Let’s be realistic…

Over the weekend I deleted all those bookmarks and links to my ‘old life’, the professional life I led which was more about pursuing kudos and power and money – rather than anything truly important. That deletion was, I confess, more a symbolic step than anything else (just like deleting my old LinkedIn account a year ago) rather than as a result of any conscious life-changing decision. The related decisions have already been made…

Walking into town a few minutes ago I bumped into a friend who is marginally younger than me, and we talked about work and retirement – and how the most important asset we possess is time, not money. Indeed time has always been the most important asset anyone has; the tragedy is that when you’re younger you never realise it. Which is perhaps why we a) often pretend we’re immortal, and b) want to go back and relive – or ‘re-spend’ – some of that time.

“So what are you doing now?” he asked.

“Writing”, I said. And I told him about my novels, my search for an agent for my new work, the publishing, and the potential of having a piece being performed at this year’s Theatre Festival.

Those are important things. Really important. And it’s not because of kudos, power or money, but because of time.

If I’m lucky I’ll have 10 to 15 years before bits really start falling off and my marbles get lost down the back of the sofa. If I’m lucky. That’s all about time. The currency I have. That’s why an agent and the festival is important; that’s why I want to sell more books – not for the money so much, but in order to know I did something worthwhile. And that’s why I’m thinking of making a list of a small number of things I really must do in those few remaining years – like go back to Lucca, visit the Outer Hebrides, go on a road trip around some of the UK coast. I’m good at lists…

And write more, of course. And write better. And be recognised just a little bit – openly and publicly – to prove to myself that I’m not wasting my time…

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