When are you going to write a book, Franky?’ my father-in-law asked, raising his voice above the noise of the theatre bar. I took a sip of my gin and tonic.
‘Oh, I don’t know, Paul, soon,’ I replied, playfully batting the idea away with my free hand.
‘I’m serious. You need to hurry up and write a book.’
My mother-in-law nodded in agreement. ‘He’s right, Franky. You really should.’
‘Have you ever tried? I mean, really tried? You just need to give it a go,’ Paul continued, as if speaking from experience.
‘You know what I need if I want to write a book?’ I asked. ‘A wife. I need a wife. Where can I get another one of me? Someone to do all the things I currently do for everyone else. If I had a wife, maybe I’d have time to write a book.’
We laughed, transforming my astute observation into a fleeting joke. The conversation moved on.
Eventually, an usher threw open the double doors to the theatre. We joined the line and shuffled slowly towards our seats. The house lights dimmed, and I spent the next two hours watching my daughter, Izzy, perform the play she’d spent the last six weeks rehearsing. It was her final college performance. The last thing she’d create or contribute to within compulsory education.
On the drive home, I watched a video on my phone of her performing in her first leading role, all the way back in primary school. I remembered sitting in a packed school hall, watching in awe as she sang and danced across the stage, her voice loud and clear, her comedic timing perfect.
‘Cinderella’s a bit good, isn’t she?’ a mother seated in the row behind me whispered to her friend.
‘She’s incredible,’ the friend replied, confirming my assessment of my daughter’s talent was accurate.
My brain cannot fully comprehend the time that’s passed since this moment. It feels like only yesterday and forever ago, all at once. The little girl leaping across the stage is now a young woman, her natural talent honed and polished in the intervening years. Her time at school has come to an end. She has her whole life ahead of her.
As for me, I’ll be turning 40 next week. If I only live as long as my father, I’ve got 10 years left. I’m constantly told it’s morbid to think this way. I don’t think it’s morbid. For most people, the idea of dying young is abstract and vague. Something that happens to other people. For me, it feels like a real possibility. More likely than not.
When Dad turned 40, he had no idea he was entering the final decade of his life. Would he have done anything differently if he had? Would he have shifted his priorities? He was a creative man with lofty ambitions. If only he’d known, would he have spent less time dreaming, and more time doing?
Which brings me back to my father-in-law’s original question. When am I going to write a book?
I’m convinced I don’t have time. But what if I don’t have much time left?
Love Audrey xxx
P.S. A version of this post originally appeared in Letters From Love Audrey, my monthly newsletter filled with creative inspiration for you and your business. If you’ve enjoyed reading this and would like more of the same in your inbox, you can sign-up here.