I’m really only just getting started
Ed 67, from Yorkshire. Author. Married. Four children, two grandchildren.
How are you?
Marvellous - if I was any fitter I’d be on fire. I love life. There have been moments obviously but the more I circumnavigate challenges the happier I’ve got. Whatever issues have come my way I am a great believer in rising to the challenge and all clouds have silver linings.
Happiness is a journey not a destination. I had an odd thing happen to me. I was on a cross channel ferry in 2016 and I had a health scare. Sitting down to breakfast thinking what to have and the next thing I knew I was sitting on the floor surrounded by paramedics. I was whisked off to hospital. To cut a long story short I got to the end of the day and was discharged having had a minor heart murmur. Whilst lying there I said to myself ‘as of this moment, if I recover I will not drink caffeine or alcohol again and I haven’t drunk a drop of either since. Curiously I have kept a diary every day since. I wasn’t in great health and I’ve sorted all that out. I am right in my second childhood. I promise you I am brimming with ideas - more than ever.
How do you see yourself?
Internally I spend a lot of time laughing about the bonkers nature of life. I’ve had moments in my life when I’ve been really insecure and frightened, I’m not like that now. I used to get depressed but I don’t now - I don’t have time for it. If there are a set of circumstances in front of me I have a choice. I can look at it from a glass half full or a half empty point of view and and I always choose to look at it half full, I choose to be happy and because I choose to be, I am.
I hated my childhood. I was born and brought up in Yorkshire. My father was a Politician so he and my mother spent all week in London and I was left with an elderly retainer and home schooled til I was 8, where I was then sent off to a ghastly establishment in Berkshire - Sunningdale - it was awful. I didn’t enjoy my childhood until I was 12. I was very lonely, insular and had no friends. I was feeble and a weed - long and thin and constantly in tears. It was really useful though. I’d go off and sit in the lavatory thinking up things to say to the people I hated. I planned my answers. I became much more eloquent, honing my wit.
Then I went to Eton and I loved it. A University town at the age of twelve - I was completely free. I had my own room, I could go shopping. It was an eccentric, bonkers place. If you had any ideas - say for example you wanted to set up a society for the breeding habits of Scottish lice, you’d find a Master to set up a society about it. They would celebrate your individuality. It was such a contrast of the utter horror of being a little boy. You see everything has a silver lining. That’s why I think all the things you go through are immensely helpful to get you to the next stage. The steel goes into the fire and comes out tougher - but hopefully more sensitive.
What do you like about yourself?
Most things. I am a tough task master - I spend a lot of time on self improvement. I have this thing about becoming 1% a day better every day - emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically. Since I was 18 I’ve been big into that. I’m also very into affirmations and habits. My daily routine consists of writing my ideas list for the day, writing my diary, my blog and posting on Instagram. I diarise my list of achievements. I am very organised. These things have become habits and it’s a structure that makes me happy and it makes me feel that I’ve achieved something.
Where does all your energy go?
If we don’t operate at the shame and guilt kind of level and operate at a more aspirational level then that energy becomes more visible to us. The higher the plane we can spin up to then the greater the plane we’re on. Another belief I have is I am merely a conduit. Non of what I am doing is me, it’s a product if the energy I am creating. I don't write the book, it writes itself, I am just a messenger. I don’t know what name you give to that power but there’s a definitely energy greater than you or I.
What do you think about marriage?
I think marriage is a very good idea. Life becomes increasingly impermanent and the more that we can have in our lives that creates foundations and permanence the better. Married or not, it’s about ones behaviour as a human being. Making sure that on occasions we are not entirely selfish. I could probably be a bit less selfish but having said that my projects are very important to me. I am not giving then up for anyone. The more my projects succeed the more I have to offer. I’m no use to anyone and what I mean by that is, I have to love myself before I love anyone else.
What do you think about children?
I love my children. I have 4 daughters and 2 granddaughters. They’re fabulous. There’s not another man in sight. I wouldn't have wanted a son, I really couldn't have handled the competition. My granddaughters are beginning to be amusing now rather than farting blobs. If they’re your own farting blobs that’s fine but someone else's - no thanks.
What do you think about Life?
To build on what’s gone before and inspire other people. There are six ingredients for a long life; Pressure Yes, stress No. Eight hours sleep (the difference between despair and hope is eight hours sleep). Diet and Exercise - walking is the unsung hero of exercise. Love for people and passion.
What do you think about Death?
It’s inevitable. I am not frightened of it. I just don’t want it because I feel I am only cranking it up now. Everything I’ve done to date has got me to where I want to be, to achieve what I want to achieve. I’m really only just getting started. The next ten years are going to be life changingly massive for me if the Lord spares me - and if he doesn’t, then that’s his choice.
What brings you down?
I don’t get down - being down isn’t somewhere I want to be. I’ve been down. I’ve had moments in my life when I have felt completely inadequate. When I was 49 I had to go and get employed - I don’t do employed. I had one of those psychometric test done - it said I was a high academic intelligence. I said ‘it’s wrong’. I assumed til that moment that I was thick. I suddenly realised I wasn't - NIRVANA! I didn’t do very well at school. I thought everyone else was very bright and I was just pig thick. That was a massive change.
What’s your view on faith?
Years ago I left my daughter one morning to go to work. She had been jumping on the bed in her cowboy outfit. I got a call from my wife to say come to hospital. My daughter had fallen off the bed and landed on a glass of water that was on the floor. It had gone into her spleen. The doctor was saying ‘I’ll do my best’. I’d just seen her bouncing around only half an hour before. I went outside to call other members of my family to tell them what had happened - the car park attendant came up to me and put his arm around me and said - ‘he will make it alright’ and you know what, he did. I get so caught up in my hamster wheel ‘doings’ and become so busy that that I forget to get up here and look at the bigger picture.
What have you taken from this experience?
I have spend a lot of time over the years on the couch. I find talking about myself quite agreeable. It’s nice sharing discussions about life - very much my page.