As far as I know, man is the only animal blessed with the gift of imagination. Without imagination we would all still be living in the Stone Age. Every fresh and forward bit of thinking is fuelled by imagination. It is not only the Wright Brothers, Jamie Watt or Steve Job who improve the world with their imagination; but every day in our own lives we see ordinary people making things better by using their sense of imagination.
But just as there is bad and good cholesterol, so too is there bad and a good imagination. Both can take on a life of their own, but especially the bad one. The bad imagination can run riot and cause no end of worry, stress and unnecessary suffering. ‘You always think the worst’, you will sometime here people say. When the bad imagination takes off, two plus two may not make four and a projection into the future veers away on its own Calvarian path.
My bad imagination headed off on an exploratory Coronovirus voyage a couple of weeks ago, and I am going to share it in order that you might ponder as to how you would spend every day left to you – if you were told in the full of your health that you only had three months left to live. How would you like to live those three months? It does happen to people.
Like most folk I get the odd head-cold and ‘sniffles’ and if it gets bad enough, a couple of Beecham Hot lemons does the trick. One morning recently I found myself with a niggling sort of a cough. I said nothing to anyone when it came back the second day, but I worried a little and it certainly concentrated the attention of the bit of the head that works, as I listened to the sky-rocketing numbers of Covid-19 casualties.
Mother of God, when it hit me for the third day, the wild imagination set off like a runaway train. I still told nobody of my concerns, but again the good side of the head started planning for my demise. My bad imagination gave me weeks to live and now I had to figure out what I wanted to do with every one if those days.
There could be no more procrastination or waste of time; but how was I to prioritise all that I needed to finish and to give time to all those I owed it to? Questions. Questions: Should I keep this weekly column going as long as possible, or should I quit now: If I knuckled down I could finish the half-written book – or would that be a waste of precious time? Probably the best use I could put the limited time to would be some type of renegotiating with the Higher Power? Already the first lesson learned is how much time we waste when we think it is an inexhaustible commodity.
If you were told today that you had three months to live, how would you live it?
Would you consider throwing all caution to the wind and indulging yourself every way you ever wanted to? Most people would have sufficient money to do that … and after all, you could always raise a long-term loan. Would you do it? Nobody would expect you to perform to the expected – so you could do whatever you pleased. Maybe there is a man you feel like shooting? After all, you could do that with nothing to lose?
Values and goals would be out the window and you would be spared the long-term negative consequences of any action you took. Indeed, every sort of allowance would be made for you and your mental state brought on by the knowledge of your looming departure.
So you don’t feel like doing anything terribly dramatic on account of your family; but what would you do with your time? Travel perhaps? Or maybe you would prefer to stay home and share ever minute with your nearest and dearest? Or again, would you like to go off somewhere quiet to be on your own as you prepare to die – as they do in some Indian tribes?
Would the reason you haven’t spoken to a friend or family member in years still be as important to you? It could be that there are a lot of people out there you need to have a word with? All this is food for thought when the imagination takes off on its own.
As for me: Well, thanks be to God the cough disappeared and I never felt better. I am happy in my ‘cocoon’ and my wild imagination has insured that my priorities will change when this pandemic passes!
Having problems may not be so bad after all. There is only one place for those who have none – it’s called a cemetery.