At a city intersection, a shop owner scribbles notes on a whiteboard and faces it towards the traffic. For one week his board read, “Every night as I tuck myself into bed at 9pm, I whisper to myself, ‘You’re still a rock star!’”. The note brings forth visions of the shop owner in his pyjamas and slippers. He catches his reflection in an oval mirror on his way to bed. He whispers into the frame, “You’re still a rock star!”

His quotes don’t have the swing and bite of the great writers, unlike the quotes we email around, sayings from Oscar Wilde or Virginia Woolf, but they do have a rawness about them. And thanks to his self-deprecating way, people who drive past unfailingly take note.

This week’s quote says something like, “It looks like my son has turned out just like me. Well played karma, well played.” I laugh, and keep driving, but later contemplate it a little more.

He refers to the cycle of karma - the repetitive, cyclical nature of life, where we might find our past resurfacing in the present. We're standing on the netball field, but we’re now the mother on the side of the pitch watching her daughter play. Or, we’re facing an issue that we’ve surely met before. We feel that we’re on repeat, on loop. Are we?

German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche called it the "eternal return". He thought we are predestined to continue repeating the same events over and over again in the same sequence, an eternal series of cycles. We might put it down to habit, and it may be no more complicated than that. But if what we do today could resurface in the future, it does make us aware of how every action we take today has a ripple effect.

Antonia Case, Editor of Womankind

Next year, my book Flourish will be published by Bloomsbury Sigma. I've been researching the psychology of human habits, or loops, and I'll be posting some of my ideas in this weekly column. If you'd like to share some of your own ideas, you'll be able to post them on our upcoming blog (more details on this soon).

Artwork: Three Muses Return, Rainy Day Women, by George Underwood. George Underwood is a British artist and musician, known for designing album covers for his long-term friend, singer-songwriter David Bowie. George Underwood is featured in this issue of Womankind magazine.


Want to hear from Womankind weekly? Sign up to the free weekly bulletin by Antonia Case.