Wishes, wants and needs

Today is the second day of January, and so I send best wishes to my mother for a happy birthday! I did call earlier, but there was a plethora of social events to which she had been invited, so she wasn't around. I shall call again later.

Easy to be serene when you're a Stone Angel
The Wise Woman of the West(*) showed up again and dispensed her inimitable brand of advice to all and sundry. And good thing too for I'm sorely in need of advice (if you define advice as a kick in the butt to get me going)  that will inspire to get a move on, and also achieve the kind of mental equilibrium that is described best as serene. The problem is a lack of desire - to do anything that can remotely be seen as earning my keep. No, I'd much rather do what the Domestic Goddess, Nigella, did to get past the humiliation of the trial where her personal foibles were dragged through the court of public opinion - she ate good chocolate. I did get some chocolate last night, but they weren't particularly good and infused with palm oil. So that doesn't count. And that which led to this moribund state of affairs was a sojourn in Southern climes where the temperatures were easily 4 times that of my present location. The amount of sunshine was disappointing as there were more clouds and spotty rain than blue skies, but it was warm, and being able to walk around in shorts in December is a luxury these days. I remember one winter when I left Montreal and flew to Santa Cruz for the holidays. There I was, in balmy 12 C weather, whereas in Montreal, it was easily -15 C, and I lounged in shorts, and there LS was, and she proclaimed me delusional. If that was delusion, then dear gods of delusion, return me to that state of mind.

Colourful flags but no undercurrents
This holiday was one of the best I've taken in a while. The first three days I spent by myself in a charming apartment with a balcony that looked out on the hustle and bustle of the town. Christmas day passed by quietly in the company of several books, simple meals and no obligations to attend large gatherings where people eat and drink too much. Instead, there was a quick breakfast, scads of coffee than a sit-down at the sand while the sun was out, and a dip in the rolling waves. Then on the fourth day, company arrived and the time spent, things done, experiences shared was priceless. It was 60+ hours of silliness, enjoyment, exuberance and shared laughter with nary a prickle of ego, passive-aggressiveness, nor any sign of undercurrents of ulterior motives  - well, unless you count the undertow of the waves when in the ocean, but that's the nature of waves so it doesn't really count.

I Will Not Spiral, but Return To The Narrative
On the 6th day, I returned to the shoebox, which for the first time since I moved here, seems dark and gloomy. The North-West clouds have gathered and they are thick, soggy and saturated and they hide the light. They hide the light, and when the light is hidden, my own internal pilot light dims in response (that's the trouble with being so empathetic) and my whole aspect on the world darkens. However, rather than falling into the spiral of death, depression and dullness, wherein I fall prey to my insecurities and ridiculous mental drama generation, I shall follow the Wise Woman of the West's advice and return to the narrative.


Always. Return. To. The. Narrative.  Always. Return. To. The. Narrative. 


Have a mango juice and enjoy it.
Then the New Year came and went, and this is where I return to the Wise Woman of the West's Advice. She says, "I advise a lot of people to do less, not more, next year".

And this is how it comes about:

"I have heard the resolutions all around me. They all involve doing more, working harder, putting in longer hours, concentrating fully, being stern with themselves. It doesn't matter that it won't happen, that it's all a dream really...this is not the point. The point is that it just seems too much, too puritan, too pessimistic. To much belief that we are, in fact, all rats and that the race has begun. To stand still or to pause for a moment would mean being trampled on by the other rats, the eager, winning rats. To say that things aren't too bad as they are, and let's enjoy them, is to lose ground. On, on, more, more...


Like the lily, why do more than be and accept?
I advise a lot of people to do less, not more, next year. It's not a sign of inertia, smugness, complacency and the imminent end of civilisation if we are just happy with what we have, rather than forever seeking to increase it...The point might be - like the world-class golfer who said that he would never forget to enjoy the game, smell the grass and see the flowers - that maybe we should resolve to be happy rather than perfect, peaceful rather than stretching to achieve. We should begin another year with hope and confidence, rather than the self-imposed gloom of so many would be super-people."


Simple needs and contentment
And so it goes, as the other Wise Woman from the South asked, why is it never enough? Why indeed? This year, I shall try to be happy and content with what I have and not ask, seek, nor conspire to achieve, get or receive more. I shall try to be at peace with what I have, and with what comes my way with a few exceptions (I'm not perfect otherwise I wouldn't be here blabbering away). This year, I shall smooth out the little dings and dents in my walls from failed attempts to hang stuff, sort out the lights and mount the associated wiring properly. I shall also have a will prepared, for as the WWoW says, "...apart from the occasional Agatha Christie (what a waste, Agatha, what a waste! See, there's no point in tears until you know what happened - what a waste of tears!) story, nobody ever died from making a will. But a lot of people have left a hell of a lot of confusion behind by not making one. And they have left their friends unaware of how much they were valued." And you can't have friends not aware of how much they're valued especially since the best friends are the ones who let you tell the story, over and over, until you have decided what you must do. And therein lies another story that must be cogitated.


(*)Maeve Binchy (1940 - 2012), the Wisest and most compassionate of Women from the West.