Thursday, 4 April 2013

Life is Long… if you know how to use it

This blog was supposed to be about how miffed I am with winter. How this time last year I was basking in the sunshine in a flimsy dress at my friend’s wedding, rather than sat at my desk, wrapped in a rug with a hot water bottle on my lap watching a few pathetic snowflakes float past the window.  I was all set to write about how much I loathe winter; how it saps my motivation, feeds on my good nature, and since it appears to be depriving us of spring for yet another month, how I’m going to make a blanket fort under which I’ll sit and read Harry Potter until flipflops became viable footwear again.
  Then I opened the paper and saw the news about Iain Banks, and realised how very silly I am. He’s only 59, has written around 30 books since he was 30 years old; in 2008, The Times voted him one of Britain’s best writers since 1945, and he only has a few months left to live. He once said, “I write because I love it... [and]... I’ve spent most of my life trying to do it better.” And I can’t stop thinking about that. About how sad I am for him and his family, but also about how much time I waste in excuses. How every week, every month, every season, there’s a fresh reason as to why I haven’t done the things I really want to do. I read some Seneca earlier this year, who is all about how life is long - if you know how to use it. That had quite an impact on me at the time, but I clearly promptly forgot that lesson. The news of Iain Banks has brought it back to me though with a resounding drum. And so spring may not have arrived yet, but I mustn’t wait around for a new season, or anything else when I find myself feeling low, unmotivated or uninspired. Instead, we all need to start owning our time again right now, so that 29 years down the line, we might all be lucky enough to look back and say, 'I've spent it doing the thing I love.'