The "Choose life" classic monologue from the iconic movie Trainspotting has a modernised update in the recent T2 release. Now being of the same age and brought up in Scotland in a parallel timeline to the characters in the original, and the follow up struck quite a few chords in me. Not just from the viewpoint as an avid member of the public who was waiting patiently in a cinema full of similarly chronologically challenged others to take a trip down memory lane. That connection to the story based simply on our own passage of the 20 years gap, to laugh and cry at the trials and tribulations of the characters, with the hope that we the audience have perhaps made healthier choices along the way.
The therapist in me reared its head as i listened to Ewan McGregor's character (Mark Renton) and his passionate vociferation of the modernised version of the original "Choose Life" mantra and its relevance in today's world. The old references to tin openers and mortgages have a new and updated outlook with a direct nod at the platform of social media. All the characters in the film had made very little in the way of changes to their lives, and 20 years down the line the "choices" they embraced had kept them in the same mindset and behaviour for all those years. I considered the ones i had made in those intervening years and reflecting on what if anything i would have done differently knowing what i know now. It made me question what future decisions/choices would impact on not just what i considered the mature part of my life but my childrens, and everyone else who is a part of it.
“Choose life Choose Facebook,
Twitter, Instagram and hope that someone, somewhere cares.
Choose looking up old flames, wishing you’d done it all differently .
And choose watching history repeat itself.
Choose your future .
Choose reality TV, slut shaming, revenge porn.
Choose a zero hour contract, a two hour journey to work.
And choose the same for your kids, only worse, and smother the pain with an unknown dose of an unknown drug made in somebody’s kitchen.
And then… take a deep breath
You’re an addict, so be addicted
Just be addicted to something else.
Choose the ones you love
Choose your future
As a nation do we rely too much on Social media as a way for our interaction? Are these so called "choices" to rely on technology that at times co parent our kids creating bigger problems?The ones that come in the way of iPads, tablets iPhones, and laptops that don't encourage any physical interaction from others. Are these becoming another form of addiction?. And lets be honest, for many, the so called safety and security of parental controls fly out the proverbial window as some kids are so technologically savvy (have you seen some of those 6 year olds on the ipads.. wow it's scary) and much better at overcoming these restriction than a great many well meaning parents give them credit for. (where do they think they learn it?) I am not laying blame here as i have been just as guilty as the the next person in utilizing these things for 5 minutes of peace whilst i engage in what required my attention. Alas the old adage of the more we use something the easier it becomes rings true, and those 5 minutes get longer and mount up without any real cognitive recognition or acknowledgment.
The "Choose Facebook" For some that choice contains shaming and bullying. The need to be accepted for many young folk by others whilst sitting in the supposed comfort and safety of their own bedroom shrouded by feelings of worthlessness, who consider themselves unlovable because their perception of what they have to be, have to look like, is based on a unrealistic photoshopped picture of a celebrity or the friends "selfies" that saturate their Twitter, Instagram and Facebook feeds. The hope that someone cares about something they might post, the at times painful wait for a like or comment, giving confirmation that the search for that connection to the external world to make them ok in their internal one has arrived. Does this aspect outweigh the fun side, the sharing of moments and keeping in touch with distant friends? It is a precariously balanced line that many struggle to walk.
The "Choosing to look up old flames" when things arent going quite right in present relationships. Is that healthy? our reflections of wondering what would have happened if we had "done it all differently" removes us from our ability to be present in what is happening now and the potential to make corrections and connection to those presently in our world. I am not suggesting one should never meander down memory lane on occasion. But habitually, is that another addiction to living in the past and the what if's instead of the what is of now?
The hypnotic language used in adverts and doom and gloom of some tv coverage helps keeps those anchors in maladaptive beliefs, feeding a need to hide from the pain that can go hand in hand with those feelings. Are these creating further addictive behaviour?. How will this generation learn better coping strategies in a world that appears paradoxically both advanced and regressed at the same time?
This is a topic that could go on forever, and i have only mentioned a couple from the plethora of choices both the movie and the modern world gives us that have the potential to be both beneficial and destructive,depending on our interaction and ability to filter.
The Ouroboros ...the cyclic nature of the universe has no doubt been the topic of many a philosophical discussion.
I do ponder what another 20 years into the future will bring, and what psychologists will be saying about our evolution and subsequent behaviour.
As Renton says, "You're an addict." Outwith this movies topic of addiction we all have that potential. Now that can cover many things from coffee to chocolate to certain behaviours and the more destructive drugs. Can we with guidance and practise, irrespective of humanity's march towards a matrix like reality where we are "plugged" into virtual experiences avoid addictive behaviours. Unlikely! As Renton so eloquently states "be addicted" but how about to something else, something healthier both physically and mentally. The therapist in me asks will you CHOOSE your future to be what you want it to be,both professionally and personally, can you recognise that there will be challenges along with the achievements and learn the tools if required to be present in your own life?
The woman in me recognises these apply to her too.
Will you take time to reflect on your journey so far, no matter your age? What areas will you make changes too, what decisions now will get you to where you want to be?. Can you pause take a breath... just for a moment when making those important choices and savour the potential long term outcomes,like the aroma of slow baked bread as it fills the room and teases your senses with promises of future pleasurable fulfillment, or will you rush headfirst into them based on the short term benefit like a hangover on a Sunday that requires a Mcdonalds for instant relief and the use of a pick and shovel to devour, leaving you feeling bereft as if you have missed something important.