Thomas Wilson


The Weekly #45: This is an old story

The Weekly is a series of essays where I write on something I’ve been thinking about over the last seven days. They’re under a thousand words. There’s some stuff going on in my professional life (positive stuff, but still stuff, you know?) so it’s going to be a short one this week. It’s better to publish than not.

I want to talk about old stories. I mean things that people have been experiencing for thousands or tens or thousands of years. I take a lot of joy from realising when I’m seeing, or involved in, and old story.

There are some cliché old stories: sitting around a campfire, the smell of freshly cooked bread, hearing somebody sing or read a story out loud. There’s a chance that literally everybody in your family tree for the last one hundred (or two hundred) generations has experienced these things. If humanity makes it another one hundred generations, they’ll probably experience them too. These things are old stories.

I take a special kind of joy in realising that I’m in the middle on an old story. Let me give an example. A few weeks ago my company held their Christmas/Summer party (lockdown had us delayed). We all got on a boat, and went up and then down the Thames for a bit. While on the boat, some people got a little too familiar with the bar. Some people got too drunk on a boat.

People getting a little too drunk on a boat: old story.

Watching somebody sweep the dust from their shop floor out on to the street: old story.

Picking blackberries off the plant while passing by: old story.

Noticing the summer solstice: old story.

Old stories make the world feel richer to me. They bring me closer to the human experience, and away from the personal experience. They make me feel like I’m a part of something, and humbled. We’ve come really far in the last one hundred years, but some things have been the same for the past couple of thousand. And they’ll stay the same. We’re all still people.

Try and keep an eye out for old stories, they’re fun.

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