Yesterday someone sent me an email. If the photo the sender attached was to be believed, it was a smart, squeaky-clean young American. He told me I’d been accepted as a member of an organisation called the Association of Spiritual Writers or some such. Can’t remember the exact wording, as I deleted it pretty quick.
For a start, I hadn’t applied to join any such group. For an end, he quickly moved into an unabashed sales patter, telling me that in order to get top price ticket sales at my talks, I needed to enrol on his training course, which would maximise my earnings.
Sorry to disappoint you, young Sir, but I have not the slightest interest in making money from spiritual writing or talking. Sharing ideas, having dialogues, learning and discovering, yes – those things are hugely important to me, but that’s where it stops.
It made me think, though. Do I have what I want now, in the autumn of my life? And the answer seems to be that yes, I do.
I own a very small, sweet, though slightly damp and crumbly, old cottage in a beautiful part of England. I get enough money from my pension to pay the bills and live each month and although I don’t run a car, have expensive holidays or buy luxury items, I have all I need to be comfortable and to give a little to charities I care about.
I still do some private tutoring, charging less by the hour than I pay a handyman to chop and stack my logs. I’m fine with that, too. I do it because teaching was my first love and I enjoy keeping contact with it and helping children who would otherwise be struggling.
I spend vast amounts of time making 1/12 scale miniature figures and room settings by upcycling mass produced and junk items. It’s a brilliant hobby for me. I can be creative, inventive and gloriously messy. It involves constant problem-solving that keeps my mind active.
People say, “You must have such patience,” but for me it’s a kind of meditation. I do my deepest meditating when I’m hand-stitching a minuscule white shirt or sticking tiny tufts of hair on to a wig base.
I display and sell the fruits of my labour at craft sales, get smiles and lovely comments and have fascinating conversations all day. I make modest amounts of money – which I pass on to my son and his partner, as they are saving up for a deposit on their first home.
Strangely, at almost every sale I’m approached by some smartly dressed young man who eagerly tells me how I could make masses more money from my crafting by doing this on Instagram or that on You Tube. I smile, thank them politely and carry on doing what I do.
I’ll happily trade the lack of stress, deadlines and problems for the lack of wealth and material goods. I’m happy, I’m still learning every day and I have a wonderful life.