I attended a funeral yesterday, the mother of a friend had passed away at the grand age of 94 years. The sadness, the loss, the pain of grief were all there, etched on the faces of the close ones left behind. These occasions are a part of the cycle of life of course, but I came away from the church thinking about how I have approached the inevitable end of my own existence on this planet. We all ponder these things from time to time but I felt it right to really examine my own life and what I can do for during the ever diminishing balance of my days. Why this deep introspection now? The past year was extremely tough for us and only now as things seem to be picking up physically can I focus with a degree of clarity on higher matters beyond simple survival (looks like Maslow was right after all).
Like most people I regarded myself as a good person but the more I delved into my past the greater I doubted my previously optimistic opinion of myself. I have been at time selfish and guilty of hurting people close to me by putting my own wants ahead of their needs. This has to stop and as time runs out I sense an urgency to change this callous side of my nature and think before I act more often. Don’t think there is any need to expand on this or provide cringe-worthy examples, suffice to say that I recognise my failings in this area and will work to address them. I guess this is why I am writing this post today, to start the process of working on my faults so they don’t get buried under everyday life only to reappear later.
The Campsie Fells from my old flat in Kirkintilloch. I need to get out in the fresh air more like I did back then
One of the biggest lessons for me last year was to listen to others and in particular to take advice from them. Failing to do this seriously damaged my health over the course of 2015. If I had listened to Helen and taken some of the actions she recommended I would have saved myself a huge amount of pain and fear. More than a year ago she recommended a change of diet as a possible cure for my arthritis which was then spiralling out of control. Instead, I went off and followed a course of action which I believed was appropriate, despite nagging doubts about the treatment. I am recovering well now, but only after finally taking the advice from Helen and radically altering what I eat. Having convictions in my own ability is one thing, but pig-headed refusal to contemplate that others may be right is something else and I need to be more open to new ideas.
The Cherwell valley in the heart of the English countryside. I worked here for a while in 2008, travelling between Ireland and here every week
Then we come to time and how much of it I waste. This trait seems to have snuck in relatively recently and is a luxury I can’t afford at my time of life. ‘I don’t have time’ seems to be my mantra these days when in fact I invariably have time to sit in front of a computer screen checking social media, the news or researching for work projects. The insidious addiction to the screen has gradually built up under a cloak of ‘work’. A lot of my work does in fact require a significant use of a computer, but this has led to over use of social media. The temptation to simply surf and then kid myself I’m being productive has pervaded my life to an alarming degree. Whatever your own beliefs I am personally finding it very difficult to envisage laptops or android devices in heaven!
Train station in Delhi, I have travelled extensively on business for many years, now it is time to reduce this effort, even though I love travel and India in particular
So what does all of this introspection mean for my angling? Work will be very demanding this year and time off is going to be at a premium. How to use that precious time wisely is the challenge and I am planning on being more caring and thoughtful towards others in addition to making time for my fishing and other outdoor pursuits. I have never been one for making New Year resolutions but here, in mid-January I feel it is right to set myself some targets so that in a year’s time I can look back at 12 months of growth and happiness by being more considerate to others.