The latest task has been to visualise myself living one of five secret lives: living and doing the things I've always dreamed of doing. Some of these might not surprise you if you know me!
My first secret life... is not so secret. I love to sing and entertain. Singing fills me with joy and has the power to leave me feeling euphoric. I would love to have been a crooner in a 1930’s jazz club with my own Big Band, making occasional appearances in Hollywood movies — or a leading light in a Broadway musical of the 60’s or 70’s.
My second secret life... is the one where I'm a published author who enjoys tapping away at my keyboard creating characters, worlds and events; I labour away at my latest novel satisfied that it will storm the bestseller charts if I hit the nail on the head. I write from my high-rise apartment in New York overlooking the city vista, or from a country retreat in the Scottish Highlands, or at a desk by a window in a hotel in Paris or Rome, or in Australia close by a beach that I walk along each day after writing, enjoying the fresh air and the beautiful sunset.
In my third secret life... I own an old bookshop stacked with shelves that overflow with hardbacks, paperbacks, journals and magazines. It has beaten leather chairs and regular customers who come to read, recite and relax in a world devoted to words. I serve artisan coffee and high teas, homemade food, bakery and treats to entice people in. In the winter there is eggnog and gingerbread, a roaring fire and a warm welcoming place for people to meet.
My fourth secret life... is the one where I am a journalist, a roving reporter, part of a Pulitzer Prize winning news team. I investigate crime and corruption, helping expose injustice to make the world a better place. I am the real-life Clark Kent!
In my fifth secret life... I am an old man. Yes, believe it or not, I dream of the days when I have retired, reached an easy pace and look back fondly on my years with content. The fact I am old does not phase me, as I have led a full and fulfilling life of pursued and achieved goals and ambitions, I am still regularly invited to work and share in the things that made my career so successful, and I do — for fun — because I can, rather than because I need to. I enjoy simple pleasures such as walking in the park, saying hello to strangers and sharing our life stories, reading books on long bus trips to places I’ve never been before, and I sleep happy at night knowing each day is a blessing.
Now, the next part of this task is to actually go out and do one of these things, to try to live part of these lives that I can play with and experimentally live for a day. Tonight I’m singing at a charity concert, so I will visualise myself on Broadway while I perform – and perhaps even steal an extra bow! I will inevitably take a bus journey this weekend (perhaps not a long one, though) and start one of the books on my reading list, then find a wee bookshop to hide away in and ruffle through the old books for an hour or two. I’ve still to have my Artist’s Date this week (which I’ll talk about soon), so may even treat myself to high tea.
What do you dream of doing? Can you do something this weekend that helps you live part of that secret life?