This is my courageous life, show me yours

James Garside by Annie Spratt

What’s your vision of your best possible self?

I recently stumbled across my answers to some Courageous Living exercises from Your Courageous Life by the wonderful Kate Courageous (Kate Swoboda). They were written as a predictive vision of my best possible self, many years ago, and at the risk of great personal embarrassment I’ve decided to post them here.

It’s funny how things work out. We rarely became who we want to become. I cringe at some of my answers now but, whoever this fictional me was, I wish him well. His life still sounds far more interesting than mine.

I may delete this later — this is terrifying! But I want to encourage people to envisage their best life. Shoot for the moon and there’s a chance you’ll at least hit something. Please feel free to leave your vision of your best life in the comments.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
 with your one wild and precious life?” ― Mary Oliver

Left to my own devices in a magical world with no restrictions I’d be a published novelist who lives and works in Japan. I’ve traveled the world and written about my experiences, along with fiction and journalism.

I’m freelance, financially independent. Married to a beautiful (cute and intelligent) woman. We’re very much in love and have a daughter. I’m also a good Dad.

I’m young, fit, healthy and in great shape. I swim, cycle and walk.

Personal growth / fulfillment / how I feel about me:
In one years time I’d like to have shifted to a place where I’m easeful, confident, relaxed, creative, productive and happy. Financially secure and well on the way to financial independence. I have a job that I love that allows me to continue writing and all my creative endeavours. A career that compliments and fuels my creativity and enhances it. I feel relaxed, creative, competent and in control. I’m much more easeful, energetic, and my muse is very happy with me. We’re getting on much better now and the creative current is strong and clear. I’m comfortable in my own skin and more outgoing. I’m also in a creative space where I have all the time and space I need and spend my life creating, writing, living my dream life and best life.

Intimate and Romantic Relationships:
In one year’s time I’d like to have shifted to a place where I am / I feel sexually active and sexually attractive. I have a long-term happy and fulfilling relationship with a wonderful woman who I can be myself with. I’m sexually competent, a wonderful lover, and in great sexual health. I’m relaxed and sexually confident, charming, seductive. And comfortable flirting and dating. I’m also fully at ease with the amount of sexual interest and attention that I get and attract. I’m attractive to the types of women I want to meet and love. I’m attractive to my ideal mate. And vice versa. And we’re both able to recognise each other.

Personal Relationships / Friendships:
I’m comfortable and at ease among my widening circle of trustworthy true friends. I have deep intimate relationships with people who value me and appreciate my loyalty and trust. True friends and a true friend to them too. I meet up with true friends frequently for all manner of regular social occasions and we have fun. But I still have plenty of time to myself and my friends support me in my life and my creativity. In one years time I’d like to have shifted to a place where my relationships with others are / feel magickal, creative, nurturing and rewarding. Mutually beneficial, with mutual respect and trust. Where my relationships and friendships feel real, honest and reliable.

Career / Work in the World:
In one years time I’d like to have shifted to a place where my career / work in the world is aligned with my ethics and values, respects and fuels my creativity, enables me to live my best life and fulfil my dreams, and is part-and-parcel of my pursuit of my dreams. Where I’m in control of my own life, where I’m doing work that I love for the right pay and the right reasons. Where I’m able to work remotely and do so, where I have control and freedom and creative freedom. Where the work that I do directly benefits my creative work, to the point where I’m basically being paid to live my best life and fulfil my dreams. I’m being paid to write, paid to travel, paid to take photos and create art. Paid to do work that I’m proud of. And able to my fullest extent to pursue my creative endeavours.

Money / Abundance:
In one year’s time, I’d like to have shifted to a place where I’m financially independent. I earn over two thousand pounds a month, in addition to freelance work and creative work. I’m saving more than I spend. I’m saving and investing aggressively and ethically in line with ‘early retirement extreme’ and ‘money maturity.’ My money supports my goals, is aligned with my values, and enables me to be free. I’m not a wage slave. I’m creating wealth and money through a variety of creative income streams in addition to any employment in my dream job. Passive income from creative work. Money helps me to live my dreams and be more of who I really am. It’s a catalyst and a facilitator, not my keeper. I feel financially secure and abundant.

What’s it costing me to not do this?

Personal Growth / Fulfillment / How I feel About Me:
The cost of not fulfilling my commitment in this area (financial costs, health costs, emotional costs, costs to relationships, costs to career, etc). If I don’t pursue my dreams then I’m dying on the vine. There’s a risk of stagnation, death, depression and falling out with my muse. If you let out the light that’s within you then what is in you will save you. If you don’t let out what’s within you then what is within you will destroy you. For the last few years I’ve felt like I’m in the process of being destroyed. Time to rebuild, time to nurture the new green shoots of my new life and real life. Time to accept and embrace my creative self and let the words out. Words need somewhere to go. We tell ourselves stories in order to live, as Joan Didion said.

