As I’m writing this update, I’ve just returned from a week back home with mum and dad. (now that I’m finally coming to publish it I’m actually back over). Life, since early February, has changed dramatically for all of us, especially mum and dad. The last time I headed back it was to help out while dad was in hospital getting his kidney stones sorted. Fast forward a few weeks and we now face up to the reality that dad is paralysed from the waist down after it turned out to be a bleed on his spine and he required an emergency operation to save his life. Since the operation he has had two minor heart attacks, (the second of which required the insertion of two stents) as well as many low points as the reality of the situation becomes ever more clear. Still my dad continues to fight.
One thing, if it can be called a silver lining, is that I’m going to be spending a heck of a lot more time with mum and dad over the coming months. Living in England, despite only being an hour a way on a plane, meant that normal things in life always got in the way. I tried to get back home 3-4 times per year, and of course they both also made their way over to Cambridge a few times as well. I always cherished these times together.
Mum and Dad have known about my decision (regarding my job) for about 6 months now, and while they are very worried about myself and Nicola being kicked out in the street, they are (as they always have been) behind me. I actually was talking to mum last week about it and surprised her by telling her this whole thing was her and dad’s fault. And I say that in the most lovingly way possible.
You see, growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money, and yet a more happy childhood I could not have wished to have. A loving family with the right mix of guidance, discipline and love has meant that we (my Sister, Brother and I) have all kept those values close and passed them on to our own families and lives. Even today mum and dad don’t have a lot, and what they do have they are normally found enjoying themselves with the simple things, or sharing little surprises with their family. They have never been in debt. They pay their bills on time. Heck, my dad even took great joy in calling me up during a conference call to inform me that both his and mum’s funerals had all been taken care of. They live within their means. They smile and laugh … a lot.
Their life has taught me that you don’t need lots of money to be happy. I see plenty of situations today where an excess of money can actually bring unhappiness as folks chase the bigger (house / car / next status symbol), and in doing so commit to more pressure, more hours behind the desk, more disconnection from the things that really matter. Money, for me personally, has made me very lazy. To accept the easy way. To settle. Money for me meant more time worrying about the next bit of photography kit that would take me to the next level when in fact what will really help me is effort and time in the field. (in all aspects of life, not just photography)
So yes, Mum and Dad, this new life is ALL your fault and I am so thankful for having parents like you who have taught me the importance of happiness, true happiness.
I’m going to go find it.