A year to live: Coming Home

Reflections on what matters to me now.wildflowers451

Two years ago, in October 2014, I completed the writing of a year’s worth of blog posts where I’d been thinking about the meaning of my life and what I’d do, and not do, if I found I only had a year of it left to live. I’d been asking people this question for the previous twenty years, for a reason that needn’t bother us here, but had never asked it of myself until a dear friend sat me down and turned the question back on me.

You changed my life that day, Sarah Jones, so here I am on a quiet Saturday morning acknowledging that and reflecting on what I’d do now if I had a year left to live.

Two years ago I summed up my year of reflections in this ‘top ten’ list of what I’d learned:

  1. You truly never know the day
  2. You know that stuff about the ‘Present moment?’ It’s all true.
  3. There has been a definite and seemingly permanent slowing down of the rage to succeed.
  4. I don’t have the time to ‘fix things’ – I would rather be happy than right.
  5. I am glad to be older.
  6. I am happy where I am.
  7. My camera and my writing give me great joy.
  8. Most stuff is useless or worse.
  9. Music matters deeply to me still. But not all music.
  10. All you need is love, really.

Then after writing that, and thank you for your subsequent and continuing life support Sarah Horton, I pretty much stopped working, went walkabout and wrote most of the blog posts you can meander through on here. It was great.

And I realise now I was thoroughly sick of working, almost sick to death of it. Particularly the self-employed version of working I’d been doing for the previous twenty years, where you’re always sort of working and every conversation, with everyone, might ‘lead to something.’

My ‘rage to succeed’ slowed right down to a full stop.dsc05973

No sunny day was wasted. I got to know, in detail, the times of the buses to New Brighton. And I’d sit delightedly in the front seat upstairs taking photographs of the route, from Cook Street, through the tunnel, Wallasey and Seacombe, to peaceful days sat reading on the beach looking back across the river at Liverpool.

At Liverpool, where I actually did continue to work some of the time. Just not for the money. In L8 in Granby and in L4&5 with Homebaked. Both of which contributed to the slow germination of what I’d now do if I had a year to live, which is of course Coming Home.

Me and Jayne Lawless, my artist friend from Everton, have now been in full operation as Coming Home Liverpool for four weeks. And if I were really in my final autumn, and which of of us truly ever knows, I can think of nothing I’d rather do than what we are doing.


Designing Coming Home. Hayley, Jayne and Fiona at work this week.

So sat here, early on a peaceful Saturday morning, at the end of another busy and fulfilling week, I thought I’d write this down, add it to the ‘Year to live’ thoughts and then get on with living it.

6 thoughts on “A year to live: Coming Home

  1. Siobhan

    Thank you for this a timely reminder of what I try to practice, often badly, but practice nonetheless. Coming Home is a marvellous thing. We had a trip to Edinburgh this week, lots of visible homelessness and begging which led to difficult conversations with R&M (13). Since we came home they’ve both said in their different ways how important our house is and that we love and care for each other.

  2. Tony McGann

    My wife and I had a life changing moment in late 2013 Ronnie. We’d planned a trip to Bahamas, to escape our 4 younger kids, celebrate her 40th birthday and our own wedding anniversary, and got the news about 5 days before we left. I think we appreciated our holiday more than we might have under “normal” circumstances. The cancer is treated now, but you always live in its shadow. The further away we get from the event, the more surreal it seems to us. Completely understand your comments above. Though it wasn’t quite a year to live, its quite often unexpected news, and life changing. Not always easy to react in a positive manner either. Appreciate the posts on your blog as it reminds me of my home in Liverpool, which I doubt I will get to see very many more times before I sign off meself.


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