I think the truth is that I never really had a destination in mind. I was never one of those people that set goals, that declared I’d be this or that by the time I was forty. Or fifty. Or whenever. I liked to say that the journey was the thing, that the journey was more important than the destination. And I guess that still feels true only I can’t shake the nagging sense that I keep ending up in places I didn’t intend to and that I didn’t much enjoy getting there either. Ouch. Or maybe the problem is that I always have to travel with myself and I’ve discovered that I’m a lousy travelling companion.
Some principles for future travel at the turn of the year:
- It is now too late to fulfil your Olympic dream. Maybe there’s an outside shot at one of the really sedentary events like shooting or curling or something. Curling’s the one where you just sweep a brush on some ice, right? How hard can it be to hold a brush wearing skates?
- Ditto rock star. Too late.
- (Don’t think there’s a chance as a late developing folk singer or something either: those guys can really play and without pissing on your bonfire, you can’t)
- That prissy voice in your head, the one that has a lot to say for itself, usually about you, know the one? Seems to doubt the outcome of every endeavour. The one that would sign up to TripAdvisor to review the lengthy time it had spent inside your head and then persist in leaving a succession of one star reviews that progressively escalate in venom and scorn. Tell it to shut the fuck up.
- There are people that love you and that you love in turn. That, right there, that’s the ballgame. As it might be acceptable to say if you were American. Nurture the love you have and the love you give.
- Learn to write. You’re not going to ever really crack it but you’re not supposed to – it’s not an absolute state, more an ongoing process of improvement. And head scratching, eye clawing pain. It’s like walking barefoot across a thick pile carpet littered with drawing pins: some of the steps will be soft and light and easy, some will raise a sharp cry of pain, and some will draw blood. If it’s true there may be blood. And truth is at the heart of writing so get used to the sight of blood.
- Don’t get any fatter.
- Be a bit kinder to yourself, physically and mentally. Might be time to break the spine on that mindfulness book gathering dust by your bed. Maybe check the bike’s still in its shed. Maybe even get it out and push the pedals for a bit. See what happens.
- Remember sitting round camp fires, usually at music festivals, and feeling still. Perhaps stillness is what you really crave. A place and space to aim for: a destination to have in mind.
- Like The Be Good Tanya’s tell it: keep it light enough to travel.