Starry starry night
paint your palette blue and grey…
Have you ever asked your self that question? …. “What makes life worth living?”
It’s too big a question and it’s too broad, some might say… and to some extent I might agree. But have you ever given it any thought?
What makes your life worth living? What are the things that you enjoy doing… what are the things that you are looking forward to? What are the things that you love… that you are absolutely passionate about?
What are the things you couldn’t live without? or at least you wouldn’t want to ! What are the things you want to achieve in your life? What are the things you want to experience at least once in your life? What are the places you want to see, foods you want to taste, sounds you want to hear, people you want to meet? What are the little things in life that really “do it” for you?
What makes your life worth living?
Shadows on the hills
sketch the trees and the daffodils
It’s a topic that has been in my mind since I was a teenager for some reason. Sure there have always been the “big” issues that have been central themes… family, career, health, dreams. But there’s always been creating, appreciating, learning, exploring and simply “doing” … but let us forget the big issues for a minute. Let us instead focus on the little things (seemingly little things… but big things in my way of thinking). These are places, colours, people, sights, foods, wines and most importantly images, words and music. What would life be without images, words and music?
I know that the answer to this question is a highly individual thing… so I can only speak for myself, but life’s greatest little pleasures can often be the simplest things… at least for me. Images, words and music play a very significant role in my own “what makes life worth living” conceptual framework. I am an absolute believer in being open to the sublime pleasures that seemingly “small things” can bring to your life. It can be a simple meal, a glass of classic wine, a beautiful piece of music, an elegantly written poem or essay or a sublime image. An architectural detail, a piece of furniture, an industrial design, an invention or a clever piece of copy writing in a magazine advertisement. It’s a fashion combination by an eccentric character in a big city borough or a quirky small-shop owner in a 100-year old family business (I despise shopping centres /malls).
But above all else, in terms of the so-called little things in life… for me it’s words, sounds and images. Music is essential…as are beautifully written words and sublime images. There is nothing like listening to a piece of music that simply transports you. In fact (as a total agnostic) listening to certain Mozart or J.S Bach, is the closest I ever get to thinking that the “hand of god” was involved.
Then there are sublime images. You can look at a live scene or a photograph and simply lose yourself. You can be drawn into it… feel part of it, completely “understand it”. It can make you reflect, dream, wish or simply gasp. Images can have a very powerful affect on the observer…
I took this photo the other day when visiting a friend’s hotel and it absolutely mesmerised me. I see this view daily… but the details of this photo just made me think… THIS is the sort of thing that makes life worth living. It’s only a fleeting image of a daily happening on this island… but if you take the time to stop and appreciate it… it really is sublime.
The same thing happens when you read the words of a great writer. There is something about the power of the written word… especially in the hands of a masterful writer. You become mesmerised… immersed, lost in his/her written world. There are far too many wordsmiths to mention here and frankly… we each have our own. We love the way they transport us, capture us, intrigue us, amuse and excite us. A writer… a good writer, a wordsmith… can play with your mind. Create dreams and what I call “memories of the future”. Create short movies and embed them deeeeeeeep in your brain. Of all the skills… I believe it to be the most powerful, wonderful, incredible “human” skill.
Which brings us to the short verses in this post. As most of you would know they are from Don Mclean’s “Vincent”. I heard this song yesterday, after many many years and thought “this man is a master story teller / song writer”. We all know that there are hundreds of thousands of people around the world that are still trying to work out what the “American Pie” lyrics mean. But “Vincent”… that’s just poetry !
We all remember:
” But I could have told you Vincent
this world was never
meant for one
as beautiful as you ”
He was singing about Vincent… but it’s really Don Mclean and every wordsmith/poet in history that we should be grateful for. Do yourself a favour….Google “Vincent lyrics” and read the whole thing. It just so happens that the music is also great… but just reading the fantastic lyrics is enough to totally transport you into Vincent’s world.
What makes life worth living? Although the big themes may be basically the same for all… the small things for each of us are different. It’s our appreciation of the sublime little things in life that make it an individual experience.
It’s a question we should all think about more frequently… perhaps it will make us appreciate the special little things all around us a whole lot more.