Now and again I have a thought that takes a certain shape and weight and sits in my mind staring back at me. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does I try to pay attention. The first of these was not original, not startling, but it was significant. It was "life's too short". That's a roaring cliché, but if you actually look back at it's unblinking stare, it's pretty damned profound. I filed it away, all those years ago, and I've lived by it ever since.
It's sent me off on yachts across the South Pacific, seen me quit unsatisfactory jobs, take a crack at flying helicopters, spend time kicking around the Formula One paddock, and move hearth and home across the country for love - of people, of places, of a way of life... of whatever called.
Of course, it's also seen me skint, scared, bored or battered from time to time, but it's never once left me thinking "I wish I'd tried..."
Some years later, when working with a particularly gloomy but interesting co-worker, between us we came up with "you're born, you move stuff about, you die". As a definition of a life it was faultless, in our view, and it focussed the mind in a similar though subtly different way to "life's too short".
I vowed to be fussy about what I moved. Not to move stuff I didn't have to. Then to accept that moving stuff is just what life's about, and not to make too big a deal out of it. Like the first one, this aphorism has stood me in good stead.
Last night a new one popped into my head. Presumably the result of some mysterious alchemy taking place in the back of my head for a while now, brought to its chemical conclusion by the presence of a warm bath and white tiles - as so many thoughts are. :o)
The new thought is "everything good is about balance". I think I know what that means. But I suspect I've still some discoverys to make. I think it's a phrase you can live by. I'm going to give it a go, and see where I end up. After all, life's too short.