Sometimes, you have to travel far to find yourself. This year my journey has led me to France, Spain, cross-Channel – and back – for love; to Switzerland and Italy for work. Have passport, will travel! Actually I have three, but if I told you why, I’d have to kill you…
Those who know me well, know I have a restless heart. Routine bores me! And yet I crave stability. Rules annoy me!! And yet…I crave order. Travel excites me!!!…And yet…
The more miles I racked up, the further I found myself from the people I love. And even further away from myself. Business travel sounds glamorous, until you find yourself decanting your suitcase every Sunday evening, only to fill it with security-compliant sized moisturizer and shampoo. Kissing your lover goodbye, knowing that more than a time-zone separates you. Unable to meet friends for a drink after work because you have to get up at the crack of dawn to catch the red-eye to where-ever!
Enough said. And enough. My round trip has brought me full circle. Sometimes the best adventures are to be found in your own backyard.
Tonight I was invited to a private view by a former client. A small and bespoke exhibition of ceramics and glass in the chichi part of Marylebone. Beautiful. Exclusive. Champagne and Canapes. Two of my most favourite pastimes. As is customary for a girl about town, I walked into a room full of strangers. At least I had heels and matching underwear! I’m the shy and retiring type (yes, really!!) but I can usually do the business networking thing, so the evening was a cinch. Conversation flowed. Business cards were exchanged and… mine (being unusual) garnered particular comment. All good.
Back on the highspeed home, I couldn’t help wondering about our own ‘private views’. Those glimpses of ourselves that we allow other people. The thoughts we have in a solitary moment. The inexplicable joy we feel when no one is looking. The raw honesty that lives beneath our image in the morning mirror. Since we aren’t Tracey Emin or Jeff Koontz these pictures of our psyche remain under the surface of our skin. In reality, most of us are not creating a persona to win the Turner prize.
These views are fleeting and rarely shared – only revealed to those we trust or love. Not the whole of us, but like an iceberg…a significant part of who we are. Sometimes nothing is stranger than being oneself. Perhaps if we invited others in, we would be surprised to find that what we conceal is most treasured.
The one thing that nobody tells you about being an adult is how hard it is to do the right thing. Matters that were really clear cut when I was younger have somehow developed blurred edges and hues of grey, as I become more of a grown up and less of the shy, spider-legged girl I used to be.
So, what does doing the right thing mean? Hard to say as its different for each of us. For me…well, I’ve learnt not to judge people any more. (I of course would make an exception for those who would harm children or animals!) Still, everybody has their own spiritual journey, and you never really know what is going on in someone’s head or indeed their heart. As adults, we become very good at dissembling truth. Grown ups lie for all sorts of good reasons. Guilt. Fear. Love. Still, I wish people were more honest and up front with eachother. It might not lead to world peace, but it would save a lot of time and agony.
The right thing can also mean knowing when to walk away, and when to stand and fight for what you are passionate about. On balance, I think it is always better to act out of great love rather than great fear. I don’t think it is possible to love what you fear, though perhaps love can turn into hate. Or maybe we just fear the consequences of what we do and think. Another lesson that comes with being an adult. Taking responsibility. And, knowing when to take a chance. For change. For happiness. For success. Sometimes the right thing, and the hard thing are the same thing.