Despite the entire week threatening me with torrential downpours they have (mostly) failed to materialise. This is presumably because I am now the proud owner of some all weather outdoor waterproof trousers and a raincoat – and have been dying to deploy them to test whether or not they leak.
On the one day that I could have used them I left them at home and got soaked.
The UK’s weather is nothing if not unpredictable – but then I guess it at least gives people like me something to talk about when we go walking – and this week I’ve had a pretty full outdoor exploration calendar.
Today I’ve been on an immensely enjoyable (fairly leisurely) five mile walk between the Longbridge island on the M40 in Warwick to a Garden Centre in Back Hill (just inside Stratford upon Avon).
This is not a route I’ve either driven or walked along before – but along the quiet country lanes there has been almost nothing but lovely rolling fields and green hills in the distance. Sadly much of it has also been quite cloudy (so my pictures have not been the best) but it’s at least been nice and breezy and cool.
One thing that is becoming increasingly apparent to me as I criss cross Warwickshire is that mentally I’m building up a picture of the local landscape and seeing more and more places in the far distance that I’ve walked through or to.
I found myself feeling quite reflective about this for a moment yesterday in Burton Dassett as I looked at the view around me and the different places on the viewpoint marker that we’d climbed up to. In the last year I’ve been to or nearby a LOT more of the locations on this dial than I have in all of the time since I moved to Warwick fifteen years ago.
This sudden need to explore is giving me a sense of place and belonging that was previously (without me even realising it) completely absent when I drove only on the same fast moving roads to the same places day after day without ever stopping to truly look at or investigate my surroundings.
Whilst discussing this with my twalking companion today (as we chatted about a monument on a hill far in the distance in Stratford) I found myself once again reflecting upon what’s important in life – and where my place in the world should be.
I’m still consciously (and sub-consciously) wrestling with where the future might take me – and have been wondering lately whether further, possibly more radical change is needed now that I’m such a different person to the man that I was before. Deep down I’m worried that I’m not truly intrepid enough to rip up much of what came before my mid forties in order to try and find something new – and it’s been bothering me more and more.
Much of my life has been lived on the premise of continually choosing stability and security, and has always contained little or no voluntary danger or uncertainty. I’ve shied away from such things at every turn and some of my oldest friends have (on many occasions) described me as ‘risk adverse’.
My current thought process is causing me to really question what matters to me – and what I will care about in the future. They aren’t easy questions to answer as I’m still changing and morphing into a different Davey – but I think the starting point has to be knowing what my core values are, what’s important to me and what I want and need from others that I’ve yet to meet.
Mostly these thought patterns are introspective in my case – and I tend to ignore the vast majority of quotes that I see on the internet that purport to be ‘inspirational messages’. After all, one person’s revelation is another’s ‘yea duh!’ obvious statement and there are so many of these life mantras floating about that they seem to quickly lose their value. Some do stick though, and regular readers (and people that know me) will by now be familiar with the few that I try to live by – and that have rarely failed me.
Always keep moving forward (the speed doesn’t matter), there is no way to happiness (happiness is the way) – and everyone (especially me) needs a hug.
My most recent addition is ‘give yourself time to feel sad occasionally’. However so far I’ve never seen this in a conveniently packaged internet meme…
Despite having found these along the way though I’ve never consciously gone looking for them. They’ve just arrived at a moment that I was feeling receptive and was willing to take them board. In the same vein I just happened to be in the right frame of mind when someone I know posted something Facebook a couple of days ago.
Because I agreed with the first line I moved to the second, and so on, and so on until I’d read the whole thing. It seemed to underline pretty much everything that I (mostly unconsciously) try to do – and although nothing can be an exhaustive list of someone’s personal beliefs this seemed pretty close.
Some things are works in progress for me (particularly listen more and talk less – I’m a chatterbox!) but I like the fact that someone else in life thinks the way I do. Everything on this list seems like a good way to approach life.
Before this picture appeared on Facebook I was walking to visit a friend and stopped to collect a prescription on the way. As I signed for my medication and paid for another item (an apple flavoured chapstick – it’s wonderful!) a lady walked into the shop, quickly picked up an item, stepped up behind me, reached over my left shoulder with the money for it and handed it to the cashier (while I was in mid sentence) before exiting the shop as if I didn’t exist.
As soon as she’d done this she was gone – and I was left with a peculiarly British sense of moral indignation that someone had jumped the queue.
In this country we like to consider ourselves a civilised people – and nothing exemplifies our organised civilisation better than our ability to stand in orderly lines patiently waiting for things.
(The whole fabric of society might break down if we refused to do this at the post office. It would be anarchy I tell you. Anarchy!)
Initially (for a split second) because of this her ‘rudeness’ annoyed me. However – in the great scheme of things what did it really matter? I decided that I wouldn’t look out for her as I exited the shop and instead would try to trust (instead of seeing her climbing into a badly parked Range Rover or shouting impatiently at a child) that she had her reasons – and that this wasn’t rudeness – it was necessity.
She might instead have had a sleeping child outside in a car with the engine running – or a dog on her passenger seat. She could have an elderly mother or father waiting for her outside just out of eyesight who needed her arm to walk back home.
I’ll never know – and that’s a good thing, because now I’m left thinking only good thoughts about that moment. My not complaining about this inconsequential slight had therefore ruined neither of our days and instead of both of us being left with negative energy I’d been left with positive feelings.
It wasn’t until later that I saw this list and maybe because of this particular moment it caught my eye. I’ll leave it up to you internet to decide whether it’s fluff or truth. It could be both.
In other news – today I feel fat. I am not looking to stepping on the scales tomorrow. I might need a hug afterwards.