I’ve been back from DR for nearly a week now and it doesn’t take long for the stresses and immediacies of life to make it a distant memory. But it does the folk of that country a disservice if I am not a better person for the experience. Certainly it remains humbling and a salient reminder that I have many blessings and I should count them daily.
But having a simple life, concerned only where my next meal comes from, but knowing no other form of existence does actually have an appeal.
Can I say that?
Do I mean that I would rather swap living in England in a house with running water (not hot, boilers on the blink) a full fridge, car and a telly, to live in 42 degree heat, or monsoon rain, a shack or a simple home and a diet of rice and beans?
No, I wouldn’t last five minutes!
But there’s a simplicity to it which makes my overcomplicated life appear toilsome & tiresome.
Let’s strip out faith before some over judgemental Christian starts to moralise, because it’s the same God in DR, Haiti and Luton. I acknowledge that to be enough but beyond that you have to wonder what we spend so much time pursuing, investing, fretting to achieve?
Certainly work doesn’t have the trade off of greater success (& therefore greater wealth) equalling greater happiness. I’m sitting in my study, but I could be in the front room, and it doesn’t matter if you have a 20inch, 42inch or 50inch HD, X Factor is pants on all of them!
Go look after Ozzy, its not as if you need the cash.
I lost an hour of my life watching the X Factor yesterday and it just looked tired. It really is time to consign it to the dustbin and think of something new. We always do that with TV shows. We bled ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’ to death (the woman you are thinking of is called Judith Keppel if I remember) Big Brother, Help I’m a Celebrity and I’ve not even got into this series of Downton! Its just one too many
Watch out Jude, He's got form!
It is the simple things in life that give us pleasure. I love autumn, and this evening I took the dog up to the woods and just stood in the middle of the trees, completely alone, looking up at the trees and listening to the wind whistling through them. It’s my favourite season to run in too, as you feel your feet cushion against the falling leaves.
No, these are NOT my legs!
I love coffee with a friend, a beer (or two) with a mate, reading a book in bed, my first cup of tea in the morning, a good rock anthem, a run, a dog walk, sleep, family get togethers, getting jiggy, a fresh out of the fridge pork farms pork pies (no other make comes close) the sound of the sea, the sun (in the sky, not the paper) fishing and many more things that really don’t break the bank.
I’m on a bit of a mission to just make myself happier and I started with work. Financial services is tough and there’s a lot wrong with it. Dishonest individuals purporting to have morals have sucked the joy out of it, but I used to love what I did, so I went back to the beginning to remind myself of what attracted me to the industry. I realised that it was being around people and so I structure my day to see clients and go on conferences which were the things I used to love doing. This helps temper the other stuff that’s not so much fun.
I heard a really good talk by a guy called Steve Bull. He is not the same one as the Wolves center forward (who I once saw score twice in a 5-0 thrashing of Pompey) but a Sports pyscologist who works with the England cricket team and also team GB. He showed a photo of Greg Rutherford about to start his run up in the long jump and he asked us what we thought he would be thinking at that moment? The standard answer was that he would be thinking about winning a gold medal, glory, all that kind of thing, but the simple answer was ‘pump elbows, knees high and lean forward’ because these were the things that he had control over.
He had no control over winning the gold because even if he jumped his best ever jump he couldn’t control what the other athletes were going to do and so he had to completely obliterate those kinds of thoughts because they weren’t going to do him any good. They were simply going to add unnecessary pressure. I’m fortunate that I’m my own boss at work, but I have found it helpful to be able to concentrate just on those things that I am in control of.
We can carry this into all aspects of our life such as doing more of the things which give us pleasure and perhaps a little less tv. So if you want to see me in the future, it might have to be over a coffee, a beer, on a run or on a beach. I’m worth it!
Just to keep you up to date, I’ve posted a little vid of me talking to my little hero Jason in the DR. As previously blogged & Facebooked, Jason’s a bit of a hero of mine and a wonderful reminder that we lead very comfortable lives (unless your mum throws you out every morning & tells youd not to return until you have begged & raised 500 pesos) you’ll also meet a remarkable friend of mine called Claire who lives in DR and whose a joy to be around.