Suggested Audio Jukebox:
 Coldplay “Hymn For The Weekend”
 Coldplay “Sky Full of Stars”
 Coldplay “Paradise”
 Coldplay “Adventure of A Lifetime”
Forty-one long years and I’m currently down to pocket change. So what have I learned about myself during that time? Rather a lot actually, enough to write a series of hardback novels and I still feel like I’m nowhere near done yet. Many things have changed during that time but my outlook isn’t one of them. Granted, there have been wobbles along the way, and times where even I haven’t recognized myself. But eventually all the odds evens out and I’m left with an overwhelming feeling of familiarity. Have I fallen flat on my face? On too many occasions to list. Have I acted with due care and consideration? Not always. Has it always been me pulling the lever? Guilty as charged. You see, I’m not perfect. Indeed, I’m as far from flawless as they come and quite comfortable with that statistic to boot. That said, I have a habit of checking myself before I wreck myself and, last time I self-examined, my heart was in precisely the right place. Whether or not my arteries are clogged is irrelevant as it’s still putting in a shift after all these years and its commitment to a cause that has often felt lost hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Currently I’m preparing to embark on one of my toughest escapades thus far and, in little over a week, shall be trekking off to a place where my body can heal before it gives me any more cause for Def Con 5. It’s not the first time that I have entered into crisis talks with myself and my previous record of success doesn’t make for the most encouraging of reading admittedly. However, this time I have no intention of setting myself all manner of goals that I’m likely to fall short of, and I’m going to approach it in a completely different manner than previously. One day prior to departure, I have a breathing examination at my local doctor’s surgery, and I’ve already prepared myself for the worst when “the talk” comes. The reason for this is simple, I simply cannot have anything pissing on my parade as my mind has a habit of using that against me when I’m feeling any less than tip-top. I’m a hopeless addict and have no doubt that it is a source of immense frustration to anyone on the outside of my bubble looking in. But I’m not looking for pep talks, home truths, or told you so’s – just plain old understanding will do fine and I have no intention of demanding such.
That, in itself, can pose a problem when we feel that we would do things so much differently should the tables be turned. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I accept that it may well deviate from my own; but I’m past explaining everything I do and its motivation and there just isn’t the time right now to do so. There are seven days remaining until I vacate my fallout shelter for what will be the final time for around thirty days. Once I embark on my expedition, there will be no temptation to slink back into this secure location, and neither will I have the tools around me to further damage my already frail body. Bottom line is that, for four weeks or so, I will be clean and so will my chosen surroundings. I attempted to pull off a similar feat at this time last year but, the difference then, was that I wasn’t truly committed to bucking any trends. One year on and I am far better equipped to give this one helluva shot. The main reason for this is that I have delved into the cookie jar consistently during the interim and know a little more about how my mind works. We all have our failings – some can be flash tempered and irrational under duress, others cannot see the woods for the trees and, in my case, I work my fingers so much to their bones that I sometimes forget a simple act such as loving myself.
So I put pen to paper. And why do I do this so habitually? Because I can. Recently my energy reserves have been all but depleted and a simple routine task such as mowing my seventy-two year-old mother’s lawn becomes a chore so bone-chilling that I pray for torrential rain every time I wake up in the morning. There have been times where I have sat around comatose, thankful for the sheer might of my bladder. However, every time I sit down to write, fatigue is taken out of the equation. All I have to do is prod a few buttons, string together some sentences, and try my double-darndest to make the results pretty. Moreover, there’s a kicker involved. I’m learning the whole time, whether about me intimately, or some useless tidbit of information that I had never entertained previously. It’s all about the growth you see and, even when it can feel like we’re wilting, the exact opposite can be said. What we choose to learn is under our sole jurisdiction and can influence every solitary decision we make afterwards. I’ve been an apt pupil since the fall of 2013 and picked up more in that time than I have since merely an ankle biter. Moreover, it has seen me through the worst of it, been present for the best, and is never more content than when in-between.
