Yesterday, I was in Milton Keynes and found myself, once again, searching for the magic cure for my life, which I believed to be one of two things: It would be the book and secondly it would be the notebook to write down what comes out of the book.
Why do I need to cure my life? Because I’m dissatisfied with it. It’s nothing very bad, it’s just a succession of low-level niggles that bring me down whenever they rear their ugly heads. Issues with my health, what I eat & drink, my motivation, creativity, money, organisation, faith, friendships – the list goes on. I’m searching for the book that will not just help me fix one bit, but will help me fix all of it – and preferably not in seven days, forty days, five weeks, eight weeks or whatever. I don’t want the quick fix, I want the permanent fix.
I searched the shelves of Waterstones and WHSmith without luck. There are great books on health and diets (loads of them), and there are great books about de-junking, detoxing your spiritual life, great money management, getting fit, dressing to look your best, and so on and so forth, but there isn’t one that tackles everything. By the time I’d spent nearly an hour at it, my head finally came out with a rationalization that the book doesn’t exist. Publishers don’t want to sell me one book when they could sell me 12 books and booksellers can’t stock something that can’t be neatly placed on one specific shelf if it would be equally well placed on another 20. Therefore, the answer isn’t in a bookshop. So I gave up and started on the easier task of searching for the notebook. I think I have a bit of an obsession with them. Let me explain.
Hello, my name’s Rachel and I’m a compulsive writer. Not only do words fall out of my head onto computer screens in the form of blog posts and stories, but they also come out of the end of my pens in the form of documenting my life. I like to record things. Books I read, films I watch, how I’m feeling, what I’m eating etc. Each one records my attempts at escaping the niggles. Choice of notebook is very important to me and there’s nothing like a brand new notebook to signify a fresh start. This time I will get it right. This time I will succeed and this will be the notebook where all of it comes together! Alas, I have a entire drawer of failed attempts. Some of them are pretty much filled, but for some reason I stop working at it and cast the book aside into the notebook graveyard. I was on the quest again for the notebook in the right format (about A5), lined and with a great cover. A great cover is important. I don’t like anything too girly or too childish. Ideally, it should have a fantastical or inspirational picture. As I’m writing this down I realise that it sounds faintly ridiculous, but that’s me all over, heigh ho… Once again, as I went from shop to shop in my search, my head staged an intervention. The perfect notebook isn’t here. Start on a fresh page of one that you already have. Start from where you are, Rachel.
Start from where you are. Those are calming words. So many change your life books tell you to chuck out everything and start again. How many of them begin by asking you to look at the life you have, look at what you’ve got and not so much stage a revolution in it, but embark on the evolution of it. Gradual changes based on what you have, where you are and more importantly, what you can afford. Buying a £10.00 diet book is all very well, but if the absolutely must have in your store cupboard list is out of your economic means, then it’s worthless. You’re not going to stick at it.
I came away from Milton Keynes without the book or the notebook, but with a third thing in its place. The blog. More specifically, this blog. Start from where you are came back to me again. I have a blog, I can write it all down on here and more crucially, other people can share their insights and wisdom from their own lives, too. I could put it all together and we could write our own book, collecting all these great things together in one place. We can each share our version of this worked for me, or a modified version of this worked for me. I could post articles about everything from dressing to diets, from money to microbiota (I know someone who’s ever so good on those), and everything in between. Instead of the shelves of a bookshop I could colour code it along the lines of those life wheels – although I think a spectrum is more realistic and positive. Things going around and around don’t help me, but seeing the change of colours gives a sense of movement that helps me to think I’m making progress.
So no book, no notebook, just a blog and some colours. White for starting where you are. White for starting to write your own life. Anyone want to join in?