If we are lucky life is a joyous adventure. If we are lucky enough to be born into a loving family; if we are taught to grab opportunities; if our eyes are trained to see the good and the beauty and variety around us; if we learn to think for ourselves…. life will be a journey built from chapters which when read back thrill our senses. They may contain some stress and sorry but should also contain some thrill, or joy , or achievement.
It is impossible in life to live every chapter without some loss; the break up of a relationship; the passing of a parent, pet, family member or friend. It is impossible and impractical to go through life without some levels and times of stress; exams, job interviews, house moves, career choices. It is also unlikely that we get from birth to death without unexpected challenges: ill-health, redundancy, financial crisis for example.
But with every loss comes the reminiscences of love and happy times. With every stress comes a time of completion, achievement or opportunity. And with every challenge comes an opportunity to reassess, reevaluate and grow.
Life is not about the end goal because the end will certainly be that which comes to us all… the inevitable. Our death. Life is about the enjoyment and achievements of each chapter.
Childhood is not just about learning to walk and talk; read and write. It’s also about fun and games, friendship and play, learning to share, be compassionate, communicate. Teenage is not just about exams and future career planning. It’s about relationships, growing independence, identifying your passions, and daring to dream. Adulthood is not just about earning the most money, and working for your retirement. We should enjoy our friendships; forge our relationships; make choices that make us happy; share our experiences. Retirement is not just about slowing down and worrying about our health. We have the opportunities to travel, or play, or indulge in hobbies. Of course amongst all the ‘living the dream’ we have to balance out responsibilities and deal with the unplanned, and, sometimes, undesired interruptions. But I believe, that when we can, whatever our age, we should follow our hearts, and live our dreams.
For some that may be reaching the top of our chosen career ‘ladder’, earning big money, owning expensive things; for others that may mean travelling and playing; vocation, charity. For most of us our plan will forever evolve as we learn new things; get presented with new opportunities; walk through new doors and make choices at each crossroads. Where will we live?who shall we marry? shall we marry? do we want children? can we have children? etc etc etc.
We all end our lives with a sadness; our own final curtain. With luck we will reach that at a ripe old age having written our adventure story with flare and chapters crammed full of happy memories and achievements; laughter and joy… things that will secure our ongoing existence in the stories and behaviours of our children and friends.
Isn’t it wonderful when you catch yourself remembering someone passed in an anecdote or family tradition or the way someone else smiles or gestures. For me its the old photos, piggy walkers and dancing round lampposts…..
I’ve spent my life writing each chapter like a new genre of book. I’ve not known from one chapter to the next where it will take me. I follow a winding path with many side roads and I often like to detour down one. I am lucky. But I also know that we are also responsible to ourselves for creating some of that luck….. it’s about attitude.
Attitude: Have it, relish it, grasp it.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely, in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather a skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up and loudly proclaiming, “Wow! What a ride!”” – Hunter S Thompson
This blog is dedicated to two great men: my father-in-law, Brian Crompton and my uncle, Ray Benton… both gone but far from forgotten. They will live on and on and on and on.