The title of this post is a bit misleading as I’ve had perspective for a long time time. The difference is that now, in 2017, I’m finally at a point in my life when I will react to it, and live in a way that is in tune with what I’ve known for a while.
Why has it taken me so long? Well, if I knew the answer to this I would have been living a much happier and fulfilled life prior to this seemingly significant turning point. I can’t help but wonder whether I was simply being influenced by those around me (in 3D and on the internet) and being impacted by the observations I’d made about their perspectives on what delivers happiness. Noticing their goals, and the checklist they believe should deliver happiness, whilst being around their current routes to joy, I’d realise they were often very different to mine. Perhaps this lead me to wonder whether I was on the wrong track, maybe I wasn’t reaching for dizzy enough heights, or seeking out the things I should be. Were my simple and fairly quiet aspirations inadequate?
Perhaps a lack of confidence in my own path allowed me to be lead astray from what my head/heart has always been telling me. But now, I finally have conviction, and boy does it feel like a weights been lifted.
Perhaps the death of a friend (who was my age) in the last few months made me realise that every day is a gift , and we should do all we can to live it out in a way that is true to ourselves. Perhaps I felt I owed it to her, and myself, to finally starting live the way I was always meant to.
Maybe it’s because I’ve been spending more time with friends who are likeminded or on a similar happy quest to mine, or who can read me well enough to know what path I should be taking, and so do their best to encourage me to do so.
But I think my neglect of the internet may be having one of the biggest impacts.
I’ve not been reading my Twitter feed and only have a quick scroll of my Instagram now and again, but most significantly I’ve taken some time away from YouTube. I’ve not been watching any videos, and only going on the site to reply to comments on my videos or upload. I think this has a notable contribution to my new found clarity.
I never wanted to be a YouTuber, but fate, ill health, and lack of options lead me there reluctantly. And it’s innate for me to always want to do well at something, and I will try very, if not too hard, so that even if things don’t go to plan I can never say I didn’t give it my all. Honestly I think I was always just hoping YouTube would lead me to something else, to a job that was a better fit. A useful platform that would act like a draw bridge to the next era of my career. Realistically I don’t want my main job to reside in an industry that relies so heavily on popularity, numbers, who you know – it’s always been something I’ve been hugely uncomfortable with and it does my mental health no good whatsoever. I see people making decisions about who they befriend based on this knowledge, and conducting every day and every action within it to ensure everything goes up in the categories I just referred to. I know that I can’t live my happiest life if considering these things, and devoting so much time and effort to such factors. I know that when I’m old (er) and wrinkly(er) I won’t refer to my follower count or how many likes a video got. But this doesn’t mean I need to leave YouTube altogether, nor think it can be a great fit and utilised in a kind and authentic way by others who choose to make it their career.
There are wonderful parts about YouTube that I do genuinely love and which probably fuels a lot of creature’s enthusiasm for the medium. But these are all things I’ll personally enjoy even more when I start to view an upload as something I do for pleasure, whenever I feel a natural urge to create or ramble. YouTube will become my some-time hobby. I really enjoy editing and making videos – but I prefer to do so when not influenced by other creaters, the trends, what I feel I should be making/saying and so on. I find my creativity flows more naturally and is less often to end up being derivative if I just do my thing and stop tuning regularly into the YouTubers scene. But outside of the creative release that making videos brings, its the interaction with subscribers that truly enriches my life. But I’ve been feeling lately that these are interactions I should probably focus more on in my real life with my 3D friends too, and with my new approach to YouTube and my work life I reckon I’ll likely have more time and energy to cultivate these relationships further.
If I upload when I have something I really want to share rather than when an upload date is up, or when I feel guilty because I haven’t uploaded for a while, I will be connecting with my subscribers in a truly authentic and present manner, and that can only be a good thing. It will also mean I’ll likely upload a lot less regularly, meaning I can up the quality of each video and spend more time answering all the wordy replies my lovely online friends leave in the comments.
