I need to talk about my cat for a minute. Do you mind?
See, my cat has inadvertently become the fullstop (period for you Americans!) to definitely one of the worst starts to a year for me.
I think, in a weird way (and even if you weren’t a fan), the deaths of Lemmy, David Bowie and Alan Rickman had an odd effect on nearly everyone this month. You didn’t have to like their work to be knocked back a little with a ‘sh!!!!t’ upon your lips as the news began to reel out names, one after the other, over the space of only a few days. Because it was a reminder for all of us that anyone can go at any time… no one is safe from the inevitable… not even our heroes.
However, I don’t want to get too morbid here. I just needed to paint a little reality picture for you all to help me get to my point. And the point is that those people led amazing, inspirational lives.
Now I was a fan. At least of Bowie and Rickman. Lemmy… well… I only really knew him for Ace of Spades and I only really knew that through Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 on the Playstation… but the song was cool and I admire him for his influence within his field.
But Alan Rickman was one of those people you couldn’t ignore. To merely hear his voice or see his face, you instantly remembered everything you loved about him. He wasn’t a friend and though I only ever saw him in the flesh once, it was across the street from me in London and that’s as close as I ever got. But even then, seeing him off in the distance, I felt my stomach excitedly knot because it was him.
“Alan Rickman. Actual Alan Rickman. Can you believe it!?”.
So there’s no denying I am going to miss him… despite never knowing him personally.
And the same can be said for David Bowie. Whether it be for his music or his acting (or his influence in my future culinary business plans…), again he was one of those people you just needed to hear mere mention of and a song lodged itself in your head like a delightful little earworm… or you found yourself thinking of him in Labyrinth or, in my case, The Prestige because THE PRESTIGE IS AMAZING.
Alan Rickman and David Bowie were inspirations. At least to me. And one of the things I really want to do on this journey is to use the love I have for people like them to create my own inspirations… to inspire myself.
That’s an odd thought, isn’t it? I want to be my own inspiration? But I kind of like it.
I have many amazing friends and family members who are definitely inspiring me to continue on this road I’ve found myself on… and even writing publicly about this is pushing me further. But the true person I need to do all this for… is myself. And with every completed run on the treadmill, every moment I say no to an office chocolate, every time I step on those scales or wheeze a little less walking up the stairs, I inspire myself to continue and push harder.
I am my own inspiration.
(Wow. That should be typed across a picture of a waterfall in fancy font and sent viral over Facebook. Hallmark, if you’re hiring…)
But I started this post today with mention of my cat. Evy. Because today she sadly left us. And it is sad because we would have loved to have kept her longer. But fourteen years isn’t a bad innings and had she not become ill, she’d have no doubt outlived us all… after all, she spent most of her time sleeping, eating and sitting in the garden… aka #livingthedream.
But… she got the dreaded C word and in the end, the choice was made. They gave her a few months back in May and here we are in January so how can we complain when we had her for so much more time than expected?
So I started mourning her back in May. And every moment I had with her between then and now, I made sure to make the most out of it. An extra cuddle, an extra kiss upon her head. I told her I loved her, though I’m not sure she understood my words… but she got the hint when I snuck her another treat in the kitchen. She knew she was loved by all.
And so, as part of this self exploration I want to consider Evy and those extra months of borrowed time and try to appreciate every day… and the people I spend those days with.
So, if I’m out with friends or family for a meal or a catch up, the phone is going away along with any other distractions. And if I think of someone I haven’t seen for a while, maybe I’ll send them a postcard or a small gift to let them know they’re still in my thoughts, despite my inability to keep in contact. And if I care about you, I’ll tell you. I may not kiss you on the head or sneak you a treat in the kitchen but I’ll do my best to let you know that you matter to me.
So as we reach the end of this awful month and brush away the final few days of January 2016, I want to try and remember it not for the bad things that happened… but for the lessons they taught me.
David and Alan, thank you for reminding me how important it is to strive to meet your dreams and find inspiration in yourself.
And Evy, thank you for the love and the bite scars on my fingers.