Friday, 26 September 2014

Seriously, They Smell Like Vanilla

I've always had tastes that exceed my means.

I spent more time than I care to admit researching tailored shirts this week. Y'see, I have quite a thick neck, which necessitates buying larger shirts, but then the buggers don't fit somewhere else. Be it the arms, body, or neck, there's always something not quite good enough.

So, I was looking for local tailors, and I noticed that an awful lot of shirts were made from two-fold cotton. Obviously, I had to look that up, too, and before I knew it I was reading up on herringbone and Oxford cottons, wefts and warps, which fabrics suit which seasons...

Books are another one. I love a book. Love. One of my favourite past-times is wandering around charity shops with a couple of quid and seeing what I can find. Then – woe betide my wallet – I discovered there is an antique bookshop less than half an hour from me. Have you smelt an old book?

It stirs something deep within me.

It's kind of a pain in the ass; I've only just started a new job, and I'm already mentally spending the wages, and somewhat frivolously, to boot. I want to move into a new place sooner rather than later (before I'm thirty would be nice), so it's something I really need to curb – otherwise I'm going to end up with a fantastically-stocked library and barren cupboards.

Which sounds just fine, when I think about it, until I remember I'm a bookworm in only a figurative sense.

I wonder, though: is it really such a bad thing, to have aspirations, to be always reaching, always pushing for more? After all, isn't that what people call ambition? Certainly there are times I wish I could simply be happy with what I have – I can't deny that – and there are times I worry that I'll never have enough. But then, a little voice chimes, if you're a person disinclined to be satisfied, is it not better to be driven by that desire, rather than embittered by it?

“Dreaming big, thinking little”. That's the key though, isn't it? Life won't give you diddly just because you really, really want it. Despite what a great deal and variety of media have taught me, pluck and courage are not enough; if you're going to dream big, you need to think big, too, because castles built of clouds don't last long against the slings and arrows of reality.

It must be a handy trick to know (clearly I've not quite masted it yet). What could I – or you, or anyone – achieve, if we can learn to temper wild dreams with measured rationality? What couldn't a person do?

Maybe, one day, that person could look back, having achieved more than they'd ever imagined, and be glad they never learned to settle.