The 28th June. As far as I'm aware, no grand personal achievements, no incorruptible friendships, no tragic conclusions, have affected my life on this particular date. Sometimes we have days where not a lot happens. These days might be part of a laborious routine consisting of waking, eating, working, eating some more and finally, sleeping; some days, we fall ill, bed-ridden – don't you just hate those days?; and on other days...well, everyone can be forgiven for the occasional bout of indolence, can they not?
The 28th June, 1519. Charles V was crowned emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Quite a remarkable day for him, no doubt. The last emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, in fact, to receive a papal coronation – eleven years later. In 1516, he'd become Emperor Charles I of Spain. Not bad, huh? Yet, let us return to his 28th of June 1519. It stands out more than all of my 28th Junes ever have...I think.
Let us travel the dark warrens of time to 1838, and again it is the 28th June. Victoria of England, known also, from 1876 onwards, as the Empress of India, is crowned Queen of England. Somewhat of an adrenaline-pumping day for Her Majesty, too, don't you agree? Now, I begin to wonder in a moment of self-denigration: why haven't I had a special 28th June yet? Unfortunately, I'm unlikely to receive a coronation anytime soon (however, the future is a shroud of mystery and possibility...beware!), but I don't feel, racking my brains as I have been, as if it is a date of any serious significance for me yet. Well, perhaps not so much for "me", since who knows how the past can affect the future? But for my life. Nothing has occurred on this date in particular to swing the pendulum of my life into a new-found, avid motion. No glorious ideas of plot, character, or technical strategy have broached my struggling imagination on a day of writer's block, a day I'm wont to consider ineffectual, for I hate languishing. No great sporting event has drawn upon my every energy. Nor have I experienced the beginning day on frontlines, when the sun rises, promise-filled and brazen, only to bleed crimson day after day, week beyond week until thin rays of light struggle to bleed through the swampy mists of aftermath. I have not seen, on a 28th June, tailored politicians shake manicured hands before scribing their signatures (in gold-filigree fountain pens that cost more than some of us earn in a month!) on a treaty optimistic of change, of growth, of...progress. And, accordingly, I am yet to see the day where a treaty of such magnitude, when signed, ultimately crumbles to ashes beneath the standard of subjugation...who knew!
Events of the past are remembered, rejoiced and of course, regretted. Regimes begin, enacting and changing lives, reviving authority. Relationships invested in – new routes to assure the growth and the security of familial bloodlines in order to consolidate achievements and inveigle the world to realise fully (with you at the forefront) the next human goal. Whatever the event, and whenever it occurred, occurs, or will occur, it is remembered by somebody. Location, age, gender, race, religion. Decisions of substantial magnitude shape these different categories we can align ourselves with. Often we are serried into profuse, seemingly endless legions – the British, the American, the Asian; the man, the woman; the young, the middle-aged, the old; so on, so forth. These events that affect and influence our lives in ways we might not even fully comprehend, can often be found to be ensigns and pennants for the decisions of those few who can extort and manipulate "power".
These manifestations of will, of belief, of leaders' estimations of what is "best for the country" and other such phrases, can play out in ways that will shape the lives of so many who will not be crowned emperor, not receive the final papal coronation nor ever be able to witness the signing of an auspicious treaty. Many of us will view the 28th June forever more as "just another day". Some people won't, however, and much of this can come down to decision making.
Decisions, decisions! What time to wake up, what to eat for lunch, how to prepare the next national budget in a forlorn attempt to decrease unemployment – which of these is the most difficult decision? Well, the first is out of our hands really, as we decide only when to set an alarm, not to actually awaken, for indeed, we are asleep – we might sleep through such hideous noises, too, if we are so very exhausted. What of the other two decisions? A person with serious vacillation over their appetite might find the budget question a whole lot easier; however, the budget imbroglio concerns the lives of millions. Their jobs or lack thereof, their welfare, their happiness. As distressing as choosing one meal over another and living that day in regret, excoriating your bad choice, can be, it is unlikely to disable you in any physical, economical, social manner. (Unless, of course, you are a singer and the meal burdens you with a serious food poisoning, ravaging your vocal chords and ending your career entirely, or some other severe example).