This isn’t an anti-YouTube scribe, this is just an admission that its neither suited to me, nor my own perspective on what will deliver me the life I want, in terms of a career at least. I’ll use it as a place to upload and communicate when compelled to do so, but on the whole I’ll be trying to live outside of the world of the internet, because despite what the news tells us every day, there’s a whole lot of beauty out there to enjoy. Plus that bad stuff happening in the world needs some attention too.
Now what about all that other ‘stuff’ that has been eating up my time and money of the last few years. The possessions, the things, the bits and bobs that eventually becomes my ‘clutter’ and cause of much mother/daughter friction. The purchases that deliver status or connote some sort of success to the rest of world. I, in fact Si and I, have realised we don’t need a big or impressive house or apartment. We just want a space that we can turn into a home, one that can offer us the privacy we have rarely been allowed, and just a bit of space to allow us to obsess over both of our creative passions – Si in the Kitchen, me a little room with great light to draw, film and take photos in. We’d love a furry friend too, to ensure love and affection is always present even on the toughest of days. We’d want to be able to look after our parents, and make sure we take them out or have them over for lunch on a Sunday. Ideally we’d take the odd trip together if finances allowed, and have our friends over for dinner parties (Si would cook obvs.) The house would be filled with prints of photos we’d taken on holidays, and artwork I have collected or created, and it would be simple and cosy, a sanctuary that would be filled with laughter for as long as possible. We both love visuals thought, so hopefully it would look rather stylish but in a homely way. That’s it.
Don’t get me wrong. I love all those shows like Grand Designs, Cribs, The World’s Most Extraordinary Houses, and find my mind wandering off and imagining what it might be like to live in these homes of grandeaur, or architectural prowess. Whenever I go to Hollywood I hop on those cheesy bus tours to gaze (and nosey at) the decadent homes of the stars. When I was a kid I’m sure I thought that if I lived like a movie star, in one of those show off houses, I’d be happy.
We know that a house worthy of Elle Decoration doesn’t necessarily make a home, nor does it cultivate contentment. Hollywood has even cottoned on to that fact, with so many move plot lines rooted in the concept that a rich/successful human is unhappy and seeks a new life through travel, a change of identity, to find themselves – and usually a romantic counterpart in the process who they’ll have to lie to, to ensure they love them for them rather than their fame/money. These movies have this moral compass to remind us, fairly unsubtly, about what’s truly important in life.
In the same vein, I like to watch E! Live from the Red Carpet and gawp at all the designer frocks and tuxedo’s the celebs are wearing to the award shows. Again, I like to fantasise about getting ready for the Oscars and picking out a custom YSL, having my make up done my Pat Mcgrath and wearing Harry Winston or Lorraine Schwartz jewels. The fact is I know I’d be a nervous wreck on that carpet, that I’d be worrying about my sweaty pits, losing the aforementioned loaned jewels, or doing a J Law and falling over repeatedly.
I’ve haven’t bought any new clothes in weeks now. In fact I haven’t been going on Misguided, ASOS, or any of the other usual suspects at all – which for me is a huge change. At the moment I’d much rather spend my money on art materials, or saving- so that Si can eventually have our own space – a camera lens, travel adventures, and to pay for laughter filled dinners with friends.
I also haven’t been forcing myself to do stuff I don’t believe in or want to be a part of for the sake of avoiding guilt, or because someone else thinks it would good for my career (the one they believe I should want to have). I still love fashion, and probably will fall back into the trap of shopping, but I know that particular high that a new outfit brings is temporary, if considered in respect to the long game. It’s like a quick fix, and although a fabulous appointed ensemble can make you feel your confident best, I also know I have to work on my inner self to achieve that inner confidence that can really radiate out of me. I love fashion and the creativity involved in putting outfits together and teaming them with a backdrop that will evoke a mood or make the outfit pop. But who says I need to do that with new clothes? Perhaps I can get the same rush from dressing others too?
