When a horse is either excited or nervous, you can tell. They prance, each step springing upwards more than outwards, nostrils flared, neck arched, tail high, hind-quarters primed for action. The distinction between excitement and anxiety, like for us, is more about context than physiology, so you can’t necessarily tell the difference unless you have some insider knowledge, but either way, they look impressive. Like a tuned-in, turned-up vessel of Nature’s power. To see a horse keyed up like that is often to see it at its most beautiful, and enough to inspire at least some element of awe.

So, why is it then, when I’m excited and I prance down the street, I just look crazy? No-one’s looking at me thinking ‘my God, what a divine creature!’, they’re just giving me the side-eye.

Living like this

Sometimes I look around my room at night, after I’ve put my son to bed, and partially ticked off my to-do list, and I assess the things I haven’t bothered to put away because they’ll just be out again tomorrow and I’d rather do something else. And I wonder: does anybody else live like this?

And, well, yes, surely, they do. And they live countless other ways too.

I have an ancient script running that tells me I’m the only imperfect one, and I have to keep correcting it. It’s taking a surprising amount of time to overwrite.

If I don’t leave the house for multiple days: does anybody else live like this?

If I only eat vegetables when I’m cooking them for my son: does anybody else live like this?

If I just kept piling up the laundry and now I’ve run out of trousers: does anybody else live like this?

If I forget to put the bin out for five weeks in a row: does anybody else live like this?

Yes, thank you, they do. And they live countless other ways too.

It’s not that it’s wrong to question whether what I’m doing is healthy, or optimal, or something to be improved upon. It’s the comparison that’s bullshit. It’s funny though, the script used to ask the question rhetorically, and shame me into a corner. Now I’ve started answering it, it’s actually kind of refreshing.

People live like this. And countless other ways.