For the last ten days we’ve been sharing our house with some French friends – a family of four. They more than doubled our numbers. It’s a smallish house. We speak different languages. We eat different food. We have different ways. Ten days, seven three-course dinners and a party for twenty and I’m pretty much fit for nothing else but putting my feet up today.
All to be expected but as I sit here reflecting on the experience, I’m wondering if I’ve learned anything more about myself. When we go house-swapping, stay with friends or have them stay with us, we usually discover a little more about who we are, what we like, what we hope for. Was it any different this time?
Space to soar
Sharing my work space with the dining room is okay when it is just us three, but this new artistic life of mine relies on a quiet and peaceful environment. If we are to share our home with visitors, I need a dedicated office with a door I can close. But it isn’t just the practicality of receiving visitors.
I’ve been feeling a little constrained by the smallish space I’ve gleaned for myself at the end of the room, anyway. Six months in and I need to stretch my creative wings. Unlike the crochet that sits untouched in the bag beside my armchair, this isn’t a passing phase – it just keeps getting bigger. Sometimes this is a delightful surprise to me and I wonder if I really deserve it, this wonderfully rich and beautiful life.
The good life
I’ve lost count of the amount of times someone has told me how lucky I am to be able to live the life I do. To work from home. To spend time with my family. Travel for weeks at a time. Make art for a living. But I don’t think I’m lucky at all. Let me be clear – I count my blessings every day, and of those there are many. But lucky? No.
The fact is, I’ve spent years cultivating this good life of mine. It hasn’t been and still isn’t free from hardship. For the last ten years I’ve been deliberately working towards this very point in time, although I couldn’t name this point back then. For ten years, I’ve been learning, changing, improving and making sometimes difficult choices along the way. For two of those, I was completely and utterly lost.
Create your world
I’m not saying it needs to be difficult all the time. I’m not saying it will always feel easy. It will simply come as it does. What I do know is that you can choose your life. Not how you came into it, and very likely not how you leave it. But you can choose what you do with it now. How you live today. I speak to so many people who tell me what they really want is impossible. I don’t believe it.
The ultimate lesson, then from this latest visit? That I believe (almost) everyone can create the life they choose – no luck required.