Chapter 6 – The Hunger Game Confusion
My mother always said that as long as I was full I was a happy child. This has always been true and holds true to this day. If I am hungry and the pangs last too long, then I am liable for an explosion. I love eating and always have, hence a 48 year struggle with my weight. Many diets and fads later, here I am: not thin, not fat but here.
Hunger has always featured heavily in my life, I cannot control it. If I'm hungry my mind cannot focus on anything else. I need to assuage the pangs otherwise I just cannot settle. Hunger, in the sense that I mean it now, is that hunger to succeed, that thirst for recognition. Not only the drive to conquer but to conquer whilst young.
The summer of 1977
Teacher: I just wanted to call you in because he's been going off the boil lately.
Mother: What do you mean?
Teacher: I was just worried because he's given up working. I looked up his date of birth in the register; it's just because he's so young. He's one of the youngest in the year.
I heard this story a lot during my childhood and generally it was around exam season. My mother insisted that not slack off just because I was one of the youngest. Therefore, I strove to achieve whilst young. I wanted to get my O-levels when 15 [I did], I wanted to get my degree when 20 [I did], I wanted to get my PhD by 24 [I missed that by a couple of months – I had just turned 25]. I wanted to be a Head in my 30s I did that [just]. But because of this rush, this hurry, this hunger I never did any of them particularly well.
I did eventually give up working [in the traditional sense]. Mainly because I hated it; partly because I was no longer hungry and finally because I was bored: terribly, terribly bored.
19 November 1978
I’m lying on the mustardy orange carpet of our living room; I’m face down and bored.
Boredom has featured heavily in my life: I cannot handle it. My wife hates it when I’m bored. She loathes the relentless pacing up and down. The unnecessary and metronomic trips to the fridge:
1. Open fridge door.
2. Peer inside.
3. Close fridge door.
4. Pace around and then repeat until shouted at.
Counter-intuitively boredom keeps me fresh, it’s the driver for trying things new, for changing things, for taking risks. I am a risk-taker, but always plagued with the fear that the risk won’t pay off: I hate the adrenaline rush and those heart pumping, sweaty palmed, nausea inducing moments, but the mundane and the humdrum is hated far, far more.
4th June 2018
I'm hungry again. Hungry for success. Hungry for success in the 'maker world' but I need to slow down now and really start learning my craft. Just because I'm hungry for success doesn’t mean that I'm going to get it. I need to earn it. I need to learn it, I need to be patient. I need to chew slowly and allow the stomach of my mind to realise I'm full and not yet ready for another mouthful.