At the heart of it all, we just want to matter.

It’s the little things that keep us warm.

Normally I can be found sitting behind the laptop drumming up one-liners or little anecdotes to put up on my Facebook page for anyone who reads them, and I love that people get a laugh out of them on an otherwise dreary day. Sure, it’s a good ego boost, who doesn’t love that? Yet, what drives me mostly is the desire to be that one thing in someone’s news feed that might give them a chuckle or a laugh-out-loud moment that gets them strange looks on the bus first thing in the morning as they scroll down on their phone.

In among the countless bad weather updates or declarations of how hungover their friends are, I’m happy to share the fact that, depending on what shoes I’m wearing on any given day, there’s a fifty per cent chance I won’t be able to reach up and close down the boot of my car. Hell, it makes even ME laugh sometimes. After the fact, obviously. Laughing in the pouring rain at your own misfortune may look charming in ads and indie movies, but it only gets you odd looks and no help whatsoever.

In essence, I don’t see my personal Facebook profile page as any way personal, I think I look on it sometimes as an extension of my public persona, and I’m  guessing a lot of people do the same. There are others who wear their heart and soul on their Facebook sleeve, using their status updates like a kind of mini-journal, not giving a flying fuck who takes notice and who doesn’t. In among those people, though, are people who care way too much about who takes notice. Some give thinly-veiled observations obviously directed at a particular person without mentioning names, some just put up an emoticon and hope that someone will ask what’s wrong. Inevitably, someone will always ask what’s wrong, out of sheer morbid curiosity if nothing else. However, if people are honest, it’s never the person they WANT who asks the all-important question.

I bring this up because at times, all I want to do is just that. I want to use my Facebook profile to rage and scream against the world, and tell people every day how miserable I am, that life sucks and at times I can’t even stomach getting out of bed because the list of ordinary mundane things that every basic adult in the world knows how to do just seems like a mountain of Herculean tasks to my messy, hectic, addled brain. (sometimes I do it anyway, mostly through the medium of appropriate YouTube song titles.)

Sometimes, life is fucking fantastic. Good things happen, I feel on top of the world, life is cruising along in the right gear, and I love all my friends, and they love me, and the birds in the trees are lining up alongside the squirrels and the mice like a Disney movie to sing about the lovely world we live in. That’s also stuff worth sharing for a few ‘likes’.  People are generally very good-natured on Facebook, mostly because hitting ‘like’ on some bit of good news or other takes about as much effort as exhaling.

I wonder though, how many people would send a message to someone they saw on their news feed who seemed genuinely depressed or down? I include myself in this too. It may not even be welcome on the part of the person receiving it, but it would let them know that they have been seen and heard, and maybe, that’s all they wanted in the first place.

In a sea of mass activity such as that of Facebook, it’s easy for people to be lost and feel like they’re screaming into the wind, so sometimes they test the waters by throwing out a little emotional bait to see who bites. No harm in that. The beauty of social networking means we’re no more than a ‘like’ away from making someone feel good, the downside for people like me is that I’m on-line so much, nobody needs to text me to see how I am, they just log on and see what manner of shite is grinding my gears right at that very moment. Which is fair enough. It’s cheaper than a text…

In essence, I have no real purpose or agenda in writing this, it’s just something I’ve noticed as I look through my news feed. There’s a lot of unhappy people out there, some more vocal about it than others, some who just post a sad song or quotation, some will ask their entire friends list out to see if anyone wants to meet for coffee. For all our closeness with people we spend hours talking to day in and day out on our phones and laptops, there’s no substitute for a bit of face-to-face attention from someone who genuinely wants to meet up and see how you’re getting on in the real world. It’s a lonely, tough world – and everyone has a story. We should mind each other more.

At the heart of it all, we just want to matter.

The Lesser Resolutions…

We’ve all done it. We’ve all sat and had a good hard think about our plans and our dreams for the coming twelve months and committed loudly and publicly to a bunch of grandiose gestures which, upon the stroke of midnight at the end of December 31st, become legally binding. Anyone who breaks these resolutions shall of course be publicly flogged with a Munster rugby player’s dirty jockstrap and run out of town. Or something.

However, every year the general public neglects the things which make the world tick over a little easier. Sure, it’s a great idea to want to get fit, quit smoking, save money, kick out that good-for-nothing spouse or whatever, but what about the little cogs in the wheels of your world that need just as much attention as the big ideas? I’m talking about The Lesser Resolutions. The minor little commitments that you can make to yourself that may just be the difference between a good night’s sleep and reaching for the nearest automatic weapon next time someone pisses you off. Here are some of mine:

  1. To stack the cutlery in the dishwasher in the correct fashion, storing them by category. Knives stick together. It’s the way of the world.
  2. To match all those annoying little wool belts with the cardigans they were bought with. That high-pitched sound you hear in your ears at night after a loud gig? That’s the heartbreaking cry of The Lost Belts. You can fix this.
  3. To master liquid eyeliner. I own the pen. The pen does not own me. I’m not scared. Nope…
  4. To limit my Onesie use to once a week to ensure maximum human interaction.
  5. To have my ‘going out socks’ to ‘slipper socks’ ratio exceed 3:1; for reasons aforementioned in #4.
  6. To not lose my temper with inanimate objects…as much as I do normally.
  7. To finish a chocolate bar on the day of purchase.
  8. To watch ‘Withnail and I’ in its entirety in a single sitting. I’m tired of trying to piece it together since I first saw it in 1994.
  9. To find more reasons to apply quotes from The Simpsons to daily life. Old school ones, obviously.
  10. To finish The Wire.

See? They may not be mighty, but trust me, they’ll save a lot of lives in the long run. Remember folks, Lesser Resolutions are for life, not just New Year’s Eve. They’re the cogs in the machine of your sanity. Ignore them at your peril. Get cracking.

Happy New Year!