So I have found another new route – my own personal trek through the myriad criss-crossing paths, just to see where they lead me and what I discover along the way. I’m careful to vary my travels, to avoid retracing my steps. I bypass the more obvious well-trodden roads, to scramble instead through almost-forgotten overgrown footpaths and bridleways. I’m careful not to follow any track for too long; I’ll branch off sharply if I find that happening.
Not for me the ramblers’ group. I’ll happily stop and pass the time of day with those I meet along the way, listen to their wisdom or local knowledge and thank them warmly before heading onwards. Should anyone offer to guide me, though – to lead me to my destination – I’ll smile politely and decline. Some of them, I’m sure, have perfectly lovely journeys planned, but this is my trek, no one else’s.
Well yes, that’s a metaphor. Too cold here at the moment to be rambling anywhere. My journeys take place in this battered old computer chair with a log fire crackling away cheerfully beside me. I simply want to convey that I choose my own path and am, in the late autumn of my life, content and comfortable to travel it alone. A handful of people – mostly those who read these ramblings – have some idea of the journey I’m on. Almost everyone else in my life – all relatives and almost all friends and acquaintances – regard me as strange at best, deranged at worst. That’s why, to be honest, I left home (in my late fifties) and headed to a place where I would be, if not understood, exactly, at least tolerated.
I’m happy in my own skin. I’m comfortable writing blogs and books that few will read and still fewer will understand. I wake up each day knowing I have work to do – ponderings and wonderings and explorations of ideas. I’m metafizzing with excitement as I find a new quote that fits with a recent thought or see ideas I can recognise and relate to in someone else’s words. Would I swap all the richness of this life to be normal? Hell no.
Let me be absolutely clear, here. I am NOT deriding or criticising people whose lives revolve around celebrity gossip or the storylines of soaps. That is their path and it’s totally right that they follow it. Trainspotters and war gamers, Manchester United fans and ballroom dancers, shopaholics and chocaholics, churchgoers and landscape painters, hypochondriacs and bankers… all of these people and many, many more make our world richer and wider and filled with variety. I salute them all.
Every single one of us, I believe, has a higher Self – a consciousness more magnificent than we can fathom from this perspective. In each case, those Selves have carefully chosen a Life to live. They have elected to become totally engrossed in a human existence in order to try out new experiences, using feelings and emotions they want to develop and expand for the ultimate good of All That Is. From that perspective, no one is worthier or stranger than anyone else.
We encounter each other in these odd little lives and act out our parts, re-acting to the others and building the great work of art that is an individual lifetime as we do so.
It’s expanding the Cosmos.
If someone else (or even everyone else) is puzzled by the path I am taking, that very puzzlement is enriching for both myself and them. In terms of Life-with-a-big-L, there are no wrong turnings, no wastes of time, no blind alleys.
“What’s important is the journeys.”