Colorado, in short, was cool. So cool in fact I feel as though they should rename in Coolorado. I was staying in Boulder, a little town in the foothills of the Flat Irons, and knowing absolutely nothing of the place prior to arriving, was extremely pleasantly surprised to find a unique and somewhat hippy community of people. A thriving hub where health cafes thrive and those with the lungs of Gods can be seen sprinting up the slippery slopes of the mountains at five thirty in the morning. With the unbeatable backdrop of fearsome looking peaks I drank bougie coffee and filtered through racks of second hand clothes with Bob Dylan’s honeyed tones relaxing my shoulders like a tiny Thai woman’s elbows and the smell of lemongrass.
I have learned a very valuable lesson during my time in the states, and that it is to always order a small or child’s size if possible, and that you have peanut butter on pretty much anything. I sit on the plane, baggy shirts disguising the spare tire (bicycle tire, I do have some discipline) that I have acquired over the last month. I look like I am recovering from a bee sting, dismissing the rosy cheeks as a sure sign of windburn when in actual fact I feel I am just one step away from turning into a real life munchkin. Violet turned violet, Charlotte turned Reeces Peanut Butter Cup, kingsize with peanut crunchies in the middle? Stop it.
As per usual, I purchased far too many second hand books and am now worried that upon my return to the UK I will open my bag and they will spew out onto the floor like scarab beetles, multiplying in their thousands causing myself and my family to die a terrible death via drowning in a sea of literature. How romantic. But no really, my bag is literally bursting at the seams and yet that did nothing to deter me from entering the bookshop in the airport and purchasing yet another to add to the eight I binge ordered of off Amazon and had delivered to my Grandmas house, spreading them out to arrive on different days so she wouldn’t think I’d lost it. Currently reading To Kill A Mockingbird, enjoying it.
I can’t think of a time where I feel more myself than when I’m sat in a little cafe with a hot drink and a book in my hand. The delicate chinking of cups, the gentle pitter-patter of fingers on laptop keys and the hum of low voices like a heartbeat create a bubble where absence is respected and time stands still. I find these pockets of peace no matter where I am in the world, I seek them out, or perhaps it’s them that seek me for without noticing I will be sat, Americano warming my palm, glancing around at yet another culture, another people. Apart from some light research and the stories I’m told, I often don’t know a lot about a place before I visit. I’m not totally in the dark, not quite yet at the stage of spinning a globe and letting my finger land somewhere completely random, I often have friends in the places I visit or am attracted there by a certain event or particular attraction. And although the list of wonderful things I’ve experienced is endless, nothing centres me quite like curling up in a tiny corner, unnoticed, as I do nothing but observe and reflect.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the person I’d like to be this year, the ways I can shape myself to be better, more loving, more positive and I dare say wiser. I have made a good start on trying to reinvent myself looks wise, now that I have a more permanent place to store clothes I have very much enjoyed starting to rebuild a decent wardrobe of quirky second hand items and weird garms that my granddad will hate. I also let my friend Tashi stick and poke me a sick tattoo on my pinky and ring finger on my left hand which has left me with the hot desire to cover my other eight fingers in odd little henna-like designs but will try and remember I’m not in prison and that two is quite enough for now.
But as the highly curious and unavoidably thoughtful (in the pondering sense) person I am, I am always mulling over the happenings of life and asking myself questions that I can’t answer. Living in a constant state of dreaminess which is both wonderful and annoying simultaneously, constantly battling with the question of whether it’s better to listen to the head or to the heart. When I stumble across an answer I’ll be sure to let you all know. A family member told me once ‘it doesn’t do well to dwell on ‘heavy’ matters. That it’s not healthy to over think things or ask too big’a questions, that we should all just get on and do.’ And I guess in a way that sort of living would be a lot easier; I’d probably get a lot more done. But for one writing would be shit, art would be one dimensional and music would be monotone. Isn’t it just a bit delicious to take your shoes off and run through the fire occasionally? Call me poetic, but I rather enjoy swimming in the pool of life’s pointless thoughts, casting my line and seeing what I can reel up on the end of it. Most of the time it’s just seaweed and the odd crab, but occasionally it’s something much, much larger.
The New Year is like a blank canvas. A huge slab of time that is completely untouched, blemish-free and crisp like a brand new John Lewis Egyptian cotton bed sheet. I love nothing more than pulling ideas out of the confines of my brain and laying them down, will this fit there? Will this? Due to my job, half the year is determined but certainly not wasted. The months I’m at sea are just forced periods of rest where I get to use the gym for free, read as many books as I can cram into my backpack and write pure waffle onto document after document whilst seeing the world and getting paid for it.
That leaves six months of limitless option, it’s like someone giving you the keys to a sweet shop and saying ‘Go on, have at it’ but with less weight gain. What lessons can I learn this year? What amazing, weird friends can I make this year, what people can I make the sex with (or if you’re like me how long can I continue on in the celibate circus for, ‘frigidity!’- coming to a town near you!). What new foods can I taste, waters can I swim in, beaches can I lie on. Take a scrap of paper and jot some things down, make goals people, doesn’t matter what- it could be making time to not make plans, but regardless of what they are write it all down and see to it you get ‘em done.
Remember to always be thankful for what you do have, not a day goes by where at some point I don’t spare a second to think about how grateful I am for the riches I have accumulated; riches being friends, family members, experiences and memories. I don’t like using the term ‘Lucky’ because I work hard for my freedom, sacrifices have been made and it’s certainly not all holidays and plane tickets. But to spend one’s life admiring nature, laughing, reading, eating, exploring and being present (most of the time) and aware of your fortunes is certainly not a life I am giving up any time soon.
Whether it’s currently small enough to fit in the palm of your hand or whether it’s so full you can’t get your arms around it, embrace the good in this life, in your life, as it’s the only one you get.