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. Take my last twenty 28th Junes.
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.
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, 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? 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.
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…progress. And accordingly, I am yet to see the day where a treaty of such magnitude, when signed, didn’t ultimately crumble 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. 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? 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. My dentist tells me I need a filling. The earliest appointment is three days before I go abroad for a fortnight – do I choose a pre-holiday or post-holiday operation? 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?
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.
Decisions, once we allow ourselves to consider outcomes, consequences and the way people can be affected, 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 (or so I hope).
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 coronations, we can affect ourselves. They are 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!
A longer version of this article was originally posted at Fractured Paths