My garden overlooks a stunning, verdant valley, which a night time shimmers with the lights from the houses in the distance and gifts us grapefruit pink sunsets that can bring tears to your eyes. We walk our dogs in a beautiful mountainside pine forest, which rewards our efforts with the most delicious views of Malaga City and the Mediterranean sea and we enjoy golden beaches all year around; summers frolicking in the sea, winters walking with the dogs.
So why is it, that it takes a visit from a friend or a family member to make me remember all that is good around me? Why is it that I never enjoy my beautiful views unless I am showing them to someone else? Nor do I appreciate the freshness of the cool sea water until I splash my visitors with it? Why do I skip the views from the pine forest and just take the dogs round the fastest route? And why do my lovely pink sunsets only live in my memory because it has been a while that I have lived them in person?
We moved abroad to regain the life that living in a fast paced, overpopulated, unfriendly big city took away from us. We shook off the dirt and the grim of London and searched for a new way of living that offered us a chance to breathe, to reconnect, to rewind and to be ourselves again. We travelled; Thailand, Mexico, Honduras. We ate. We drank. We partied. We loved. We befriended. We discovered. Ourselves. Each other.
We settled eventually in Spain for its sun and beautiful nature, its ease of living, its food, its proximity to family and friends and the lifestyle that we knew this country could give us. We found a house. We bought a business. We collected dogs. We made a baby. And now we pay our bills. We pay our taxes. We argue with bureaucracy. We shake our heads at the lethargy and bite our tongues at the rudeness. We grapple with our cultures; ours and theirs and try to bring the two into a perfect fusion. This has become our life.
So, I suppose what I’m saying is that somehow we have let the chores of life, the somewhat unavoidable aspects of life, get in the way of life itself. We need to strip it all right back. We need to put things in the right order and look and think bigger than we already do. Is that extra hour of work really going to get me where I want to be? Or can it wait for tomorrow? Should I really despair that I am being asked to fill out yet another form and that the man I spoke to today is telling me a completely different thing that his colleague said yesterday. Why can’t I just shrug it all off and use my energy on something far more important, far more important to me?
Yesterday after work, after realizing the dogs had not left the compound in too long a while, we herded them up, strapped on the baby and headed for the hills. It was just for an hour but it was the most precious hour I have experienced all week. We all must do it. Shut off the stuff that really doesn’t matter, even though we convince ourselves that it does. Of course, we’ve got to work but we’ve also got to live. Life doesn’t just happen, we’ve actually got to life it. So even if it’s just for an hour; let go, live and love the nature and the people around us and spend some time remembering the good in life.
Note to self: I’m going to write this on a piece of paper and stick it to my bedside table, so it’s the first thing I see when I open my eyes. We all coud probably do with a little bit of reminding, now and again.