As I sat reading my story in the Daily Telegraph this morning (see www.telegraph.co.uk) and seeing my book plugged at the end it occurred to me that humans are essentially dissatisfied creatures.
“I have just realised how lucky we are,” I said to Rupert. “We could have moved here and ended up in total oblivion.”
Five years ago a big spread in the Telegraph and a book published by the Random House Group was all I could dream about. Now that I have all that of course I want the Booker prize and a weekly column in most, if not all, newspapers. As well as my own TV show.
Is this a good or a bad thing? Is constant striving what creates progress? Even if it makes us dissatisfied as well? I think it probably is a good thing. If Shakespeare had just thought ‘oh well, I’ve written a couple of plays now and I think I’ll retire’ the world would be a less interesting place. Leonardo da Vinci could justifiably have stopped half-way through his career and still achieved more than most of the rest of the world put together.
I am not in any way comparing myself to those two greats, but what I am saying is that even if ambition can make you seem spoiled at times I think it’s fundamentally useful.
Sometimes though, it would be nice to be just content. On Sunday we took all the children to a park. Leo was with his best friend Louis. He was carrying a rugby ball, Louis was carrying a football. The park was full of slides and swings.
“Oh look Louis!” gasped Leo. “We’ve got everything what we need.”
“Yes Leo,” smiled Louis. “We have.”
At times it is useful to put ambition aside and realise how lucky you are. Especially now that England are in the final of the rugby world cup. But of course I now want them to win. By a large margin. And there was a time I would have been grateful just to beat the Aussies. See what I mean?
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2007