EDITOR’S PERSPECTIVE: Getting out at the right time — or not

EDITOR’S PERSPECTIVE: Getting out at the right time — or not

By Andrew Mosley | 24/06/2021

EDITOR’S PERSPECTIVE: Getting out at the right time — or not


HOW do you know when anything is finished? A work of art, a book, a song, an album, a relationship, your love of life. Finished or abandoned? As complete as you can get it, as good as you can get it so you let go before you ruin it and it all goes wrong. Cowardice, bravery or just judgement?

I’ve always thought it was down to feeling, but it’s difficult to leave something behind, so I’ve generally ended up as the one left.

I read recently of an artist that would turn up at a gallery and brush up his artwork that was on display as he never considered it complete. I think that’s fine (as long as someone checks it’s not someone else simply defacing the painting) and could serve as a good maxim to live your life by.

It’s like when a band revisits some of their old recordings. Unless it’s done as a simple money-making exercise, the general reason for doing this would be because they weren’t happy with the supposedly finished product or the mixes first time around. Other than if they are wealthy enough not to, bands, artists, writers etc all work to deadlines so their work of art, whatever it may be, is deemed completed when that date arrives, even if the creator thinks it’s rubbish.

A doomed relationship works in the same way. While deep inside both parties realise all is not well, only one is likely to reach the conclusion that it is over, but what is the tipping point?

The search for a new life, a new job, a new existence, a new place to live... how do you ever know beyond all doubt that what you have found is the best you can get? You don’t. You can’t.

All walks of life are about settling for second, third, eighth, 25th best, but what we don’t ever find out is what the best would be like, look like, feel like, taste like.

Most of what we do is about getting out at the right time, quitting when we think we’ve won, even if the result may possibly be even better if we wait a while longer.

It’s a bit like a bet in which you may be on to win £80,000 if you predict all six results and with ten minutes left you have potentially hit the jackpot, but one goal will leave you penniless. Up it flashes: “Cash out now and win £7,200.” Of course you cash out, you had nothing when you placed the bet. Same goes on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire when you might just know the next answer, but aren’t sure.

Do the brave who don’t cash out when they think they’ve bagged a decent result and risk all in the belief that there is a better prize, an ultimate prize even, fare better than the rest of us?

In some cases, yes, in others no. My nan always said you should be satisfied with your lot. I never have been but equally I’ve not got the nerve to hold out for the big one, whatever that is.

Am I happier or sadder for that experience? I’ll never know. Or will I?