Oftentimes, people condemn the choices of others out of spite and unfounded contempt. Unfounded up to the point where the censurers simply wanted to make the decisions themselves. Is it, therefore, out of jealousy? Some people believe that there exist the strong-willed and the weak-willed. Some people who find decision making easier than others. Is this through a more refined intellect? Is it a side effect of a less stressful life, culminating in a freer mind with which to draw conclusions? Is it a greater determination towards accomplishing tasks? Who knows! Ultimately, there isn't enough room for every decisive human being to be in a position of recognized power, and a consequence of this is their derision, their snorting at the action taken by those fulfilling jobs the derisive might believe they could execute in a more adroit way.
I myself am in the process of making a decision. More than one in fact, (and women say we can't multitask, jeez!) As well as deciding each week what topic I should write on, what aspect of the human condition I might ponder, and how and wherefore I could apply my own experiences, I also have a dental operation coming up. Supposedly I need a filling. Somehow, in my incredibly busy lifestyle (hah!), I have managed to brush all of my teeth bar one (the dastardly devil hides in the bottom right corner) to an exquisite standard. The earliest appointment I was offered happens to be three days before I go abroad for two weeks. Consequently, in the sceptical, worry-filled state we humans often find ourselves in, I wonder...what if I'm abroad and my tooth explodes into a bleeding vessel of pain and blood and anguish? What if, angst-ridden, I forget about some minor, often taken-for-granted allergy or fear of needles that I suffer from. I don't have any allergies (other than an allergy to hard-work) that I know of, but nevertheless...And, is there even a dental surgery where we will be staying? What if it is a thirty mile car journey, and I bleed out in a pathetic mess during what would be (for all concerned) a long, arduous trip?
The odds are, I wouldn't suffer any problems post-operation, so my holiday would progress as smoothly as it always does; even more likely, I wouldn't be a screaming wreck weeping blood from my lips. Yet the thought amuses me...somewhat, omitting the pain.
If I wait until after the holiday, my tooth might fester and might I die while abroad? Nobody needs that. I suppose I could have a seaside funeral, and be buried in a sandcastle, left to decompose into sand and mica grit, or perhaps even become crab fodder. Now there's an interesting thought!
When faced with decisions regarding the unknown, we can be forgiven (to some extent) for conceiving unlikely-yet-macabre possibilities. Our imagination feeds on fears. It can turn mild concerns into worst case scenarios, leading us to not only fear, but believe possible, the severe. The chances are, whether I have my minor filling before or after I go away, I will experience mild numbness, perhaps a little trouble eating on that side for a few days, and the occasional soreness when the harsh, biting winds sweep through my mouth. Egregious, mercurial pain is an unlikely happenstance, once we allow our minds to rationalize the situation, for, surely the NHS would see fit to keep me in and monitor my condition, (cue unfettered fear) RIGHT?
Decisions, once we allow ourselves to consider outcomes, consequences and the way people can be affected (a blog post seed is planted in this very sentence!) often turn out to be easier to make on the small scale. We must overcome fears, worries and doubt. Infrastructure, such as the National Health Service, is in place to help us, not cause us harm (I hope).
Concluding, I have reached my decision. Today is the 28th June, and while I cannot boast sovereignty over the Holy Roman Empire, I am, and many of us are, the emperor/empress of our own day-to-day routine. The different days, when we embark on medical operations, job interviews, sporting finals and so forth, are the days that, unlike Queen Victoria's and Charles V's coronation, we can affect ourselves. They were appointed, crowned and chosen for their roles; us lowly plebs, with big financial decisions being played out beyond the veil of power, remain at liberty to decide what to eat, when to set our alarms, and when to have our teeth filled in!
Note: This week, my blog has fostered a more light-hearted approach. This was intentional, for next week my post covers death. See you then.