Intimate and Romantic Relationships:
The cost of not fulfilling my commitment in this area (financial costs, health costs, emotional costs, costs to relationships, costs to career, etc) is stagnation and a barren life lived without emotion. No man is an island and all that bollocks. I’ve lived far too long alone. It’s all well and good saying this but that means I’d need to be cured of all health issues, healthy and happy. And in great physical shape. And finally feel able to love myself and trust someone else enough to love me and for me to love them. Love fully.

Personal Relationships / Friendships:
The cost of not fulfilling my commitment in this area (financial costs, health costs, emotional costs, costs to relationships, costs to career, etc) is that I lose all contact with my friends. And lose the ability to trust people. I lose my emotional support network and hurt people who genuinely care about me. I want to open up and trust my friends and find true friends that I can trust and feel like I can be myself around. I want to have friends that I actually have common ground, shared interests, and spend quality time with. True friends. I’d much rather have a handful of true friends than hundreds of fake ones.

Career / Work in the World:
The cost of not fulfilling my commitment in this area (financial costs, health costs, emotional costs, costs to relationships, costs to career, etc) is poverty, homelessness and bankruptcy. Or the constant threat of this. Though if you see this as a sword of damocles you could just dance with your whole heart anyway. The cost is financial ruin, creative stagnation and the death of all my dreams. I need to reclaim my creative life and work in the world in my own way to my own ends.

Money / Abundance:
The cost of not fulfilling my commitment in this area (financial costs, health costs, emotional costs, costs to relationships, costs to career, etc) is the continued rut of poverty and unemployment. It’s causing me undue stress and worry and leaving me prey to the whims of others and the interference of institutions that have no interest in what’s good for the individual. Fuck that. How about a life I want to live. I can’t afford to stay like this for much longer. I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s Farm no more!

What do I need to do?

Personal Growth / Fulfillment / How I feel about me:
How the fuck should I know? I need to get out, I need to live my fucking life. I’ve been banging my head against a brick wall and the only positive thing I can say about that is it will feel real good when it stops. I need to continue with the things that help me and change the things that don’t. I need to be bold and courageous. I need to take action towards my dreams.

Intimate and Romantic Relationships:
I need to take action to improve my physical and sexual health wherever possible. I need to get in shape. I need to wave a magick wand and suddenly be cured of all my incurable debilitating illness and health problems. I need to get out and meet people. I need to learn how to talk with women. I need to learn to trust them again. I need to let her in. I need to hang out, have fun and flirt with women. I need to be myself around them and disinterested in their interest. I need to get out of the friend zone.

Personal Relationships / Friendships:
I need to let my friends know how much I value them. I need to suggest getting together more often. I need to reach out for support when I feel alone, rather than trying to deal with it all by myself. I need to tell my friends what is going on with me and how I’m feeling. But I also just want to hang out and have fun with them. But I need them to understand that this is hard for me but I do care and I am trying.

Career / Work in the World:
I need to write every day. I need to create. I need to apply for jobs but also do the creative work that I want regardless of whether I’m employed or not. I need to do anything that raises my profile. I need to be so good they can’t ignore me. I need to make the most of what I’ve got. I need to apply for jobs that fit in with what I want. At my most courageous I’d just leave the country and go have fun. Somewhere my dreams are possible.

Money / Abundance:
I need to save. I need to set up a cash / shares ISA. I need to sell off all my shit. I need to spend less without feeling deprived. I need to sell-off and trade-up. I need to apply all sorts of fun strategies to my savings and spending like selling off stuff and saving the replacement cost. Set up automated savings and investments. Invest in the stock market. Start filling up my tax free savings allowance. This is an area that is surprisingly fun. It’s a game that I’d like to play with more.

“It’s powerful to ask yourself what you desire, to tell the truth about what it would mean for your life to shift, and then to define clear actions for creating what you want.” — Kate Courageous

What will you do with your one courageous life?
I’m a writer, artist, human rights activist, journalist, novelist, photographer, film-maker and director. I’m a travel writer who wrote the most mad-cap gonzo travel fiction, along with some seriously dark literary fiction that played with genre. I found a way to do a creative writing PHD fully-funded abroad or in Bristol or at UEA Norwich, or in the right place, with trips abroad. I had the courage and the power to live my dreams and my muse lit the way. I cared for my friends and vice versa but I fully lived my life on my own terms. My life, my rules. Writing, magick, Japan. All of these dreams came true for me altogether for the highest good of all. I made my family and friends truly proud whilst living my best life in align with my values. I totally live and work in Japan now and I’m settled there but have traveled the world. BRING IT!

Mektoub. It is written.

Comments / 0

Published by

NCTJ-qualified British independent journalist, author, and travel writer.


More from James Garside

Comments / 0