The sun is shining today and there seem to be multitudes of people everywhere.
The weather had been all over the place this weekend, so it’s nice to see that it’s not interrupted local events too much.
Yesterday morning started with wind and rain and found me (after group) digging through the back of my wardrobe for a woolly hat and gloves.
I eventually left the house wearing these as well as a warm down jacket and a thick brushed cotton shirt.
By the afternoon I was boiling and it was all tucked neatly away in a carrier bag as I strolled home with my shirt untucked and my sleeves rolled up.
Today there was no rain but temperature wise it was more of the same.
It was really cold when I awoke so when choosing my outfit (what is a boy to wear?!) I decided to hedge my bets and go for combats, light shirt and a gilet before hooking up with a regular twalking buddy for a walk around War Memorial Park in Coventry.
In the background you can see the flags and stands associated with some kind of fun run event that happened to be taking place when we arrived.
For the whole time we walked we were carefully avoiding people puffing and panting their way around (or just staggering from bench to bench) the mile and a half circuit.
My friend has recently returned from a month in the South of France (the poor dear – it must have been a terrible hardship) and was keen to build up her walking distance again after some professional grade hammock based relaxation.
In my view there’s no better way to do this that than nattering as you go.
The one thing that we both noticed though was that very few people running towards us looked like they had prepared much (if at all) for the event – and most looked practically on their last legs at the very first turn.
I wondered how many of them had just decided on a whim (without any other healthy lifestyle choices) to just go for a run and suddenly realised the reality of what they’d committed themselves to.
Many were wearing suspiciously new looking trainers and brightly coloured leggings – and I couldn’t help but thinking that they (like myself) would have been much better served by a mass walk together rather than (a probably demoralising experience) trying to run instead.
At the end of all this as we said our farewells my friend opened her car and presented me with a treat.
She’d brought along not one but two of these.
She knows what I like to eat – and I have to say (having eaten the hi-fi bar equivalent) that I now know that (although I rarely eat them) I rather love salted caramel flavour things.
Carte D’or Salted Caramel is around 5-6 syns per 100ml, meaning that these tasty treats would only set me back around 120 syns.
If that is I would have eaten them.
Which I most certainly wouldn’t.
Her next door neighbour had benefited from a bumper harvest of plums this summer and my friend had been given way more than she could eat alone, meaning I’d inherited some rather delicious healthy treats.
Plums in contrast to the evils of Carte D’or ice cream are a speed food – and I felt absolutely ZERO guilt eating an entire tub as I drove home from the park after a couple of laps.
I’m glad I ate them all actually – because when I wandered into town after midday to get a coffee and work on my daily step/mile goals the food festival was once again in the park.
It seems to arrive with ever increasing regularity lately – and is becoming really really popular.
In the past I’ve never been tempted by anything there – but honestly I’m still in a mildly fragile head space – so I made a rather swift bee-line through the crowds and moved on.
Besides – I had a much deeper thought process going on that didn’t involve falafels or craft beer.
Whilst on the way to town I’d been mooching (as usual) and had passed the recycling centre.
Near the piles of stacked picture frames I spotted this.
It’s a collection of family photos in a fixed multi frame that for whatever reason had been donated along with the pictures.
In the third one along the top row it became clear that it was presented to someone’s father to celebrate his 50th birthday.
The frame is caked in dust and all of the special memories are faded and dull.
I stood looking at this for a while – linking the faces to the pictures and trying to mentally establish who begat who.
I couldn’t help but wonder what had caused a life like this to be discarded in its entirety and left in a charity shop.
The more you peel away the layers behind an action like this the more sadness and pathos you find.
Even is this wasn’t caused by a bereavement it shows a complete disconnect with familial bonds.
Not one but multiple family members have been discarded.
It’s impossible by just looking at the faces to know why or how these pictures found their way to the recycling centre or what caused them to have no further relevance – but whatever this says about the people in the pictures it speaks volumes about the impermanence of many things that we consider to be pillars of our lives.
People come and go. Possessions ultimately mean nothing. Memories fade.
So what do we leave behind?
How do we enrich the world with our presence?
Is it even possible in any meaningful sense – or is it simply vanity to even try?
It makes me think that I’ve made the right decision recently to follow my heart – because there is absolutely no guarantee that tomorrow I’ll be here.
There’s almost certainly no chance at all anyone will remember me as ‘the man that valiantly sat in an office doing stuff’ – so what do I have to lose?
Ultimately maybe the objective is not to attempt be remembered – but to accept that probably very few people will be – and take comfort instead in the fact that you can do just as much anonymous good in the world as you can do if people remember your name.
If they do though I’d like them to think that I lived a happy life, cared for those that knew me and ultimately made a positive contribution to my small corner of the world.
I’ve no interest in fame or being in a history book – but I do want to be the absolute best version of me that I can be.
That way when I’m sitting on a table in a dusty photo frame it really won’t matter whether I’m remembered by the person looking at me or not – because in the brief, flickering moment of my existence I lived rather than just existed.
Isn’t that what we should all strive for?