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Anthony Peacock: Back to School

 

This week’s blog is from Anthony Peacock. Read on for some really beautiful and thought-provoking insights into the spectrum of human emotion found in airports and the wisdom we can all gain from the folly of youth.

 

Back to School

I’m writing this from an airport departure lounge in Barcelona, sometime after 5am. It’s pitch dark outside, bitterly cold, and the terminal is largely deserted.

There are a few lone travellers about. Plus a massive school group, all done up in identical orange and white fleeces. Because these days you can fly to London for less than a tenner as long as you don’t mind getting up before most people in Spain go to bed.

At least the kids are happy. They’re talking about the exciting adventures they are bound to get up to while away. Underage drinking, illicit smoking, and perhaps a bit of amateur seduction for the more risqué among the crowd.

Everyone else, me included, just looks plain miserable. After all, there’s no more depressing place than an early morning airport, is there?

We’ve all got our own reasons for feeling unhappy. For me, it’s an unscheduled journey I’d rather not be making, at a time when all sorts of other stuff is going on too. Having been to bed at 1:30am and waking up long before the alarm went off at 4am doesn’t help. Especially after a sleepless night in a grotty part of town next to the airport.

The man opposite me is engrossed in his computer, although it’s clearly not a happy relationship. He’s not liking what he sees, jabbing at the keys, scowling at the screen, which contains some sort of interminable excel file, from what I could see earlier. So much anger, so early in the morning.

I’d guess he got up in even more of a hurry than me, tie at a weird angle and collars that are sticking up. He keeps running his fingers through his hair. You can almost feel the stress running off him. Probably he needs to be prepare for a meeting that’s happening way sooner than he wants it to. And if he screws up, he’s in trouble.

Then there’s the woman sitting at the end of the row, about as far as possible from everyone else as it’s possible to get. She’s staring vacantly into space, a million miles away, clutching a tissue very tightly in her left hand.

Airports are funny places. They’re associated with happiness and sadness, excitement and desperation, reunions and partings, work and leisure. And for many people – whatever their reason for travelling – fear and anxiety.

In his book, ‘A Week at the Airport’, writer Alain de Botton describes airports as a crucible of human emotion: a microcosm of mankind placed on a conveniently-sized petri dish.

“There is a painful contrast between the enormous objective projects that we set in train, at incalculable financial and environmental cost – the construction of terminals, of runways and of wide-bodied aircraft – and the subjective psychological knots that undermine their use,” writes de Botton. “How quickly all the advantages of technological civilisation are wiped out by a domestic squabble. At the beginning of human history, as we struggled to light fires and to chisel fallen trees into rudimentary canoes, who could have predicted that long after we had managed to send men to the moon and aeroplanes to Australasia, we would still have such trouble knowing how to tolerate ourselves, forgive our loved ones and apologise for our tantrums?”

That profound truth, like every bit of genuinely insightful writing, reflects our everyday reality. It’s not only present in that airport lounge in Barcelona, but also in everyone you see around you, right now.

And it’s too easy to focus on those negative issues and think of all the modern conveniences of everyday life, such as airports, phones and computers – as just a way to make them more acute.

Even if you’re flying to the other end of the world, text messages, emails and social media will always follow you. Whatever crisis you face, modern transport and telecommunications will bring you closer to its epicentre faster than ever before. There’s even Wi-Fi on the actual plane now: previously the final frontier of digital seclusion.

Whether they like it or not, people are being forced to confront situations sooner and faster than they think. And it’s all too easy to be sucked into a web of useless anger and negativity, especially at 5am.

In fact, the only people who weren’t abjectly miserable in that airport were the kids. Because they didn’t have a care in the world, they didn’t mind the earliness of the hour, they saw each day only as an adventure and an opportunity. They wore their worries as casually as their school fleeces.

That’s the mindset we could all do with getting back into from time to time. In theory, we’re meant to be the responsible adults setting an example to kids about how to behave. In reality, it’s us who can often learn a lot from them.

 

For more insights from Anthony, read his last blog, ‘Sleepless in Seattle – Or Was It Toronto?

For more blogs from our community, ULU Nation, meet Tom Corbett or Ted the dog.

Anthony Peacock: Sleepless in Seattle. Or Was it Toronto? 

