Choose life. Choose maps. Choose long distance friends. Choose tears. Choose laughter. Choose love. Choose flip flops. Choose living out of a backpack. Choose bad hostels and good cafes. Choose bookshops and foreign languages. Choose aeroplanes. Choose overnight buses. Choose postcards. Choose sunrises. Choose views you can’t photograph and memories you can’t write down. Choose the unknown. Choose being terrified. Choose when you wake up. Choose getting lost. Choose no signal. Choose blisters and choose heartache. Choose people but most of all choose yourself. Choose your future.
“I have allowed myself to lead this little life, when inside me there was so much more. And it’s all gone unused. And now it never will be. Why do we get all this life if we don’t ever use it? Why do we get all these feelings and dreams and hopes if we don’t ever use them?”
-Shirley Valentine, 1989
This quote is from one of my favourite films, Shirley Valentine. A middle aged woman tired with life takes her first holiday abroad to Greece, and stays there. This beautiful quote is one of the reasons I am choosing a particular life. I don’t want normal. I don’t want 9-5s and weekly supermarket trips. I want adventure. I want spontaneous. We are given a life to live it any way we want, and yet most people will follow in the same path as 90% of the people before them. Not me. I intend to work as hard as I can to allow me to choose my own life.
“I gave you life so that you could live it.”
-My Big Fat Greek Wedding, 2002
I choose to live my life to the full. I choose adventure. I choose pure happiness. I choose faraway lands. I choose meeting people I’ll never forget. I choose living simply. I choose sand instead of pavement. I choose travel.
“Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourself.
Choose your future.
Of course, this letter is inspired by this great quote from ‘Trainspotting’. My belief in ‘choose life’ was awakened when I recently watched the sequel; Trainspotting T2. The original quote talks about the things people think they choose. But they aren’t choosing. They are doing what everybody else is doing because they all know it’s the normal thing to do. So what if we chose differently? What if we decided we didn’t want a regular career and a television? I think now more than ever people need to realise that we can choose.
So choose life.
PS. Trainspotting T2:
I loved T2. It was nostalgic, original and beautifully filmed in my city of Edinburgh. The updated choose life (of which only part is spoken in the trailer) reflects what life has come to 2 decades after the first.
“You are an addict. So be addicted. Just be addicted to something else.”
-Trainspotting T2, 2017