Living in Neutral

Source: Dimitris Polychroniadis:

What does a small life look like?

Hedged in by habits, startled by sudden movements.

Unobtrusive. Safe.

No risks and no surprises.  Head down, stay the course.  Don’t stick your neck out.  Don’t aim too high.  Don’t try in case you fail.

Go with the majority.

Practise religion. Keep the rules. Talk of God and not Christ. Keep it light.

Don’t be so serious.   Soundbites not mouthfuls. Headlines, not analysis. Box sets, not books.


Measured out in thimbles:  no chance of spills. You know, BEIGE. The classmate whose name no-one  remembers.


A small life.  Mine.  Maybe yours?

No need to get upset – I’m just speaking my mind.  And anyway, who cares what other people think.  Your life’s your own, right?  It’s your view that matters. You’re the boss. Captain of your own fate.

Which means that you can afford to think big. Doesn’t it? I won’t be stuck here forever.  I’m getting out, I’m going to MAKE it.


So  – how’d it pan out then?  Those big plans – on track? The money.  The family.  The career.  The fame.


…if your teenage self could just see you now, they’d be punching the air! Right?


Let’s start with sixteen year old Emma. She looks a little confused.  Upset. This was Not The Plan. She wants answers. What did you do? Weren’t you at the centre?

I’m blustering.

It was too much to hope for? I was aiming too high?


Or something else?

Like this: a life shaped round me… is too little to matter.


It’s ironic. If what matters is my opinion of my life, then that life doesn’t get bigger.  It gets smaller instead.

If I’m the main character and I’m the author – that’s a very small story. It’s only big as me:  my abilities, my concerns, my limitations. It means less, not more.

And with time it continues to shrink.   You see, if I’m in charge, I won’t dream big. I can’t afford to take risks because the buck stops here and there’s everything to lose.

So much for being my own boss.


But if I’m part of something bigger –

if I’m caught up in Someone more beautiful

if my story is His

– then maybe I’ll dare.  I’ll start to live.

I’ll lose my life – but I might just find it too.




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