How I Learned The Truth About Santa Claus.

When I was younger, my main ambition in life was to own a dog.

Unfortunately, my parents were reluctant to buy one because they both worked long hours and thought that looking after a dog would be impractical.

When I was seven, I decided to take matters into my own hands and actively wrote to Santa asking for a dog.

At the time, I thought that I was being really crafty .

I thought that I had devised a cunning plan to outwit my parents by going behind their backs in order to obtain what they had previously denied me.6 As a child, I had a very intense and vivid imagination and invested heavily in fantasies and delusions.

As a result, I had complete faith in Santa’s ability to provide, not only free 24-hour delivery of a live animal, but also a complimentary kennel construction and installation service.

I was therefore slightly disappointed when all that I received on Christmas Day was a DVD of Disney’s ‘101 Dalmatians’.

At this point, any sensible child would have learned to monitor their expectations and set their sights a bit lower.

Not me.

In fact, the following year, I decided to up the ante.1The prospect of having a magical flying unicorn excited me – not only would it be an efficient mode of transport but it could also act as a symbol of my inherent coolness which I could use to improve my social status on the playground.

Christmas day arrived and I rushed downstairs, only to find a distinctly non-unicorn sized package waiting for me under the tree.

Attached to the package was the following note:2Inside the package was a ‘My Little Pony’.

I’m not going to lie – the ‘My Little Pony’ was a MASSIVE downgrade from a magical flying unicorn.

I told my Dad that I ‘ho-ho-hoped Santa was very disappointed with himself’ but apparently this was ‘slightly out of tune with the spirit of Christmas’ so I brushed the hair of my ‘My Little Pony’ and tried very hard to look as if look like the process of doing so filled me with festive merriment.

Over the course of the following year, I discovered the Harry Potter books.

My favourite Harry Potter book was ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban’, mostly because I was borderline obsessed with Buckbeak the Hippogriff.

As a far as I was concerned, a hippogriff was a cooler, edgier version of a magical flying unicorn.

I decided that I wanted to go to Hogwarts and buy Buckbeak off Hagrid.

My dad once told me that if you want to get anywhere in life you have to learn to work your contacts so, that year, I wrote a letter to Santa asking him for a letter to Hogwarts.3At the time, I thought that relying on a fictional character to help me escape into a fictional world was a completely legitimate, logistically-sound plan.

However, on Christmas day, I was once again disappointed when I received a copy of ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ along with a note that explained that all I needed to go to Hogwarts was my ‘imagination’.

By this point, I was getting quite frustrated with Santa.

However, despite repeated disappointments over the course of several years, I still fervently believed that he was real.

In fact, my brother, who was two years younger than me, discovered the truth about Santa before I did.
4Evidently, I thought that Santa was having some sort of confidence crisis and that my pep talk would provide him with the self-esteem boost to cement his place in concrete reality.

I was quite upset when I didn’t receive a reply.

I saw it as a personal rejection.

After all, I had made the effort to write a letter to Santa and, even if  he wasn’t real, the least he could do was write back to me to confirm his lack of existence.

I obviously couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that this lack of existence may have somewhat impaired his ability to reply to me – in fact, in order for him to reply to me he would have had to sent me a message from an alternate fictional dimension, something that would have essentially involved defying the laws of existence.

Nowadays, I have a better understanding of the boundaries between fiction and reality.

That being said, a small part of me still kind of believes Santa Claus is real.

However, I know that if he does exist, he is probably struggling to update his business model in order to remain competitive in an overly saturated, technologically-advanced modern market.

christmas-delivery.pngIf you enjoyed this post, feel free to check out some of my other posts. For more blog posts and drawings, you can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

How To Stop Procrastinating and Start Getting Things Done: An Unofficial Guide That REALLY DOES WORK!

Modern life can be quite complicated and, like most people, I often have a lot of things that I need to get done on a daily basis.

Sometimes, however, I find it hard to motivate myself to get things done in a productive and efficient manner.

Even completing simple everyday tasks can be a struggle.

Instead of addressing a task properly, I often come up with temporary solutions that allow me to extend the amount of time that I can remain in denial about the task’s existence.

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However, what initially began as a small manageable task eventually transforms into a monumental obstacle and the pressure of directly engaging with it can be overwhelming.

hRecently, I have been asking around for advice on how to be more consistently productive.

One of my friends told me that I should try reading a self-help book which suggested that they cared about my wellbeing but considered the challenge of transforming me into a functioning human being so huge and intimidating that they were reluctant to become directly involved.

i_LINevertheless, a few days later, I went to a bookshop and sought out the self-help section.

