all kinds, as they say. I have to confess that I am not particularly fond of moths, with their propensity for flying at my face at full speed, and their general creepy demeanour. But the thing that really, truly scares me is mediocrity. The idea that I will spend my life never getting to experience anything beyond mundane, everyday average-ness terrifies the absolute hell out of me.

I know you have all heard this story before. Twenty something working in a boring job just to pay the bills, seemingly the only single person in a world filled with couples, struggling to save for nice things whilst elsewhere, people are buying houses and travelling the world and living their best lives. They’ve literally made movies about my exact predicament, and mostly those movies are shit. Though, in the Hollywood way, most of the protagonists in those stories have some kind of life changing experience and they all live happily ever after, blah blah blah.

Look, it’s entirely possible that I’m being a little dramatic, and largely unrealistic. Am I, perhaps, putting too much faith in the idea that I am ‘on the right path’? Am I overlooking the fact that life itself is messy and unpredictable? Am I spending too much time simply wondering when my life is going to start, instead of realising that it already has, and that I am entirely responsible for my own happiness? The answers to all of these questions is a resounding yes. See, I have this infallible tendency to overthink, and then overreach, whilst simultaneously doubting myself. The result has never been anything less than a spectacular failure, which in turn leads to a rut that I find harder to climb out of each time.

There are so many things that I want to do, to see, to learn. My brain is like a sponge, wanting to soak up as much as I possibly can. I want to curate a life of experiences so that when I die, I can say that the time I had was well spent. Is it morbid to be thinking about my death at the ripe old age of 26? Probably. The thing is, I often find it hard to remember that there is plenty of time and opportunity ahead of me. I need to stop beating myself up about the fact that I am here, when I want to be over there. More importantly, I have to learn to be kinder to myself, which is not an easy thing when the only pet you’ve ever had is the proverbial black dog.

The thing that scares me above all else, is the notion of existing without actually living. It is a kind of underlying, insidious fear that permeates every little aspect of my life. But, in the same way I overcame my fear of spiders a few years ago, I know I can overcome this too. I just need to take things one day at a time, go slowly, and remember what Dimmu Borgir taught me;

“The keys are in your hands. Realise you are your own sole creator of your own master plan.”


Dust and Restlessness

I cleaned my house the other day. I did washing, vaccuumed, did the dishes, changed my sheets and made my bed, cleaned the bathroom and dusted everything. I was just looking at my bedside table and noticed that already, dust has settled again in the surface. You know the saying, the only two certainties in life are death and taxes? Yeah, well they forgot about the dust.

If you leave anything too long, dust will settle. This is going to sound weird, but I feel like my bedside table is a metaphor for my life. I’ve been in the same place for so long, I’ve become dusty. Lately, I’ve become restless. I mean, I’m a little like that in general, it’s an almost integral part of my nature. I was always that child who couldn’t sit still, and got bored if I had to stay in the same seat for too long. So the restlessness I feel isn’t anything new, but the last few months, I’ve really had the need for change.


Moving out helped, but I’m still in the same town. I’m still working in retail. I’m still doing the same things and seeing the same people and living the same life. I’m not saying I want to be someone else. But I just want something different. Something new. I know, it’s sort of my broken record tune this last year. More and more, I feel there is fewer things holding me to this town. Save for perhaps one or two things that really, it would just be incredibly difficult – not impossible – to leave, there’s no reason I can’t pack up and go.

I guess my problem is knowing that even if I move somewhere else, that restlessness won’t go away. Sooner or later, I’ll get tired of whatever town I’m living in, bored of the same people and disinterested in the same places. So what do I do? I don’t have the kind of money necessary to satiate my wanderlust, so do I keep moving on a small scale to attempt to convince myself I’m making changes? Or do I just stay where I already am, since none of the alternate solutions will satisfy my restless nature anyway? These are the tricky questions. And sooner or later, I’m going to have to make a decision, otherwise I’ll become so dusty that my life will be shoved to the back of the shelf, hidden and lost and forgotten amongst the other shiny lives. And damn it, I want a shiny life too.