What is important to you?Posted: August 27, 2012
Reading someone’s blog today has started me thinking again. This time, it’s about what is important to me. In my case, it can probably be distilled down to the following list:
- Access to my family
- Access to books (electronic or paper)
- Access to open spaces, preferably green. With mountains is a bonus!
- The company of good friends
- Long conversations
Some of the best times in my life have been when several of these components have coincided. As I get older, I’m beginning to understand that I’m not too difficult to please. Being able to get outdoors into countryside, or even better, into mountains, and feel the wind on my face, is great. Sleeping beside running water, even if the tent is at a thirty degree slant, held down by hammered-in tent pegs, is brilliant. The running water is condusive to strange dreams though, like listening to a radio just out of tune. You think you can almost make out what’s being said. That happened to me in Glen Sligachan, on the Isle of Skye, camped a third of the way up Marsco.
Long conversations with friends, preferably the kind that run well into the small hours of the night – they’re great. Again, I have sat in many bothies (mountain shelters) and put the world to rights with my friends. In fact, not just bothies, but kitchens, living rooms and bars all over the place. I’m grateful for my friends, for there was a time when I had virtually none.
When I think back over the last ten years, I had until recently amassed a great deal of clutter. Lots of furniture, clothes, books, music and kitchen equipment. All of this made my life seem good, but recently I have had to jettison most of it, in order to prepare for moving to a different country. Most of what I still possess is now in storage, waiting to be put on a boat, and I am living with very few possessions. Funny thing is, I don’t mind it too much. My washing has become far simpler, because I own fewer clothes. I am not tripping over piles of books, as they are all in boxes beyond my reach. I don’t have a kitchen full of gadgets and extra pans / dishes, because I have given them all away to charity. What I would miss is being able to read anything at all. Listening to audiobooks on my MP3 player has been a godsend, as have the books that I do have to hand. This last week, I have been reading “The complete Richard Hannay stories” by John Buchan (excellent), The Voyages by Captain James Cook (hard work, but very rewarding), “A big boy did it and ran away” by Christopher Brookmyre, “Mani” by Patrick Leigh Fermor, and “Reformation” by Harry Reid.
A major source of happiness for me is getting outside and doing some walking. Here in Scotland, we have many options for good walks, particularly where I am just now, near Inverness. Hopefully I will be able to get some walking in when I move country, and that promises to be one of the most exciting bits of moving.
Making new friends – hopefully this will also happen, and many more long conversations will ensue.
Moving away will make seeing my family a lot more difficult. In this modern age, though, I’ll be able to stay in touch quite easily. Still, there will be holidays, and they will be visiting too.
Relationships are notably absent from this list. Basically, I’m not that much good with them, and most women don’t seem to want to have that much to do with me (in that sense). Still, I guess if that’s the worst problem I face in my life, then I’m getting on reasonably OK.
So, not really a walking post this time, but me just taking stock of life as it stands. It could certainly be a lot worse. To my family, I love you. To my friends, I am glad that you’re around me. To the mountains, wherever they are, I’m on my way!
So, what is important to you?