I think I always knew that I don’t like goat’s cheese but it’s only relatively recently that I came to realise I don’t need to.
Some years ago, before that epiphany, I was on holiday and a persuasive man in a French market told me that he had a hard goat’s cheese which would convert me.
I was taken in, but after a second or so the familiar taste came through and I knew I’d been duped.
My daughter, now pretty much a full-time vegetarian, doesn’t eat mushrooms.
“It would be helpful if you liked mushrooms,” I tell her, very proud of my vegan ragu.
She looks at me, witheringly as I continue.
“But don’t bother with avocados because I already have to make too much guacamole for everyone else.”
“I’m not going to bother with avocados. Not having them in my life isn’t making a material difference,” she tells me.
Her razor logic makes me think about a question I had from a client this week struggling with a fear of the future and pursuing a way of feeling safer.
I wished I had said to them, “Treat certainty like my daughter treats avocados. Let go of the need for it,” which I suppose I did, in a “therapisty” sort of way.
It got me thinking about how we decide that it’s better to give up.
If whatever you’re chasing is all-consuming and having a negative impact on the other hitherto healthy parts of your life, you might be chasing rainbows.
Talking of chasing rainbows, if you’re avoiding being honest with yourself about the likely eventual outcome you’re probably wasting precious emotional energy and living in denial.
My client who is looking for certainty where none exists fits the profile.
I told them that instead of asking “how can I be sure things will work out?” it was worth acknowledging that even when they don’t it might not be the end, and then I thought about aubergines.
I used to have an aversion to them similar to the one I felt towards goat’s cheese but I did manage to overturn that through perseverance and a particularly good aubergine curry in the little cafe at The Gulbenkian Theatre.
But a piece of perseverance I’m especially proud of involves my son.
He has never been a reader which pains me.
I got into the habit of buying him a book for every birthday and every Christmas in the hope that one day he would discover the joy of reading.
I’ve bought him stories, factual books, funny books, interesting books, short books, and vast heavy tomes that he can use to wedge open a door.
In past years I have continued the routine more in hope than expectation.
Then, last weekend I took a photo of him and his girlfriend sitting on the sofa together reading.
When your perseverance makes a difference to your life through seeing the positive impact on someone else’s you really know it was worth the effort.