How often do you take time out to consider the things you value most? Like me, I suspect, not often enough but given it is so easy to be bogged down by the pressures of life and cynicism in general, I thought I would take time out to look at what I value most. The reasons why are self explanatory!
There are plenty of things we’d share in common on this topic. My list would be:-
What I Value Most
Family and Friends
Literacy (particularly) but Education (generally) as well
My faith and the freedom to practice it
The freedom of others to practice their faith
The freedom of others to not believe or be agnostic (faith or the lack of it should never be forced)
Nature and its beauty (though I recognize its red in tooth and claw elements!).
Travel whether it is by foot with the dog or by train (generally without Lady though she is pretty good on trains).
The wonders of the eye and ear (they really are exceptionally clever “bits of kit”).
Music especially classical
A decent cup of tea
A good laugh
Books and stories in whatever form (from flash fiction to epic sagas to stage plays)
Non-fiction (this has come to mean more to me since I started writing for CFT. Now I wonder why that could be!).
Where I live. Chandler’s Ford isn’t perfect, nowhere on earth is, but it’s a good place to be all the same.
Why I think taking time out to be appreciative matters
What do you take for granted the most? For me it is most of the above and I suspect that would be true for most of us.
The old saying “you never know what you’ve got until it’s gone” is (a) true and (b) become particularly pertinent with the loss of family members and friends over the last ten years. It is a good idea then to cherish what we value most, knowing either those things/people won’t be around forever or, even if somehow they could manage that, we ourselves won’t be!
Easier said than done, I know, but the effort is worthwhile. Taking stock and being appreciative of the truly good things in life won’t change the world. It’ll do nothing on issues such as climate change but it’s not meant to do so.
Taking a little time out to be appreciative is good for us and I think is one thing that could and should differentiate us from the other mammals on this planet. If we take less things for granted, maybe that will encourage us all to do what we can to help the planet because we stop taking that for granted. I’m no “tree hugger” (though I’ve never seen what was wrong with that) but recycling more and wasting less has got to be a good idea.
What I Value Least
Advertising. (I don’t mind entertaining adverts, I used to love the old Heineken adverts at Christmas as they were amusing. My favourite is the one with the roadworks man and I was delighted to find the Youtube clip of it. But it must be said the majority of adverts just wash over my head whether I’m watching TV or listening to commercial radio. If there’s a drip feed effect from these things, it has yet to manifest itself in yours truly).
Showing off. Life’s far too short for this nonsense.
Overly dramatic TV partly I think because there is a huge element of showing off to it. I loathe the real life confessionals… what happened to dignity, folks? Yes, there is a case for seeking advice/counselling for your problems, of course there is, but to do this on TV for me is anathema.
Reality shows. I don’t watch any of them. I can understand the cooking and dancing ones (it’s a matter of time I fear before some genius decides to combine those two – the results could be messy! It could also give a whole new meaning to the Swiss Roll but that’s another matter). With both of these, there are skills to learn but the rest I’d happily see consigned to eternal doom.
Politics. Okay, okay, that B word we won’t mention here has not helped here. There is a point to politics of course, but can we please get rid of all the pontificating, whether it is done by the politicians or the media pundits? I have never got the point of things like Question Time. I don’t see having my blood pressure raised on a regular basis to be the last word in entertainment. I also suspect things like that of causing division where it isn’t necessary and the world has enough of that to be going on with as it is.
So the point of my lists is what exactly? To highlight things that are too often overlooked as we rush to and fro doing what has to be done. The line “What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare,” is a poignant one and raises a question that, to me, has only one answer. My answer? That it would not be a life, merely an existence and there is a great difference between the two.
What Should Never Be Valued
Power grabbing (innocent people always suffer)
One of my favourite P.G. Wodehouse phrases, used in more than one story, is where he has a character, often Bertie Wooster, wondering if man really is nature’s last word. The phrase used in the stories makes me smile but there is a sharp point behind it I think. Humour is often the best way of getting such points across too. It makes them more palatable to take in I think.
The very best comedy reflects the human condition. Blackadder Goes Forth is excellent in showing the gulf between those leading the war effort and the men in the trenches. The poignancy in the final episode is all the more powerful because that gulf had been set up in earlier episodes.
I often wonder how General Melchett (as brilliantly played by Stephen Fry) would’ve reacted when news came in of his men’s deaths. If, as I suspect, he would’ve shrugged it off and just got more men into the trenches, then the sadness of it all is intensified. This series is a great example of where life itself is not valued the way it should be.
I wish I could say we’d all moved on since then but alas…!
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