By way of keeping sane, I've been perusing the regular blogs that make up my daily routine, finding myself slightly out of step with current trends. This is nothing to cause me anguish - I've never been considered a trend-setter. A malcontent, an anarchist or simply befuddled - a non-conformist; that'll do for me.
Is it possible to "stop" being a birder? I certainly don't think so. The sad tale of the melt-down of the Beddington "Badgeman" is testament to the self-inflicted pressure that any obsession is capable of exerting. My question would be, "Has Johnny stopped looking at birds?" - to my way of thinking it is impossible for anyone, with such passion, to just switch off. It's all about intensity - what seemed important then - has no relevance now! Birds are everywhere, even in London, so impossible to ignore if you have the slightest interest. It's about balance; a concept that can only come with experience (read age), although it takes longer for some, especially hippies! I came home from Madeira, in August 1993, and decided that I could see no future in my coarse angling - once I'd landed an Atlantic Blue Marlin where was the fun in fishing for roach?
It has taken twenty years for me to re-discover the joys of fishing, yet this time without the lunacy! Has the reduction in expectation reduced my pleasure? No way; having Benno back in my life ensures that my exploits are as enjoyable as any I can recall. That I lack the intensity is neither here nor there, enjoyment does not require a scale. Birding will remain with me all the time I'm able to draw breath - nothing like as important as I thought during those manic years of Kent year-listing, but something that I will continue to enjoy, although my expectations might be slightly reduced.
When I worked for Unilever, at their Ashford factory, one of my major contributions to the "factory strategy group" was the introduction of "Realistic and Achievable" as measure of our goals. Yes, of course I'd like a Rolls Royce - realistic and achievable? I think not - but there's nothing wrong with dreaming.
So there you have my slant on things - such as they are. Birding, twitching, angling or pan-listing, does it really matter so long as you enjoy yourself. If it becomes too intense then put the handbrake on it, it's a hobby not your job!
Oh yeah; just one more thing - If a Wheatear turns up around Newland's Farm; bet your life that there will be a photo to accompany my post - the day I stop looking is the day they shut the lid!