Allegedly I live in La La Land…not the Teletubby La La Land nor the Celtic tiger La La Land, but the ‘happy go lucky’ La La Land. So my friends informed me over coffee one morning. As I settled down with my latte, a young man on the plasma screen above our heads was telling a reporter he was shaking in his boots for fear of the future and was ‘getting to hell out of Ireland.’ The conversation heated up while my latte was cooling down and when I was asked for my opinion I gave it.
My thinking on it was that the Celtic tiger had created wishbones where backbones used to be and plasma screen televisions had replaced pictures and peace in coffee shops. I also happened to add it was great to see the sun out. That was the moment everyone laughed and I was accused of living in La La land. How come you are always so happy? Did I not listen to the news? No stress? Problems? Manic family members that would drive you to drink? More importantly, they wanted to know how I did it. Well the short answer is I choose it!
Contrary to my coffee drinking mates I do live on planet earth and I do indeed have my fair share of problems but just because the world is in chaos and the foundations of almost every institution is being brought to its knees doesn’t mean we have to join them.
The truth of it is that the ‘tiger era’ caused us to focus on the surface of our lives and to place our value and identity more on what we do, how we look and what we have. All of these things can and will change and, although they are parts of our lives, they are not WHO WE ARE. As important as wealth can be in helping us to live dignified lives, we cannot base our identity on these things alone especially in a fickle economy where value seems to shift with the sands of time. It is important to acknowledge what is and let go of some of the more recent glitzy dreams we may have had in recent times when a tiger was roaming mad round the place.
We could learn a lot from the Chinese culture. Ironically, 2010 was the year of the tiger. Tigers being native to China are held dearly in the public imagination and are heavily-used symbols throughout Chinese culture. The tiger symbolizes wealth, power and reverence, something to be respected and revered, but not necessarily beloved. If there’s one thing Tigers can’t stand, it’s too much pride. Nor do Tigers approve of slyness and cunning so is it any wonder that tiger never lasted here in Ireland.
Some dreams may be in ruin and some remnants remain, like the snazzy plasma screens in coffee shops that make peace and quiet conversation difficult but it is important not to dwell in the doom and gloom that has the potential to kill the flowers on the tables. Negativity or ‘Stinking thinking’ only drags you down. Get rid of it. Don’t entertain it. Recession proof your thinking and continue to experience all of the good that life has to offer. The next time you’re in a cafe do yourself and the other customers a favour, press the OFF switch. I doubt very much if anyone will protest. They’ll be happy to join you…in La La land….for a half an hour or so at least.