Everything around me is green. I picked a spot to sit, facing the sun, welcoming the temporary blurry vision with a deep inhale.
I am in the small park next to the War Museum, in the middle of a crowd that is out to soak up the London sun. I am listening to Jamie Woon, the sound blending with the words of couples nearby. The day smells like sunscreen and beer, and I find myself lying down on my jacket, taking my sunglasses off and resting my head on my bag; I have everything I need next me: a copy of the Guardian; a Magner’s pear cider, and The Question Book.
I have been meaning to start the question book all week. I sharpened my pencil, tested my pen, opened and closed the book, leafed through the pages and read random questions, keeping it short enough so that I won’t start thinking of the answers.
You see, I am not the kind of person that can claim to truly know himself (and if you point a person that can claim that for themselves, I will be very sceptical). If you ask me about my work, I will be able to tell you the most efficient ways to do it, the latest trends, the best results and how to get them. If you ask me about modern culture, art or societal issues, I will hold an interesting conversation, and get immersed in our talk. But ask me my top 5 favourite films, and you will see me getting immersed in deep thinking, a look of wondering washing down my face.
I am a listener; people seem to feel comfortable enough to relay information about themselves, and seem interested in hearing what how I think their issues could be resolved. However, I recently realised that I can talk to a colleague for 30 minutes, and leave knowing their life history, but with them knowing nothing. I am also a worrier; I spend my bus journeys biting my bottom lip, thinking of discussions, job hunts, daydreaming about projects, and checking things off my mental to-do lists. Like so many of my friends, I too find myself sometime stopping on my tracks, frown for a second and wonder if I turned the heating off, because as I was doing it, I was thinking of something else, my mind registering the worries instead of the physical action.
The Question Book by Mikael Krogerus and Roman Tschappeler though brings the focus back to you; and in my case, me. With questions like what’s always on your to do list, and why? or what is the best decision you have made? it sweeps the carpet off your feet, replacing it with polished wooden floors, and you find yourself centre stage, with a big spotlight pointed at you. You are the centre of attention.
Maybe this is the reason I delayed opening that first page. Because even though I am thinking of my issues and problems, sometimes I forget to think of myself as a person, instead of a carrier of thoughts.
So, maybe it is this realisation or maybe it is the Bulmer’s, but as I feel the sun on my face, I open my eyes, reach for my bag behind my head and grab the book and a pencil. I bring them in front of me, blocking the sun momentarily as my eyes adjust, and I see my chest rising. I let the breath out, rest the pencil in-between my lips, and open the book.
What makes you happy right now? Taking a step forward.