‘I used to be obsessed with cooking. It was all I thought about. I did cooking shows on the BBC. I wrote twenty-seven cookbooks. I wrote a whole cookbook just about garlic. Then one night, I was editing the proofs for my twenty-seventh cookbook, when I picked up a marker and drew a mermaid on a piece of scrap paper. I looked at that mermaid, she looked at me, and I never thought about cooking again. Ever since that moment, I’ve thought about nothing but art. I was sixty years old when I made the switch. I’m not sure what caused it. It was either menopause, a psychotic break, or a muse bit me on the bum!’
The above passage is an extract taken from the beautiful Photography/Journalistic book; ‘Humans of New York.’ It caught my attention because it reinforces how the expression; ‘The world is your oyster’, isn’t just a ‘cheesy’ quote, it’s the truth.
As humans, our condition is one of constant change/constant reinvention. We are free to change the course of our whole life/to reinvent ourselves, with one…single…decision. We do not have to prescribe to a ‘fixed identity’, we are free to change- always. Our life’s purpose could therefore end up being something that we don’t even know exists yet, as the passage below points out:
‘You haven’t met all the people who will love you, and you haven’t found all the things that will make you happy. There will always be new authors and musicians and artists whose work you will one day discover and love. There will always be new hobbies and skills for you to learn and be fulfilled by. There will always be new things around the corner that will bring sudden and unexpected happiness.’
This passage is from a different book, ‘Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar.’ I love it because its filled with an underlying sense of hope– hope for a better tomorrow. It reminds us that, whilst today we might be feeling a little bit lost, directionless, even, tomorrow we have the potential to discover the very thing that will; ‘make it all make sense.’ We therefore have to ‘hold out’ for tomorrow so that we can see this for ourselves.
What the above two extracts have in common is that they both prescribe to the idea that we all have free will and that we can all, ultimately, do whatever we set our minds to, no matter how big or small. This is an incredibly inspiring belief to have and a belief that, I for one, wholeheartedly agree with.
If you’re unhappy in your work, start looking for a new line of work in something that you’re passionate about. Don’t have the qualifications to do your dream job? Why not go back to college or university? You have the power and the free will to live the life you’ve always imagined, but you have to be the one to make the change. And, if you want it enough, then you will find a way to make it happen.
Despite me very much believing in the concept of human beings- all human beings- having free will, I am not ignorant to the fact that it will exist to varying degrees depending on one’s personal circumstances. As such, there are sometimes barriers that can make the whole process of ‘finding oneself’ seem much more complicated…
If you have little to no savings, for example, then, financially, you would obviously find it much more difficult to fund your ‘dreams’ than someone who does have savings. Similarly, if you have other commitments that demand your attention, such as caring for young children or elderly relatives, or working long hours ‘just to get by’, for example, then it can also prove difficult to find the time to do the things that you really want to do with your life. It is important to note, however, that, if you really do, genuinely, want to do something, then you will always find time to do it, regardless of how ‘busy’ you seemingly are. How? By prioritising the things that you consider most important in your life so that you can feel fulfilled in all that you do.
If, like me, you work for yourself and therefore set your own schedule then, split your day up so that you can do all the things you want to do. If you don’t have this ‘luxury’ of being self-employed then, don’t worry, you can still find time to do the things you really want to do, it just means that you will have to be more intentional when planning your days (something which, let’s be honest, we could all do with being anyway).
In terms of how we can be more ‘intentional’ when planning our days, we should all be asking ourselves questions that will enable us to get our priorities in order. For example;
‘Do I really need to cook that six hour slow roast chicken for dinner, or could I just oven cook it for 20 minutes and use the time I save doing the thing that I claim to have ‘no time’ for?’ The answer, of course, is ‘yes’- of course you could. If, however, you’re constantly telling yourself and others that you ‘just don’t have the time‘ for something, then what you should be asking yourself is if you actually want to do it in the first place for, saying ‘I don’t have time’ has become the default/a bit of a ‘cop out’ for saying ‘I don’t want to.’ If you really don’t want to though, then you should just say that you don’t want to. This way you can stop wasting your energy making excuses, and start freeing your mind up to discover the things that you genuinely do want to do).
As I come to the end of this post, I hope that the passages I have shared have inspired you as much as they have me. I hope that they have given you the knowledge that you have free will, that you are never ‘stuck’ in one place, and that you have complete power and autonomy to change your life with just one small action. And, I hope that the knowledge you now have of all of these things will empower you, inspire you and, perhaps most importantly, make you excited to wake up every day.
Now that is my hope for you.