by CHRIS URQUHART
I turned thirty recently.
If you asked me ten years ago, what my life would involve at age thirty, my view then and the reality now, couldn’t be further from each other.
I would probably have told you I’d be a home owner, married and probably a dad. None of those things have happened yet, and it doesn’t worry me at all. I rent, I’m single, and I don’t have any children. They’re three things that I’d love to do some day but I am more comfortable not knowing when “some day” will arrive, than I have ever been before.
In the last few years, I’ve come to a simple philosophy for my life. I live by four L’s: Live. Love. Laugh. Learn.
The first one is easy to do. You don’t have a choice.
The second, love, is the most important one for me. It defines my life. I am not talking love purely in the sense of being “in love” but as an overarching concept which I use to inform every action of my life and every person I encounter. I also let love motivate my decision making. If ever I have a difficult decision to make, I try to ask myself, “what’s the loving thing to do?”, and the decision becomes so much easier. I try to treat everybody I encounter with love, with compassion and with empathy. I try to treat myself with love as well, to not be too hard on myself, but still be disciplined at the same time. When I learned to do this a few years ago, life became a lot easier. I love my friends. I love my family. I love my colleagues. Whoever is reading this, I love them too.
Laughing is my favourite thing to do. Ok, it’s probably my second favourite. I have few greater joys in life than having a smile on my face, laughing at something or making someone else laugh. It makes everything better. One of the greatest compliments I can ever be paid, a compliment that makes me smile on the inside, is to be told I made someone laugh. I don’t take anything too seriously, which has made life working in news and current affairs for the past decade a delightful irony. Rest assured, whoever you are that might be reading this, there is nothing I’d rather do with you than laugh together. Unless you’re really hot, in which case laughing is my second favourite thing to do together. Did you laugh at that? I hope so.
Learning. You know, one of the things that constantly amazes me about life and brings me great joy, is the never ending gathering of wisdom. In the past, if things went wrong, I used to ask “Why?”. But now, I treat every experience, from the very good to the very bad as a learning experience. Every mistake, every success, every broken heart, every triumph, every despair has led to a gathering of wisdom that never, ever stops. Learning this has made the difficulties that life presents so much easier to deal with. Realising that I will never, ever know “everything” and that my values and beliefs will change and evolve over time has been, for me, a wonderful discovery. Being comfortable “not knowing”, continues to make life a beautiful, wonderful and mysterious place.
Having made these discoveries, and having built them into a philosophy for my life has been, without a doubt, my most wonderful achievement in thirty years on the planet.
A little over two years ago, my Dad died. I miss him a lot. The biggest thing I miss, is that I can’t come to him for advice any more. He was a wise man, with exceptional judgment, and if there was a single word to describe him, it would be “integrity”.
Not long before he died, I came to Dad for advice with a question about my career, but it could well have been a question about anything else. Knowing that it was a decision for me, and for me alone, he gave me some wonderful advice.
“Look in the mirror, every morning, when you have a shave. Look at the person who is looking back at you. You can’t lie to him, Chris. You can’t have him on. He knows what you really want. He knows what’s right for you and what’s wrong for you. Listen to him.”
I think about that often, and it means that I very rarely choose to do something that I don’t want to do, and that I know I am leading the life that I want to live. It means that I am comfortable with my choices, and I am at peace with the world. If ever I’m not sure, I look inside and the answer is there.
Life is good. I’m thirty. I’m exceptionally happy. And I can’t wait to find out what happens next.
Chris Urquhart is a reporter with A Current Affair. He has a decade of experience as a journalist in television and radio news. Follow him on Twitter here.