Aged 30…

Good morning Tash Appreciators,

A couple of nights ago, I suddenly had a hankering to hear a song that I hadn’t thought about for years: “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for” by U2. I can hear the hipsters tutting already but, like T. Swift says: haters gonna hate hate hate.

It’s normal for TF to be written during the course of a commute but that’s traditionally been on trains. This week is slightly different in that I’m typing away while sitting in a cramped window seat on a Bombardier Q400, somewhere over the Irish Sea. It’s a clear spring evening outside and the sun is just dipping below the horizon.

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After take off – when I was allowed to put my earphones back in – I put my new tune on. I’ve listened to it a couple of times now and I’ve reached the conclusion that Bono isn’t looking for something which can be found just by looking for it (like a set of keys). I think the lines about “climbing the highest mountains” and “scaling city walls” are about looking for something intangible.

I know what he means – as I’m sure many of you do. We spend a lot of our time looking for things which, no matter how hard we look, we may never find – things that have to find us, so to speak. That can be religion, a career, the ideal home – anything.

At the moment, I am looking for a home. Not that I don’t have a home, you understand; I’m just looking for a new one. I’ve been telling people that there’s nothing out there and I’ve jokingly said I’m giving up the search. However, watching the sea, sunset and blue sky outside I’m reminded that there is a place out there which feels like home but which cannot be found in Scotland. Maybe I found what I was looking for a long time ago and that’s why nothing I’m seeing now seems quite right.

So where does that leave me? Because the captain has just said it’s 10 minutes until we land and I need to wrap this up before I’m told to put my phone away.

I’m reminded of a line I heard recently when I was watching a documentary about a media mogul who’s empire was at its height in the 1930s – William Randolph Hearst. The film starts with William’s father (George) working away on a small mine, trying to make his fortune.  Ultimately, George decides to  gather his possessions and leave the place of his birth. The narrator says: “aged 30, he went to California.”

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I’m beginning to think that Operation Zorro needs to look further than one year ahead. Unlike Bono, I might have found that intangible thing which has sparked something in my soul. Maybe that’s why I spend an inordinate amount of time watching  planes flying west and wondering whether they’re going to San Francisco. Maybe one day…

It’s not really a Tash but a big dream deserves a large amount of facial hair. Thanks for the inspiration, George Hearst:

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Have a great weekend folks.

As ever, I ask you: what’s next?

A wooden leg named Smith

Good morning Tash Appreciators,

Many thanks for the texts and emails of complaint following last week’s re-post of an old TF. I was working on an Operation Zorro activity and that had to take priority. Hey, I’m not perfect.

Perfection is something that I have been reading and thinking about recently. Mainly this is because I’ve been reading the incredible book “Daring Greatly” by Brené Brown. The book covers a multitude of interesting topics but, for the purposes of this week’s TF, I’m just going to talk about perfection.

You often hear people saying that they are perfectionists. I assume they are trying to say that they pay attention to detail or that they are thorough. That’s all very laudable but it isn’t really being a perfectionist in the proper sense.

If I were a perfectionist, I’d never get out of the house in the morning. I would have to try over and over again to pour the milk perfectly onto my cereal; I’d spend until the end of time trying to iron a shirt perfectly; and I’d spend so long trying to make the perfect knot with my tie that the threads would eventually come apart in my hands. I may be wrong, but I don’t think human beings are capable of perfection. We can get close (for example, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel or Jimmy Page’s solo in Stairway To Heaven) but nothing we create will ever be perfect.

That being said, I do think that we sometimes experience perfection. I’m thinking in particular of those moments when weather, company, music, time, speed, location (and every other factor you can imagine) conspire to create something which is perfect. I remember one moment in particular which I felt was perfection and thinking that I had to try and capture it somehow. It’s not great photography (although the sunburst sums up how I was feeling at the time) but this tht exact moment:

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As we get older, we feel less free to enjoy ourselves and perhaps moments of perfection pass us by. We worry that things are going “too well” and that some disaster must befall us in order to balance the scales of life. Or we feel guilty that we’re happy when others are not. This weeks Tash lost the ability to enjoy life because he got wrapped up in his responsibilities and stresses. However, with a bit of help, he realised that life is best lived when you can laugh and enjoy the company of those around you. The man I’m referring to is Mr Banks from Mary Poppins:

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I wonder if Mr Banks felt that the kite flying out of his hands was a perfect moment.

Have a great weekend folks – enjoy it! Maybe go and fly a kite or something?

What’s next?


What’s next?

Good morning Tash Appreciators,

It’s clear that, for the first time in years, summer is truly here. Let’s hope it’s sticks around for a while.

Summer can be the best time of the year. When the weather is good, people tend to get out more, see their friends and generally have a great time. There’s also the prospect of getting away from the drudgery of daily life to somewhere exotic; where the grass really is greener.

Speaking of places where the grass is greener, TF was ecstatic to receive a present all the way from Cambria, California (a few short miles from the spiritual home of Tash Friday) this week. It was a book containing tips to groom one’s Tash – smashing stuff and much appreciated!

My favourite so far.

My favourite so far.

Anyway, back to summer. It can also be a time when you take stock and you realise that half of the year has already rushed by. That chance to reflect can leave you either with a sense of satisfaction about how the year has gone so far or it can leave you thinking “what have I been doing for the last 7 months!?”

I’ve recently started watching the West Wing (I think this is the third time!) as a bit of a morale booster. For those who haven’t seen The West Wing, you need President Bartlet in your lives. Immediately:

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In the first episode, Bartlet gives some advice which I think is useful for the summer. His staff are caught up in their own squabbles and difficulties and they’ve taken their eyes off the bigger picture (righting wrongs, saving the world etc etc). Bartlet gathers them together and says:

“Breaks are good. It’s not a bad idea to take a break every now and then… But break’s over.”
He sends them on their way with a suitable anecdote, then turns to his secretary and asks purposefully “what’s next?”  This summer, we all need to take a break. We’ve all worked hard for the last seven months. But once we’ve had time to rest and think, we need to get cracking with what we really want to do. We need to work out what’s next.To the Tash. Two things which spring to mind when summer arrives are beaches and ice cream. A type of ice cream is Magnum. Magnum P.I is the name of a show in which Tom Selleck played the lead. In Magnum P.I, Tom Selleck was often at the beach; sometimes while making important phone calls. Therefore, logically, this week’s Tash could only be the great Tom Selleck:
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What? It makes perfect sense, honest…
Have a fantastic weekend folks – I’ll be taps aff by 5.01pm!Keep going!