With 14 February upon us once again – and we all know it’s a commercial device to extort money from us in the name of doing your romantic ‘duty’, while also causing misery to anyone who feels they don’t conform to the expected romantic convention of being in a couple – Mr RLC and I will be exchanging our usual cards, and leaving it at that, because we don’t buy into this enforced romance nonsense, thank you very much. (Except for the cards, which is probably a bit hypocritical.) But anyway, I have decided to use today not to buy things, but to reflect on whom I love, and what I love in this life: the loves of my life that are not human ones. The things that, without them, life would be so very much darker and sadder. Here’s my list.
Words and their music
Obvious, probably, or I wouldn’t be doing what I do. But I can’t imagine my life without revelling in words, and where they came from – their power alone, and how they string together to work even more powerful spells. One of my favourite Twitter follows is Susie Dent, the resident expert in Countdown’s Dictionary Corner. She digs up some of the most fabulous English words and phrases that have fallen out of use over the centuries, and shares them regularly – resulting in such fabulous tweets as these:
It’s just irrestisible stuff, that makes knowing and using our language even more exciting! And that’s before I get onto the great works of fiction that have fired my imagination, stunned me with their intricacies, and kept me up for many nights, far later than I should have been, to find out the hero’s fate.
From my earliest childhood, words have been weaving their magic into my world, and I would be lost withiout this love of my life.
Nature, the seasons and the countryside
I’m a country girl born and bred, and growing up there your whole year is marked by the seasons, far more than in a town. Every time of the year has something associated with the outdoors in my memory – whether it’s bluebell woods in April, or mists and bonfires in the back field in November. That close bond with nature’s timekeeping is something I really miss now, so I always jump at the chance for a ride out in the countryside (one of the many reasons I tour around the Busy Women Networking meetings!). I am also very enthusiastic about my garden, which I was lucky to inherit from another keen gardener who clearly loved her outdoor space too. The very nature of nature just sings to my soul, and is one of the things in life that gives me deepest joy.
Acceptance (not forgiveness)
I’ve never been more content in life than I have for the past year or two – and that is entirely down to learning about acceptance: knowing everything that has gone in my life before, and good or bad, accepting that you can never change it. That goes for people and events, as well as my own self; and you don’t have to forgive anyone for anything, you just have to accept that these things have happened.
It’s been a conscious decision, and one I’ve had help with – the wonderful Ali Moore and her Reconnection programme being one of the most significant. It’s helped me to change how I now react to all sorts of challenges, very much for the better; and it’s helped me to understand who’s good for me and who isn’t, and why. It’s also helped me get a handle on my small but anxious “passenger” (read that story here). I’m also kinder to me; so when I’m berating myself for something, I now try to think about whether I would say that to a friend – and the answer is usually “No!”. Love for yourself, and acceptance of everything that makes you up, I truly believe are the keys to contentment.
So, that’s my list of the other Loves of my Life; and after that great big love-in, I think I’m ready for a drink. Overpriced glass of Valentine’s bubbly, anyone? And I challenge you to use this word in a sentence today: