I don’t need to go to Venice for Murano glass or buy Perthshire paperweights to appreciate quality when I see it. The putative instinct is impossible to explain but I have no doubt it exits. So assured am I of this talent that it vitalizes me the same way that innate intelligence promotes confidence in those who have it. I hasten to distinguish my latent faculty from brainpower; the one is artistic, the other is penetration. While I consider both are laudable, I acknowledge their difference.

A good deal of my legal career was devoted not purely to matters of reasoning but as well to ornamental features including historic documents, prints, drawings, paintings, clocks, accessories, rugs, flower arrangements and furnishings. It was for me a production of equal satisfaction! And as imperative to my personal expression!

It would prove my point to deny there is an element of complacency to this proposition. Yet as smug as it may sound there is a redeeming triumph in the self-satisfaction; and that is knowing when to say “enough already“. Let me explain. I know this chap who has far more capital than I shall ever acquire. In spite of this superfluity it was he who, after constructing a $7M seasonal dwelling, insisted on noting only that his was the least expensive on the block! Lest this apparent modesty be dismissed merely as a quip, I also recall that when the same fellow returned from a leisure voyage to Italy where he saw a three-storey yacht in dry dock being overhauled for as many months while the crew of 75 was cast ashore to await the paint drying, his comment was, “Billy, where did we go wrong?” He had by this time succeeded to enlarge his failure in life to include others – specifically me.

Surely the primary success in life has to be to enjoy who you are, where you are, what you have, who you’re with and where you’re going. If nothing else, eventually one has to draw the line. And I don’t mean shortly before the funeral! Adjusting to one’s reality at the earliest moment has to be the singular and the consummate achievement in life! It is as axiomatic that if you do what you like then you’ll like what you do. Eventually you get there whether you like it or not – so you might as well make the accommodating choice!

There is an adjunct to this contentment. I have always found I am most comfortable doing things and spending time with people I enjoy. This is by no means a trite observation. It involves concentration and determination. There are just too many opportunities to do otherwise – objectives which invariably are propelled by a mistaken sense of obligation or less than altruistic purpose. The reward however is always the same – namely, you get what you deserve (not necessarily what you pay for). By contrast, sticking to your guns incites glee and instills peacefulness.

A practical illustration of this armchair philosophy is an account of my mundane afternoon today. Living even as an interloper on Longboat Key it is impossible to escape the advantage which so many appear to enjoy. Gulf of Mexico Drive is adorned with a constant stream of Rolls Royce, Jaguar, Mercedes Benz and BMWs. The surrounding enclaves are a picture of prosperity. Yet for the person who is prepared to insinuate the vitals of this creature of magnanimity there is sufficient latitude for absorption. I extended my normal 15 km bicycle ride to Bayfront Park by going to Bradenton Beach which is over the bridge and just beyond the northern limit of the island. It is a public park which itself signals a possible qualification if one instinctively prefers gated communities and private resorts. Do not be mistaken – this beach is one of the finest! Its preservation for public accessibility is nothing short of a democratic conquest! If you like fine white sand, broad beach, turquoise water with sandbars, convenient change rooms and facilities, picnic tables and barbecues – look no further! Even the parking is first rate!