There is that old saying that you are only ever as good as your last anything. In cycling a pro is said to be only as good as his (or her) last race. And so maybe I was destined to become at best a very conservative and at worst very cynical directeur sportif. If not in cycling then at least in more immediate and tangible moments of life this seems to be a niggling mantra that holds me – and those around me in the connected activities – back from exploring and expanding my horizons.
Why do I say that? On Friday night MrsAB decided she wanted to find some new work clothes and in need of a good read so I went along with her to a large, out of town shopping centre to grab myself a book. (Some of you may already be querying the choice of shopping venue. It was the best thing on offer is all I can say in my defence.) After visiting two book emporiums I still left empty handed. One even had two floors worth of books to peruse. Despite the choice I simply couldn’t make a choice and the over-riding thought in my head was of the previous books I have read and the need to satisfy an urge to have something just as good. Yes. I know, the whole point of a book is to be a journey of discovery, a trip into the unknown and the satisfaction of each twist and turn taking you further from or nearer to the conclusion you feel the story is headed. As I wrote in the summer, a good book I have found is one that I can’t put down, a book so good I am happy to have my train or bus delayed for so I can indulge in a few more minutes of fantasy. What stops me picking up the next potential escape is the feeling that the last book was too good to be repeated. And so it is that despite the shelves and tables of recommendations and offers I leave two stores without a new read.
And tonight MrsAB and I were discussing where to go on holiday this year. No prizes on offer for realising what happened here but all I can say is that the oyster is far too big for dinner tonight.
Part of the problem is that life is always as good as your last experience. The last book I read shapes my feeling about what to read next. The last holiday I had defines what I want from the next. The last meal out I had is the experience I want to replicate. In some ways there is nothing wrong with some of that, it helps make sure that each experience has the potential to be as good as if not a better experience than the last. The only problem is that it is preventing me from taking the leap of faith into a new adventure, a new read or that new restaurant for fear that it will be worse. So living a life as good as your last ultimately undoes itself and becomes boring. What I need now is a half way house so as a first step can any of my readers help me out with a few recommendations to expand those boundaries be they places to go on holiday, good restaurants to eat out in or even just a good little coffee shop and a book to read in it. I’m going to try and make the last as good as my next.