The first book that caught my eye looked like this.

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I hadn’t been feeling particularly worried when I had first entered the bookshop but looking at the book immediately made me worried about whether I was the sort of person who should be worried about whether I was living or not.

I picked up the book, turned it over and read the blurb.

11_LI In the back of my mind, I knew that the blurb was referring to common issues that many people experience on a regular basis.

However, because it was doing so within the guise of individuality, I felt that it was speaking directly to me.

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In addition, the prospect of overcoming anxiety, low self-esteem and lack of motivation appealed to me.

It was as if I was a protagonist from a book or movie on a mission to overcome great evil…

4Except I was fighting against the most underwhelming antagonist in existence – my own epic laziness.

44_LI (2)I reasoned that spending £8.99 on a book that felt it necessary to boldly assert the fact that it ‘really does work’ was a totally logical idea.

I thought that maybe one day I could help other people to help themselves by writing my own self-help book about how somebody else’s self-help book had helped me to help myself.

‘Stop Worrying and Start Living’ presented several strategies to help me stop procrastinating and start getting things done.

Reading about how I was going to get things done in the future made me feel very productive.

As a result, I was less bothered by the fact that I had things that I needed to get done.

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By the time I had finished the book, I was felt thoroughly prepared to start living my life to the fullest.

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However, it was getting quite late.

7_li.jpgSo I decided that it was probably best to seize the day another day.

 

 

I guess what we can learn from this is that a significant part of self-improvement is learning the art of self-control.

It is important to limit the amount of time that we spend doing instantly gratifying activities and invest the more satisfying, longer-term benefits of sustained hard work.

On that note, if you enjoyed this post, here are some more posts that may provide you with fleeting sense of satisfaction:

Interview Advice – Just Be Yourself… As Long You’re Being A More Organised, Eloquent, Functioning Version Of Yourself That Is Better Than Your Actual Self In Pretty Much Every Single Way…

How To Deal With Everyday Problems – An Unofficial Guide.

Mice and Other More Legitimately Scary Animals That I Am Afraid Of.

For more drawings, you can also follow me on Instagram.

 

Interview Advice – Just Be Yourself… As Long You’re Being A More Organised, Eloquent, Functioning Version Of Yourself That Is Better Than Your Actual Self In Pretty Much Every Single Way…

Growing up and entering the real world can be a confusing and overwhelming process.

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A big part of becoming a fully-functioning adult is finding a job, which would be fine if it weren’t for the fact that finding a job can be quite hard.

Sometimes, looking for a job can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack and, when you finally locate the needle, another slightly more qualified person comes along with a big massive magnet.

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Other times, it can feel like trying to find Wally in a ‘Where’s Wally?’ book.

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But you’re up against a guy who already has contacts in the business.

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I have been looking for a graduate job for a while now and am therefore quite familiar with the application process.

A lot of job applications begin with a CV.

A CV is a summary of professional and academic achievements but it might be better described as a Verification of Awesomeness.

Sometimes, the pressure of living up to the sheer magnificence of your on-paper personality in an interview can be overwhelming.

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When I first started doing interviews, I used to get quite nervous, something that manifested itself in a somewhat debilitating tendency to panic and say the first thing that came into my head.

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Occasionally, I would find myself on the verge of an existential breakdown.

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I would practice questions for hours before an interview.

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Only to completely lose my grasp of the English language once the interview actually commenced.

dRecently, I have been actively trying to improve my interview technique, something that has enabled me to answer a wide range of questions more effectively.

However, I still encounter questions that completely throw me.

a

Due to the increasingly saturated nature of the graduate job market, the hiring process is more complex than it has been in the past.

Modern technology has enabled the traditional face-to-face interview to mutate and evolve into various different subspecies.

As a candidate, you have to be highly flexible and ready to make a good first impression in any of these mediums.

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In addition, many companies now implement a multi-stage application process in order to gradually whittle down the high numbers of applications that they receive.

In order to access their suitability for the job, applicants have to face several tasks which is a bit like competing in the Triwizard Tournament but with less mortal peril and more collaborative group-based assessments.

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Due to the competitive nature of the graduate job market, it is important to remain resilient in the face of rejection.

Over the past few months, I have developed some coping mechanisms which have really helped me deal with some of the setbacks that I have encountered.

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Despite this, it is sometimes quite difficult to remain positive.

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3 Books That I Loved As A Child But Now Find Logically Problematic As An Adult.

One of the great appeals of reading fiction is the idea of escapism.

Books provide us with the opportunity to transcend our everyday lives.

As a child, I had a very intense and vivid imagination.

