It is November. And the coldest November night since 2010. As I draft this, on a chilly Monday morning, the temperature in Braemar is currently -12°c, and falling. Here in the far north, in the town at the end of the world, it is -1°c. I have been absent from Read more…
In Step One I introduced the idea of self assessment, of looking at what has been, and what is. As an example, I talked about my physical condition, and how it has changed for the better over the last year. In this second step I shall continue on this theme, beginning with discussing my current physical location, before likely ponderous musings on creativity, and my emotional and mental states and, crucially, how all these strands of me weave together into a whole.
As I write this I am looking at a path, leading away into a future — into many possible futures — but, as anyone who spends time in wild places knows, it is equally important to examine your backtrail. How did you get to this point? What perils and pleasures lie behind? Are they worthwhile pointers and warnings for coming experiences, or is the route and terrain changing? These are questions we can apply to our journey in life.
Before any journey it is important to take a breath, a pause. Check your pack, your tickets, your passport, your fitness, your contacts, those notes you’ve made, that map you’ve printed — all these things we do by habit. Or mostly do, I’ve known people forget or overlook one or the other — and that’s fine too, they somehow get away with it, still enjoy the ride.
But, for me, I am a planner. I like lists. I like notes and notebooks, the scent of the paper and ink, the gentle scratch of the pencil or, increasingly, the new folder in my Scrivener binder.
The funny thing is — without the planning I would never be able to go off piste, to wander without destination or take a deliberate wrong turn. It is almost as though, by being thorough, I am giving myself permission to tear up the plan. I have thought ahead, I have looked at all the outcomes I can possibly visualise — now time to forget about them and walk out into the world…
Today is my birthday.
This, to me, is not normally a big deal. Another year on paper, another year since the date recorded on my birth certificate, maybe — but every day is another year.
I like celebrating birthdays that belong to others — occasions to be thankful for family, for friendship, for fellowship. But my own? Not usually too bothered.
This year, however, is slightly different. (more…)