When small children play with ants

Emily Ford on the overwhelming desire to be reckless

by Emily Ford

. . . they burn them under magnifying glasses, or drown them in their own painstakingly constructed homes. We’re horrendous creatures, really, aren’t we? And I say that as someone who loves her fellow human beings. I fondly recognise the seventh circle of hell opening and closing at the centre of every individual. In and out slip those depraved desires: to break toys, to snap chocolate bars in Tesco and put them back on the shelf, to fill your housemate’s boots with gravel because he never buys the tea . . .

In the words of a colleague at work the day before the US election results:

‘Hilary will probably be elected and we’ll forget about it immediately. But what if Trump gets in? Imagine how exciting the apocalypse will be.’

(He said the same about Brexit, by the way. But don’t pretend part of you didn’t too.)

Let’s face it, 2016 proved that, the greatest fear we hold these days? Boredom. We voted for a hugely self-destructive break from the EU that will plunge us into yet another economic crisis. America elected a sexist, racist, nukeophile maniac with tiny mutant hands. Countless icons (rest in peace) lost their lives, far too soon, which we can mostly attribute to a life of reckless drug-taking, alcohol-misuse and generally – a hugely exciting lifestyle.

We chose chaos, destruction, the unknown, over the right and sensible, not just once, but repeatedly.

The only sense I can make of all this? Humans are a species easily bored. Let’s face it, we like to shake things up, tear things apart. You could say that we like to give life an extra pinch of energy. We just can’t resist the forbidden, we have to know what would happen, if we pushed a bit further, or in the other direction . . .

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Which is why January can be such a schlep. I hold my hands up and confess, I’m a January band-wagonner along with the rest of them. I’m the cliché personified: dry January is well in progress, sugary snacks have been banished to the weekends, all my meals consist of vegetables and I have a brand new wardrobe full of – yep, bright orange lycra leggings. (I can go for a run, even if it’s dark!) I haven’t yet swiped left or right, nor messaged a single half-naked man on the-app-that-must-not-be-named.

And 10 days in, all I can tell you is: it’s just so dull. I’m already losing the will. Dear god it’s all so good. So well-behaved. Nobody writes books or produces films about a girl in her twenties living a healthier lifestyle. (Spoiler – scene four, she nearly eats a croissant, but she gives it to a homeless man on the way home instead.)

I mean, eugh. It makes me want to steal a knick-knack from the top floor of TK Maxx or start an argument with a volunteer carer (just because it’s more evil the better the person is.) Maybe just one tyre, can I just slash one, please . . .?

Otherwise – wake me up when February’s here please, so I can kick it up the ass and shake some life into it.



Emily Ford | @FordgotBored | 1lifelaughing

Emily is a writer of things and a passionate eater of avocados and halloumi. The genius behind 1 Life Laughing, procrastinating online @FordgotBored.