When reading a book, I would often become so immersed in the story that I would begin to confuse the fictional world with reality.

reading, books, joanne sarginson

When reading, I would enter into a self-enclosed sphere of imagination in which my immediate surroundings momentarily ceased to exist.

The material world no longer featured as part of my own personal reality and, as a result, the things that my body required in order to function properly became completely irrelevant.

reading, books, joanne sarginsonreading, books, joanne sarginsonreading, books, joanne sarginson
reading, books, joanne sarginson

reading, books, joanne sarginson

However, as I have grown older, my ability to become completely absorbed in a fictional novel has been somewhat compromised.

I come from a scientific family – my granddad was an engineer, my parents are doctors, one of my brothers is studying marine biology at university and the other one received a prize in Year 2 for ‘The Best Model of a Volcano’.

Therefore, although I like to consider myself a creative and imaginative person, there is a part of my brain that is inclined towards thinking in an analytical and logical manner.

reading, books, joanne sarginson

As I have progressed out of childhood and through the teenage phase, I have noticed the logical side of my brain begin to exert increasing levels of dominance over the imaginative side.

I have seen this transition manifest itself most noticeably in the way that I now perceive the books that I used to find so captivating as a child.

reading, books, joanne sarginson

1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar tells the story of (SPOILER ALERT) a caterpillar that is very hungry.

At the end of the book, the caterpillar metamorphoses into a butterfly.

Before completing this transition, he eats his way through increasing quantities of brightly coloured food items.

By the story’s climax, the caterpillar has consumed over 20 items of food, including an ice cream cone, a cupcake and a slice of Swiss cheese.

This was fascinating to me as a child.

reading, books, joanne sarginson

However, as I have grown older and my knowledge of the anatomy of insects has developed, it has become harder for me to get invested in narratives such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

reading, books, joanne sarginson

2. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt details the story of a family who spontaneously decide to go out into the wilderness and search for a bear.

The structure of the book is similar to that of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Before locating a bear, the family is forced to traverse various obstacles in the landscape.

As child, I found the wide range of obstacles that the family encountered so completely captivating that I failed to think about the fact that they were actively looking for a bear.

reading, books, joanne sarginson

As I have grown up, I have spent some time watching David Attenborough documentaries and other educational films such as The Revenant.

I have therefore acquired a greater awareness of the physical threat that bears can present to humans.

As a result, I have developed a few issues with the basic principle of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.

reading, books, joanne sarginson

reading, books, joanne sarginson

3. Harry Potter

Quidditch was always my favourite part of Harry Potter.

Whilst I found all of Harry’s magical adventures fascinating, I was particularly enthralled by the concept of Quidditch.

reading, books, joanne sarginson

However, I recently dipped my head back into The Philosopher’s Stone and, whilst reading, I became slightly alarmed at the rate at which Harry Potter learns to fly a broomstick.

Within the space of a one hour Broom Skills lesson, he progresses from barely knowing how to hold the broomstick to driving it at high velocity.

I am aware that Harry is special and Hogwarts is magical but this accelerated rate of learning still seems quite dangerous to me.

I also found myself slightly concerned with Madame Hooch’s conduct within Harry’s first flying lesson, particularly the point at which she leaves a group of 11-year-old children unsupervised with a load of flying equipment that is capable of reaching speeds in excess of 100 mph in order to take Neville Longbottom to the hospital wing.

It occurred to me that Hogwarts should probably run an INSET day before the start of term in order to properly educate its staff in Health and Safety procedures.

Then again, the fact that there was a massive three-headed dog, a massive poisonous snake and a massive ‘whomping’ tree on the premises at various points during Harry’s time at the Hogwarts suggests that Health and Safety potentially wasn’t a prioritised matter on the agenda at any of the school’s board of governors meetings.

If I were a teacher at Hogwarts, I imagine that my flying lessons would be a little less exhilarating than Madame Hooch’s.

reading, books, joanne sarginson

In fact, I’m pretty sure that I would be Hogwarts’ most hated teacher.

reading, books, joanne sarginson

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Although I am no longer able to use fictional books as a form of complete and utter escapism, I often use them to inform my real life.

It is comforting to know that, no matter how crazy or fantastical a book is, the struggles of its characters are always partially drawn from the author’s real life experiences.

If I am going through something difficult, sympathising with a character can make me feel less alone.

Or alternatively, if I am facing a difficult decision, observing how characters deal with their issues can sometimes give me an idea of how to move forward.

Books like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, We’re Going On A Bear Hunt and Harry Potter, for example, have provided me with some valuable advice on how to deal with my current quarter life identity crisis.

reading, books, joanne sarginson