Given that I have a tendency to second and third guess myself, I worry too much about things that are completely out of my control. Do I come across as a megalomaniac? Am I just a mass of contradiction? Is anything I write relevant to anyone other than me, myself and I? Have I achieved the kind of level that I demand from myself? Starting from the top, I couldn’t be further from a narcissist. Because of the way I write it can appear so; where closer inspection will reveal just how inaccurate this actually is. I’ve never been truly comfortable in the spotlight and that is why I challenge myself in the first place. I may gripe about my own woes at times but it’s only with the hope of touching base with others shouldering similar burdens. When you choose to scribe introspectively, you open yourself up to all manner of assumption and judgement, and can either live or die by the sword dependent on what you put out there into the public domain. Whether anyone actually reads that is taken out of your control the moment you click that publish tab and left open to the elements. I don’t do what I do for that kind of validation and neither do I wish to raise my voice above others. Yes I scour my stats with a fine tooth comb but that is not to swell my ego, purely to see what is hitting the spot and what’s not.
As for conflicting prose, well I happen to be rather a fan of contradiction. There can be no black without its white compatriot and I happen to be rather partial to both camps. Ultimately our own views are subjective and answers aren’t necessarily clear-cut. I always look to remain unbiased where possible and this means showing both sides of the coin at times as opposed to trying to swing any deciding votes in my favor. If that means I contradict myself then I’m so at ease with that as I never professed to be the be-all-and-end-all and neither do I hold all the cards. All I can do is to reveal my hand and hope that I’m not weeping by the river. Should that not be pertinent to my readership then, of course, I shall look at other ways to skin the goose so to speak. You see, I do need to feel relevant. Last time I checked, I was still human, and need to fit in like the next puzzle piece in line. This isn’t to conform, merely to make those connections as this is what helps me thrive, both in my work, and on my own personal journey. Certain pieces fit, others don’t, but I’m grateful for the opportunity to find out what works and what doesn’t and that is all I demand of myself. I gotta keep taking chances, attempting to raise the bar, and lower it whenever applicable where good taste is concerned.
So I have just over a week now to reposition my mind to the best possible vantage to make this mercy mission noteworthy. That entails a gradual decline in the number of harmful toxins finding their way into my body, several opportunities to get my ass out there and mow the damn grass, and a number of joyful interactions with those who haven’t already written me off as a lost cause. Then, on the 12th July 2015, I shall enter a world with no rip-roaring internet speeds, just sporadic wi-fi pockets and the freshest of countryside air. I shall continue to post wherever possible and this may well be the only presence I can muster as, for four weeks, this is my last chance saloon and it would seem positively rude not to guzzle the ale. I’m past asking for acceptance and endorsement as I’m not all that needy, all things considered. Besides, I have already found that and the most important place that has come from has been within. I may well fail, not that I’m tying my own boot laces together. Just not setting up my stall that way. That’s where I’ve come unstuck in the past and, at present, I’m utterly content with not knowing the future. But I will make sure it’s an adventure as a chance like this for mild peril simply cannot go begging.
At any rate, this exercise hasn’t been in the hope of earning myself an amen, as I haven’t even got to the prayer part yet. Certain souls will be praying for both my safe passage and enlightenment and I will gladly take any candles lit while I ride this Technicolor rainbow, and no doubt, my luck to its very end and go sniffing around for my pot ‘o’ gold. The thing is, I have already amassed riches unbounded, and these have every intention of paying my way from hereon in. And do you know what? I’d take figurative over literal every day of the calendar month. My beloved father left me quite the inheritance and I’m not about to go listing it on eBay either as I’m not altogether sure what price stubborn belief fetches nowadays when its owner hasn’t always been quite so careful. Right now I’m polishing it up for the long voyage ahead. I strongly believe that, however this pans out, I’ll be in a more stabilized position a month from now. Do I expect it? Not this time, belief and expectation are worlds apart you see. I’ll just carry on placing one foot before the other and see where that leads me next. Isn’t that the way all good adventures play out?