I’ve been living out in the country the last few days, dog-sitting two majestic Italian Spinones. No make up, and hair that is so unkempt it has become dreaded. Wearing the same outfit 3 days in a row, complete with dried mud and slobber stains. I’ve done the odd tweet and Instagram, but the rest of the time I’ve been drawing, taking pictures, going for walks or cuddling up to the drooling dogs. Si commented this morning that I’m the happiest he’s ever seen me. So in 5 years, the person that knows me best (aside from me) says that I appear most content in a remote house in the country, with two animals, a sketchbook and a camera.
I can’t quite describe it, but I just feel a bit lighter here and I’m not referring to carb intake, in fact I probably eating more comfort food after all these country walks. Away from the intricate and incestuous complications of the music world, and away from the hierarchy of world YouTube, I am able to focus on the simple pleasures of life. I love that I can lift myself out of bed and be greeted by two massive beasts, who look weirdly like old unwashed men in dog suits, who just want to show me love via cuddles and constantly shadow me around the house. I love how quiet it is here and that I have space sketch without distraction or bother – it’s become my form of mindfulness. I love how Si has been coming back from a long day off work to join the two hairy beasts and I on the sofa for a mass cuddle session in front of the TV, befor we move in convoy to the bed upstairs.
So this year you’ll see a lot less of me on the internet. I won’t be out at as social/work events that I’m not comfortable being at ,or that fall in times when I can be doing something more life enriching with my time. I won’t continue to do work that fills me with dread or insecurity.
While I encourage people to try new things, explore, be adventurous, step out of their comfort zones to become stronger and more rounded human and potentially find new things that excite you, one of the benefits of growing older is that you know who you are and what makes you happy. I am intent on doing much more of that. I’m in wonderful position now where I know what makes me happy, so to carry on using my days doing things that I know do the opposite or halt happiness or positivity in some way, would be utter madness.
I don’t mean I am going to live completely selfishly, and only do stuff that’s caters to my particular preferences, but I will definitely make sure the ratio is tilted in such a way that I can feel assured I’ve lived my day mindfully, and in tune with my perspective on what’s truly important. I’m also not so idealistic to think that all aspects of this transition will be immediate. In fact, sometimes I will have to put myself in certain situations in the short term, that will allow me to live this fulfilled life long term. However, I am now comforted by the fact I know what I want out of life, and that these things are both simple and achievable.
I don’t need to be invited to the coolest or most glam parties. I don’t need to interview big bands or A-list celebrities. I don’t need to adorn my body with the latest trends, or posses everything I think looks pretty on Instagram. And that’s the crux of it. I don’t NEED any of these. To be happy I need friendship, love, self worth, creativity, laughter and walks….and lot of walks. Yes I need to money to a degree, but I definitely don’t need to be rich. Comfortable is fine by me. I do hope my life continues to be punctuated with the above things and I’ll enjoy them in that moment and perhaps some wonderful things will come out of them, but I’ll see them as added extra’s, treats if you will.
And I do think some of these ‘treats have helped me to enter this new phase. I’d be at these fabulous VIP events like a film premiere, feel incredibly lucky and have a wonderful time, but then find myself incredibly excited to come home, take off the make off and the uncomfortable bra, to nestle into Si’s nook.
So, I might never be well known, idolised, or respected by the masses, but I hope I can still leave behind a legacy behind that I can be proud of. I hope I’ll be able to look back over my life and think I lived it well and full of laughter, and that perhaps something I put out there in the ether helped some people in some way or another.
Now, do o you think you’ve got a good handle on what matters? Honestly? If not, it’s over to you.
Try and recall a moment when you were at your most carefree or content. What were you doing?
Then work out what it was about that moment gave you that feeling – the person you were with, the environment, the situation, the activity…Then do more of that.
Imagine yourself at the end of your life (bit morbid I know) and ponder what you genuinely think you may regret or wish you did more of.
Ask yourself whether there’s any world issues out there you could be doing something about that you’re not.
A side note. Don’t let anyone make you feel that simple dreams are small dreams. I plan to live simply but in a big and powerful way.
Perspective is personal. Find yours.
PHOTOGRAPHY: All taken on my LUMIX GM1