Photo by NASA on Unsplash

“Unbeing dead isn’t being alive.”
E. E. Cummings

I can’t be the only one who’s spent countless hours gazing up at the stars?

Last night was no different. (The puppy decided he needed to go out at 3.30 am — thanks Eddie!)

And I wonder…

is there anyone out there?
is there a planet that might support the human race that we could travel to, assuming we could invent some new, and as yet undiscovered mode of space transport? and
has anyone visited us from the heavens?

But I digress.

Freedom.

What of it?

Well, I wonder what it means to you?

To do exactly what you please? Not to have to work? To have enough money to live comfortably for the rest of your days? To escape the torpor of this life and find a new life, where you could be true to who you are?

I’m sure we’ve all thought these or similar thoughts? Or at least I have. In particular, I often wonder what it would be like to escape Cubicle Nation — for good — live off-grid, close to the earth and pass a nice quiet time. But will I even or ever step out from under this or any other moral order that says (or words to this effect): money, success and a career is what makes (your) life; it’s not perfect but it’s the best thing on offer. I don’t know. I think I spend too much time in my head and not nearly enough searching beyond the confines of my current geographical footprint. Why is that? I don’t honestly know. Perhaps it’s because my wife and I have made a home in Devon, have reasonably well-paid jobs and there’s a degree of settlement. Then again, it wouldn’t take much to push us off the cliff edge of our disconsolation with the world and to step out to something new.

I know I’ve said it before, but next year when I turn 55, I’ll be able to draw down on a small pension. It’s not big bucks but there’s enough money in the pot to hopefully enable me to buy a small jalopy, to enable us to travel around the UK. Trouble is, when I made my plans we weren't beset by this damn plague, wherein quite a few people decided to purchase a camper van and travel about the British Isles. This has pushed prices through the sound barrier and I’m not sure now if I’ll be able to afford my chosen vehicle. Never mind, I’ll find another way to get about but I might have to limit my sights or at least lower my expectations.

What am I trying to achieve? It’s not like I’ve got money to burn, meaning I can spend months at a time away from home but then again, if I play my legal/consulting/speaking cards right, I might be able to piece together a bit of freelance work and I can always work as I go; I’ve never been afraid of hard work and frankly, I don’t care what I do, if it means I can keep on truckin’.

Again, what am I hoping to achieve? Well, I want to understand more about my ancestry and cultural roots; I also want to see some of the places that I’ve heard about but never visited; but I also want to spend time alone, not to engage in more narcissistic navel-gazing but to unwind my sorry, work-orientated soul and understand more about a life of purpose or at least one where I’m not getting up to do the same thing every f_ day.

I know, hardly revelatory and it probably isn’t going to move me much from my extant situation, but I do know that what lies in front of me today isn’t the life I should be living. And yet, I’ve had the same feeling all my life and I wonder if it’s simply a way to cause me a dystopian level of unrest, which in no small part accounts for my often grumpy self, so out of sorts with the world that seems intent of living life to the max even it means, in the process, we’re all blown off the face of the earth.

Assuming the gods are still with me, only time will tell.

One thing I do know, is that the older I get, and it sounds terribly clichéd, the less I need to be, well, if not happy at least contented. I don’t just mean material possessions but also to fill my life chock-full with dreams, vision quests and a whole series of insuperably hard questions that frankly I need to let go of — or at least a few.

One last thing. I’m still besotted with the notion of what it means to be an ancestor worth claiming. Right now, as has been the case all my life, I’m doing a lousy job but I know whether it’s in my actions or being troubled aloud, I’ve still got a lot to contribute, not least weaving a better story than the one I’ve had to wrestle to the floor these past 50 odd years.

Anyhow, as I so oft remark, it’s Monday and it’s time to get with the programme.

Take care.

— Julian

Spiritual and cultural activist