My Forever Good Things

Saturday, I’m in Caffe Nero in Oakham – one of my very favourite places. Bob Dylan said time is a jet plane and he was right, November has arrived. I’ve been working late shifts at the call centre, which I find pretty difficult. Darkness scares me. I am signing up for as many shifts as I can but my amputated right arm hurts quite a bit where the bone is exposed.

This week has been overshadowed by the helicopter crash at Leicester City. My son and I were at the game and we parked in our usual spot just 50 feet from where the helicopter came down. Luckily, we had just left the stadium, so we only heard the news once we got home.

My son went back to lay flowers and my wife visited the scene as well.

I remember watching the Chairman’s helicopter from below as it came in to land before the match. It was clean, shiny and beautiful – white, silver, glistening against the early evening sky. How cruel life can sometimes be.

Monique Hohnberg counsels us to deeply value the inner goodness inside our selves. I’ve been struck by her words this week. She talks about being kind to yourself and others, accepting that change takes time and energy. “When something doesn’t go to plan, remind yourself of all the success you’ve had in other areas of your life.” She encourages us to talk positively to ourselves.

Instinctively I find myself trying to do this now on a daily basis. Although by nature I’m a glass half empty kind of person, circumstances have meant that I have to work actively and creatively to keep reminding myself about the core of really great things in my life. Here’s how the note to myself on my phone reads:

  1. Are you married to your favourite person on planet earth?
  2. Are you Dad to two amazing grown up children?
  3. Have you got a warm house to live in, in a beautiful part of the country?
  4. Do you have the skill to write well?
  5. Has your life experience given you a uniquely valuable perspective?

I feel really good about all these things, and secure in the knowledge that no-one can take them away. It feels like the treasure of my life – after everything that has happened and everything I’ve done. I refuse to feel disabled or that I haven’t been a success.

Also, it seems very important to me to consciously set these things down in writing, so when I experience shocks or daytime lows, or when the pain is very bad, I have strong foundations to fall back upon. This is my resilience.

I have an unshakable intuition that happiness lies in simplicity. Whenever I have a choice to make now, I’m looking for the simple solution – the one that will allow me to preserve and strengthen these core good things about my life.

Well, I won’t go on about it. I don’t need to.

I wonder what your note to yourself about the five great things in your life would say? Have you ever thought about it?

Back to November in Rutland. Chilly. Wet. The light, fading. Or, orange, yellow and brown leaves against a crisp and cloudless blue sky. Crowds of people all around, all trying to do their best. The roar of car engines on the ring road in the morning, the silence of the enormous unfeeling lake across the fields. White lights piercing the darkness under the tarpaulin of the fruit stall in Oakham marketplace.

Love, anxiety. And the rain tapping down.