 

Hi, I’m Anthony Peacock, known as ‘Anton.’ (Yes, everyone round here appears to have an alternative name). I’ll be writing regular articles for the ULU community section of the blog: ULU Nation! I’d love to tell you a bit more about me, and how I became an avid user of CBD for jetlag!

 

About me

I look after public relations for ULU but that’s not my only job. The rest of the time, I’m running around the world, meeting new people and trying to influence them. That’s the theory at least. 

In practice, I work in PR, or to put it more accurately, ‘content creation’. You’re probably now thinking that this sounds like some hipster millennial buzzword coined by someone with a long beard who spends too much time in artisanal coffee shops but honestly – I’m about as far from millennial as it’s possible to get. Very shortly, I’m going to be closer to 50 than 40. And while I like coffee shops, the truth is that pubs tend to be more fun. 

 

Content creation

What ‘content creation’ is all about is simply producing material: blogs, articles, press releases, features, videos and photos, then putting them together in a hopefully interesting way. It’s a bit like being a writer in 3D, because all the boundaries between different communications methods are definitely being blurred these days.

Were Charles Dickens around now, he’d definitely have a blog – he sort of did, actually, in Victorian newspapers – while Shakespeare was so mercenary that he’d be constantly updating his LinkedIn page. 

There’s such a massive number of media outlets around now, especially digital, that the Internet feels like a giant beast that’s constantly hungry. And it’s part of my role to feed it. So, you can probably add ‘digital zookeeper’ to my job description too. 

Now that does sound contemporary. I might just stick it on a business card and see how long I can keep a straight face for. After all, it sounds no less ridiculous than ‘inversion and holistic imaginative cognition’ that genuinely appeared as a speciality on somebody’s calling card I was handed recently. To this day, I have absolutely no idea what George does, apart from make people wonder what his job is. 

 

What I do

I work on media content in quite a few industries, from CBD to watchmaking, but – like our founder Pablo, who you will have heard from earlier – I spend a lot of time doing automotive stuff, which is why from time to time you’ll hear our take about what’s going on in the world of Formula 1 and other things on four wheels. 

Perhaps the most surprising aspect to writing about cars is just how much time you spend on planes. So much time, in fact, that you become a repository for absolutely useless information, such as the fact that YYZ is the airport code for Toronto. Obviously. And that the only London tube station not to contain any of the letters found in the word ‘mackerel’ is St John’s Wood (thank the reruns of QI on British Airways for this gem). 

The only real downside to the job, apart from having to constantly justify why you’re leaving behind a carbon footprint the size of a yeti, is the jet lag. For many years, I simply clung to the mantra of ‘sleep when you’re tired, stay awake when you’re not’, and that served me pretty well. There’s something smugly satisfying about sending emails at 4am, before having a well-deserved nap at 9am. 

 

How I started using CBD for jetlag

But the relatively recent occasion in which I fell asleep on a plate of spaghetti carbonara, aided and abetted by a good quantity of Chianti and the company of some pretty boring people – let’s hope they’re not reading this – forced me to re-think. 

While there’s not a lot you can do to stay awake when you’re falling asleep (apart from avoiding dullards and directing as much cold air as possible onto your feet – this really works) there’s actually a lot you can do to fall asleep when feeling awake. 

Tormented by various time zones, as well as nightmares about how to persuade people to slake their digital thirsts at my various online watering holes (another 100% genuine description, this time delivered at a seminar from a British sports car company that should know better) I decided to try taking CBD for jet lag. And I found out that CBD drops helped, taken on a nightly basis. 

The effect wasn’t instant, but it did briefly pause the hamster wheel of creative thought long enough for sleep to take over. Combined with other sensible practices (switching off phones, placing iPads out of reach, along with all other tempting distractions like the keys to the minibar) I finally found myself sufficiently relaxed to gain a proper night’s sleep more often than not. Who knows, I might even have discovered holistic imaginative cognition. 

 

Thanks for checking in!

I’ll be on the road again shortly, so will keep you posted. I’ll be writing more about using CBD for jetlag, as well as more about my life and what I’m up to. In the meantime, keep dipping your bucket in my digital well. And stop sniggering, you at the back…

 

If you’d like to read more content from members of our community: ULU Nation, why not read about Tom Corbet, an avid cyclist who uses CBD to relieve muscle fatigue.