I was at the Wigtown Book Festival with two of my sisters. We sought out Steve Bonham, attracted by the evocative title of his book.
Who doesn’t fancy the open road, the wide blue horizon, getting away, living freely and fully?
We were treated to an hour of story telling via the gift of song, guitar, fedora and tuba.
I invited Steve to share his thinking with Final Fling, since we’re all about Living Life to the Full.
“The philosopher Bertrand Russell it is said, wanted to die unfulfilled. I am certain that he didn’t mean that he wanted to die frustrated. Why should he? He had achieved much as one of the greatest thinkers of the twentieth century and as an active influential campaigner for human rights.
I think this was about how he wanted to spend his time whilst he was alive not a final judgment on his life’s worth – a determination to end his days stubbornly restless and curious.
Our innate restlessness is something that has intrigued me all my life. In my recent book I observed: “Listen to the conversation of others..… over pints of beer and glasses of wine, late night excursions and the passing dialogue of strangers; a litany of intentions and hopes that have slipped like sand through the fingers of life. It is a nostalgia for lives not lived, adventures not taken and possibilities surrendered.”
But what I found in the journey that was the writing of the book, is that a fulfilled life, an audacious life even, is not just about choosing only the exciting and dangerous road. We are paradoxical creatures, attempting to reconcile the irreconcilable. Our ancestors left us psychologically both Neolithic farmers and Paleolithic hunter-gatherers – drawn both to the farm and open road. The ties of family, community and obligation need to be balanced with the need for change, exploration and adventure.
The trouble is that as we get older there is an awful lot of social pressure to bury our restlessness, to just follow the settled part of our character. Our choice is to allow a little bit of that restlessness back into our lives on a day-to-day basis. Russell’s invitation is to do this as long as we possibly can.
My best friend will be getting this one for Christmas. If you have a friend you wish freedom on, check it out: A Little Nostalgia For Freedom by Steve Bonham available on Amazon and at www.stevebonham.net.
Inspired, go top up your Bucket list.