The family gatherings, present giving, reminiscing and thoughts about the past and the year ahead that make up the festive period are over and life returns to, what passes for, normal in our household. Yet, as anyone who does read my blogs will know, it will be a different normal from now on. So, although I don’t do New Year resolutions, I returned with some determination to make this year a little different from the past four or five. In short, to become a writer and speaker fulltime. There, I’ve said it!
I know just what I have to do and, in fact, I’ve already started. I just have to not allow myself to be sidetracked and, unfortunately, computers are the perfect tools for just that diversionary activity. I also have to believe in my own level of perseverance. The trouble is that I tend to downplay this as “just getting on with it” and that tendency leads me to dismissing it as nothing special. Yet, if I might indulge myself a little, how many other 73 year olds run regularly for an hour, go to the gym and are on their sixth career?
My problem is, I know, not taking my own advice. So, when I tell others that they can do it, that applies to me as well, something I am now taking on board. Along with having the courage to ask others for help; this latter not really part of my makeup. Lastly, it involves tackling the last of those demons that I allow to live in my head. Even as I write this, I remember a number of occasions over the festive period when they decided to let me know that they were still there, albeit on a very short lease these days. So there is a degree of internal optimism to provide the foundations for the next stage of my journey. Something that hasn’t always been there in the past.
So it was with great delight that I booted up the computer on my first day back to find an e mail asking if I was available to appear on the Midweek programme with Libby Purves on Radio 4 next week. Now this hasn’t come completely out of the blue and is the result of a talk that I was scheduled to give about 15 months ago and actually did give during the summer, thanks to the lovely Toby Mildon. So, when I do take my own advice, it seems to work.
Yet when I told Gaynor, my wife, there was a slight element of sadness. Nancy, her mum, would have been delighted at the news but, unfortunately, she died at the end of November. Now I have very clear views on belief in supernatural beings, something Nancy and I disagreed on. So it would be nice to think that she is where she believed that she would go and that she and someone else very close to me were able to receive Radio 4 and listening in next week. Yes, silly really, but a very comforting thought right now.