When you’re an adult, and you want to “change your life”, the web in particular but also any library or cinema is filled with books telling you to “just do it”! A-ha, sure.
Well, I came across a blog here, it was advertised on the front page. I started reading that post as it was well written and perfect for this moment in my life, and when I got to “She was tired and ready to sell, and so I bought the store.”, I stopped reading.
I also received Eat, Pray, Love from a well-meaning friend, I had all possible prejudices against it but just when I thought it wasn’t fair and I should give it a go, someone told me the gist of the book “woman divorces and uses her money to travel around cool places to find herself” and I thought “Ah, I see.”
I have a friend who is a bloody talented photographer. He is uncompromising and in my eyes, a tad too attached to the one idea. He would be better than anybody at doing some commercial photography, digitalising it to keep it cheaper. Christ he could do portraits and charge lots of money for it. He could teach! He could do anything but what he chooses to do is be an uncompromising sod who does beautiful, tactile, stunning, poetic and just awesome black and white photographs he develops himself from Kodak film. If I had any money, any money at all, I would give it all to fund his exhibition. Seriously I would.
But that’s the problem isn’t it? It’s all very well to say “Just do it!”. Except of course, I cannot go and buy that lovely old pub that’s been shut down for months, filling me with sadness, and create my excellent café and internet and library project. And it’s not spiritual enlightening and dining on insects in Cambodia I need, believe me. I need MONEY! But here’s the catch: to have money, you need to be a fairly money-oriented person. You need to be someone who has put business and achieving money above all for at least some part of your life, or money is kind of an issue. And those people rarely want to invest in people who just have beautiful ideas and and want to just be kind of nice to people, and the world. It doesn’t work like that, so yes, this world sucks.
I rejoice and feel like weeping whenever I see anybody who has money do something grand and cool. I don’t know, an animal sanctuary, helping the poor and the elderly, or even fill their beautiful riverside house’s garden with tents with pirate flags for their grandchildren. If you have money, please please please spend it! Spend it on good stuff, happy stuff, fun stuff for yourself primarily and for others too if you can spare some.
Anyway, I waffled a bit. Yes if I had money I would finance Toby’s exhibition first, then I would finance my own dream. And I have many that come together into a fairly homogeneous idea, but I believe the first step, and one that I’ve been working on for a while now, is not to waste any more time. I have become aware of what I can and cannot do. Of where my energies lie and where I can place them and where they can be of use and where they can’t.
I read a lot less, see a lot less people, care about a lot less people. I have become more and more unmerciful in stating what I like an what I don’t, what I care about and what I don’t. But you’ve heard this step before.
Step two is a list. A list of potential regrets. I once thought I was dying and I cried and cried and cried and cried rivers of sadness. They were the regrets, the people I hadn’t solved my relationship with, the things I had wanted to do, and didn’t. I have no intention of dying like that. And one thing that does happen when you’re forty is you realise yep, it’s final, you ARE going to die. You will no longer be, it will all end. And it’s a dreadful dreadful thought, no matter how we’ve all known as a human SPECIES that we all die.
So I will start a list of things I think I might regret not doing/having, and add to it randomly as things come to my mind. Then I will prioritise, divide, and ponder how to create a life that will permit those things. Some of them I have had, briefly. I still want them.
I would love for you to do the same if it catches your fancy, and share it with me when and as you do it. Even if you’re a man.
List of wishes that could become regrets:
A horse to ride whenever.
A house with a warm tiled patio, geraniums around it.
A proper 4×4 and the need for one (wild surroundings).
A view, with a river or the sea.
A large house, where kids and friends can come and stay and have a room or two or three to stay.
A huge distance between myself and anybody who believes in stuff in life I don’t care about.
Good wine available when wished.
Vegetables and fruit that are varied and actually have flavour (sorry UK, that rules you out)
The rest will come I’m sure.