1. Will you freeze your head?
Oh, I'd love to -- but not because I believe that I'll be brought back to life decades later. Purely for the retro-future coolness factor. My kids will be simultaneously embarrassed that I did something so pathetically early-twenty-first-century, and impressed that I was there for the whole millennial head-freezing craze and Saw It All The First Time Round.
On the other hand, I don't really want to leave bits of myself lying around for peope to get fixated on. Gravestones and all that. Very morbid. I think while the head-freezing appeals to me, realistically I'd rather have my ashes scattered to the four winds. Anything that matters won't be lost, anything that's lost (by definition) didn't matter.
2. How many children should one have?
As many, or as few, as one (and those with whom one will be bringing them up, if applicable) wants to have, and can realistically afford to keep. I don't believe in deliberately bringing kids into the world if you know you can't (or won't) look after them -- I think it's irresponsible. Other than that, I think it's entirely up to the individual, and one shouldn't feel pressured either way by the expectations or assumptions of others.
Personally (you didn't ask this, but I'm going to answer it anyway) I'd like to have one or two children. Probably have the first and see how I feel after that, but I think having two would be better -- it's a bit like kittens, if you have two of them they'll play with each other and you don't have to entertain them all the time, just drag them apart occasionally when they start damaging each other too much.
3. Does karate improve your psychological state?
Sometimes, yes. Various reasons for this, some which aren't inherent to karate and some which are more so:
- It's a physical activity. I spent most of my childhood being told that I wasn't very good at physical activities -- always picked last for teams, that kind of thing -- and I think it does me good to realise that I can do physical activities if I want to.
- It's something I chose to do because I wanted to, rather than because my parents suggested it, or because school thought it would be good, or because $SO was doing it.
- It requires physical concentration and focus, which helps to clear my mind and stop me picking at the emotional scabs, if only for a while.
- It channels some of my anger; it takes the physical aspects of the anger and uses it for something more useful, and because of the focus required I can't keep concentrating on the emotional aspects of the anger. It's not that I'm imagining punching the person who's just upset me, it's more that the urge to punch something is being used up, and I don't have the spare headspace to keep thinking about the person who's just upset me. I think that's helpful.
- The ethos is very much centred on personal development, on realising your own potential rather than competing against other people. Most of my lessons are one-to-one, so I'm not even competing against classmates; and we're encouraged not to look at the higher grades and think "I'll never be as good as that", but rather to look at the lower grades and think "I've moved beyond that" -- not looking down on them, but using the comparison as a way of looking back at your own development and seeing that you really have improved. That's good for me, when I actually take notice of it and don't get hung up on how crap I think I am at everything.
Recently, though, I've been having back pains (and general apathy) and haven't been putting as much into it as I should be, and thus haven't been getting as much out of it as I'd like to. Which is, of course, an important lesson, but I'm having trouble fighting the apathy to actually apply what I've learned.
4. How would you disappear completely and never be found?
I'd, er, walk through walls. Float down the Liffey. ... You know.
But seriously. I'd change my name, move to the other side of the world, renounce the internet and avoid phones where possible. If I told you anything more specific than that, I'd have to kill you.
5. How's the economy drive?
Ghods, terrible. I like buying things far too much to be economical. Every time I keep trying to save money, I end up just spending it on shoes or clothes or books or CDs or videos. I love browsing through shops and finding exciting things, especially if they're a "bargain". That's the dangerous thing -- the "special offer". I'm not stupid enough to think that I'm really saving money by buying something I wouldn't have bought anyway at a price that's "reduced" from its usual over-inflated RRP, but I can know that it's not a real "saving" and still buy it.
Even food makes me spend too much. I'm no good at economising with food; I like good food too much. I'm happy to buy Economy versions of things like eggs and beans and stuff, but then I'll see that nice salad or those huge tiger prawns or that fancy ice-cream ... and all my resolve goes out of the window.
I think I need to kick the browsing habit -- I need to shop when I need something, and go and buy that specific thing, rather than just wandering around shops looking to see what I can find. But the browsing is such fun, and I could just window-shop, and...
I'm also going to Glastonbury in a couple of weeks' time, which is not good from an economising point of view. Last year I spent somewhere between 150 and 200 quid over the course of the festival, mostly just on eating and drinking; food is expensive, and by the time you get there you're a captive consumer base.
Okay, to some of the people reading this, 200 quid is probably their day's pocket money; but to me it's a lot of money. I don't have any reliable fixed income any more, and I have credit card debts that I have no hope of ever paying off without a miracle (divine/parental intervention, lottery win -- which given that I don't play the lottery would be quite impressive -- that kind of thing).
The thing is, it's really hard not to try to keep spending profligately when I'm surrounded by people who genuinely do have enough money to live like that. I don't like being the poor relation, I don't like not always being able to buy a round, I don't like not being able to take the people I love out for nice meals just on a whim ... particularly when the other people who love them can afford to take them out for dinner to the best restaurants in Cambridge, send them gifts just to show they're thinking of them, turn up with armfuls of flowers every date, and so on.
And all the time I feel like every single penny that I spend is money stolen from the mortgage. There's no way I can ever pay enough into the mortgage to actually count as a joint owner of the house -- sion_a bought over half of the house outright with cash, I'm basically just paying rent. So really everything I earn should go straight into the joint account, to try to make up for that as best I can. But I can't possibly keep to not spending anything, so I always feel like I've already failed... and if I've already failed I might as well carry on spending. It's crap logic, I know, but it's how I feel.