Slowing Down? Not Me!
On Retirement, Meditation and Slowing Down
It's always a conversation killer when you ask someone what they do and they reply 'I'm retired'. This happened between me and a lady I was sat next to at a wedding dinner.
I don't of course define someone by their job. Asking someone their job is not the most imaginative conversation starter but it's more socially acceptable at a wedding than 'if you HAD to kill someone, who would it be?', though infinitely less interesting.
She answered 'I'm retired' and left it at that. I worried that the last forty years of her life she was doing something she would rather forget. Or perhaps she was simply bored of regaling folk at social gatherings about her decades in the circus.
The idea of retiring terrifies me. Do comedians retire? I don't think I know any who have. 'Slowing down' isn't something I want to do. Perhaps it's that fear so many in show business have that we are 'getting away with it' and if we step out of it for a moment, it might all disappear.
After I had both my children, I started working a few weeks after they were born. Admittedly, in my job, the hours I work are not 9-5. I like to think I have a little more self-awareness than a certain Hollywood star whose name rhymes with Pwenyth Galtrow, so I know 'Going back to work' for me meant the odd gig here and there, a quick interview or writing an article. I was not attending to sick patients or defending someone in court or making ice-cream (these are the three most important jobs that came to my mind)
Even so, it was important for me to 'get back out there' I am a single-parent and the sole provider for my children, I have to keep them in organic aubergines. I do not 'juggle' as is often said working mums do, I sort of run forward with my eyes shut, arms flailing, hoping for the best.
I like it when things are fast paced in my life. I am constantly running like a werewolf in the night, I need to feel I'm on the move. The idea of slowing down does not make sense to me.
This is a concern for my family, 'you need to rest, you need to relax' they tell me. I DID relax once. I was on a lilo in Greece in 1994 and it was lovely but you can't spend your life hanging about on lilo when there is flapping to be done.
The retired lady at the wedding dinner and I found some common ground for conversation in the end. We had both tried meditation. She immediately took it up as a major part of her lifestyle, I stopped after one session as I spent it glaring at the teacher thinking 'come on lady! Hurry this up! I've got stuff to do!'
'Because I’m Shappi' will be at the Edinburgh Festival, Pleasance King Dome, 30th July – 24th August at 8:30pm
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