This post is a little reminder to myself – as much as anything – to ‘seize the day’. I remember various moments in my life when something was said or revealed that brought forth a resounding YES inside me; something that I might never have been able to put into so many words.
One of those moments was the movie ‘Dead Poet’s Society’ with Robin Williams. When he, as an English teacher, inspired his students to ‘seize the day’ and they grasped what he meant and everything changed, I was transfixed. Yes, lots of other things happened in that movie and a terrible sadness at the end, but it did not change the central truth he had espoused.
Now don’t get me wrong: I do NOT open my eyes upon waking and spring out of bed full of the joie de vivre. But I do wake up most days feeling positive and running possibilities through my head for what to do, dependent upon weather and inclination.
My list of possibilities runs like this:
Coffee and catch up with friends
Cycling on my electric bike with or without friends
Trying my hand at baking
Going for a walk somewhere, or just for exercise locally
Hanging out at the local library
Watching a movie either at the cinema or online
Picking up a manuscript I’ve started and writing some more of the story (for a novel)
Doing an Outlander meme just for fun and putting it up online
Planning a future trip somewhere
Meeting with my house church and singing and sharing
Doing a painting or illustration
There is another list I have, which is along the lines of things I need to do, but which I have no passion for – things like dusting (way down), taking my car for a warrant of fitness, housework, going through my clothes and dispensing with the unwanted ones. And here’s a small truth I have discovered over the years: If I get even one of the things on this latter list done now and then, my favourite things can be approached with more freedom and lightness of heart.
I feel sure I am talking to the converted here. Many people know what it is to have a passion about what they do, and the things they get excited about can be astounding to me. I work as an administrator for people doing PhDs in Computer and Mathematical Sciences. I have held a thick thesis in my hands full of gobbledegook and symbols, and look up at the earnest and shining face of the student who has devoted the last few years to compiling this tome, and recognise someone who is as passionate as I. . . for something I cannot begin to understand.
Or I meet someone for whom my second list of undesirable tasks is what gets their heart racing, and wonder how I could be so different. So it’s much LESS about WHAT you do, as about actually recognising what you love doing, and finding new and deeper ways of getting involved with whatever that is. And there will always be other people who share your specific interest.
I always loved painting – oils mainly – but over the last few years, my living space has so reduced that I can no longer find room to set up a canvas and leave it for days. What it forced me to do – once I got over my feeling of frustration – was to allow my creative energies to flow into words instead of pictures, and I discovered that I really did love to write. I paint the same pictures in my mind, but as a flowing story, and then describe it, and recently I actually finished a novel I started as an experiment. After some editing and changes, I sent it off and to my utter astonishment, had it accepted by a publisher.
Now, of course, I am hooked. My book comes out in October – no, I’m not revealing its name just yet – and I am still amazed and thrilled that my imagination conjured up a story that a publisher wanted.
Anyway, if you’d asked me ten years ago what I would be doing today, I couldn’t have guessed. It has so much to do with following trails and meeting people and traveling, and opening doors and dealing with sudden changes of circumstance. And amongst it all: maintaining a passion for living and trying out new things. Going on adventures you were too afraid to do on your own when you were younger. Looking after the people you are close to, and being kinder. Watching your negative attitudes and words and consciously turning from them. I have so many people who have inspired me in these latter statements, the list is longer than I could name. . . these are the people to watch.
Okay, ramble over.