I think it's quite hard to get back in the saddle when you've been out of the loop for a while. Take squash, for example. I used to play competitively back in the 1980s and was actually rather good. It was a long time ago of course, though somedays I feel like I could jog back onto the squash court, ram those little balls against the wall, and jog back off again, satisfied that I'd just won 9-0 against my trainer. Those were the days. I still have a squash racket, though much to my husband's disappointment, I did get rid of the frilly knickers I used to wear when playing on the show court in competitions. (I'll have a look at Amazon when I've finished writing this post, sweetheart; they tend to sell everything.) There are certain things, however, that we can put away not knowing when, or if, they'll ever resurface. I did that with a manuscript a few years ago. Wrote nearly 90,000 words of it, a little roughly granted, but there it was, ready to be edited and perhaps made into a book one day. The more creative side of me decided it should stay filed away, but one day, about eighteen months ago, I decided to rewrite it.
It became too much of a chore in the end and I realised my heart wasn't in it when I was boring myself every time I opened it up in Word. I rewrote about 30,000 words, so it was no mean feat to put it away again. But it has to be the case that your heart rules your head when it comes to doing something you enjoy. The problem in that case was that my head was telling me I needed to write another book whilst my heart was saying, 'this isn't the one.'
Life is very much like that, isn't it. We can go for years thinking we've got it right. Then we can be reading an article or listening to music, browsing through social media or chatting to a stranger at the supermarket check-out, and there it is, the realisation that there is so much more to life that we envisaged for ourselves.
As I sit here at my dad's antique desk, staring at this screen and typing on a far-too-small Apple keyboard, I reflect upon the choices I've made throughout my life. My belief in a world other than our own is particularly significant to those choices, for I strongly believe I have been guided to where I am today and I will continue to be guided along the paths I choose to take. The roads are never straight, or clear. They are often littered with twists and turns and obstacles that make us question and over-think. I have travelled along some pretty treacherous routes over the years, yet being guided still brought me to a destination that only a few years ago I would never have dreamt possible.
We have to move on and allow ourselves to tread through the potholes and take diversions that tend to lead us back on the straight and narrow. There are some, of course, who always manage to avoid the pits and troughs as they sail along on a wing and prayer, wondering what all the fuss is about. Someone said to me recently that if we were offered a cheque for £10,000 to do with what we liked, or were given the opportunity to better ourselves and earn the money, leaving a taste of satisfaction and feeling of appreciation for what we achieved, that it would be more beneficial to us as human beings to earn the money.
This time, I got it right. I bettered myself and I will continue shouting it from the rooftops. I've worked hard for what I have today; I brought a child up with autism virtually single handed; I worked hard to write my books, and will continue to do so; I lived on a remote farm feeling lonely and isolated for 13 years; I then lived alone with my daughter and welcomed the love of a good man as we supported each other through some difficult times. So I might still feel 21, and I might still be a borderline spring chicken, but if anyone wants to hand me that cheque for £10,000, I reckon I've earned it. (That should buy quite a few pairs of frilly knickers and give us a nice holiday in the Maldives. Sorted.)